Renaissance Providence Hotel, Providence, Rhode Island $$$$
5 Avenue of the Arts
Tel: 401 919 5000
Tel: 800 468 3571
Unfinished and abandoned for nearly 80 years, the city's 1927 Masonic temple is now the best thing to happen to Providence's lackluster hotel scene, thanks to a $100 million renovation. The column-lined facade of the hulking building has been preserved, and while not the prettiest design—especially compared with the elegant neoclassic State House across the way—it strikes a dramatic note. Inside, the decor is theatrical: heavy red curtains in the lobby, plush mustard-and-green couches, Masonic symbols, framed blueprints of the temple. Guest rooms are similarly exuberant, with alternating dusky blue and slate stripes running down the walls and swooping window treatments with a bold pattern fringed in crimson. The staff are uniformly helpful with everything from making restaurant reservations to tracking down forgotten toiletries. With plenty of meeting space, the hotel is a no-brainer for businesspeople, but it is also a perfect choice for parents visiting their university students or leisure travelers looking for an easy getaway. The lower-level restaurant, Temple Downtown, serves only passable food, but after hours it becomes a buzzing nightspot. Don't worry—the thick century-old walls muffle the thumping bass.