SALEM, MA—The Merchant, a Lark Hotels property located here, will open its doors on Nov. 25 with 11 guestrooms and suites.
The Merchant will be the first boutique hotel in this historic harborside town and brings the total number of Lark Hotels to 13, with an additional five coming in 2016.
Best known for the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, Salem today is one of New England’s most popular destinations for those seeking a ghostly experience. However, only true history buffs will know that newly elected President George Washington visited the town on Oct. 29, 1789, on his inaugural tour—226 years ago today. During his stay, Washington spent the evening at what is now The Merchant, and hotel guests can rest their heads in the very same room, aptly named The George Washington Room.
Designed by Boston-based Rachel Reider Interiors, guest accommodations and social spaces fuse an elegantly modern vibe with the ornate details of the 18th century structure, according to Lark Hotels. Shades of red, emerald green and deep purple are paired with original woodwork, floating staircases, and highly textural fabrics and furnishings. Asian-inspired custom artwork evokes Salem’s role as a vital trade port in Washington’s time, serving as a hub for molasses used for rum, Sumatran pepper, tea, and spices.
The Merchant was originally a private home owned by Joshua Ward, a sea merchant and privateer who commissioned 18th century architect Samuel McIntire to build the federal-style building on Washington St. Between Ward’s ownership and its reincarnation as a boutique hotel, the property has been a tavern, an office building and even a rare bookshop.