Where to Stay in Salem MA? Our Top Pick is the Hawthorne Hotel [Review]

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If you’re wondering where to stay in Salem MA, we’ve got just the place for you.

The Hawthorne Hotel in Downtown Salem offers history, creatures comforts, and an awesome location in Downtown Salem.

It’s a perfect place to overnight or spend several days while you’re exploring this incredible city by the sea.

Continue reading to find out the details about why the Hawthorne tops our choices, below.

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn where to stay in Salem, and why the Hawthorne Hotel is our top pick, including:

hawthorne hotel room key | Enjoy Travel Life

Why The Hawthorne is One of the Best Hotels in Salem

If you’re coming to Salem, Massachusetts, you probably already know there are so many things to see and do – especially during the Halloween season. 

That said, Salem is a wonderful destination year round. I personally love to visit Salem in the summer, after Halloween, and in the spring, too. It’s only about an hour from my hometown.

No matter when you visit, it’s safe to say the hotels in Salem are in high demand. 

So for a fall trip, when you can look forward to beautiful foliage and Halloween happenings, you’ll want to book your hotel as much as a year in advance

October is high-season in Salem and draws quite a crowd.

Rest assured that The Hawthorne Hotel will be among the best places to stay in Salem. 

I stayed at this beautiful, historic hotel when I was invited to explore Salem late last year. My room was super-comfortable and the hotel has an old-school air of elegance about it.

Top it off with being located right in the heart of downtown Salem, and it’s easy to understand why I think the Hawthorne is one of the best hotels for any visitor to Salem.

Plus, when you visit, you’ll have great dining options on site as well as complimentary parking.

Before I share the details of my stay, let’s take a look at the history of the Hawthorne Hotel spanning almost the last 100 years. 

Hawthorne Hotel Salem MA – History

Established in 1925, you’ll find the historic Hawthorne Hotel located in the heart of Salem. At that time, the concept was to create a “modern hotel” for Salem, especially for business travelers.

When the hotel opened with great fanfare (including a parade!) it offered 150 rooms. Since being remodeled, you can choose from 89 well appointed rooms, including 6 suites.

Interestingly, The Hawthorne Hotel is named after Nathaniel Hawthorne. This local author and American novelist penned The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter in the 1850s.

The Hawthorne Hotel is a proud member of the Historic Hotels of America, which celebrates some of the finest historic hotels as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In fact, the hotel was named “2015 Best City Center Historic Hotel Award,” a prestigious title that recognizes The Hawthorne Hotel’s dedication to excellence.

If that’s not enough to convince you that this hotel is worth a visit, consider it’s history of noteworthy guests.

For instance, famous guests of the hotel include Robert de Niro and Jennifer Lawrence. They stayed at The Hawthorne while filming Hollywood blockbuster, Joy. You’ll even notice that parts of the movie are shot in the Grand Ballroom, Mezzanine, and a guest room.

Elizabeth Montgomery of “Betwitched” fame, her husband, and cast also stayed at The Hawthorne when filming television episodes. In fact, this led to the hotel to be known as the “Betwitched Hotel” after the the “The Salem Saga” episode aired.

And in 2001, the hotel was paid a visit by Former President Bill Clinton.

More recently in 2021, The Real Housewives of New York City stayed at The Hawthorne Hotel, too.

To date, over 1 million guests have stayed at “The Hawthorne”!

About the Hotel

hawthorne hotel room view | Enjoy Travel Life

One of the things I loved about The Hawthorne Hotel is its Downtown Salem Hotel Location. You’ll find it 18 Washington Square W, adjacent to the town Common.

My room overlooked this peaceful green with a view of The Salem Witch Museum. [Visit the museum’s brownstone-and-brick Gothic Revival building for insights and historical context about the tragic events of the 1692 Witch Trials.]

Parking in Salem can be tricky, especially during high-season. So, you’ll be happy to know that on-site parking at the hotel is complimentary (first-come, first-served).

The hotel is also near to Salem’s “hop-on, hop-off” Trolley, the MBTA train, and Boston Harbor ferry. You can feel free to leave your car behind in this very walkable city with great transportation options!

Being right in downtown Salem makes it convenient for attending any scheduled events and to explore all that Downtown Salem and the waterfront offers.

The Hawthorne Hotel is within walking distance of:

The Hawthorne Hotel is large enough to be full service, but small enough to provide an intimate experience.

Checking In to The Hawthorne Hotel

where to stay in Salem MA

When you arrive at The Hawthorne Hotel, it makes a great first impression.

The lobby is very elegant, with many comfortable seating arrangements and lovely greenery. It maintains a period vibe with a modern refinement.

Check-in feels a bit like a throwback to yesteryear at the large oak counter. You’ll want to arrive for check in from 4:00 p.m.. In the morning, check out is on the later side, at 11:00 a.m.

To each side of the lobby, you’ll find dining options and the ballroom.

A sweeping staircase ascends to the next level, or you can opt for the vintage elevator with brass ornamentation. (Notice the old-fashioned mail drop beside it!)

My Room Tour at The Hawthorne

My room at the Hawthorne Hotel was on the fourth floor. As I meandered the hall adorned with beautiful brass chandeliers, wainscoting and chair rails, I admired the finish work.

The craftsmanship lends a feeling of sophistication that I find is missing in many hotels these days.

On entry to my room using my digitized key, I was delighted to find it tastefully decorated and efficient.

Like the Standard Deluxe room I stayed in, all the rooms at The Hawthorne Hotel are equipped with all the creature comforts you’ll need. 

Some of my favorite amenities include the windows you can open for fresh air, or cover with blackout curtains

As far as technology conveniences go, you’ll enjoy unlimited, free Wi-Fi, in-room USB outlets, and free local telephone calls.

If you reserve a suite, you’ll also enjoy a mini-fridge and Keurig coffee maker. Otherwise, help yourself to the complimentary coffee and daily newspapers available in the hotel lobby.

Bedroom/Living Space

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hawthorne bathroom tour | Enjoy Travel Life

The main attraction in the room was a generous bed outfitted with premium sheets, comforter, and plenty of Beyond Down® pillows. I learned that the bed is in fact a signature Locally crafted Gardner Mattresses

The decor was elegant without feeling to fussy, dressed in shades of soft gray and white. The result is a wonderfully peaceful respite.

In addition to the writing desk and bureau, a large flat screen TV was unobtrusively suspended across from the bed.

A large closet offered plenty of space to unpack, along with a suitcase holder, iron, and ironing board.

I was delighted to find that my large window not only opened to let in fresh air, but was outfitted with black out curtains. But my favorite thing was that it offered views to the common and the Witch Museum.

While my room did not have a mini-fridge, they are standard in the suites, and also available on request.


The bathroom was compact, yet managed to continue to be elegant.

You’ll have plenty of luxurious towels and toiletries were on hand.

A marble sink and tub/shower completed the room, which also provides a hair dryer.

For Extra Luxury Experience – Room Upgrade

hawthorne hotel signature comfort | Enjoy Travel Life

When you book your room at The Hawthorne Hotel, you’ll have plenty of choices.

Accommodations range from rooms less than 100 square feet, ADA Guest Rooms, to King Suites with a fully appointed sitting area with a sofa, mini fridge, and a dry bar.

While the bathrooms are certainly compact, you can also opt for rooms with 1.5 or 2 bathrooms. For instance, the Deluxe Double Queen provides for separate bathrooms.

And if you’re traveling with a pets, you’ll find pet-friendly rooms on the 6th floor.

For the most expansive space, consider staying at the Fidelia Bridges Guest House. This period guest house is part of The Hawthorne Hotel properties, complete with three guest rooms and a suite with a parlor and small kitchen.

Dining Options at The Hawthorne

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hawthorne hotel salem pub | Enjoy Travel Life

When you stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, you’ll have the added advantage of two on-site dining options.

Nathaniel’s Restaurant

For a fine dining experience, you can enjoy your breakfast or dinner with a 1920s vibe at Nathaniel’s Restaurant.

Start your day with a hearty buffet offering that includes eggs, meat, toast and pastries – or place your order for signature dish, such as the Seafood Benedict served over a delicious golden crab cake. They also offer a generous Saturday Brunch from 8am-1pm.

As you might guess from the grand piano, you can look forward to evening entertainment (and artisan cocktails!) beginning at 6pm in the lounge. The candlelit line-up varies from live piano and acoustic entertainment to ambient music played from a brass gramophone!

Dishes are American Fare from The Tavern’s menu with table side drinks. Choose from a range of seasonal offerings, which include:

  • “Must-try” New England dishes, like “Steve’s” Clam Chowder, “Wicked” Nachos, Fish and Chips, Baked New England Haddock, and the 1925 Burger
  • More Contemporary offerings, like the Grilled Portobello Burger, Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Fig-Prosciutto Flatbread, and the Cocunut-Curry Bowl

No matter what you order, it’s all the better in this delicious setting.

The Tavern

For a more relaxed experience but the same incredible menu, head across the hotel lobby and take a seat at The Tavern. Lunch is served in The Tavern every day from 11 am to 9 pm.

This comfortable space is outfitted with warm, rich wood throughout and an impressive bar.  

Special Offers & Events

When you book your stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, you should also check out whether they have any specials running. The offers change by the season, but to give you an idea, consider the Fire & Ice winter package.

It coincides with Salem’s So Sweet festival, which features ice-sculptures and roaring fire pits.

The package includes:

  • Your choice of overnight accomodations
  • Hot chocolate with Bailey’s Irish Cream, Screwball peanut butter whisky, and whipped cream
  • Oven-baked, sea-salted Artisan pretzels with maple-mustard and warm cheese dip

Adding a special package to your reservation can make your experience at The Hawthorne Hotel that much more memorable!

Halloween Events/Considerations

As I mentioned, Halloween in Salem is a busy time of year. But if you’re planning to visit then, take advantage of some of the incredible goings on at The Hawthorne Hotel.

For instance, sign-up for the Halloween Ball and Halloween Night packages – but do so well in advance. They sell out quickly, and as much as a year in advance.

If you want your choice of where to stay in Salem, book early.

Other Facilities

The Hawthorn Hotel is a great venue for gatherings and events, as well.

In addition to the two dining spaces, the large ballroom is a perfect venue for larger events. Many generations have hosted weddings, anniversary parties, and proms in the impressive Grand Ballroom.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Salem MA

A stay at the Hawthorne Hotel is a truly delightful experience.

It’s comfortable without being pretentious, with all of the luxuries.

This family owned hotel is definitely one of the best places to stay in Salem, Massachusetts!

Check availability and the latest rates here.

Next Steps

For more about visiting Salem and the Boston area, read these articles next: