The Westin Portland Harborview, previously known as The Eastland Park Hotel, opened it's doors in 1927 as the largest hotel in New England. Since the hotel's opening, the property has made a large impact in the surrounding community of Portland over the years. From famous dignitaries to rock 'n roll celebrities, The Westin Portland Harborview has been a favorite location for all who travel to Portland.
Scroll down to experience our hotel's robust history.
The Rines Family Legacy
For more than 130 years, the Rines family made significant contributions to Portland. The Rines Brothers store, Maine’s first department store, redefined the retail district of Portland when it opened on Congress Street in 1883. Every luxurious Portland hotel at the beginning of the 20th century was owned by these industrious brothers. A string of family-owned radio stations, including WCSH Radio, Maine’s first commercial radio station, and two television stations later formed the Maine Broadcasting System, one of the most powerful broadcasting operations in America at the time.
The Eastland Park Hotel
On June 15, 1927, Henry P. Rines unveiled the largest hotel in New England, the 369-room Eastland Hotel, designed by local architect Herbert Rhodes. The project cost $2 million, took one year to complete, and quickly became a city landmark.
The Eastland Park, when it opened in 1927, gained fame as the largest hotel in New England. Aviator Charles Lindbergh stayed in it after returning from the solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Claim to Fame
The Eastland Park, sitting high above the Old Port at the corner of Congress and High, was the grandest accomplishment to date. As The Eastland Park's position as the region’s premier hotel solidified, the Eastland Park went on to host dignitaries and celebrities of every stripe including four sitting presidents.
In 1946, it gained notoriety again when it refused to allow former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to stay with her dog for the night. Over the years, the main ballroom has seen its share of society weddings and cultural events as well as more than a few political icons of both parties.
A New Beginning
In 1960 the hotel was purchased by the Dunfey family, a well-known name in the New England hotel industry. Under the Dunfey family, the hotel annexed the nearby Congress Square Hotel, adding to the original structure what became known as the North Tower. With the expansion, the complex included the original Egyptian Court Restaurant, which served lobster thermidor for $1.50 on opening day, six lunch rooms, several other dining rooms and four lounges. Among them was the Hawaiian Hut, a Polynesian themed restaurant that was all the rage in the mid-60s and the landmark Top of the East which opened in a 15th floor solarium in 1963. The hotel was named The Eastland Park Motor Hotel and it was the center of Portland’s social scene well into the latter part of the 20th Century.
Years later, rocker Ozzy Osbourne received a police escort out of the city after he hosted a raucous party at The Eastland and threw pool furniture off the roof to the street below. The incident gained so much attention that the hotel closed the pool after guests repeatedly mimicked the furniture tossing.
Restoration and Modernization
In the ensuing years, the hotel attempted to stay competitive by affiliating with the Sheraton, Sonesta and Radisson brands before eventually succumbing to the ravages of time and neglect. It was nearly shuttered when Rockbridge and New Castle Hotels & Resorts announced on March 23, 2011 the purchase of the historic Eastland Park Hotel and set about an 18-month, $50 million endeavor to revitalize the landmark. The painstaking restoration effort included modernizing 80-year-old systems, and designing contemporary accommodations while maintaining the hotel’s historic appeal by retaining the original façade and rooftop great sign, as well as pillar cornices in the lobby, the ballroom’s grand staircase, and even the original boilers, now on display for private groups.
In 2014, 87 years after it first opened, The Westin Portland Harborview was officially recognized as a historic hotel when it joined Historic Hotels of America.