The Merchant is a boutique hotel under the Lark Hotels umbrella that is located in the heart of Salem proper. Originally built as the estate of shipping merchant Joshua Ward, who built his wealth importing molasses for rum, the then popular Sumatran pepper, tea, spices, silks, and curiosities, all from East India and China. The estate was designed and constructed by famed architect Samuel McIntire who is also accredited with McIntire Historic District comprised of 407 homes and buildings along elegant Chestnut Street and throughout downtown that have been historically preserved for their architectural elegance and rarity. The hotel features a stunning bar and drawing room with two fireplaces, filled bookshelves, and tons of color. The ground floor social area is cozy and spacious, and during quieter seasons is the perfect place to spend some time outside of your room with a bottle of wine. There is a communal kitchen with a coffee machine, snacks, and an offering of small breakfasts that are available to guests of the hotel.
Upon entering the King Deluxe room, guests are greeted by a grand fireplace and plenty of room to lay bags down and settle in. The corner room is one flight and a half up from the ground floor where the only neighbor is the peaceful terrace that is located right next door. The King Deluxe room is everything a guest would need for a few nights of exploring, and the most standout features are the heated floors in the bathroom but the shower is very roomy and comes with a rain showerhead. The most famous room in the hotel however is the George Washington King Deluxe room which is famed for being the room where the recently elected first-ever POTUS stayed during his visit to Salem. While this room has a reputation that precedes it, guests have also encountered supernatural activity and claim to have seen spirits both in the room and the hotel’s halls.
Directly outside of The Merchant’s doors, guests can walk to a number of local attractions and restaurants in town such as the Salem Witch Museum which documents much of the history of the city from its founding in the 1600s and details the events that led to the witch trials and the city’s rise as one of the young country’s most booming port towns. It is also a short walk to the Salem Dungeon Museum, a replica of the original dungeons used during the trials which still sits on the original jail’s site. Here the accused and tried victims of the witch trials were held for upwards of one year or more. The museum also performs a reenactment of the trials in order for guests to understand the fear and propaganda that befell the citizens who lived during this dark period. Nearby Essex Street is the perfect place to stroll for souvenirs and explore the old town hall. Essex eventually leads you to Salem Commons where guests can see the high school that was one of the settings of Hocus Pocus and explore more of those famed McIntire homes that surround the whole park.