These days, many sophisticated, luxury-seeking travelers don’t want to hassle with airports, airplanes, flight cancelations or delays. So it’s a good thing that some of the best, and most anticipated property openings and post-renovation re-openings can be found within a few hours drive of many Northeast USA cities. The following 20 lodgings throughout the Northeast USA are among the best new and renewed boutique hotels, inns, and B&B’s to open or reopen within the past few years including: 1) a gut renovated 150 year old Maine hotel perched on the cliffs of the Atlantic (Cliff House); 2) a ravishing repurposed Buffalo NY insane asylum designed by a famous architect (Hotel Henry), 3) the much anticipated reopening of a Saratoga Springs NY icon (Adelphi Hotel), 4) a basement to roof-deck redo of a NYC boutique (Dream Midtown), and sixteen more.
For more on each hotel, and other great destination ideas in the Northeast US, check out GetawayMavens.com.
1. Cliff House, Cape Neddick ME. The Cliff House has been in existence since Captain Theodore and Elsie Weare built a lodge atop these rocks in 1866. The hotel stayed in the Weare family until 2015 when it was purchased by Rockbridge as a Destination Hotel, and then basically gutted and rebuilt for today’s luxury traveler. There are few resorts on earth with the kind of unspoiled beauty you’ll find at the Cliff House. Generally, a wild location like this with unparalleled views would be crammed with commercial development, but that’s not the case on Cape Neddick, a few miles and worlds away from Maine’s most populated tourist towns. The Cliff House is luxurious, but not flamboyantly so. TrueXCullins designed the interior in modern Scandinavian style, with a nod to the property’s nautical lineage. Deck-like wood floors hark back to the days of sailing ships, ships knots are arrayed behind the reception desk, and of course, a bank of two-story windows overlooks the endless Atlantic and those bald cliffs that give this hotel its name.
2. Hotel Henry, Buffalo NY. The spanking new boutique hotel in Buffalo NY, Hotel Henry, was once the H.H. Richardson designed Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Built in 1872 as a compassionate, sunlit residence for several hundred mentally disturbed patients, it became overcrowded and, well, less sunny and compassionate over the years. The psychiatric hospital closed in the 1970’s, leaving the building vacant for decades until the Richardson Center Corp. transformed it into a stunning, bright, modern, and eminently hospitable 88-room hotel, with corridors so wide, they are used for special events. All rooms feature 16 or 20 ft ceilings, high windows, cashmere-like throws, and the world’s most comfortable beds.
3. Adelphi Hotel, Saratoga Springs NY. The much-anticipated Adelphi Hotel, meticulously reborn after nearly 5 years, is a brighter, lighter, more splendiferous version of it’s former Victorian self; from lobby to classy, luxurious guestrooms. First built in 1877 as a 100-room hotel, the Adelphi was a town landmark in the early days of thoroughbred racing, when the Saratoga Racetrack drew thousands of well-heeled visitors to town. By the early 2000’s, the Adelphi’s tired rooms and dark, heavily draped Victorian-style lobby cried out for a complete makeover. Closing in 2012, it reopened in early October 2017 as a 32-room hotel, managing to recapture its original intent: to impress the jaded, to indulge luxury guests, and, most effectively, thanks to NYC-based interior designer, Glen Coben & Co., to please the eye.
4. Dream Midtown, NY NY. The first of what was to be many Dream Hotels to come, this one, on 55th and Broadway in Manhattan, opened in 2003 “to provide a richer, bolder, and more vibrant experience” to midtown Manhattan travelers. To that end, Dream Midtown installed a massive salt-water fish tank- a statement pillar front and center in the lobby – which became the hotel’s drawing card. It’s the only thing that has survived a recent multi-million dollar renovation that otherwise brightened up the lobby and rooms, added a basement tavern, and expanded the rooftop bar. For those who have been here before, the difference is striking. Gone are the black marble floors and the wood paneled walls in the dark, atmospheric lobby. Now, it’s all off whites and golds, with of course, “Dream Purple” for punch. All 219 redone rooms and suites are now Holly Golightly- chic. In the food and drink department, Dream Midtown doesn’t stint on drama. You can gaze down at Stephen Colbert’s Late Show from the uber romantic PHD Terrace – Dream Midtown’s newly expanded triple-decker, partially enclosed, rooftop bar. Below ground you’ll find the bottom half of the lobby’s fish tank at Fishbowl, with a completely different vibe. Knock back some brews in a space that resembles the inside of a pinball machine, - though with colorful fish swimming around - with Skee Ball, 2-lane bowling, and 80’s video-game cocktail tables, all complimentary to play. And you don’t even have to leave the premises for a fantastic Italian meal; the attached Serafina Broadway restaurant is ideal.
5. Taconic Hotel, Manchester VT. Kimpton’s first hotel located outside of a city, the 86-room Taconic in Manchester VT, built in late 2015, is less flashy than those in metropolitan areas. But, while the Taconic is not wild with color, there are touches of Kimpton whimsy scattered about. And of course, there’s the famous complimentary Wine and Nibbles Hour - from 5-6pm each day – to get the guests talking to each other. When cold out, a fire warms a comfortable lobby. And no matter what the season, the huge front porch with tables and rocking chairs (blankets offered when it’s chilly) is tailor-made for brisk fresh-air and sunset enthusiasts. Rooms in wood tones, from birch to mahogany, bespeak a hike in the mountains that ring the town. The feeling is comfy-cozy, without a stick of frou-frou or stark modernist to be found: the gestalt: “woodland-chic,” as it should be in these parts.
6. Bungalow Hotel, Long Branch NJ. With an interior designed by the HGTV darlings, Robert and Cortney Novogratz, The Bungalow Hotel, in Long Branch NJ is a delightful, whimsical, colorful and eclectic alternative to your basic Big Box beach getaway. There are just 24 units on three floors ranging from standard to 2-bedroom, and though not directly on the beach (and hence, no water views), these rooms are large. And I mean: BIG. Fans of the Novogratz’s will absolutely plotz. Their stamp is all over the place, complete with regulation-sized billiards table in the lobby and even a full-service bar with mixologist bartender to match beverage to your own personal taste.. Each bright room features stained-white hardwood floors, glass fireplace, eclectic art on walls, banks of soundproof windows, flat screen TV’s, kitchenette area with under counter fridge (stocked with complimentary Fiji water bottles), and comfy beds with crisp white duvet, punched up by pop art and contemporary quilts on the walls.
7. Antrim 1844, Taneytown MD. Though not exactly “new,” Antrim 1844, which encompasses 40 unique guest rooms in several buildings on beautifully landscaped grounds is so immaculately maintained it could be said that it’s in a constant state of renewal. Wine Spectator Magazine has bestowed its Award of Excellence upon the fine in-house Smokehouse Restaurant – with new chef, Andrew Fontaine, late of Napa County CA – and its 22,000-bottle wine cellar (in the original boiler room), 17 years in a row. On par with many Relais & Chateaux or Leading Hotels of the World properties, and on the Select Registry and the National Historic Register, this is not a dusty antique inn resting on its laurels. Built in 1844 by Col. Andrew Ege, and named for his ancestral home, Antrim was a 400-acre farm, and a Confederate encampment during the Civil War. (You can see Gettysburg from the top of the Widow’s Walk). When Richard and Dorothy (Dort) Mollett purchased Antrim in 1987, the home had been sitting vacant for 70 years, but was in good shape due to the vigilance of its neighbors. Since opening the first 4 rooms in 1988, Richard and Dort, an Interior Designer, have kept improving on and adding to the rooms to this day. Two grand parlors on the main floor, opulently and impeccably dressed down to the wallpaper that covers and hides electrical cords, impart an era of gentility rarely seen these days. The original horsehair plaster medallions in the ceiling and wavy glass windows are original to the home– almost all intact when the Mollett’s purchased the place. The often requested Clabaugh Room in the Mansion, is a Ralph Lauren-esque envisioning of a luxurious horse and hound retreat – complete with hunting paintings on deep blue walls, a large fireplace, carved four poster bed, fresh flowers, and other regal appointments.
8. Turnbridge Point, Denton MD. Turnbridge Point, first opened in May 2015, is a style-forward, foodie favored B&B that backs up to the Choptank River in the small town of Denton MD. The name derives from a railroad bridge in the river just off the inn’s small beach: decommissioned, it is permanently “turned” in a diagonal position. Though fast becoming a destination on it’s own, Turnbridge Point is just a bit over an hour from Baltimore on the way to Atlantic Ocean Beaches and is the perfect spot to bed down and wait out the traffic, which can be horrendous in the summer. The welcome is warm, gracious – and delicious. Turnbridge Point is owned an operated by Patent Attorney/decorator, Rob Griffith, and his partner, Steve Konopelski, a former Broadway dancer (Gypsy with Patti Lupone, Beauty and the Beast and others) now a French Pastry Chef and Wedding Cake designer extraordinaire. Eye-catching décor in each common room is enhanced by local art: Turnbridge serves as an ersatz art gallery for the town. Five guest rooms are small and cozy, decorated in Crate and Barrel modern style with walls in soothing heather hues, Marimeko-like curtains, iron “canopy” beds with billowy bedding so divine, it’s tough to leave. All this is secondary, however, to the trademarked sweets you’ll find in the fun, pink dining area. “Cannoli-O’s” – the marriage of cannolis and Oreo’s, cornmeal cookies with lemon crème center – are Steven’s invention and await each and every new guest, along with a small charcuterie board, cheese and crackers, cereal, and other snacks at check-in. For breakfast, the piece de resistance is Steve’s Kouign-Amann (pronounced “queen-a-maan”), a pastry from the Brittany Region of France that translates to “Baked Butter.” Crispy-caramelized exterior, flakey-chewy within, this popover on steroids is worth a trip from anywhere. Konopelski “keeps the recipe under lock and key,” and sells a limited 250 every Saturday from the inn’s front porch (the line forms at 8, opens at 8:30, sold out by 9). Not available anywhere else, you’ll just have to come here to experience it.
9. Regatta Inn, Nantucket MA. Though there are dozens of hotels, inns and B&B’s on Nantucket, the Regatta Inn, renovated in 2016, distinguishes itself as an unpretentious luxury establishment a few blocks from the downtown action, with a thoughtfully designed interior, great attention to detail, and a warm, gracious approach to hospitality: all at a surprisingly reasonable rate. Arrive by 4pm, and you’ll be welcomed by managers Peter and Kathy Brauer, and treated to Peter’s decadent baked goods, which are set out for guests every afternoon in the bright, cheerful and contemporary breakfast room. In the morning, guests enjoy an enhanced Continental Breakfast featuring freshly made smoothies, and versions of tomato-goat-cheese flatbread, and freshly baked apple-tart pinwheels. For the time being, there are nine guest rooms on two floors (with a second building going up this winter featuring six more suites). Guest rooms are compact and impeccably dressed, with a mélange of textures and subtle hues. Despite the fact that rooms are on the small side, the gestalt is beautifully imagined. The large glass rain-head subway tile shower, white shiplap walls, Carrara marble sink top, mosaic floor, and Frette linens – again, luxuriously designed – more than make up for the bathroom’s small dimensions.
10. Pleasant Valley Inn, Hammondsport NY. This Pepto-pink roadside tavern/inn is not situated on a lake or mountaintop. At the juncture of two busy streets several miles from the shores of Keuka Lake, it’s easy to whiz past the Pleasant Valley Inn on your way to the wineries. But that would be a big mistake. After a recent change of ownership and renovation of its four rooms in May ‘16, the Pleasant Valley Inn is a gastronome’s paradise with adorably decorated accommodations. Built in 1848 as a private house, the New Orleans-style inn features a cozy, but busy bar and pub room, in addition to a fine dining restaurant. So, you can take your pick to be as casual or fancy as you’d like. The fancier dining room hasn’t changed much in 25 years – still with flocked wallpaper, tapered candles (yes, real flames!), and a traditional menu. The magical Chef Drew Miller, who makes everything – even the mayonnaise – from scratch transforms these potentially staid dishes into a true culinary adventure. Four rooms in a motel configuration – two on each side of a common hallway – are on the ground floor behind the restaurant. A big jar brimming with signature Chocolate Chip Black Sea Salt cookies welcome guests in the hall, and for sure all will be gone by morning. Though rooms are small, they are thoughtfully styled in modern dress. Best of all, they are only steps from the restaurant, and just $158 per night, which includes an incredible “enhanced” Continental breakfast.
11. Higgins Beach Inn, Scarborough ME. A block from one of Maine’s most popular sandy shorelines, the Higgins Beach Inn has been a favorite of beachgoers since 1923 – even as it inevitably fell into decline in recent years. In a residential neighborhood, locals were anxious to see what the new owners – the Migis Group (which also owns 250 Main in Rockland, Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake, and the Blackpoint Inn nearby) – would do with the place when they took it over last year (2016). I’m happy to report that the new Higgins Beach Inn is a wonderful redo – with fresh, modern beachy-clean rooms and an excellent new restaurant. One friendly employee welcomes you, hands over the key to your room, and draws your attention to the habit-forming freshly baked cookies on the counter, “take one.” If it’s dinnertime – the lobby will be mobbed with patrons either emerging from or entering the in-house restaurant, Shade. In completely redone rooms, polished hard wood floors gleam, contemporary grey and white curtains let in just the right amount of light when closed (though there are also black out shades), and the white-duvet clad beds are heavenly. Though not classically luxurious, Higgins Beach Inn is clean, breezy, and adorable.
12. Chatfield Hollow Inn, Killingworth CT. Set beside a small pond on a private Connecticut farm known for its culinary mushrooms, the Chatfield Hollow Inn experience begins with Tema’s warm greeting right outside the front door, and then into a fragrant, candlelit two-story living room straight out of Dwell Magazine. The quirky-modern-country Chatfield Hollow Inn is the antithesis to the typical doll & doily chintz B&B, with an aesthetic best described as “Mid-Century Modern meets Daniel Boone.” Manhattan couple, Ken Metz and Forrest King, purchased the property, just a couple of hours from New York City, as a country escape, transforming it into a retreat for weary city-folk when, in late 2013, the original 1974 cabin was expanded to five guest rooms. Metz and King hired Tema and his partner, Mitch to run the inn and farm. In short order, Chatfield Hollow Inn has attracted lots of New Yorkers, some Bold Face Names, and even locals looking for a quick hideaway. Outside, in its own building, the nicely equipped fitness center might be small but “it has everything” – including a view into the woods. Over the years, Metz and King have added creatures, crops, and gardens to their land, and you’re encouraged to walk around. There’s a fire pit, beehives (used to pollinate flowers, not for honey), peacocks and black swans. Rooms are country-gone-Brooklyn here with comfy beds, oversize flokati pillow, upcycled multi-colored chest of many drawers, modern lighting, and art on walls: Simple, pleasing to the eye and not overly “done.” Though Tema sets out a bountiful breakfast each morning, he is known for his cheesy eggs made and served in a mini cast iron crock-pot. So, unless you’re allergic, don’t leave before eating this most delectable morning treat.
13. Silver Birches, Hawley PA. The Settlers Hospitality Group has successfully imbued the former 1929 Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort with new life as The Silver Birches Resort, a small but very appealing collection of cottages, houses, suites and rooms right on Lake Wallenpaupack. This is no sprawling resort. You don’t need a bellboy in a golf cart to squire you around the grounds. You can walk easily to all the rooms and cottages, which cluster closely around the Reception/Inn Building. Common areas are pleasingly composed – with the lake, of course, getting top billing right outside the sunroom’s picture windows. Opt for a Luxury King Suite, which has, bar none, one of the most fantastic bathrooms in all of hotel-land. The curvaceous sea foam-green glass-ceramic silver claw foot tub in Room 14 is momma-and daddy-don’t-wanna-bring-their-kids-here sexy. But that’s not the half of it. Any fan of hotel bathrooms will love this one – roomy with hardwood floor and a sundrenched glass shower as well.
14. Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Falmouth MA. This beachfront, sand in your toes hotel is a favorite of many for a reason. Like Mallory Square in Key West, humans are drawn the Sea Crest Beach Hotel for the breathtaking nightly sunset over Buzzard’s Bay. Late afternoon, they float in the outdoor pool. They lean over the boardwalk railings or grab a lounge chair, with a glass of wine, by the lapping waves. Or, they reserve a seat at Red’s Restaurant, facing outward, for the show that Mother Nature so graciously provides. The Sea Crest Beach Hotel is not a luxury property, per se, but it is upscale, and getting more so as guest rooms are refreshed. Renovated lobby and rooms – in one and two story buildings circling a central parking lot – are decked out in either mellow earth tones or nautical hues (depending on room block) with back doors that open onto a courtyard or ocean-view patio. Reception is in the lovingly landscaped main building – which also features a snack/coffee/gift shop, Red’s Restaurant, and several conference rooms. Staff is friendly, with ultimate patience, as the property is large and sprawling and requires a map to find your way (at first). But all that initial confusion melts away at first glance of the beach and bay as you make your way to your room.
15. Inn @ Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, Stevensville, Kent Island MD. A destination boutique hotel in a busy wedding venue The 54 room Inn at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club is the real deal, with upscale witty décor, an innovative garden-to-plate restaurant, great Market for both gifts and meals, full service spa, and cruising bikes for use while there. The full service marina, while on the property, is not part of it; yet, many a boater will dock there and arrange to at the Inn. Though not right on the waterfront (that area, the “Waterfront Campus,” is reserved for the wedding facilities down by the beach) you get long views of the Bay from the top (4th) floor. The Market, on the main floor has become an ersatz community and business meeting place where professionally clad men and women sit at butcher-block tables, laptops open. This was partly by design, as The Market offers free wi-fi and plenty of freshly prepared locavore food items. Guest rooms, dressed in the colors of bark and milled wood, are new, clean and spacious, with ample outlets, voluminous dreamy bedding, and immaculate bathrooms with contemporary tiles in glass showers.
16. Tall Tales Guesthouse at Saybrook Point Inn, Old Saybrook CT. The Saybrook Point Inn and Spa, perched on a Long Island Sound peninsula, encompasses a “green” marina, an outdoor heated pool (hot and steaming in the snow-cold days of winter), a large indoor pool, an excellent Spa, a fantastic restaurant – Fresh Salt – affording dazzling panoramas, a community Fitness Center and a brand new “boutique inn,” Tall Tales, in addition to the next door Three Stories Guesthouse opened two years ago. With a French Country Contemporary decor, the 6-room Tall Tales is slightly more casual than the more formal Three Stories, but equally eye-catching and eminently lovely and dreamy when it comes to bed comfort. Like its sister property, Tall Tales features different rooms for different tastes. There’s one with bold red walls, others dressed in pastels, and one with two queen sized beds perfect for a girlfriend getaway. Like Three Stories, this building has a billiard table for all to use – in this case on the second floor in the common area between two guest rooms. Coffee and tea is available 24/7 and in the morning, staff delivers homemade pastries to the guesthouses – and these delicacies alone are worth the stay. Of course, you could always walk across the street for a full breakfast at Fresh Salt. But on nasty days, who’d want to.
17. Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, Cambridge MD. After a $7 million redo, the 400 room Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, on 342 acres of Maryland’s Eastern Shore is back in luxe-lodging form. Step inside the lobby, now sporting a ship-shape polished wood floor, and you’ll see the difference right away. During the school year, this Hyatt is mostly filled with business and government conferences, but come summer, it swarms with families hoping to reconnect and have fun. According to those who stay here, it delivers big time. There are three pools (one with water slides, another featuring a nightly movie), award-winning Golf Course, a wildlife sanctuary, auditorium-size well-stocked game room, kayaking, cruising, and, splurgy spa: everything a family needs for a complete vacation in one place. To top it off, the waterfront setting is gorgeous.
18. Interlaken Inn, Lakeville CT. The Interlaken Inn in Lakeville CT (not to be confused with the one in Lake Placid NY) has hosted parents and friends of next-door Hotchkiss School, along with newlyweds and other romantics, for decades. Now with a celebrated chef, John Welch, at in-house Morgan’s Restaurant, the Interlaken is drawing foodies and travelers seeking rural rustic-luxe peace and quiet as well. On expansive property encompassing the Main building (40 rooms and suites of various sizes), several cottages, an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a separate waterfront beach and dock on Lakeville Lake, some guests don’t even leave the compound once settled in. Most rooms have been renovated, or at least updated and refreshed with soft and comfy new bedding and furniture. Romantics prefer to stay in the contemporary Penthouse Suite, with its own entrance and enclosed hot-tub deck. The Penthouse bathroom, with soaking tub inside a massive mosaic-tiled shower, is in a luxury class all itself.
19. Craddock Terry Hotel, Lynchburg VA. This stylish hotel, crafted inside a gutted and repurposed shoe factory, puts its best foot forward (sorry) with exemplary service, funky aesthetics, and charming, industrial-chic guestrooms. You can’t miss the Craddock Terry Hotel – it’s the stately brick building on Lynchburg’s Bluff Walk with a massive red shoe over the front door. Walk into a comfy eclectic lobby, a bit Victorian-cluttered, a bit showy-shoe museum, with Art Nueveau chairs and couches to rest your weary feet. Reception is laid back and friendly, and comes with a map of the property, which sprawls – actually is terraced – downhill. In the shoe factory building – slat wood steel and beam ceilings soar 12 to 15 feet above luxe rooms handsomely dressed in shades of moss, ecru, and exposed brick. Pillow top beds are the stuff of memories – so sinkably, sinfully restful, they are often the first thing that guests gush about here. But the coolest artifact is what you’ll find on the bed when you first walk in: a hefty wood shoebox that’s used for breakfast room service delivery the next morning. Fill out the short form inside, leave the whole thing outside your door, and sometime between 6 and 7am, you’ll awake to find a fresh muffin, yogurt, banana, and OJ inside (use the Kerug Coffee maker in the room to complete your morning meal).
20. Cambria Inn and Suites, Rockville MD. Opened in May 2015, The Cambria Inn and Suites in Rockville Town Square is just two blocks from the Rockville Metro Stop. Staying here is a great alternative to more expensive options in Washington DC, a 25 minute metro-ride away. Plus, overnight parking here is relatively cheap – just $15 per 24 hours. The stylish lobby – in hues of brownstone and sand – serves as a popular gathering place, with plenty of seating and outlets for laptops. Sunlight, pouring through floor to ceiling windows, reflects off a curved separation wall of sparkly quartz. The smallest guestrooms, in neutral woodsy colors, are a spacious 320 sq feet, and though not opulent, are upscale in the ways that count: black out shades, lots of drawer space, Keurig coffee makers, and electrical outlets on bedside tables. Floating platform beds are dressed in ultra-comfy sheets and duvets. Bathrooms are sleek and large, with ample lighting, counter space – and double glass rain shower.