I recently toured the barely-open Element hotel and it was a treat. I have passed by daily for what seems like an eternity waiting to see what was to become of the never ending construction on the hill. What I found was much more that I expected.
From the moment you park your car, you are aware that this is a hotel with an eco-consciousness. There are signs for commuter vehicles and plug-in charging stations. Each space is clearly marked in their trademark “green” and the outside of the building screams minimalist. But, what you find inside isn’t minimal. I know that many have looked at the building and remarked that its stark and boxy exterior seems unattractive compared to all the New-Englandly charm that is characteristic of this area, but I don’t see it that way. It’s exterior makes it seem more current, more lively and gives it a look that makes it stand out. You know before you enter that this will be a hotel with “the latest” and I was not disappointed.
The hotel is infused with a mild green tea scent that barely greets you when you walk in. It’s not perfume-y or over done. The lobby is wide and bright with plenty of open space with work/eat tables. There is also sunken work space with bar stools and communal plug in receptacles. This lobby will appeal to the internet savvy crowd accustomed to working in in wireless cafes and donning headphones to listen to music while they work. The lobby also houses a market that carries trendy bottled water and juices, freshly made take-out salads, and savory and sweet snacks.
They are even hoping to get grocery deliveries from the neighboring Co-op for those who opt to have a room with cooking facilities. (And, I toured these rooms. They are FULLY stocked with pots, pans, plates, eating utensils- housing everything you would need to enjoy completing a meal there.)
The rooms are bright and simple in design. Much like a very upscale IKEA- form and function married. Neutral colors with a touch of green. Not earthy. Neutral. The bathrooms are roomy and the glass showers even have a large waterfall shower heads. The lights are automatic and the doors are keyless- just waive your fob and the doors unlock. And, most importantly, the rooms are very quiet! No Rte 120 noise.
They also have a indoor pool that uses salt to minimize the application of harsh chemicals. No chlorine smell, no ruined bathing suits. Less chemicals is a good thing.
Breakfast is buffet style served in the lobby each morning. Monday through Thursday its wine and h’orderves in the aftermoon. Help yourself to two glasses. There will be biking paths out back behind the hotel and Mongoose bikes are provided free of charge. Eventually, there will be a pharmacy and a restaurant next door-rumored to have names you will recognize.
I welcome the addition of The Element. There is nothing charming about it, but that will be appealing to those weary of hotels high on charm and quaintness, but low on the realities of working and playing in an connected world. Hanover/ Lebanon needs this kind of resting place. I am glad it’s finally finished!