The Dean Hotel Opening Soon On Fountain Street

The Dean Exciting news in this week’s Phoenix about the soon to open The Dean Hotel on Fountain Street (they seem to be booking in mid-January). This new hipster-y boutique hotel will bring back to life a charming old building that started out as an Episcopal Mission but devolved over the years into a bar, a flophouse, a brothel, and a strip club, and even for a while — the ultimate horror — a Roger Clemens Chicken joint. But now Brooklyn-based designer/developer (and Providence native) Ari Heckman has teamed up with Steel Yard co-founder Clay Rockefeller to turn it all around. Phoenix contributing editor Phil Eil elaborates on the creative talents the duo have brought to bear on the project asking . . . How do you pull this off?

You rent out not one, but two, first-floor spaces to the visionary (and notoriously press-shy) barman and restaurateur, Mike Sears, who will lend his Kubrickian passion for detail and ambiance to a German-style beer hall called Faust and the Magdalenae Room, “an intimate and discreet cocktail lounge reminiscent of the fine hotel bars of Europe.” Upstairs, you equip every guest room with bed frames by RISD grad Nate Nadeau’s fabrication shop, Iron Origami; a concrete elephant bedside table made by another RISD grad, Will Reeves; and wall hangings that will include work by local photographer Stephanie Ewens, who documented the premises before its renovation.

And it will be affordable with rooms starting at $79 for a room that sleeps two guests in a bunk bed. And for what it’s worth, The Dean Facebook page shows a giant vintage disco ball from France going up even as I write. (Were the good ones made in France? Did everybody else know this already?)

So this is all excellent news, but I need to speak for a moment regarding the memories this building holds for certain people. For the police officers and rescue squad crews who decades ago got sent on various calls to the upper floors of the then Civic View Inn — and I speak from personal experience — the sights and aromas have taken years of therapy to suppress.  So while I can’t wait to see the new hotel, I’m not sure I will ever be spending the night.

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