Nantucket has outstanding accommodations of all types. Ask someone about their trip to the island, and the first thing they'll tell you is how much they loved where they stayed. With nearly 1,400 rooms to choose from, you can stay in a single cottage on the inner harbor or in a small guesthouse nestled amongst rose gardens. Or perhaps you'd rather be centrally located in one of the many fine bed and breakfasts or inns situated in the center of town.
Nantucket has no private campgrounds, and public camping is also prohibited. The closest you'll get to camping is the hostel, which offers dormitory-style accommodations.
Most places have lower rates in the off-season, which is a nice time to visit, anyway. Many of the smaller inns do not allow children, while some allow children older than a certain age. One innkeeper hedged, "It depends on the child." Families with children might be better off renting a cottage or staying at a larger resort that accommodates children.
It is always wise to inquire about the specific policies of any facility concerning, children, pets, cancellations and refunds. Most places accept major credit cards; we tell you of those that do not.
Our price code is based on the average cost of a night's stay in a double-occupancy room during peak season, minus tax and special charges. (State and local taxes add up to about 10 percent of the bill.) Since this is an average, rooms may be had in some places for more or less than what's reflected in our code.
$ - Less than $75
$$ - $75 to $110
$$$ - $110 to $175
$$$$ - $175 and more
If you're planning a vacation on Nantucket, reserve your accommodations well in advance--many places are booked months ahead of time. One innkeeper we talked to said summer guests often reserve rooms before they leave for the October Cranberry Festival and the Christmas Stroll (see our Annual Events section of this chapter), and then reserve their summer vacation slot while here for the holidays.
However, people's plans do change, and cancellations can easily create the opportunity for you to get a room in a first-rate inn without reserving far in advance. That's where reservation services come in especially handy. Here are a few resources to try.
Accommodations Et. Al.
11 India St.
(508) 228-0600, (800) 673-4559
This year-round reservation service represents a group of historic inns, bed and breakfasts, and cottages distinguished by fireplaces, harbor views, and antique furnishings.
4 Dennis Dr.
This well-established year-round reservation service represents about 95 percent of the licensed accommodations on the island, including hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, rental homes, and cottages. They will book rooms for you (their fee is $15). They also have private house rental listings and cottages (their fee for booking a private house or cottage is $50).
Nantucket Chamber of Commerce
48 Main St.
Call or write for an extensive brochure that covers everything you could want in the way of accommodations. The office is open year-round. A $5 charge covers mailing expenses.
The Nantucket Concierge
P.O. Box 1257
Nantucket, MA 02554
You name it, Carolyn Hills will arrange it. She books accommodations; makes reservations for airline tickets, dinner, and entertainment; arranges the delivery of everything from flowers to birthday cakes; and can get tickets for anything on the island. She can fix you up with swimming or sailing lessons and tennis court time too, as well as golf lessons and tee times. Need a babysitter while you're out on the town? She can arrange that as well.
Nantucket Vacation Rentals
6 Ash Ln.
(508) 228-3131, (800) 228-4070
If you have questions about rental houses, cottages, and apartments, give Nantucket Vacation Rentals a call. The office, at Nantucket Real Estate Co., is open all year.
Nantucket Visitors Services and Information Bureau
25 Federal St.
This town-run bureau, along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Nantucket Lodging Association, has compiled a detailed list of accommodations. The staff can tell you on a day-by-day basis where vacancies exist, but they do not make bookings. The office is open daily year-round.
Nantucket Bed and Breakfasts and Country Inns
66 Centre St
Next door to the historic Old North Church just outside of town, this old sea captain's home retains its original antique paneling and random-width floorboards. The comfortable common room has a fireplace, and guests enjoy home-baked muffins, coffee, and other goodies each morning on the bright, enclosed breakfast porch. Each of the 11 guest rooms is named for a Nantucket whale ship and has a private bath; most have queen canopy beds.
Brass Lantern Inn
11 North Water St.
(508) 228-4064, (800) 377-6609
The inn is charming, but you'll especially love the outdoor gardens in the backyard. The setting is in a very quiet neighborhood within a few minutes' walk of town. Some rooms have a fireplace and a canopy bed, and you can order room service for breakfast if you wish, but that means you'd have to turn down having breakfast outdoors in the Shakespearean herb garden.
Centerboard Guest House
8 Chester St.
This immaculate Victorian-style guesthouse has six rooms, beautifully decorated with fresh flowers and lace; some have lovely painted murals in pale pastels. One suite has a private Jacuzzi and fireplace, and there is also a cottage available with a whirlpool bath and private garden. Rooms offer a private bath, telephone, refrigerator, and television. Your hosts serve a continental breakfast. The facility is nonsmoking.
Centre Street Inn
78 Centre St.
(508) 228-0199, (800) 298-0199
Built in 1742, this was originally the residence of Peter Folger, a whale-oil trader. It became a boarding house in 1875. A close walk from both town and beaches, it offers 13 guest rooms with antique brass or canopy beds, and private or shared baths. Innkeepers Sheila and Fred Heap purchased the inn in 1994, and have since redecorated the rooms with floral fabrics and custom painting, including some whimsical touches such as ivy surrounding a mirror. The large common room, where a continental breakfast is served each morning, is especially inviting, and guests can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea there any time of day. The inn, which is a nonsmoking facility and welcomes children older than 8, is open April to mid-December.
The Century House
10 Cliff Rd.
Nestled part way up the hill between Cliff Road and Centre Street, this is the oldest operating guesthouse on the island. Built in 1833 by Capt. Robert Calder, it became a rooming house in 1870. It was purchased in 1984 by its present owners, Gerry Connick and Jean Ellen Heron, a husband-and-wife team who lovingly restored the old building. Guests are treated to a veritable feast each morning, including "Gerry's famous granola," homemade coffeecake, bagels, and breads. Guests can relax anytime in the comfortable common room. An interesting touch: All 14 rooms feature lovely and varied paintings by artists who have stayed here. The Century House is open from mid-May through mid-October.
Eighteen Gardner Street
18 Gardner St.
(508) 228-1155, (800) 435-1450
The smell of fresh-baked cookies often pervades this charming old inn, where a plate of cookies is left by the staircase for guests to grab as they come in from a day of shopping, biking, or sunbathing. This air-conditioned inn has 18 guest rooms, including singles, doubles, and a two-bedroom suite, furnished with antiques and period reproductions. Many rooms have queen-size four-poster beds, and some have fireplaces that are great in the off-season. Each room is decorated with antiques and period pieces, with contemporary furnishings worked in to create a unique, attractive blend of old and new. The inn has a cozy breakfast room or you can take the sumptuous breakfast on a tray back to your room for breakfast in bed. Downtown is a pleasant five-minute walk from the inn, or you can pedal there on one of the bicycles set aside for guests' use. The inn is open year-round.
2 Chestnut St.
Right in town, this homey, 1849 historic house offers nine guest rooms decorated with antique furnishings, original artwork by local artists, and in many cases, handmade quilts. A separate cottage is also available. Coffee is offered in the cozy upstairs common room, and guests receive a coupon good for a full breakfast at one of several restaurants in town. Innkeepers Diane and Mitchell have also devoted the past 15 years to acquiring art from Nantucket's finest artists and craftspeople and their beautiful collection is placed throughout the house, which is open year-round.
Martin House Inn
61 Centre St.
Polished mahogany, classic paintings, and Oriental rugs characterize this elegant 1803 mariner's home, which became an inn in the 1920s. A piano graces the common room, where window seats beckon, and a continental breakfast is served at a large, beautifully appointed table. Many of the 13 guest rooms have four-poster beds, fireplaces, and private baths. Guests can sit on the veranda in summer, or curl up in front of the fire in the cooler months. The inn, open year-round, is just a short walk from town.
The Nesbitt Inn
21 Broad St.
If you don't mind sharing a bathroom, this historic inn is a great value. Innkeepers Dolly and Nobby Noblit are two of the friendliest hosts you'll ever meet, which is no doubt part of the reason guests come back year after year. It must be genetic: Dolly is a third-generation innkeeper, part of the same family that has had the Nesbitt Inn since 1914. Built in 1872, this is the oldest inn built for that purpose on the island. The regal staircase, wide hallways and comfortable rooms seem to take you back in time--as does the claw-foot tub in one of the bathrooms. Guests can lounge in the common room or on the wide front porch. Children are welcome--there's even a play yard for them--but not pets. A continental breakfast is included in season; the inn is open year-round.
The Pineapple Inn
10 Hussey St.
Built for Capt. Uriah Russell in 1938, this elegant old home was completely renovated in 1997 by owners Bob and Caroline Taylor. They spared no expense here, managing to not only maintain the inn's historic ambiance but to include modern amenities such as air conditioning, telephones with voice mail, cable televisions (tastefully concealed in reproduction wardrobes) and even computer hookups in the 12 guest rooms, which feature marble bathrooms. One room is wheelchair accessible, as is the beautiful brick garden patio, complete with a pineapple fountain. Just outside the busy center of town, the inn is quiet, yet close to shops and restaurants. The Taylors brought along some remnants of their restaurant days, including a juicer and cappuccino machine, not to mention culinary skills and recipes that make the hearty continental breakfasts here a real treat, whether served in the formal dining room or on the patio. Open May through Christmas, the inn is nonsmoking and designed for adults.
10 Gay St.
Named for the original settlement on Nantucket, this eight-room inn was originally a silk factory and later converted to a lodging house. Today it is a beautifully appointed inn with real character. Its quirky layout includes front and back stairways, so you can get to your room either way, and the floors slope charmingly in places. Ask resident innkeepers Susan and Dale Hamilton to tell you about the legendary ghost! The rooms are nicely furnished in an elegant, yet warm, old-fashioned style, with antiques, lace canopies, and fresh flowers. Each guest room has central air-conditioning, phone, cable TV, and a private bathroom. Guests are served a continental breakfast in the common room or out in the garden, and there is also a second-floor sitting room with a television. Tucked just outside of town in a quiet neighborhood, it is still close to attractions, shops, and restaurants.
13 Fair St.
Open seasonally, this inn began as the home of Capt. Obed Starbuck, who built it in 1812; many of its rooms are named for the ships he commanded. The antiques-filled home is also distinguished as the birthplace of Lucretia Coffin Mott, the first female abolitionist and advocate of women's suffrage. The inn has a romantic downstairs restaurant and bar that is open to the public for dinner; continental breakfast is available for guests.
$$$, no credit cards
29 Fair St.
Built in 1709, this is known as the oldest inn on the island, and the original, unpainted wood paneling, hand-hewn beams, low ceilings, and huge old fireplaces bear witness to its history. Period antiques and reproductions are used throughout The Woodbox has nine units, which includes six suites with one or two bedrooms and three double-bed guest rooms. All rooms have private baths and some have working fireplaces. It is open from June through December. The inn's restaurant serves breakfast from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM and dinner in their romantic restaurant is open to the public and is served from 6:30 PM to 9 PM.
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Nantucket Hotels and Resorts
Cliffside Beach Club
This luxury hotel was built on the site of a prestigious beach club, where members once gathered to be assured of having a private stretch of beach with the same umbrella and chairs each day. Today, guests come for the private beach, waterfront rooms, daily maid service, exercise facility, and fine restaurant. Open mid-May to mid-October, Cliffside offers hotel units, suites, studio apartments, and a cottage; some rooms have private decks; most rooms have an ocean view, both a queen-size bed and sleeper sofa, and air conditioning. All rooms have refrigerators, cable television, and phones. Guests get a continental breakfast, and have use of beach umbrellas, chairs, and beach towels. Note: the hotel does not accept all credit cards.
S. Beach St.
(508) 228-1500, (800) ISLANDS
This outstanding resort hotel complex has 109 fine rooms, (many of them in townhouses), one cottage, a lovely dining room, tennis courts, nightly entertainment in season, an outdoor heated pool, concierge and, well, just about anything a person could want in a hotel. The decor is traditional Nantucket; the brick sidewalks and street lighting are all part of the historic ambiance here. Business conferences and tour groups are notably well handled at the Harbor House. This facility, which does not allow pets, is open April through December. Note: Whether you stay here or not, make a point of enjoying the buffet Sunday brunch at the Harbor House's restaurant, The Hearth.
Jared Coffin House
29 Broad St.
(508) 228-2400, (800) 248-2405
Jared Coffin, a successful Nantucket merchant, built a handsome brick house for his wife, but she complained that it was too far from town (eight blocks). So he built this fine three-story brick house, which also apparently failed to please her. Eventually, the Coffins moved to Boston, and the house has been an inn ever since. The inn is now one of the best-loved accommodations on the island, not to mention famous throughout New England. The elegant Jared Coffin House is one of four buildings that make up the year-round inn. Sixty guest rooms and suites have single, double, or queen-size beds and private baths and telephones. Furnishings are Colonial and Victorian, highlighted by lace curtains, parquet floors, canopy beds, and Oriental rugs. Breakfast at Jared's is such a treat that people who are not staying at the inn often go there for their first meal of the day. One local resident confided she breakfasts there once or twice a week just to experience a truly civilized morning repast. Jared's also serves dinner, and the rustic Tap Room downstairs is great for a more casual lunch, dinner, or snack.
120 Wauwinet Rd.
(508) 228-0145, (800) 426-8718
If you want an ocean view, privacy, natural beauty, country tranquility, premier service and accommodation, you'll find it here. This ultraromantic deluxe country inn is 8 miles from town between the bay and the ocean. It offers a 25-bedroom inn for adults only as well as five family cottages. Toppers, the elite restaurant, is open to guests for three meals and to the public for lunch and dinner. The picnic basket menu is fantastic. The Wauwinet is open from May through October. Rates include a full breakfast; recreational activities such as tennis, bicycling (bikes provided by the inn), sailing, kayaking, and cruising the bay;a daily wine-and-cheese tasting; nature excursions; and four-wheel-drive trips along the 20 miles of nearby beach. The Wauwinet is a nonsmoking inn and does not allow pets.
The White Elephant
(508) 228-2500, (800) ISLANDS
One of the island's premier facilities, The White Elephant is an expansive harborfront complex that offers everything from regular hotel rooms and deluxe suites to cottages. If you want truly luxurious accommodations, book into the Breakers, a separate and more contemporary section with water-view rooms and suites with private patios.
The White Elephant has 68 guest rooms and 32 one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages, some with full kitchens. Outdoor facilities include a swimming pool and a private dock for smaller boats. You can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the dining room, The Regatta, which has an outstanding view of the harbor and is open to the public. A full-time concierge can assist you with your plans. The White Elephant is air-conditioned and does not allow pets. It is open from mid-May until the end of October.
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Bartlett's Beach Cottages
Hummock Pond Rd., Cisco
If you've always dreamed of waking up in a rustic cabin on Nantucket Island, throwing on your bathing suit and heading down to the ocean for an early morning swim, call and reserve one of these quaint year-round cottages. Four miles from town, the cottages can accommodate one to 10 people. Pond boats are provided.
The Summer House
South Bluff, Siasconset
Eight rose-covered cottages are beautifully situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Five of the cottages have one bedroom, two have two bedrooms, and one is a suite. All have bathrooms; two have kitchenettes. Guests have beach access, and there is also a top-notch restaurant. The Summer House is open from late April through October.
The grounds of this former estate are delightful, and you'll enjoy the solitude of a private beach. The accommodations include guest rooms with private or shared bathrooms, apartments with one to four bedrooms and cottages with three, four, or five bedrooms. The facility is open from late May to October.
Swain's Wharf and Old South Wharf
Wharf Cottages are ideal for boaters who want to come ashore to dry out, stock up on supplies and buy a newspaper. They're also great for families with older children. All 22 cottages have full kitchens and water views.
These cottages are open from late May to late September.
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31 Western Ave.
Those who enjoy roughing it can make this their base for biking or backpacking getaways. This hostel, once a historic lifesaving station, has 49 beds, cooking facilities, and beautiful sunset views from its location just across from Surfside Beach. Reservations are required in season (you can call for reservations beginning Dec. 1), and the cost is $12 a night for members and $15 for nonmembers, plus a linen rental charge if you don't bring your own. It's open from April 25 until right after the Cranberry Festival in mid-October (see our Annual Events section).
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