Since the 1800s The Wauwinet Inn has been a place for weary travelers to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Wauwinet has changed hands many times over the years and has been a hostel, bed and breakfast, and now is a premier resort owned by the Nantucket Island Resorts group. As one of the 5 properties owned by the Nantucket Island Resorts, The Wauwinet is the resort that folks go to find a little peace and quiet.
We stayed at the Wauwinet Inn as part of our weekend trip to Nantucket Island. This was our first visit to the island.
The other properties owned by the Nantucket Group are: White Elephant, White Elephant Hotel Residences, Jared Coffin House, and The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin. Each of the different properties offer their own unique and exceptional lodging and each have it’s own personality. In addition, the group also owns the Nantucket Boat Basin.
The view from the second floor of The Wauwinet Inn
The Wauwinet is located on the northeast end of Nantucket Island, 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts. Situated 9 miles from downtown Nantucket, they offer complimentary shuttle runs every hour so guests are never far from the main hub of the island. It is located next to the Great Point wildlife sanctuary and is the only resort on Nantucket within walking distance of both the Nantucket Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Private beaches on both offer the choice of ocean surfs or calm waters. The Wauwinet is available for weddings and other private events.
The view of the back of the Inn looking back at it from the ocean.
The Wauwinet offers 32 guest rooms and cottages nestled in an old New England seaside setting. Each room offers a stunning view of either the Nantucket Bay or Atlantic Ocean. All guest rooms are individually decorated with its own unique country pine antiques, cheery chintz, hand-stenciled finishes and fresh flowers. Each room will accommodate 1 to 2 guests with the exception of the 2 bedroom cottage. The inn caters to guest 12 years and older.
The Wauwinet’s internationally acclaimed restaurant, Topper’s, offers a relaxing, yet elegant, dining atmosphere. Executive Chef Kyle Zachary’s cuisine centers on the local harvest, both from the sea and shore, of Nantucket. Guest can enjoy a prix fixe or seven course tasting menu for dinner. Topper’s cellar-master is available to assist in pairing any of the 1450 current wine selections with your cuisine.
For those you prefer a more casual fare, can dine on the new Topper’s Deck. Topper’s bar serves is available throughout the day for light, casual dining.
Also available are gourmet picnic baskets for those heading off for a day at the beach or a bicycle ride around the island. Topper’s is now offering its a la carte breakfast to non-guest.
A fantastic complimentary Continental breakfast is available to guest, consisting of:
Sliced Fresh Fruit – Mixed Berries – Vanilla Non-Fat Yogurt – Cereal, Granola – Hard-Boiled Eggs – Genoa Salami – Smoked Ham – Smoked Salmon – Artisan Cheeses – Sliced Cheese – Fresh Baked Pastries – Breakfast Breads – Marmalade - Juices/coffee/tea
A short stroll across from The Wauwinet is the Spa by the Sea, a luxury spa offering rejuvenating and relaxing treatments, such as the Lavender Crush Body Treatment, the Garden Facial, and Atlantic Seaweed Wrap, which use local and sea-inspired ingredients. Also available are ocean salt scrubs and algae masks. Seasonal wildflowers and herbs such as local rose, chamomile, rosemary, lavender, and hydrangea grown in The Wauwinet’s own spa garden are incorporated into the massages.
The Wauwinet Inn offers an almost endless list of complimentary amenities and activities, including:
- Summer Season Boating Activities
- Spring and Fall Cruises on Nantucket Bay
- Afternoon Cheese, Sherry and Port in the Library
- Fresh Fruit Anytime
- Early Risers’ Coffee, Tea & Fresh-Baked Goods
- Library refreshments: freshly squeezed lemonade in the summer; apple cider in the fall
- Yoga mats, kayaks, sailboats, customized iPods, Trek and Cannondale Mountain bikes
- Hip Waders, Fishing Poles, and tennis
Here is a walk-through of the Spa at Wauwinet Inn.
The friendliness and helpfulness of staff at The Wauwinet was quickly apparent as we were greeted at the ferry dock by the shuttle driver. We chatted on the drive to the inn and he knew the other passengers by name, as they were return guest. The staff’s attentiveness was re-enforced when the breakfast hostess addressed me by name and we had not even met before. Every staff person we met talked to us and asked if there was anything they could do for us. Each and every request we made was quickly addressed to our satisfaction.
We were quickly checked in and told about everything that was available to us during our stay. We arrived during the late afternoon and only had a brief moment to partake of the afternoon cheese, sherry and port snack; which was unfortunate for us as it offered a fine selection of cheese and crackers.
Upon arrival at our room, the porter quickly adjusted the heater / air-conditioner for us and asked if there was anything else he could do for us. We had a room on the Atlantic side of the inn with a splendid view of the ocean. If you really like a Bay view ask for a Bay view room on the other side of the Inn.
The room decor remained me of what would have been in a late 19th century New England luxury seaside cottage; simple, but elegant. A special touch that I have not seen at any other resort was the personalized cards waiting for us on the bed.
The bathroom was filed with amenities from Dorothy Prentice Aromatherapy. The glycerin soap was so refined and aromatic that we took the rest of ours home in a zip bag. The soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash were the Green Tea and Ginger blends and are available for purchase at dorothyprentice.com
Take a look at the video walk-through of our room.
After we settled in, we decided to walk around the inn and take in the views. I noticed that soft music was playing throughout the inn, adding to the relaxing atmosphere. Thinking back the relaxing, smoothing music was also playing while riding in the shuttle and our room, so the stress and tension was being removed from the time you stepped into the shuttle and continuing during your entire stay.
Walking out onto the back lawn one was immediately aware of the stunning view of the Nantucket Bay. An array of wicker chaise lounges were available on the lawn for relaxing in the sun, napping in the afternoon, or reading.
All you had to do was ask and cushions were brought out to you for the lounges and even blankets. Everyone staying at the Inn came out for the daily sunset, almost as it if was a ritual not to be missed. Once the sun set, they were all gone as fast as they came out.
As the afternoon moved towards evening, every staff member we encountered said to be sure to take in the sunset, that it was going to be beautiful. So we headed to the lawn, got extremely thick cushions put on out chaise lounges and enjoyed the sunset. They were right, it was one of the most amazing and unobstructed sunsets I have seen.
After freshening up, we headed to Topper’s for dinner. Just like the inn staff, the staff at Topper’s was attentive and pleasant.
We decided to have the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which consisted of seven courses using fall seasonal ingredients. They willingly substituted some items from the vegetarian menu for Wendy so she could try the Butternut Squash Soup. The meal started off with bread, and then moved through each course at a perfect rate, not too fast or too slow. We never felt rushed during the meal. The portions were appropriate for a seven course meal.
The Local Lightship Diver Scallop, Oxtail Ragout, Cipollini Onion, Potato, Espuma, topped with green apple.
Actually, it turned out to be a nine course meal as we were given shooters of soup and dessert during the meal and a tasting of a sparkling dessert wine, Niades (brachetto d’acqui). We finished this exceptional delicious meal with a nice cup of coffee.
We found out that Topper’s tries to use as much local seafood and vegetables from the island as possible. It’s great when a restaurant supports the local markets and vendors.
Topper’s meets the claim: “best overall restaurant on island, awarded by the Zagat Survey.”
The Sea Urchin Risotto, Truffle, and Maine Rock Shrimp
Before retiring for the evening, we strolled around the grounds, enjoying the peacefulness in the air and took a walk down the road under a moon lit night. I understand why people return to The Wauwinet, especially those who may have stressful and busy lives and jobs. You come here to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you want to sleep, eat, and read a book, staff will make sure you enjoy your stay and are not bothered.
In the morning, we casually got ready and then journeyed down to enjoy the Continental breakfast on the covered patio. As we enjoyed the fabulous breakfast, we could also enjoy the view of Nantucket Bay. Unfortunately, I did miss the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.
After checking out, we learned that we had just missed the shuttle back to town (actually we were going to the White Elephant to test drive a BMW), so the front desk supervisor offered to drive us. Other resorts we have visited would have us wait for the next shuttle, not The Wauwinet. As we were driving back and chatting with the staff, she explained the history of The Wauwinet to us. She also stated that they have a high staff to guest ratio to make sure that guest needs are readily met. She also stated that guests return year after year because of their level of service and dedication to the individual client. The Wauwinet with all of its charm and stunning sunset view would be an exceptional location for a sunset wedding.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at The Wauwinet. I believe they achieve and exceed what they state: “A sense of the exceptional distinguishes The Wauwinet, which is dedicated to providing an unmatched guest experience. Here, you’ll find a gracious and attentive staff that is second to none. You’ll also find a wealth of special touches and complimentary activities that add exceptional value to your stay.”
Disclosure: We were invited to come and stay at the Wauwinet Inn as part of a media weekend. We were not compensated and all opinions, and photographs are our own.