Where to Stay in Portsmouth, NH: Hotels You’ll Love!

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Where’s the best place to stay in Portsmouth, NH? We’ve got you covered! Portsmouth NH hotels are some of the nicest boutique hotels in the Granite State, and they’re just what you want for a special getaway.

Portsmouth is our favorite city in New Hampshire — and we don’t say that lightly. Portsmouth works well as a day trip, but an even better weekend getaway.

Portsmouth has great shopping, historic sites, museums, and an excellent restaurant scene. It works equally well for a romantic getaway, girls’ getaway, or family trip.

If you’re doing a longer trip through New England, Portsmouth is often a stopover between Boston and the coast of Maine — but we think Portsmouth and the surrounding Seacoast region makes an excellent add-on to the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

New Hampshire is a very casual place, where you can wear hiking boots and flannel shirts almost everywhere, but Portsmouth is arguably the dressiest place in the Granite State. You can put on a dress or suit and go out for cocktails or a show at the Music Hall and not feel like you’re out of place.

A lot of travelers treat Portsmouth like a special destination for that reason. And we certainly think it’s special. And a special destination deserves a special Portsmouth hotel.

This post was most recently updated in May 2023.

An aerial shot of the city of Portsmouth, including a Main Street with brick buildings and a church with a white steeple.
Book a hotel near here and you’ll be in the heart of Portsmouth! Via Shutterstock.

Where to Stay in Portsmouth, NH (Hotels and Best Neighborhoods)

What’s the best area to stay in Portsmouth? Portsmouth is a small city and if you stay close to the center, you can get almost everywhere you want to go by walking.

We recommend staying within a walking distance of Market Square — there’s a lot within a 10-minute walk. It’s the center of downtown Portsmouth and you’ll have easy access to the best Portsmouth restaurants and be close to the sites, shopping, and dining. Many of our favorite Portsmouth NH hotels (including The Sailmaker’s House, Hilton Garden Inn and Ale House Inn) are based here for this reason.

Downtown Portsmouth is overflowing with charm. Candy-colored historic homes, character-filled brick buildings, and murals pop from every corner, but in a very refined, very New Hampshire way. Attractions like Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the USS Albacore Museum add to the past-meets-present vibe.

Portsmouth tends to have very few chains, which adds to its charm. Sure, there’s a Starbucks, but who needs it when you have Cup of Joe or Popovers on the Square right there?

If you choose to stay outside downtown Portsmouth, that’s fine — just know that you’ll need to drive into town. The Hanover Street Parking Garage is close to everything and has decent rates.

Portsmouth's harbor at night, brick. buildings lit up with light, the sky dark blue.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA town skyline on the Piscataqua River, via DepositPhotos.

Choosing the Best Portsmouth NH Hotels

There’s an excellent variety of accommodation in Portsmouth. You have many of the common chains like Hilton and Marriott if you want to work your points, and lots of small, local properties if you want to peruse an independent business.

Whatever kind of hotel you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We’ve chosen our favorite Portsmouth NH hotels by category: best luxury hotel, best mid-range hotel, best boutique hotel, best budget hotel, best hotel for families, as well as a few notable hotels just outside Portsmouth.

An open-air sitting room at the Sailmaker's house filled with natural-colored wood and leather decor.
The Sailmaker’s House brings luxury to Portsmouth. Used with permission from The Sailmaker’s House.

Best Luxury Hotel in Portsmouth NH: The Sailmaker’s House

If you’re looking to splurge on a luxurious suite for the weekend (or longer!), you will love The Sailmaker’s House. This historic property is situated in right in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, making short work of the commute between attractions.

Locals Amanda and Jay McSharry carefully updated the historic property, integrating its original charm with high-end finishes and techy conveniences. The rooms have a tasteful mix of antique and mid-century modern reproduction pieces that are both stylish and remarkably comfortable.

The hotel offers light snacks and beverages in the morning, and they’re more than happy to give you an overview on the local dining scene. Jay, is an owner of multiple dining establishments, including several restaurants and a microbrewery. Amenities include free wi-fi and the convenience of keyless, touchpad locks (which we love!).

The Sailmaker’s House boasts one of our favorite geographic locations in Portsmouth, in a neighborhood of colorful historic homes, just around the corner from Strawbery Banke Museum.

The Sheraton Portsmouth, a big brick building with lots of windows in front of a large green space.
Sheraton Portsmouth Harbor Hotel, via Shutterstock

More Portsmouth NH luxury hotels: If you don’t mind a stay in a “big box” hotel, Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel is an excellent luxury hotel in Portsmouth, boasting a full-service spa for travelers. (If you’re planning a winter trip to Portsmouth, that’s a GREAT way to warm up!)

The Inn Downtown is an apart-hotel that brings you the amenities of home, including kitchenettes and a mix of vintage and modern decor that we love. This is a good option if you want an apartment rather than a hotel.

And the Hotel Portsmouth is a lovely and historic mansion, built in 1835. If you’re looking for a haunted hotel in Portsmouth — this is reported to have a mischievous spirit or two!

Best Boutique Hotel in Portsmouth, NH: Ale House Inn

The Ale House Inn, tucked deep inside Portsmouth’s Market Square district, occupies the historic Portsmouth Brewing Company building. Built in the late 1800s, it seems as though every inch of this boutique hotel’s common spaces is Instagram-worthy. We love the brick walls, soft rugs, and creative fireplaces.

The rooms are much more streamlined, a stark contrast from the texture-filled lobby and lounge areas, but have plenty of quirky beer-related details.

If you are traveling with a family or group, it’s helpful to know that all rooms are designed for two guests, with the exception of two rooms that can accommodate a third. 

As for amenities, you’ll find a lounge area featuring both hot and cold brew coffee available — on tap, of course. Free wi-fi is pulsating throughout, and luxury bath products are provided by clean beauty brand, Lather.

More Boutique Hotels in Portsmouth, NH: A strong contender for those seeking a boutique experience is Martin Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast, which is a much more formal hotel. The Martin Hill Inn Bed & Breakfast does have a more secluded feel with suites available in both the main house and guest house.

Alternatively, our top luxury hotel pick, The Sailmaker’s House, is an amazing, plush option with all the joys of a New England boutique hotel experience.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Portsmouth, NH: Hilton Garden Inn

The Hilton Garden Inn is located only a block from Portsmouth’s harbor, and a stone’s throw from the best shopping and dining in town. This hotel’s convenient location to Market Square will keep you only moments from the action.

The rooms are what you would expect from a good chain hotel: comfortable beds with crisp sheets, clean and well-appointed restrooms, and a neutral color palette with lots of grays and beiges. What makes this location special, however, are the romantic, sweeping views of Portsmouth and the red tugboats watching over the harbor.

You’ll find amenities here that historic hotels simply can’t offer: not one but two indoor swimming pools, fitness facilities, meeting spaces, and in-house dining for when the weather drives you indoors.

As you would expect with more recent construction, Hilton Garden Inn has decent soundproofing, in the event you’re traveling with an active family.

More mid-range hotels in Portsmouth, NH: Although the Residence Inn by Marriott is a bit more expensive, it’s hard to beat its price point for the views of the waterfront. The indoor pool is nice, too.

Another great option is the Port Inn and Suites: Ascend Hotel Collection, a family-operated property with an outdoor heated pool and nice patios. It’s perfectly lovely, but its location near I-95 separates you from the flavor of downtown Portsmouth. If you’re using Portsmouth as a base to explore the Seacoast and southern Maine, this could end up working out better for you.

Best Budget Hotel in Portsmouth, NH: Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portsmouth

If you’re looking to spend most of your time out and about and don’t mind cheap hotels, we recommend staying at Howard Johnson by Wyndham Portsmouth. This is not a walkable option from downtown Portsmouth, but if you’re planning to explore the Seacoast, Southern Maine, or even Water Country (hehe!), it’s a strategic option.

Rooms are clean yet basic, as you’d expect from a budget hotel. White towels. White sheets. Occasional punches of color. Oddly-patterned carpet. Not everyone needs fine art and high-end toiletries, and Howard Johnson fits the bill for those looking for a safe, dependable stay without the bells and whistles.

Howard Johnson does offer a fairly elaborate continental breakfast, which is a huge plus for anyone traveling on a budget. We also appreciate the free wifi and free parking!

Another popular budget option is the Anchorage Inn and Suites — it’s out on the highway and in need of an update, but for the price, it’s decent.

Cheapest budget hotel in Portsmouth, NH: If you just need a place to crash for the night, Motel 6 Portsmouth is as cheap as it gets. Reviews are not the greatest.

Best Hotel for Families in Portsmouth, NH: Hampton Inn and Suites

Traveling with a family in tow presents a unique set of needs, and the predictability of the Hampton Inn & Suites is a welcome alternative for those with little ones. The location is on a quieter street but still a short walk from Market Square, so destinations are still walkable with a stroller or slow-moving toddlers. 

One of the reasons families flock to the Hampton Inn & Suites is the room’s clean finishes and near-indestructibility. Parents with small children can relax knowing the room is largely wash-and-wear in the event of a spill. We also appreciate the soundproofing factor of newer construction that you don’t find in historic buildings.

Hampton Inn & Suites has your back with a free breakfast and free wifi during your stay, and an onsite restaurant for when your kids need to be steps away from their bed following a big meal. Parents and kids alike will love the indoor pool, fitness center, and access to the business center.

Another family hotel option in Portsmouth: Port Inn and Suites may be another decent option, if your family arrived by car, as it is not within walking distance from downtown. Basic amenities, including an outdoor pool, paired with price makes Port Inn and Suites a contender. If you’d rather be a bit outside a city, this is a good option for your family.

A small sitting room at the Water Street Inn with two brown leather chairs, a large matching ottoman, and a brick fireplace.
A relaxing day at the Water St. Inn. Used with permission of the property.

Notable Hotels Near Portsmouth: Water Street Inn

Do you necessarily need to stay right in Portsmouth in order to visit Portsmouth? Not necessarily. There are some notable properties we wanted to mention that are easily accessible from Portsmouth.

Kittery, Maine

The town of Kittery, Maine, is right across the water from Portsmouth. This lovely seaside town is the perfect introduction to Maine — and is home to the Kittery Outlets. (Just keep in mind that Maine has sales tax while New Hampshire does not!)

In Kittery we recommend the Water Street Inn, which is literally across the bridge; you can walk into Portsmouth from there. (Bonus: the novelty of walking into a different state! How often have you done that?) 

The Kittery Inn and Suites is a 1950’s throwback motel set in a peaceful grove of pine trees. While it’s not within walking distance to Portsmouth, the kitschy rooms and cabins offer a peaceful retreat after a long day of sightseeing.

Kittery’s Coachman Inn is perfect for Portsmouth daytrippers. If you plan on splitting your time between Portsmouth and the rocky beaches and lighthouses of Maine, Coachman Inn is located on main thoroughfares that can take you in either direction.

New Castle, New Hampshire

New Castle is a small and beautiful waterside town, technically an island with bridges to the mainland. You don’t come to New Castle for sightseeing as it’s more of a residential town but New Castle’s Great Island Inn features apartment-style lodging, complete with a tiny kitchen. If you are looking to roost with the locals, Great Island Inn could be a great option for an extended stay.

Portsmouth's calm waterfront at sunrise, colorful fishing cottages on shore the water so still it's glassy, a bright yellow and pink sunset illuminating everything.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA townscape at dusk.

Best Place to Stay in Portsmouth Overall

Portsmouth is a fabulous city, and there are plenty of wonderful places to stay.

You can’t go wrong with The Sailmaker’s House, The Inn Downtown, or The Hotel Portsmouth for a local feel. Go for the Sheraton if you want to have the spa access.

Any of these options will have you taking in the sights of Portsmouth in no time! Now go and enjoy your wonderful trip to Portsmouth.


Portsmouth NH Accommodation Map

Still want to see what’s out there? See all Portsmouth NH hotels here.

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Have you been to Portsmouth? Where do you recommend staying?

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