From 3,400 miles of oceanfront to 5,000-foot mountains, Maine offers both relaxing retreats and high-energy adventures. It provides respite for those who want to slow down, isolation for busy city dwellers, and forests, lakes, and rivers begging to be explored. And while the Pine Tree State is well-known for its outdoors, it also boasts a more luxurious side—one that I was eager to discover.

Here’s a brief recap of my recent travels through four of Maine’s best hotels.  It’s important to mention, that given the pandemic, service at luxury resorts around the world has been inconsistent.  Some hotels exceeding expectations and others falling short.  I continuously get updates from recent experiences and will make sure you have current information with which to make the best decision for you.

Cliff House Maine: Sprawling Seaside Resort

credit: Cliff House

Driving up to Cliff House, you see just a glimpse of the view beyond the long stretch of the resort’s three buildings. At first glance, it seems a bit corporate, but once you peer through the lobby, you can see what brings people to the Cliff House: the oceanfront, cliff-top view.

I loved learning about the history. The hotel was founded in 1872 by an entrepreneurial woman who anticipated the need for accommodations due to the expansion of the railroad. Her family owned it until 2014, at which point it was bought by two local men and an investment company with the condition that there would be a wall sharing the history and photos of the property. I recommend a walk down this hallway.

Indulging Your Taste Buds
Their main restaurant, Tiller, has big windows with beautiful views. The salmon and scallops were highly recommended. I had the salmon, and it was delicious, as was every bite of the cookie ice cream sandwich.

Tiller also serves breakfast. One of the perks of me booking your room is continental breakfast. A small disappointment is that it’s not simply credit that you can use how you wish for breakfast.

Their lobster shack, Nubb’s, has huge garage door-style windows that can be raised in the summer, so you can walk right out to the hot tub and pool area. This is a fun, lively scene, complete with a bar and big TVs.

The coffee shop, right next to one of the firepits, is open seven days a week in the summer. Throughout the rest of the year, it’s limited to weekends only.

Resting Your Head
The property offers 226 rooms throughout three connected buildings. Entry-level rooms start at $709 per night.  The original building, the Cliff Scape, features king-sized beds and coastal views throughout.  The Clifftop has Premium Oceanfront and Resort View rooms, all with king beds.  These rooms have a fireplace and larger bathrooms. The Ledges building is the newest, built in 2017,  and houses all but one of their suites and a most unique set up – rooms with two king beds.  Ideal for growing teens or young adults. Separately, the Weare Cottage books for $2,900 per night and comes with a full kitchen, two king-size bedrooms, and one bedroom with a set of bunk beds.

Insider Scoop

  • Pet-friendly: No.
  • Fire pits: Two on property.
  • Pools:
    • One family heated pool open June-Labor Day
    • One adult zero-entry heated pool open May-September/early October.  (When the family pool is not open, this pool is open to all)
    • One indoor pool and one hot tub
  • Spa: Large spa (biggest of the four hotels I visited), complete with couples’ treatment rooms and a mani/pedi station.
  • Being active: I highly suggest a walk along the cliffs that connect to paths through the woods.  They also have a fairly large gym with two Pelotons and fitness classes. Or, you can do laps in the indoor pool.
  • Area for golf driving range: Situated above the ocean, it offers special biodegradable golf balls that dissolve into fish food in the water.
  • Cliff House’s owners are in the midst of seeking its Forbes 5*, and while I was there, they had a consultant on property helping them identify areas to focus on. Because of this focus, I expect their service will only get better.

Hidden Pond: Nestled in the Woods Retreat

credit: Hidden Pond

A lavish Maine hideaway, Hidden Pond is situated on 60 acres of birch groves, offering the look and feel of being miles away from anything. In reality, you’re only minutes from Goose Rocks Beach. Reserve an experience in the treehouse-inspired spa, where they provide facials, massages, and other body-restoring treatments using fresh herbs plucked from their own garden.

Resting Your Head
Hidden Pond’s newest set of rooms, the Treetop Lodges, is inspired by nature and made with modern creature comforts.  It’s a studio and a one-bedroom suite, fitting up to five people.

I can attest to the fact that the one-bedroom Bungalows are ideal for couples, complete with a fireplace, outdoor shower, and screened-in porch where you can listen to the sounds of nature.

The charming two-bedroom Cottages come in both single and two-story layouts. They are the largest accommodations, are family-friendly, and have a living room and a full, gourmet kitchen. Rates start at $1500+ for a king Bungalow and $3,000 for a two-bedroom Cottage or Treetop Lodge.

Indulging Your Taste Buds
Hidden Pond is unique in that it offers on-site dining as well as dining at Tides Beach Club, five minutes away, just across the street from the ocean. Hidden Pond’s famous restaurant, Earth, lives up to its name, offering organic fare straight from their garden. It’s open for breakfast and dinner and offers secluded seating for private dinners in one of two freestanding barns. Definitely try the donuts, their most popular dessert.

At Tides Beach Club, you’ll find delicious chowder, shrimp tacos, and other favorites, along with beach views, while sitting outside or inside.

Insider Scoop

  • Pet-friendly: No.
  • Golf cart rentals: Yes.
  • Being active: The well-equipped on-site gym is in a standalone cottage and includes a Peloton.
  • Pools: One family pool at the main lodge and one adult serenity pool near the spa.
  • Bicycles for use: Yes, they come with your room (kid and adult sizes available)
  • Additional amenities: Access beach service at Tides Beach Club, cornhole, ping pong, and fire pits for toasting s’mores.

Inn by the Sea: Ocean Views on the Coast

credit: Inn by the Sea

A sprawling New England cottage-style resort, Inn by the Sea is in a lovely setting. The property lives up to its name—it’s “by” the sea. The resort is oceanfront on a mile-long sandy stretch of beach, but it takes a little walk to get to the beach and water from the hotel. They have a variety of room categories, some offering full kitchens, soaking tubs, and family-friendly amenities.

Resting Your Head
Most of the 38 rooms in the main Inn contain King-sized beds. First-floor garden suites feature private porches, while the floor just above has pull-out sofas. The one- and two-bedroom beach suites provide private exterior entrances and full kitchens, while the luxurious cove suites are focused on privacy. The rates start at $619.

Insider Scoop

  • Pet-friendly: Yes.
  • Pools: One pool with a nearby fire pit.  During the high season, this area is full of families.
  • Watercraft rentals: No.
  • Being active: The Inn is located on a road that is walkable but with a good amount of traffic.  Instead, go for a walk in the state park or rent kayaks from Portland Paddle. They also offer outdoor morning yoga during the summer.
  • They have just one restaurant, Sea Glass. With limited seating, given the size of the resort, I highly recommend booking reservations in advance for breakfast and lunch.
  • Additional amenities: umbrellas and chairs at the beach, on-site spa with newly opened outdoor treatment rooms.
  • Close enough to Portland to enjoy dinners out at Eventide Oyster Co, Duckfat Fries, or one of the other many delicious restaurants. Even closer—The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, known for its lobster rolls, fried seafood, and incredible views. A bit further, you can venture to Allagash Brewing Company for pub food, great beer, and lawn games.

White Barn Inn: A Cozy, Upscale Hideaway

credit: Mimi

This slice of coastal luxury offers rustic charm thanks to a 150-year history. Its world-class dining is mirrored by its meticulous surroundings and garden-like landscapes. With just 34 rooms on the White Barn Inn property, it never feels crowded.

Resting Your Head
There are various unique accommodation types spread throughout the Inn, Annex, and individual cottages. The favorite of my contact is the Loft Suite in the main inn, which has a terrace overlooking the pool from the third floor. My personal favorite is the Garden Deluxe Room, with a large soaking tub and a picture window overlooking the forest. Other options include the junior suites in May’s Annex, the poolside cottage, and four additional cottages on the water.  It’s worth noting that their Barn is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. The juxtaposition of fine dining in a barn setting is magical.  Rates start at $899 for entry level, farmhouse rooms.

Insider Scoop

  • Pet-friendly: No.
  • Bikes for use: Yes.
  • Being active: Good running path on the sidewalk next to the beach, plus walking trails at the Monastery property across the street.
  • Insider tip: Buzz to Buzz in the common area—open the antique clock and press the button to have someone come take your drink order.
  • Expert suggestion: Use your $100 credit on a class with Jess, the mixologist, or the in-house chef.

Start Packing
Ready to put the world on hold for a while? Contact me today to start planning your luxury getaway to Maine.

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