7 Can’t Miss Hotels in Maine

With a nickname like Vacationland, Maine has lot to live up to in the way of accommodations. The state rises to the challenge with everything from a coastal Victorian inn and beachside bungalows, to a lighthouse stay and a sophisticated city hotel.

208 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, USA
White Adirondack chairs set along an immaculately manicured lawn overlooking the Atlantic, wicker furniture stationed on a wraparound porch with the American flag fluttering overhead—this is coastal Maine at its finest. Accommodations at this sumptuous resort in Kennebunkport include the Main House, a 14-room oceanfront Victorian mansion built in 1895 (seven years before the Bush family built theirs nearby); the more secluded 14-room Club House, tucked within 15 wooded acres; and the stand-alone three-bedroom Ivy Cottage, all of which feature plush furnishings like gas fireplaces and four-poster beds topped with Frette linens.

For an even more luxurious stay, guests are invited to fill out a form detailing everything from their trip style (“active and adventurous” or “foodie exploration”) to their pillow preference (feather or synthetic) before their arrival. Whatever your preference, be sure to grab a table—each has an unobstructed water view—at Ocean restaurant for modern, French-accented dishes with Maine ingredients (think lobster thermidor with sea lettuce).
354 Goose Rocks Rd, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, USA
Hidden Pond blends Maine cottage living with its own quirky, Instagram-worthy take on luxury. The enclave of 14 colorful one- and two-bedroom clapboard bungalows is spread over 60 acres of birch groves and balsam fir, just a 10-minute drive from downtown Kennebunkport. Each private house comes with a full kitchen that practically begs to be used, with first-rate cooking equipment and serving pieces and, for guests staying in the two-bedroom cottages, the option to send along a grocery list prior to arrival. However, dining at Hidden Pond’s farm-to-table Earth restaurant, with its awe-inspiring chandelier made from a preserved apple tree, shouldn’t be missed. For an even more memorable experience, guests can supper in one of two private garden sheds, which are outfitted with a sole table surrounded by hurricane lanterns, pitchforks, and potted plants, and situated steps from a chef’s garden that supplies ingredients for every meal. The Tree Spa is aptly named: Treatment rooms are nestled in the treetops eight feet above ground and are reached via wooden footbridges.
163 Danforth St, Portland, ME 04102, USA
Situated in the historic West End—what some consider to be Portland’s prettiest area—this red-brick, Federal-style mansion has housed a Prohibition-era hideout, a boarding school and, for the past two decades, the intimate Danforth Inn. Today, its nine rooms are uniquely furnished with a mix of contemporary European pieces and Asian influences, as well as nearly a million dollars’ worth of modern art.

A small garden blooms with lilacs, fragrant herbs, and edible flowers in the spring and summer, while 13 working fireplaces—there’s one in each room and two in the West End Suite—make for cozy evenings come fall and winter. After a renovation completed in 2015, Tempo Dulu, a 36-seat Southeast Asian restaurant, opened with dishes like grilled lobster with spring onion cake, and dramatic design details such as a live-moss chandelier.

In 2017, the inn expanded on the Asian theme with its Opium bar; decor is meant to evoke a 1920s Shanghai speakeasy, and cocktails include the Danforth Swizzle, a rum-based drink accented with Chinese five spice–infused bitters.
119 Exchange St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Hyperlocalism has fueled Portland’s Old Port District revitalization, with buzzy restaurants and shops with a deep sense of place opening in recent years. The stylish Press Hotel is no exception. A publishing motif runs throughout the 110-room property, which occupies a corner building that once housed the Portland Press Herald. Custom-made wallpaper printed with old headlines adorns the corridors, and desks inspired by those found in 1920s newsrooms are in each room. Works by local artists—including a dramatic installation of vintage typewriters from the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Portland artist Erin Hutton—and woven-wall tapestries by Portland home-goods designer Angela Adams also abound. (There are even a few notable—and welcome—nods to the global luxury market, including Frette linens from Italy atop the plush beds.) The focus at the 65-seat hotel restaurant, Union, is proudly farm- and sea-to-table, with dishes like house-smoked local mussels served with celery cream.
15 Peabody Dr, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662, USA
Skip the crowds at the Jordan Pond House and opt for tea and popovers at the Asticou Inn instead. Say “Asticou,” and most people think of the lovely, 2.3-acre, Japanese-style pocket garden famous for its 70 varieties of azaleas, rhododendrons, and laurels, not the inn of the same name across the street. Truth is, the garden was created in 1956, when Charles K. Savage, longtime Asticou innkeeper, learned that famed landscape designer Beatrix Farrand’s Reef Point garden was being dismantled. Credit him for saving many of the treasures. Betwixt and between poking around Asticou Garden and the equally delightful English-style Thuya Garden located nearby, savor a break at the Asticou Inn for tea and popovers on the back porch. The views extend down landscaped lawns and over the yacht-filled harbor.
50 West St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
Opened in 2012, the West Street Hotel wholeheartedly embraces its waterfront location. All 85 rooms have views of Frenchman Bay and are decorated in nautical Americana (think navy, red, and cream color schemes and lots of sailboat patterns on the upholstery). The hotel can arrange a lobstering trip on a real-deal commercial boat or an excursion to nearby Acadia National Park. There are more than 120 hiking trails that range from low-key to strenuous: Advanced climbers can summit Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. For a guided tour of the park with less effort, board Oli’s Trolley, which picks up riders across the street from the hotel.

This appeared in the June/July 2015 issue.
1 Frenchtown Rd, Frenchtown Twp, ME 04441, USA
This remote, family owned property of cabins is an experience you’ll savor if you’re in the Moosehead Lake area of Maine and hoping to get away from it all. Closed from October to mid January, the camp reopens for the winter season where you’re treated by breakfast and dinner by Eric and his family and given a bag lunch if you need one. During the other summer and early fall months, your stay and your schedule will revolve around three home cooked meals in the main dining lodge. You’ll be hungry, there’s fishing, canoeing, swimming and hiking in the summer months. There is no cell reception out here and you can be certain to not have any sort of wifi connection. Cherish that. Chill the beverages you purchase at the local general store in the camp’s cold, natural spring at the water’s edge and soak up the visits by the local moose in the morning and early evening. This is a great location for a private family reunion or a celebration in the heart of Maine.
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