Many of today’s brand hotels are homogenized, so whatever the city, you know you will see the same ho-hum décor time and time again. While I am not going to dismiss the benefits of these types of interiors, I will say there is nothing that can replace the feeling of staying at an all-encompassing hotel property where everything down to the smallest detail, from modern conveniences to the finest décor, has been executed with care—each room is unique, and all offer the creature comforts of home.
All of the properties under the umbrella of Lark Hotels are one of a kind and truly stunning in their own right, and here on the North Shore of Boston we are lucky to have access to several hotels styled by Lark’s director of design, Rachel Reider. Reider’s gift for bringing sophisticated style and charm to each space she touches is one of the main reasons a stay at a Lark property is so memorable. One of Lark’s founding principles is to elevate the travel experience for guests; they want guests to be assured they will receive high-quality service while also including unexpected touches that bring a stay to the next level. While Reider’s talents speak for themselves, she is quick to point out that she works closely with the entire Lark team, including chief inspiration officer Dawn Hagin, who is in charge of conceptualizing the brand and identity for each Lark property.
In Newbury, there is Blue – Inn on the Beach on Plum Island, and while the designscape features rich shades of blue (and spectacular oceanfront views) nothing about this property is run-of-the-mill. Reider says her designs are very much inspired by location, and it’s not hard to guess what her biggest inspiration was—the entire property is steps from the ocean.
“Location is really at the heart of it,” says Reider, who approaches each property with the goal of seeing what unique “niche we can create for our guests.” At Blue, guests are treated to sweeping waterfront views and furnishings that bring the outside in. From rooms to cottages and suites, each space is part of a “unifying palette while having its own identity,” says Reider.
One of the group’s signatures at each of their properties is a Lark Suite, where guests can count on the ultimate Lark experience. At Blue, the Lark suite features grand-scale wraparound windows that make it almost impossible to do anything but stare at the ocean (even though this suite, like all of their accommodations, comes equipped with smart TVs, iPads, and Tivoli radio).
Situated in the heart of downtown Salem’s Historic District, The Merchant is a property that draws its inspiration from its original owner, a wealthy sea merchant, and the area’s history as a bustling shipping port. Here, Reider infused the design with rich tones and textures that lend a luxurious feel. While the property is impressive enough on its own, it also has a special claim to fame because George Washington (yes, that George Washington) stayed overnight during his visit to Salem in 1789, soon after he was elected president. Guest rooms have retained much of their woodwork and original details, something that guests are sure to appreciate.
Scheduled to open in late summer, The Hotel Salem is located in a space that once housed high-end department store Newmark’s. The property offers guests a refreshing, mid-century modern–inspired design and retro touches. This hotel features miniature king rooms that are “perfect for the single traveler” and boasts functional design choices that save on space, says Reider. Guests will certainly note the design elements throughout this property, including vintage cameras, photographs of department store interiors, and 16-foot ceilings and windows that are original to the structure.
Reider says it is her job to stay ahead of design trends, and while this is something she makes look easy, it’s not. Texture is something she turns to time and time again to help define a space, and whether she is working with “plexiglass, metals and metallics, or grasscloth,” it’s all about being able to successfully layer elements together for a cohesive feel.
While her work with Lark keeps her busy, Reider also offers residential design services under her company, Rachel Reider Interiors, and her experience designing spaces for families with small children is something she has carried over to hotel design. Not surprisingly, durable materials that can stand up to both children and a rotation of hotel guests are high on Reider’s list of favorites. Fabrics that work both indoors and outdoors and other must-haves for homes with children, such as materials with built-in stain repellent, make sense whether the guest is age five or 55.
With unmatched properties in so many beautiful locations, including Kennebunkport, Nantucket, Newport, and more, it’s no wonder the Lark brand continues to expand—which means Reider will have a place to bring her impeccable designs to life for years to come.