Free coffee, tea, and warm cookies in the lobby every afternoon
Free round-trip airport shuttle and train station pick-up
Pricey, limited on-site parking (valet only)
It may be a chain hotel, but Hampton Inn & Suites Providence Downtown still has personality and character, thanks in part to its historic building. With a free daily breakfast, modern features (including flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and a fully equipped fitness center), and a central location in downtown Providence, you'll get a lot of bang for your buck here. Plus, suites come with microwaves, mini-fridges, and pull-out couches. There's plenty for both business travelers and families to like, but there's no pool -- unlike at the nearby Courtyard by Marriott.
In 1920, this building was originally known as the Old Colony House. It's been renovated since becoming the Hampton Inn & Suites, but the building's historic charm can still be found in some places, particularly in the lobby area where original pieces of the facade remain, and large windows are draped in gold brocade drapery. The lobby also has a nice sitting area surrounding a large flat-screen TV -- though the off-center placement of the faux-mantel-style cabinet and flanking fake plants cheapens the look of the space. In general, the architecture is lovely but the decor brings the space back to its mid-range-chain reality (with slightly worn furnishings, busy hospitality-style carpeting, and poor furniture layout).
Located adjacent to the front desk in what was once the building's St. Francis Chapel, the breakfast area is a refreshing step away from the usual fluorescent-lit cafeteria-like spaces of other chain hotels. There is also the Suite Shop in the lobby where guests can purchase basic sodas and snacks -- a handy grab-and-go for business travelers heading off for a meeting. Business travelers also will appreciate the meeting spaces, especially the Capital Suite Meeting Room, a spacious room overlooking the river.
Near the river in the financial district of downtown
Hampton Inn & Suites is perfect for the business traveler because it's located smack-dab in the financial district of downtown Providence. Those looking for a bit of culture won’t be disappointed either, as the Providence Performing Arts Center is close by, as well as plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs within walking distance.
Providence has always been a bit like Boston’s little sister. When it came to East Coast cities, it was always a question of “Boston or New York?” for travelers. However, that has started to change over the years, and Providence is coming into its own. The capital of the smallest state in the country, Providence is densely populated and chock full of interesting things to see and do, such as the Riverwalk, historic buildings dating back to pre-revolutionary times, and the oldest Baptist church in America. Not to mention, it’s a very walkable city. Of course, those used to a grid system may get a little lost walking the streets of Providence, which seem to have no rhyme or reason to the way they run.
Every summer, don’t miss the spectacle of WaterFire -- 100 bonfires are lit just above the surface of the water on the three rivers that pass through downtown. And for prospective college students, Brown, Johnson and Wales, and RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) are in the downtown area.
10-minute drive to T.F. Green Airport
55-minute drive to Boston Logan Airport
5-minute walk to the Providence Performing Arts Center
5-minute walk to the Riverwalk with plenty of running and walking paths, and the Fleet Ice Skating Center
10-minute walk to Amtrak Station in the Capital Centre Project
10-minute walk to Rhode Island Convention Center
8-minute drive to Roger Williams Park with a zoo, planetarium, carousel, and lake with canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boating
Standard mid-range-chain hotel rooms with some nice touches
The Hampton Inn & Suites is a step up from the usual chain hotel, and the rooms reflect that with slightly nicer-than-average modern furnishings -- though layout and general decorating style could use a little professional help (such as the nightstands that are too large and jut out into the walkway, or the armchair that's seemingly shoved in a corner by the bed with next-to-no leg room). The bathrooms are clean with spacious countertops, and the beds are comfortable. The large desks are great for business travelers, and nice flat-screen TVs are a definite improvement from the dated tube TVs found in many Providence chain hotels. The major downside is that not every room has a mini-fridge, and housekeeping may not always be what you'd expect from a notable hotel brand (poorly made beds and messy toilet paper rolls are an example).