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This Delaware Hotel Is in One of the Mid-Atlantic’s Coolest Cities — Here’s What It’s Like to Stay



While Wilmington, Delaware, might not be at the top of a weekend getaway list, one 24-room hotel makes a first-rate case for considering a trip to the First State.

The Quoin, housed in a stately 1880s brownstone that once served as a repository for gold and silver coins (clever name, right?), occupies a prime spot on a prime street in an often-overlooked mid-Atlantic city. Designed by Method Studios, already veterans of the hotel scene in nearby Philadelphia, the hotel’s distinct spaces — a first-floor coffee lounge, a rooftop bar with city skyline views, and a Simmer Down, a cozy underground bar housed in the building’s original vault, where red brick lines the ceiling and icy-cold martinis come with a twist and an olive — let me and my traveling companion (a native Delawarean, at that) feel like we were experiencing a whole city in just one day.

Matthew Williams/Courtesy of The Quoin


I’ve visited Wilmington before, thanks to family ties, but never like this — the Quoin is the anchor of a whole new vibe for the city, one where you can, within a few blocks, visit an independent bookstore, a 19th-century opera house built by Freemasons, and the Quoin’s own restaurant, where we tucked into a banquette upholstered in olive green velvet for both post-dinner nightcaps and, the following day, a fried green tomato-and-egg sandwich on a perfectly-toasted English muffin.

Matthew Williams/Courtesy of The Quoin


It would be easy to compare the Quoin to boutique hotels in New York or Washington, D.C., but the spaces here forge their own path.

The floral wallpaper takes inspiration from botanical drawings of the 1820s, and the simple wood furniture in the rooms evokes the craftsmanship of the Colonial period, with dramatic arched windows overlooking the neighboring courtyard and, across the street, the Delaware History Museum and Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, making it an ideal spot for a crash-course on all things Delaware.

Our room, with wood floors laid out in a herringbone pattern and a king-sized bed with a rust-colored velvet headboard (there’s a lot of velvet at the Quoin, and it’s all very plush), was airy and bright, with more than enough space for an impromptu pre-dinner fashion show and an oversized dresser where we could store our shopping bounty. Since there’s no sales tax in Delaware, I’d suggest picking up a cool, comfortable branded hoodie or a bottle of Aesop body wash at the hotel’s gift shop. From check-in to check-out, the hotel’s staff felt as excited about the hotel as we were. They went above and beyond to ensure we had a good time and a smooth stay, including offering tips about catching Golden Hour on the roof and, when a parade along Market Street caused street closures, fetching our car from the garage and meeting us at a more convenient spot.

My companion’s marvel was evident as we lifted our glasses in front of the roaring fireplace, casting a glow over Simmer Down, tempted to grab another round before we caught the elevator back to our room. “Things have definitely changed in Wilmington,” he said.

Read on for more of what I loved about the Quoin, a hotel worth its weight in gold or silver.

The Quoin

  • The hotel’s aesthetic strikes a balance between new and old, with a decidedly vintage — but not retro — feeling mixed with contemporary cool, with the lobby home to a framed portrait of Bob Marley and an original fireplace with a shimmering green tile surround. 
  • The rooms are large, with even the smallest clocking in at nearly 300 square feet, and the decor is eclectic without being cluttered and clean without being sterile, with crystal glasses on the bars and locally brewed beers to pour into them. 
  • Wilmington, as a destination, is less trafficked than nearby Philadelphia and Baltimore, and while it has its own personality, if you like the food and beer scenes, immersive history, and quirky shopping of those cities, it’s an ideal spot in which to spend a long weekend. 
  • Bardea Food & Drink, the James Beard award-winning Italian restaurant, along with its sibling spot Bardea Steak, the burger heaven Farmer & The Cow, and the Queen, a live music venue and nightclub, are all less than two blocks away, and the Wilmington riverfront is a 10-minute drive.

The Rooms

Matthew Williams/Courtesy of The Quoin


We stayed in the Deluxe King room, where tall windows faced the street, and wood shutters let us dim the morning sun to catch a little extra sleep. The ditsy floral-print wallpaper, used as an accent along one wall, was rendered in warm shades of red, and the bathroom was the stuff dreams are made of — two separate console sinks, an oversized walk-in shower with excellent water pressure, and Aesop products we were happy to use and happy to take home. Suites offer a little more room to spread out, and some rooms include arched windows, but all the hotel’s rooms get great natural light, and each is big enough to hold separate sleeping and hanging-out areas.

Matthew Williams/Courtesy of The Quoin


Food and Drink

Matthew Williams/Courtesy of The Quoin


The hotel’s own restaurant, also called The Quoin, is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, with an adjoining courtyard open in the warmer months and a menu with a Mediterranean feel. On a busy Saturday night, poached figs and burrata came sailing out of the kitchen, and our server was friendly and attentive to both our two-top and larger parties, including a wedding party, whose desserts looked way better than the standard frosted cake. The rooftop bar, when we ventured up, was always bustling.

The hotel’s biggest gem, in my opinion, is Simmer Down, the subterranean cocktail lounge downstairs. Both original cocktails and classics were expertly made, and I especially loved the espresso martini-esque Gravy Train, made with Jamaican rum, coffee, spiced coconut milk, and Fernet Branca.

Activities and Experiences

Most of the activities at the Quoin involve eating and drinking, but part of the fun of staying here is exploring the surrounding neighborhood, particularly if you’re interested in history, with several historical societies within walking distance and the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, a 15-minute drive away.

Accessibility and Sustainability

The hotel has accessible rooms, and the elevators stop on all floors. The hallways are wide, and the restaurant, lobby, and rooftop bar are also accessible.

Location

The Quoin is in the heart of downtown Wilmington, a short drive or rideshare away from the city’s Amtrak and SEPTA station (where trains regional rail depart regularly for Philadelphia and other major East Coast cities). Spending a weekend in Wilmington without a car is possible, but you’ll want one if you’re interested in venturing down to the Delaware beaches before or after your city stay.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay

The hotel’s offers change periodically but typically include 20 percent savings on stays of three nights or more, minibar credits, a welcome bottle of wine, and more.



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