The 7 Most Charming Hotels on Nantucket
One of America's most beloved summer colonies, the island of Nantucket is the very example of what coastal New England is all about—cobbled streets lined with clapboard cottages, lawns aglow with blooming hydrangeas, tiny seaports brimming with sailboats, and sandy dunes bordering picture-perfect beaches. Below, seven gorgeous hotels to base yourself before exploring it all.
The adults-only Wauwinet harkens back to 1800s New England: period architecture, tasteful chinz fabrics, and antiques are everywhere. Nine miles from downtown, the property is blissfully quiet—especially in low season. The only real buzz centers around Topper’s restaurant, which draws a steady crowd during brunch for its impeccable seafood, award-winning wine list, and Nantucket Bay views. What we love best, though, is the attention to detail. Guest rooms are freshened up with wildflowers every day and a friendly staff is at the ready to organize outings like lobstering aboard Wauwinet Lady or tours in the property’s vintage Chevy Fleetmaster.
This 1850s Greek Revival mansion turned 20-room inn in the historic district is the epitome of Nantucket-chic, thanks to a nautical-inspired revamp by designer firm Roman & Williams. Even more impressive is the standout restaurant, whose seafood-centric menu is overseen by Marcus Gleadow-Ware, the chef behind Manhattan’s Michelin-starred Aureole. More details we love: the roaming aperitif cart on select nights and the gorgeous guest rooms, done up with oil paintings, iron-wrought bed frames, and the hotel’s signature scent (inspired by the island’s native flora).
Jared Coffin House
Despite modern-day upgrades like WiFi, we have a feeling Nantucket whaling captain Jared Coffin would still feel right at home in his mansion-turned-guesthouse, whose 19th-century rooms retain their period charm with patterned wallpaper, wooden floorboards, and walls lined with historic portraits. Rise early for morning coffee and pastries in the library, and return early for dinner—steak, perhaps, or a selection from the raw bar—at Nantucket Prime, one of downtown’s best restaurants.
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White Elephant Hotel
It’s hard to beat the waterfront perch of the White Elephant Hotel, whose iconic 1920s façade looks out over a manicured lawn and the bobbing boats docked in the marina. Guest rooms—split between the main hotel and nearby cottages—are airy and bright, with coastal décor and private decks or fireplaces that make chilling out at “home” that much more appealing. When socializing (or just some good old-fashioned people watching) is in order, head down to the patio at Brant Point Grill, where you can enjoy lobster and oysters along with stellar sunset views.
Like many Nantucket hotels, 76 Main occupies the former home of a ship captain—but don’t expect any typical nautical vibes here. Instead, the look is preppy and bold, with lots of bright greens and blues among its 20 rooms’ cushioned headboards and patterned accent walls. The common room is lined with books both classic and contemporary—a great place to pick up your afternoon read before time by the fire pit in the courtyard. Although you’ll have to BYOB during its alfresco bar’s happy hour (it only provides mixers), the continental breakfast of pastries and scones is included and delicious.
One of Nantucket’s newest hotels is also one of its best. Behind its typical-for-Nantucket shingled façade, the 17-room inn manages to feel neither too chic or too expected (you’ll find few whale references here) but stylish and timeless, done up with local artwork, midcentury furniture, and Matouk linens. Off the lobby is Petrichor Wine Bar, as well as the Vault, a go-to for jewels and advice from one of the world’s leading gemologists. Aside from continental breakfast, there’s no restaurant on-site, but you’re just steps away from some of the island’s best places to dine, gallery-hop, and shop.
21 Broad Hotel
“Cheerful” just about sums up the 21 Broad Hotel, a preppy Victorian-style boutique, which, like its sister hotel 76 Main, adds a dose of modernity to its white-on-white interiors with vibrant pops of yellow and green. Elsewhere, seagrass rugs and weathered oak lend a beachy vibe. After time on the sand, detox your sun-zapped skin with a turn in the steam room—or simply take advantage of your room’s Vitamin C shower. At night, the dining room turns into a social scene complete with a vinyl turntable and games, and there’s a mixer bar in case you have alcohol you want to make drinks with. If the weather is especially nice, take it out to the back patio, where chairs are arranged around a glassed-in fire pit.
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