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Citing an inefficient use of resources, Massachusetts has decided to phase out its program that puts homeless families in hotels and motels if there's no room at a local shelter. It's expected to end by June 2014. The reasons make sense. The lack of kitchens and play spaces for children in most hotels and motels was an issue, as well as the safety risks and liability involved in housing large families in a single room. Regardless of your political stance, the announcement has created an interesting limbo situation for many properties that invested in the program.
The Quality Inn in West Springfield, for example, chose in 2011 to only offer its rooms to people in the transitional housing program. Understandably, they didn’t want to clash clientele and have leisure travelers mixing with homeless families and social workers. Assistant Manager Ron Teji looked at it as a business decision. The program kept the hotel at 70 to 80% occupancy, and it pretty much took all the work out of filling his rooms.
“It was more about the economy,” he said. “You sell all your rooms out; it’s fixed revenue and higher occupancy.”
Every so often we feature a hotel review from one of our readers that we feel should be shared with the rest of you dear hotel guests. These reviews are highlighted because they are timely, about cool hotels in cool places and are relatively level-headed. Think you can submit one just like this? Send it in. Now, we present you with Jaunted contributing editor KJB's review of the Hotel Providence in Rhode Island. Enjoy.
A weekend trip a couple years ago granted me the opportunity to visit the Hotel Providence in Providence, Rhode Island. To be honest, this was my first experience with a boutique hotel, but certainly will not be the last. Located in the heart of the downtown arts and entertainment district, the hotel features all the comforts of home (when the home is that of your rich aunt).
The newest edition to the Orchid Hotels and Resorts family is Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine. Normally, we don't go further north than Manhattan when we travel the Eastern Seaboard but we are actually contemplating a stay here at Hidden Pond when it opens in July.
The hotel is actually made up of 14 cottages complete with full kitchens, king beds, flat-screen TVs, large screen porch, gas fireplaces and even an outdoor shower. (There's an indoor bath too.)
Some more on the cottages:
Natural fabrics, an inviting screened-in porch, a gas fireplace set in river stone, clever little kitchens and floor to ceiling windows that allow nature inside ... enjoy all of this by day and then retreat to the sanctuary of your bedroom where you'll find Frette bed linens, plush down-filled duvets and the most comfortable bed you've ever had the pleasure to encounter.
Say what you want about WASPs, they flock to hotel with high end service. While Blantyre in Lenox, MA, might look a bit like Arkham Asylum from the outside, inside it ranks number 26 on the 2007 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2007 list of the 100 best hotels in the world. It scored a ranking of 91.8, and hey, one thing you are sure to see on a WASP coffee table is a copy of Conde Nast Traveler.
The resort consists of a main house filled with overstuffed chairs, fresh flowers, a light-filled music room, and rooms for private dining. Owner Ann Fitzpatrick Brown and her mother Jane decorated the central room with New England style art and antiques. Eight guest bedrooms and suites are located on the second floor. Four private cottages litter the grounds. Other amenities tailored to the WASP lifestyle are dotted throughout -- tennis courts, libraries, and fine dining.
One guest said:
Staying at the high end country manor of a long lost relative.
Our only question: Was this guest from Beacon Hill or the Upper East Side. Count on this place having top notch service for sure.