At a Glance
This beachfront property feels like staying at a friend’s old-world but timeless beach house.
- The superb restaurant, Topper’s, worth visiting even if you’re not staying at the hotel
- The secluded location and private beach access
- The two clay tennis courts on property and nearby golf course
“An Inn by the Sea” is the simple moniker of this Relais & Châteaux waterfront property, located on Nantucket’s northern sliver of sand, which is framed by the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Bay. There’s something refreshingly uncomplicated about this gray-shingled hotel, where check-in feels like arriving in the serenity and comfort of a sophisticated friend’s beach house. The wonderful reception staff greets repeat guests by name, inquires about the kids and recent graduations, and knows which rooms and cocktails are preferred.
No two of the 32 rooms are alike, save for such details as elevated beds, Pratesi linens, flat-screen TVs and, in most, views of the sea. My favorite featured a sloping ceiling and gorgeous ocean vistas. The common spaces feel homey thanks to such touches as bowls of fruit, and the wraparound porch inspires thoughts of finally starting—and finishing—all those novels that have been piling up on your bedside table.
The hotel is a distance from Nantucket town (about 20 minutes with the complimentary shuttle service), so if you’re visiting for the first time or are an avid shopper, you might consider booking at the White Elephant, the Wauwinet’s sister property. Active outdoorsy types, however, will be happy here, since the concierge can arrange everything from kayaking and sailing excursions to surf lessons. Those who prefer to stay on land love the clay tennis courts, nearby golf courses and pampering spa.
Once I was sitting in a lounge chair on the manicured lawn that spills down to one of the Wauwinet’s private beaches, it was difficult to remember why I wanted to join the crowds in town in the first place. It helps that the island’s top-rated restaurant, Topper’s, is on site. And with the addition of Anchorage House, a freestanding three-bedroom beachside cottage, the Wauwinet is great for larger groups that wish to stay outside of town.
Who Should Stay
Couples looking for a private seaside escape that feels out of a time gone by.
Written by Simone Girner