Discover Coastal Charm: Where to Stay in Portland Maine

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View of Old Port in Portland Maine, one of the best places to stay
A view of Portland’s Old Port. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Choosing where to stay in Portland, Maine, depends on what you’re planning to do during your stay. If, like me, you’re interested in the city’s great restaurants, check out the hotels in Old Port and do an epic food crawl.

Traveling to Portland on a family vacay? My son and I got a kick out of the “world away” vibe at the Inn at Diamond Cove. Located on a Casco Bay island, it’s reached by ferry or water taxi from downtown Portland.

Couples traveling to Portland looking for a romantic retreat that’s cozy and quiet at the end of a long day might want to stay in Portland’s residential West End.

Here’s our guide to where to stay in Portland, Maine, by neighborhood.

Old Port Hotels

The Old Port neighborhood in Portland is a vibrant and historic district known for its bustling waterfront. With cobblestone streets, charming brick buildings and a world-class restaurant scene, Old Port is considered by many to be one of the best areas of Portland Maine. Explore unique boutiques, art galleries and enjoy fresh off the boat seafood and book a stay at one of the city’s best hotels.

King guest room at the Portland Harbor Hotel, one of the best places to stay in the Old Port neighborhood of Portland Maine
Guest rooms at the Portland Harbor Hotel feel like home. Photo credit: Colwen Hotels

Portland Harbor Hotel

468 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101

You can’t help but notice the distinctive red brick facade of the Portland Harbor Hotel. Featuring 101 guest rooms in a variety of configurations including deluxe rooms, garden view rooms, junior and executive suites.

The hotel has an on-site restaurant, the Harbor Bistro, with a terrace you can enjoy on warm summer nights. Pets are welcome; a $100 per night fee applies.

Featured amenities of the Portland Harbor Hotel:

  • Complimentary wifi
  • Fitness center
  • Room service
  • Event spaces for meetings and weddings
  • Outdoor patio with fire pits
  • Complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby
  • Valet parking – daily fee applies
Day bed in guest room of Cambria Downtown, one of the best places to stay in the Old Port neighborhood in Portland Maine
A guest room day bed at the Cambria is perfect for a few chapters and a glass of wine. Photo credit: Colwen Hotels

Cambria Downtown Portland

25 Hancock St.
Portland, ME, 04101 

Want a new hotel while exploring Old Port? The Cambria Downtown Portland opened in 2022 next to Shipyard Brewing, one of the city’s great breweries. It has 102 guest rooms and a unique 4th floor lobby and dining patio for great city views.

As a participating Choice Hotels lifestyle brand, you can earn or use Choice Privileges Rewards points.

Featured amenities at the Cambria Downtown Portland:

  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Design-forward accommodations
  • Free wifi in the tech-friendly guest rooms
  • Spa-inspired bathrooms
  • Valet parking – daily fee applies

East End Hotels

Also referred to as Munjoy Hill, the East End neighborhood is another of Portland’s residential neighborhoods with an oceanfront promenade for strolling.

Be sure to include a visit to the Portland Observatory. The 86-foot-high former communications tower offers the best views of Portland.

Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

20 Milk St.
Portland, ME 04101

This historic boutique hotel seamlessly combines old-world charm with modern amenities. It’s located on the eastern fringe of Old Port, perfect for exploring the East End.

The Portland Regency Hotel & Spa features elegantly designed rooms, a full-service spa and an award-winning restaurant.

Featured amenities at the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa

  • 95 luxurious rooms and suites
  • Deluxe bedding and plush bathrobes
  • Luxurious marble bathrooms
  • Full service spa

Arts District Hotels

Portland’s Arts District serves as the city center for artistic expression and creativity. If you stay in the Arts District, you’ll find numerous art galleries, theaters and performance venues including the Portland Museum of Art and the Merrill Auditorium within walking distance. The monthly First Friday Art Walk, sponsored by Creative Portland, draws thousands of visitors to the district.

Vintage typewriter in the lobby of the Press Hotel, one of the best places to stay in the Old Port neighborhood in Portland Maine
Typing skills a bit rusty? Practice on a vintage typewriter in the lobby of Portland’s Press Hotel. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

The Press Hotel

119 Exchange St.
Portland, ME 04101

This Marriott Autograph Collection is THE place to earn or use your Bonvoy points. Once the home of Portland’s daily newspaper, The Press Hotel is decorated with vintage typewriters. Even if you’re not staying here, pop in for a look at the hotel’s art gallery.

The design of the 110 guest rooms was inspired by 1920s writers’ offices. They’re crisp, tailored and chic with luxe Frette bed linens. The Press Hotel has two onsite dining options: Union is a full-service restaurant and Inkwell offers morning coffee or evening cocktails.

Featured amenities at The Press Hotel

  • Complimentary wifi
  • Fitness center
  • Room service
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • In-room spa services available
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Unique newspaper-themed decor

Holiday Inn by the Bay

88 Spring St.
Portland ME 04101 

IHG One Rewards members can earn or use points at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, a 239-room property in Maine’s Arts District. Choose a room on one of the hotel’s upper floors for sweeping views of Casco Bay.

Note: The Holiday Inn by the Bay is currently undergoing a complete multi-million dollar property modernization. Expect construction between the hours of 9:30 am – 7 pm.

Featured amenities at the Holiday Inn by the Bay

  • EV charging stations
  • Large indoor pool, sauna and 24/7 fitness center
  • On-site Port of Call restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Complimentary electric bikes in summer
  • Complimentary shuttle service
  • Free wifi, in-room mini fridge, desk and flat screen tv

West End Hotels

The West End is a primarily residential neighborhood with tree-lined streets and beautifully maintained 19th-century Victorian homes. You’ll want to check out the Western Promenade, an 18-acre public park with an oceanfront walking trail. It’s particularly lovely at sunset.

Want to stay in the quiet West End? It’s a good place to look for AirBnb or VRBO rentals. The Westin Portland Harborview straddles Old Port and the West End. Or pick a charming bed and breakfast.

Westin Portland Harborview

157 High S.
Portland ME 04101

Historic elegance meets modern sophistication at the Westin Portland Harborview. This Marriott Bonvoy member property occupies the former home of the Eastland Park Hotel which opened in 1927.

If you’re looking to unwind during your Portland vacay, the Westin has an onsite spa.

Featured amenities at the Westin Portland Harborview

  • 289-room Marriott Bonvoy historic hotel
  • Adeline Wellness Spa, Westin WORKOUT Fitness Studio, indoor pool
  • Top of the East and Congress Squared restaurants
  • Westin Heavenly Beds
Sophisticated guest room at the Blind Tiger guest house, one of Portland Maine's best places to stay
You might have a hard time getting me to check out of this cozy guest room. Photo credit: Lark Hotels

Blind Tiger Guest House

163 Danforth St.
Portland, ME 04102

The Blind Tiger complex includes two guest houses in Portland’s West End neighborhood for a charming and intimate accommodation option. There are 15 rooms, some with fireplaces, between the two properties. Each is uniquely decorated to resemble your wealthiest friend’s guest room.

In each house, there are cozy public spaces for relaxing too. A complimentary artisanal toast and yogurt bar is available for guests in the morning and there’s a pantry with locally sourced snacks and beverages open throughout the day.

Featured amenities at the Blind Tiger Guest House

  • Limited off-street parking
  • Free high-speed wifi
  • Picnic blankets and baskets to borrow
  • Bath amenities from Lather and waffle kimono robes

South Portland Hotels

Don’t overlook South Portland when considering where to stay. You’ll lose the walkability downtown Portland offers. But that’s offset by other attractions. Explore Willard Beach, a picturesque sandy beach known for its stunning views of the Atlantic. History buffs can explore the Maine Military Museum with its impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits detailing the state’s military history. And shopaholics can indulge in retail therapy at The Maine Mall, the second-largest shopping center in New England.

And, best of all, your stay in South Portland will cost much less than a stay downtown. Nightly rates at the hotels in Old Port continue to climb as the city’s popularity as a destination grows. Last year while planning a birthday trip with my girlfriends, we were floored by mid-week prices at $500 per night for downtown hotels!

Clustered between the PDX Portland International Airport and The Maine Mall you’ll find many of America’s most well-known chain hotels with expected amenities, including:

  • Fairfield Inn
  • Hampton Inn
  • Home2Suites by Hilton
  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Embassy Suites
  • Hilton Garden Inn

Because they’re proximate to the airport, many of these chain hotels offer a complimentary airport shuttle, if you’re arriving by plane.

Places to Stay Near Portland, Maine

There are a number of great places to stay near Portland, Maine where you’re still close to the city’s restaurants, shops and attractions. They’re appealing for many reasons. Some are budget-friendly while others are in great natural settings to add another dimension to your vacation.

pool with deck chairs in front of exterior of inn at diamond cove portland maine
Spend the day in Portland then head back for a dip in the pool at the Inn on Diamond Cove. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Inn at Diamond Cove

22 McKinley Court
Portland, ME 04109

This hotel has a Portland address, but it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And it’s one of my favorite places to stay while visiting Portland, Maine. Just getting there is an adventure. You’ll need to book a water taxi or hop on one of the Casco Bay ferries. The hotel occupies a campus of restored brick military buildings.

The rooms are huge and comfy. The outdoor pool is ideal for a dip on a warm summer day. And the island is fun to explore on foot or by bike. Plus there’s an amazing destination restaurant – Diamond’s Edge – at the marina. Mainlanders ferry over for dinner. It’s that good. All of the details can be found in my Inn at Diamond Cove review.

Featured amenities of the Inn at Diamond Cove

  • 44 deluxe guest rooms and suites
  • Outdoor pool with snack bar
  • Bicycle rentals
  • Rec building with basketball courts, duckpin bowling, ping pong

Inn by the Sea

40 Bowery Beach Road
Cape Elizabeth ME 04107

Although you’re minutes from downtown Portland, you’ll feel a world away at the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, home to the iconic 18th-century Portland Head Lighthouse.

This luxury beachfront resort is family- and pet-friendly. If you want a truly special summer experience at the Inn by the Sea, make reservations for one of the seven scheduled clambakes. You’ll have all the fun with none of the mess!

Featured amenities at the Inn by the Sea

  • 62 guest rooms and one- and two-bedroom suites
  • Miles of sandy Atlantic beach
  • On-site full-service spa
  • Destination dining at the inn’s Sea Glass restaurant
Retro camping trailer at Walnut Grove Spacious Skies Campground near Portland Maine
Why not try trailer camping? It’s a fun option near Portland, Maine. Photo credit: Walnut Grove Spacious Skies Campground

Spacious Skies Walnut Grove Campground

599 Gore Road
Alfred ME 04002

If your Maine adventure includes Portland and other Southern Maine destinations like Kennebunkport and Old Orchard Beach, you might want to stay outside of the city. The Spacious Skies Walnut Grove Campground has RV sites, cabin and retro camper rentals, plus a ton of campsite amenities about 40 minutes from downtown.

  • 93 RV sites, 3 cabins, 2 retro campers
  • Heated outdoor pool
  • Playground, jumping pillow and gem mining for the kids
  • Camp store

Because Portland is a small, walkable city, you can’t go wrong no matter where you choose to stay. It’s an iconic Maine destination as a standalone weekend getaway or part of a longer New England road trip. The vibrant port city retains its historic charm with cobblestone streets and gorgeous Victorian homes and many fun things to do.

It’s no dusty relic. Portland’s one of the top culinary destinations in the US where even the dive bars serve meals you’ll remember for years to come. And there’s a thriving arts scene with galleries, studios, performance venues and a very popular First Friday Arts Walk.

Cathy Bennett Kopf serves as the Daily Editor of SheBuysTravel, reporting to Editor-in-Chief Cindy Richards. She began travel writing after serving as the unofficial (and unpaid) vacation coordinator for hundreds of family and friend trips. She launched her blog, The Open Suitcase, in 2012 and joined the SBT (formerly TravelingMom) team in 2016. A lifelong resident of New York, Cathy currently resides in the scenic Hudson River Valley. She’s a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the International Travel Writers Alliance and TravMedia.
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