Close to Home… A World Away


The Maine Event

Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort

This new addition to the luxury hotel scene on Maine’s coastline is a little challenging to understand at a glance. Is it a hotel, a country club, a marina or a collection of luxury cottages? The answer is, all of the above. It could be more accurately referred to as “the land that Paul built.” Owner Paul Coulombe would never say that of course, but the facts speak for themselves. He has invested over $100 million in the region including a complete overhaul of the former Rocktide Inn, the revitalization of the nearby golf course including a brand new $50-million clubhouse, and the restoration of Cuckolds Lighthouse just offshore.

Guests can stay in one of the seventy-nine rooms and suites at the hotel now called the Boothbay Oceanside Resort, or rent one of the five charming cottages that are part of the resort. The real reason to visit, though, is the chance to stay on your own private island in an authentic New England lighthouse complete with staff.

Boothbay Harbor is an hour north of Portland, and Lonely Planet has named the region one of the best places to visit in 2018. Resort guests can pop into town by strolling across the historic footbridge or take a ride on the classic trolley the hotel uses to transport guests.

The resort is a five-and-a -half-hour drive from Greenwich on I-95. Or take a quick JetBlue flight (just over an hour) from JFK to Portland, rent a car and it’s about an hour’s drive north. Boothbay increased its dock capacity to welcome larger yachts and provide boat shuttle service.

There is perhaps no other structure that cuts the same mythological figure as the stately lighthouse. Cuckolds was built to guide weary sailors to safety when entering Boothbay Harbor past a pair of treacherous ledges of the same name. But satellite navigation has made the sweeping lights and foghorns of our lighthouses obsolete, and the Coast Guard began selling them off in 2000—making stays like this possible. There are two suites on the island and guests are tended to by a private staff who prepare breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea (a three-course dinner is also available for an additional fee). Your boat and captain are on call to ferry you back and forth to the mainland.

All guests, including lighthouse guests, have membership privileges at the Boothbay Harbor Country Club.

A visit to the Maine coast is naturally all about the water. The ocean is shared by the lobstermen who have come to symbolize the area—and the whales, puffins and seals that tolerate them. The resort offers several boat trip options, but the most fabulous by far is on the Hope, a gorgeous fifty-two-foot Morris yacht. With its white deckhouse and glistening teak deck, she looks classically old-fashioned yet sleek and is considered the Rolls Royce of sailboats. Hop onboard for an evening cocktail cruise for only $50 per person, or splurge and charter her for a private trip for $300 per hour.

Beyond Montauk


You know Gurney’s in Montauk is the go-to spot for the “in” crowd, but did you know the trendy brand opened an outpost in Newport last summer? The owners completely renovated and re-imagined the former Hyatt Regency. They took the property’s best asset, 360-degree water views, and added everything for the ultimate in luxury—oh, and some goats. In addition to the resident goats, Gurney’s is the only hotel in town with an outdoor pool.

Foodies will be pleased to know the iconic Manhanttan eatery Scarpetta is on-property. Book a table along the window for a view of the picturesque Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge and Narragansett Bay.

The hotel offers 257 rooms, but there’s a spot for everyone to grab a cocktail and enjoy the sunset at the Regent Cocktail Club with three-level deck seating clustered around eleven fire pits.

There are a few fabulous ways to arrive at Gurney’s. Hop a helicopter from Manhattan (about 45 minutes), through the hotel’s partnership with Blade, or cruise up in a boat (Gurney’s twenty-two slip marina accommodates vessels up to 125 feet). Of course, you can also drive—about two-and-a-half hours and far less exciting.

Yes, they spent $18 million turning this former nondescript behemoth into a five-star resort, but really, we need to talk more about the goats. The hotel is on a site formerly called Goat Island (makes sense now, right?). Even Oprah would agree that hotel’s mascots William and Cornelius are living their best life. The one-year old pair live in a replica of Newport’s Marble House mansion. (William Vanderbilt once owned Marble House, and Cornelius Vanderbilt built the Breakers.) Not only are they the perfect Instagram foils, but guests can help walk the pair (yes, on a leash). We had fifteen-year-old Lily Bartels do our field research. She says, “The goats are strong and like to head butt for fun. So you have to be careful. They also have a mind of their own and can climb trees and want to eat all the best landscaping, so the goat handler stays close to help with that.”

With the area’s abundant attractions and activities (landmark mansions, museums, vineyards, golf courses, beaches, state parks, shopping and sunset cruises), it could be tempting to spend all your time off- property. But you don’t want to miss the aptly named Seawater Spa. There’s an indoor heated pool and dry eucalyptus sauna. The facials get high marks from our seriously picky spa-goers, and though spa manicures and pedicures can be pricey, the picture windows with water views make the cost worth it. There’s also a Director of Fun on staff who plans activities like weekend yoga, crafts, wine tasting, mixology sessions, movie nights and much more. If you really want to head into town, leave your car and take the hotel shuttle. Or see if you can snag one of the house Porsches; they are on a first-come first-served basis. But be warned that parking in downtown Newport is notoriously tricky, and some lots only give you a few hours.

A Different Hamptons

Baker House 1650

There is visiting the Hamptons, and then there’s belonging in the Hamptons. A visit to Baker House 1650 offers guests the secret code to the latter. Situated behind Main Street’s prestigious hedges, the property’s long history and 200-year-old wisteria vines are the antidote for the flamboyant glitz of the Hamptons.

The property has only seven rooms, two of which are luxury suites in the renovated Baker Carriage House just behind the main home. In the main house, a magnificent Colonial Revival staircase leads to the five guest rooms; each is named to give a hint about the décor: The Huntting Room has a roaring fireplace and rough-hewn beams, while The Gardiner Room is all William Morris wallpaper and fabrics with garden views. There are two outdoor pools and another in the subterranean spa.

The Carriage House was most recently renovated and the favorite of Greenwich vacationers. The two suites are less bed and breakfast and more five-star resort.

Spa (pool, sauna, steam, Jacuzzi) access is complimentary to guests unless it’s privately booked, which can be done for just $75 per hour.

The drive is around two hours depending on traffic, or, of course, there’s always a true Hamptons entrance via helicopter.

The Baker House is one of the oldest continuously occupied structures in the United States and its history is movie-worthy. Built in 1640 by a sea captain, the property served as both a tavern and church simultaneously. In 1911 it underwent a significant renovation in the Elizabethan style.

Unless you are lucky enough to get a weekend invitation to stay with Martha Stewart, there’s perhaps no other way to feel as welcome in the Hamptons. Though there’s no restaurant on-property, a fresh breakfast is served daily with locally sourced produce, gourmet pastries and select egg dishes.

Anyone who has ever attempted a weekend beach getaway in the Hamptons knows that although the beaches are open to all, the parking is not. Locals have parking passes to East Hampton’s Main Beach, named by Forbes as one of America’s most beautiful, and enjoy the privilege of parking steps away from the sand, while everyone else is restricted to arriving by bike or on foot. On weekdays you can pay for a day pass, but only a small number are sold on weekends. Guests of Baker House 1650 are given the coveted East Hampton Beach parking passes as well as chairs, towels and umbrellas to sunbathe like longtime locals.

Family Luxe

Wequassett Resort & Golf Club

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. It’s a great touch in the hotel business to greet every guest by name, often done at tony properties like the Ritz Carlton. Cape Cod has always had a more “pack your own Volvo with a picnic” vibe. But the Wequassett Resort on the water near Chatham welcomes both the station wagon and Range Rover set—always by name. With over two dozen acres of landscaped waterfront property, a pristine beach on- property and a boat shuttle to the nearby section of the National Seashore, the kids will never get bored. And if they do, or Mom and Dad just want a little alone time, the resort provides babysitting services and offers kid-friendly evening events such as “dive-in” movies at the pool, family fun nights and teen game nights.

There are four accommodation styles to welcome families: The Signature Collection with connecting rooms and wraparound water views; the luxurious Round Cove Suite with one-, two- and three-bedroom options; Cape Cod Cottages for families, offering two-, three- and four-bedroom styles complete with patios and porches; and standard villa rooms.

The Wequassett Resort is near the popular town of Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, a four-hour drive up I-95 depending on traffic. But once you arrive, park your car and leave it—the hotel offers a free shuttle service so there’s no need to worry about finding parking on busy summer days.

There are resorts that toss a teddy bear at your child and label themselves “family-friendly,” and then there are those that truly invest in making vacation magic for your kids. In addition to the extensive variety of family-friendly rooms and suites, there is an elaborate kids club with a pirate-themed playground, rock climbing wall, puppet shows and treasure chests. There is a separate kids buffet breakfast served daily—in a pirate ship! The family pool overlooks the aptly named “Pleasant Bay,” and there’s no need to worry that the cannonballs will bother childless guests; there is an adults-only pool. Fireplaces and Adirondack chairs are scattered around the property for ghost-story telling and s’more making. In season there are daily seal-watching excursions; the Chatham Harbor is home to one of the largest populations of gray and harbor seals in North America.

Cape Cod is one of the largest barrier islands in the world, but enjoying a piece of truly pristine and secluded beach is not easy. The resort runs shuttle boats to the deserted Outer Beach, part of the magnificent Cape Cod National Seashore fronting the Atlantic Ocean. With a cluster of long-abandoned beach shacks in the distance, seagulls overhead and with no one to fight for beach space, this is quintessential New England at its best.

Staying In-State

Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa

The Saybrook Point Inn, Marina & Spa sits on a marina at that magical point where the Connecticut River spills into the salty Long Island Sound. This means that from most guest rooms, as well as the pool, restaurant and bars, there are picturesque views of all manner of boats, from tugs to yachts. (And speaking of yachts, as we often are, the marina can handle vessels up to 200 feet long.) The Inn offers four accommodation styles: the hotel on the marina, the quaint guest houses across the street called Three Stories and Tall Tales, a lighthouse suite and fully stocked vacation homes.

Old Saybrook is just about a one-hour drive from Greenwich.

Though the hotel is in one of the oldest towns in Connecticut (Old Saybrook was Yale’s original home), it’s all twenty-first-century eco-conscious. The marina’s two saltwater pools (one indoors and one out) are heated by excess energy and heat produced by the hotel. Saybrook Point was the first Green Lodging Certified Hotel in Connecticut and is a member of the Green Spa Network. The hotel also prides itself on its Farm to Chef Rated Program, as well as receiving the first Clean Marina Award in Connecticut.

Sanno Spa is worthy of a trip to the resort no matter the season. The spa (whose name is a nod to the Latin word for health) has a modern yet cozy vibe; the relaxation room features a fireplace, and fleece blankets are draped over every chair. There are eleven service rooms in addition to Swiss showers and access to both saltwater pools.

We suggest tucking in for a “Kate” Rose Wrap treatment. The body treatment is in honor of the town’s famous neighbor Katherine Hepburn and her love of roses. It includes warm European Rose Clay Mud, a head and face massage, a refreshing shower and then more rose-scented creams. Post-treatment, wander out the French doors to relax in the charming gardens. All flowers are perennials and chosen to attract a kaleidoscope of butterflies. Birdhouses and feeders dot the trees, drawing feathered friends who act as a natural mosquito control.



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