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New Hampshire Hotel is First to Offer In-Room iPads

Try an iPad Free When You Book a Deluxe Room at Portsmouth's Ale House Inn


iPad Picture

Curious about Apple's new iPad? Wish you could toy around with one for a few hours without provoking the ire of other Apple Store customers? Then, book a deluxe room at Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Ale House Inn.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Updated June 15, 2010
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a city that has, as Boston Globe reporter Christine Murphy puts it, "old charm and a young heart," and no one understands this concept better than Doug Palardy. He and partner Daniel Innis are the proprietors of Portsmouth's Ale House Inn, a hotel housed in what used to be a 130-year-old brewery warehouse downtown. While Palardy and Innis have preserved much of the building's historic character, they have combined it with a modern and unexpected twist: Some of their rooms come equipped with Apple's new iPad as an in-room amenity.

The iPad amenity complements the iPod and iPhone docking systems that are standard equipment in all rooms. By offering the iPad, which is currently available only in deluxe rooms, the Ale House Inn is touching upon a universal curiosity about this new technology—a curiosity that is evident during even the quickest of visits to any Apple Store. According to the owners, the Ale House Inn is the first hotel in North America to offer complimentary in-room iPads to its guests.

The response to the addition has been great, Palardy says. Since iPads go out of stock at an unbelievable pace, he continues, having them as an amenity "gives people the opportunity to play." Also, the Ale House Inn is well-suited to offer an option like the iPad. Since the technology is so new and in demand, Apple only allows iPads to be ordered two at a time, Palardy explains. "The size of the hotel helps," he says.

The Ale House Inn Web site refers to the property as "your downtown alternative to big-boxed, McHotels," and Palardy says this concept has acted as a driving force behind the Ale House Inn since the beginning. "We attract an urban traveler," Palardy says. "They aren't looking for something Victorian or removed. They want the location." It is this philosophy that inspired another twist at the Ale House Inn. "We don't serve food," Palardy explains. "There are four- and five-star restaurants within walking distance. There's no competing, so it's not necessary."

The Ale House Inn's façade and its front steps are made of brick, deep red and imposing. From the outside, the building looks as historic as it is, but inside, things look a bit different. The nautical flavor of coastal New Hampshire is very much in evidence, with sky-blue walls and seafaring décor in the front entryway, and the juxtaposition between this and the brick walls of the former brewery is an interesting one. The rooms are decorated in muted blues and grays with clean, modern lines in the furniture and lighting fixtures. The style is simple and metropolitan, and it's easy to see why an urban traveler would choose the Ale House Inn.

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