Porches Inn opens in northern Berkshires

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Porches Inn, a 50-room property contained within six row houses dating from the 1890s, opened in this small city in the Berkshires region of the state of Massachusetts.

Owned and renovated by Berkshire Hills Development, a private firm, the inn is an example of what some see as a cultural renaissance blossoming in the small city, which is located about two hours west of Boston.

The redevelopment of the row houses, which were home to North Adams' mill workers 100 years ago, comes on the heels of an economic resurgence spearheaded in 1999 by the opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

"The museum is the reason for [the property's] inception," said Brooks Bradbury, general manager of the Porches Inn.

In recent years, the North Adams area has become a home to the technology industry and dot-com companies, and those businesses are seen as a major source of potential clientele.

To appeal to that clientele, Porches Inn offers several amenities, such as high-speed Internet access, data ports and cordless speaker phones in all rooms as well as cellular phone and laptop rentals at the front desk.

Porches Inn is an atypical lodging option for this area, as the hospitality industry here consists mostly of motels, bed-and-breakfasts and a Holiday Inn. "There is a shortage of quality guest rooms in the northern Berkshires," said Bradbury.

He added that Porches Inn hopes to blend the best elements of these types of accommodations in an attempt to please the area's diverse clientele.

"We want to offer the amenities of a hotel while retaining the informality and charm of a bed-and-breakfast," he said.

Each of the exteriors of the six row houses are painted a different color.

Two porches, lined with rocking chairs, give the property its name.

A separate building houses a game room and a sauna. Outside are a heated pool and a hot tub, surrounded by a heated stone patio that can be used year-round.

Public areas include a living room with fireplace, a den, a breakfast room and a meeting room that accommodates up to 20 people.

Porches Inn contains 29 guest rooms and 21 suites.

All rooms feature a DVD player and a minibar; a king- or queen-size bed and a private bath with a tub and separate shower. Eight guest rooms have private porches.

Suite accommodations feature a queen-size bed, a separate living room with a sofa bed and a Jacuzzi in the bathroom.

Two-level, two-bedroom suites feature a loft, queen-size beds, two baths with Jacuzzi tubs and a living room with a sofa bed.

All guests receive continental breakfast with optional in-room delivery -- in a galvanized metal lunchbox that recalls the days of the mill workers. Interior decor features oversized table lamps from the 1940s and 1950s.

"First and foremost, we want our guests to feel comfortable and at home," said Bradbury. "Secondly, we want them to leave with a sense of the history that we went to an effort to preserve."

Room rates range from $150 to $260 through Nov. 10 and from $125 to $209 from Nov. 11 to May 23; suite rates are from $225 to $295 and $175 to $239, respectively, and two-room suite rates are $295 to $430 and $235 to $329, respectively.

Rates are commissionable at 10%.

For more information or reservations, call (413) 664-0400; fax (413) 664-0401; e-mail [email protected], or visit the property's Web site at www.porches.com.

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