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“Worst Hotel Experience Ever” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Hawthorne Hotel

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Hawthorne Hotel
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   18 Washington Square West, On Salem Common, Salem, MA 01970   |  
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Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Salem
Certificate of Excellence 2014
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Worst Hotel Experience Ever”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2007

I live nearby and my boyfriend's company had their holiday party here last year. While the reception was decent, the hotel stay was terrible. The room we stayed in was well over 100 degrees when we checked in. We let the front desk know, pushed the off button on the heat and opened the window (in the winter) to cool it down. We left to attend the reception and when we came back the temp was still intolerable. We stripped down and tried to sleep. Sweating, I was calling the desk around 1am asking if it might be broken. They claimed that the heat system was one switch for the entire hotel, so they had to keep it on to heat other rooms. So, basically the thermostat in our room meant nothing. They staff was terribly unhelpful saying "well I can get you a fan but it won't make much difference". We packed up around 245 and went downstairs to ask for a refund because it was impossible to sleep in the room. The person at the front desk said he wasn't allowed to do such a thing and there was no one that he could call. He said a manager would call me the next day, and they never did and I left several messages and never heard back. Finally I went there during the day and asked to speak to a manager and spoke with someone else who was a bit rude and unhelpful and basically just said, "we don't give refunds". Totally infuriating and a colossal waste. Please don't stay here.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — staff, comfort, customer service
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,429 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (368)
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Sunfish Lake, MN
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
80 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2007

Located in a historic building. Nevertheless, better than one would expect for a tourist oriented facility in an old, unrefurbished building. Certainly convenient. The dinning room was excellent. One problem, couldn't check in until 3:30PM. The staff was exceptionally courteous and helpful, again surprising for a touristy place.

  • Liked — Convenience, free, good internet
  • Disliked — Delayed checkin, old building.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deer Park, Texas
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
343 helpful votes 343 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2007

I stayed in this hotel for three nights with two friends on a three day trip to Salem. Its an 80+ yr old hotel. We had the large double queen room with a large sitting area called a Derby Room. The decor looked traditional or like furniture you would find at Ethan Allen. It was a corner room so had lots of windows. There was lots of room for us to spread out except the bathroom. It was very small but the large room made up for it. Room was very clean and well appointed. The beds were comfortable, a/c worked and hot water was there when we all wanted to take showers. We had to call housekeeping for a third set of towels and they knocked on our door within a few minutes with a smile and gave us the towels. Check in was smooth and hassle free. There is no breakfast with your room. There is a restaurant but we did not eat there...expensive. We had drinks and desert in the tavern. It was very nice and cozy to hang out there while it rained for a few hours one late afternoon. The location was great being right in the middle of town across the street from the common (park) that had a 1/2 mile walking/jogging trail around the perimeter with plenty of green grass, trees, benches, pavilion, very pretty. Alot of Salem's attractions and restaurants are within walking distance of this hotel. We did not have a car so cannot comment on the parking situaion but I read they have a small lot but does not accommodate all guest parking needs. We took the #459 bus from Boston Logan Airport terminal straight to Salem Depot. The Depot is only a four block walk to the hotel (7-8 min.). It is quicker and easier than using the subway or commuter train as there are two connections to make on that. Bus ride was about 45 minutes. Cheaper too, only 1.50 each way. Just go up to any information desk in one of the terminals and they will give you a bus schedule, tell you where to catch the bus and how to buy a ticket from a machine in the airport. If you do this make sure you have rolling luggage or a backpack for the walk. We had backpacks since we were there for only three days and was not a problem getting on and off the bus and walking to the hotel. Salem is a great walking town. The historic homes and buildings are beautiful. You'd think the witch trials were the only thing that ever happened around here with all the hype and shops selling witch stuff and cheesy witch museums about the 1692 trial. Salem has a very interesting maritime history as a very busy seaport. Don't spend all of your time in the hokey witch museums (yes I did visit one). I recommend the Peabody-Essex museum, The House of the Seven Gables tour which is actually two homes to tour, and the Salem National Historic Seaport site. Oh and eat at Red's Sandwich Shop. It's open for breakfast and lunch, til 3pm. It's a diner like restaurant in an old historic 17th C. building that was a former coffee house and gathering place for the patriots before and during the Revolutionary War. Food is good, big portions, inexpensive and the wait staff is friendly and smiling . Ask the front desk to point you in the right direction for the 5 minute walk. I read the previous reviews on this hotel and some were not that good. We did not experience any of the problems mentioned by other reviewers on our visit. I would return to stay here again if in the area.

  • Liked — location and room
  • Disliked — tiny bathroom sink
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, CO
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2007

I booked the reservations 5 months in advance and got a great rate with their History of Salem package. We stayed for 2 nights 5/21 and 5/22. Our Emmerton Suite was fantastic! Yes, it's an older hotel, but we love that. Our suite was in a corner of the hotel and we enjoyed great breezes through the windows. Loved the separate living room from the bedroom. Parking was easy and plentiful and FREE. Easy walking to everywhere we wanted to go. Even walked to the train station and took it down to Boston for the day.

Our package included breakfast in Nathaniels at the hotel as well as buy one get one entree for a dinner in the same restaurant. This was probably our biggest disappointment. Service could have been better and food could have been better, but being included in the package I couldn't complain much.

I would like to see the staff be a bit more engaged with their guests - especially since this was shoulder season for them. The front desk especially seemed to answer questions when asked but certainly didn't go out of their way to welcome you.

Overall, we would stay there again if we were in the vicinity and I would recommend to others as well.

Stayed May 2007
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
533 reviews 533 reviews
84 hotel reviews
Reviews in 156 cities Reviews in 156 cities
534 helpful votes 534 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2007

First off, I read every review on here and have to say, I stayed here anyway. I am very glad I did. This is a very charming, older hotel that has a few quirks, but in all is a fine establishment with a very unique personality all its own. Its set directly in the center of this city and is a focal point for many residents to dine at its very good restaurant. I stayed here with my spouse and
we were just site seeing and we checked in very early to this hotel and they were glad to let us check in at this time. We have stayed at many hotels both good and bad and some very fancy and some very run of the mill. This was a homy, nice romantic place to stay. The staff was very nice and they checked us in
promptly. The lobby is very nice and old fashioned. We went to our room which was somewhat small, but we expected this from an older hotel. Depite what I heard, there is individual controls in the room to control the temperature
and we adjusted it accordingly. There is no heat in the bathrooms, but by keeping the door open, it was fine. Its an old hotel, thats what you have to expect in an older hotel. The
bed was comfortable and the hallways were very nicely decorated. We ate at the tavern downstairs for lunch. and it was very good. The service was excellent. We asked the staff for extra pillows and they brought them immediatly. There were
several weddings going on in the large ballrooms in the hotel and they looked very nice!! We ate breakfast the next morning at Nathaniels restaurant downstairs and it was awesome! Very good service and food and coffe. Many regulars were eating as well. The location is prime since its walking distance
to everything. In the end, I would definetly stay here again and would recommend anyone else trying this out. For the price and the charm, its well worth it. The bad reviews I read about this place, did not seem to be accurate. This is a hidden gem and should be looked at as a place to stay in a historical city.

  • Liked — Location, charm
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dickson, TN
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2007

I felt compelled to write a review on behalf of the Hawthorne Hotel! My teenage daughter and I were there in early October and loved everything about it. I am amazed at some of the reviews I have read. The location was great. We loved the history of the hotel itself. The food at Nathaniel's was terrific. Our server was very efficient and personable. Our room was much larger than we expected. I personally loved the fact that I could open the window and look out onto the street. The nights were just cool enough to be enjoyable. The beds were comfortable, even though I must admit that I'm not in the habit of stripping the linens and inspecting the mattresses to see if they are stained, as apparently some reviewers do. Our overall experience was excellent. I truly prefer the character of the older hotel. One naturally sacrifices some of the more mundane conveniences for such an historic experience. I'm certain I could have adjusted the thermostat at the Best Western, but seriously, what kind of trade off would that be? My daughter and I will return. We loved it.!

  • Liked — the historic significance of the hotel
  • Disliked — the placement of the vending machines
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2007

My husband and I stayed here for a wedding in February, and, it really was an extremely unpleasant experience. I understand that this is an historic hotel, but in light of that they really do need to offer the common courtesy to guests of decent customer service, and thermostat settings that offer you more than stifling heat. Our room was pushing 80 degrees when we arrived. The heat could not be adjusted in room, and upon raising the issue with the front desk, I was basically told to open a window. Open a window? It was 10 degrees outside. I don't know about you, but having patch of ice-cold in my room within a sea of sauna-like temperatures does not make a good compromise, I don't care what the script tells someone to say to me. On top of that, I felt like I was causing them a huge incovenience to bring this up. It's really annoying to be treated like a nuisance when you have a valid concern, and the Hawthorne should really re-think what good customer service is about.

We woke up the morning of check out with throats feeling like chalk, covers thrown to the floor, sweaty, and miserable. For $170.00 a night? We won't stay here again, I'd recommend to anyone else to use it only as a last resort - it actually might be better to stay in a tent on the common.

Thanks, Hawthorne.

  • Liked — nothing.
  • Disliked — The Nathaniel's restaurant manager, very professional and approachable. Shame the same can't be said for other staff.
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hawthorne Hotel

Address: 18 Washington Square West, On Salem Common, Salem, MA 01970
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Salem
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Salem
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hawthorne Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 93
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our historic Salem, Massachusetts hotel provides 93 rooms including 6 suites all individually furnished and tastefully appointed; ideal for business and leisure travelers to the Salem area. Our 4-room guest house, the Fidelia Bridges Guest House offers travelers a unique experience in an historic property while enjoying all the amenities of the Hawthorne Hotel. All rooms have flat-panel 32inch high-definition televisions, iPhone/pod/MP3 player docking stations, twice the number of "squishable" pillows, duvets, newly renovated bathrooms with granite sink surrounds. Guests receive complimentary bottled water, complimentary coffee and tea 24-hours per day, complimentary use of the local YMCA with two indoor swimming pools, as well as use of our on-site fitness room. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hawthorne Hotel Salem

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