New Canopy by Hilton Portand captures the essence of Maine

Staying in a hotel and eating at a restaurant is a thrilling experience these days. This is especially true when you have twin teenage daughters. Although I was unsure if they would enjoy a Maine staycation, they decided to try the Canopy by Hilton Portland. The fact that guests have priority seating at Luna (the hotel's new rooftop restaurant with a harbor view) was a definite plus.Portland's Commercial Street is known for its historic brick buildings, cobble streets and famous restaurants. This July saw a surge in hotel construction, with the Canopy opening this July. After visiting the original Canopy in Iceland in 2016, I was interested to see how Hilton's latest boutique lifestyle brand, which is the first in New England in 2016, would reflect the culture and experience of the area.City View Guestroom with Canopy by Hilton's signature Canopy Bed. The hotel's bed linens are all by Cuddledown and the throw is made by Evangeline. Photo credit: Fathom CompaniesWe were delighted. My daughters and a friend were on a ferry to visit a nearby island. They walked from the dock towards the hotel, where I was attending a Zoom work meeting. The room design was a big hit with the guests. The room design was praised by the teens for its blonde wood floors, signature Canopy beds with Cuddledown bedding and Evangeline spreads, and sliding barn doors that provide privacy to the large washroom. The teens used the 24-hour gym down the hall to exercise and lift weights while I was finishing up my workday. Then, we dressed up early for dinner and went to Ealain Studios in Portland to see the hotel decor.The 135-room hotel's first floor features a welcoming lobby featuring a beautiful moss-lined installation by Matt Hutton, a Maine College of Art professor and local designer. There's also 3,000 square feet of event space and a glass-walled library that can hold large conferences. The Salt Yard Cafe + bar, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, overlooks bustling Commercial Street.Erin Hutton Projects curates works by Portland artists. These include custom Jenny McGee Dougherty prints in conference rooms, nautical photography by Nicole Wolf, and an ash wood wall installation by Karina Stahle in Salt Yard. Bookshelves are filled by Maine authors. Staff uniforms feature pieces from L.L.Bean, Roxi Sugar (the iconic AngelRox/Sugar clothes designer), and a space in the historic E. Swasey Pottery.Our status as hotel guests ensured us a table at the Luna Rooftop Bar. It's been open for a while, and has seen long lines for tourists and locals alike. The stylish indoor and outdoor areas offer views of Portland's waterfront, cozy tables and sofas, small plates and raw bar items, and cocktails with astronomically themed names such as Andromeda or Persephone. The teens loved the innovative corn dogs and cheese dips, while I enjoyed Maine oysters and peanut butter hummus as dessert. We then set off to explore Portland on our complimentary orange cruiser bikes, which were parked right outside the hotel's entrance.The lobby and reception area feature a moss-lined installation by Matt Hutton and Plantwerks, both based in Portland. Photo credit: Fathom CompaniesSalt Yard Cafe + bar served breakfast, which included a variety of pastries, croissants, fruit bowls, and a delicious sweet potato and vegetable hash. Although we would have liked to stay for lunch, we couldn't resist trying Portland's many restaurants, such as Gelato Fiasco ice cream and Mami Japanese street food. We all agreed that we would love to visit Salt Yard and Luna again as locals very soon.The nightly rate at the Canopy By Hilton starts at $399. This includes Hilton Honors discounts and benefits. See for details.