A Brief History of the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa
Just two blocks from Portland Maine’s working waterfront, the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa is located in the Armory, a centerpiece of the historic Old Port district. The neo-classic Armory was built in 1895 at a cost of $20,000 for Maine’s National Guard and was once regarded as one of the finest and best equipped armories in New England.
The State of Maine Armory, as it claimed to be known, was vacated by the Maine National Guard in 1941 when its troops came under the control of the Federal Government. For a brief time a caretaker was the lone occupant of the building, until city officials decided to open the armory to house the many soldiers, sailors, and marines who were temporarily stranded in Portland. During one two-month period over 4,000 men took advantage of the facility for overnight stays.
In 1942, the United States Navy took control of the armory and used it as a recreation center for the duration of World War II. At the close of the war the building once again served multiple purposes as a home to the National Guard’s citizen soldiers, a civic auditorium, and as the city’s public bath house. In 1962 the Armory was taken over by the city of Portland for conversion into a waterfront parking lot.
Before this transformation could take place, the State of Maine Armory was sold to State Paper Company for use as a warehouse. In 1984 it was purchased for conversion into a hotel. The Portland Regency Hotel opened with 95 rooms in 1987, as a complement to Portland’s popular, restored Old Port.
The exterior of the armory was preserved intact, with the exception of the skylight windows on the upper floors. Many of the original architectural elements create unique features in the spacious, traditionally appointed rooms. Highly detailed fireplaces and turret windows bring a special ambiance to this historic hotel.
In 1990, as recognition for its preservation of a historically significant building and its superior service, the Portland Regency Hotel was invited by the National Trust of Historic Preservation to become a distinguished member of the Historic Hotels of America.
Marking the 25th anniversary in 2012, the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa underwent a unique 5-month renovation on the third and fourth floors. Guest room enhancements replaced outdated furnishings with modern features while complementing the elegance of the Armory. On the fourth floor, the skylights were all replaced with outdoor decks, which offer breathtaking views of the city and the harbor.
This photo of Portland Regency Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor