Nantucket is a charming New England island off the coast of Massachusetts that is the inspiration behind so many iconic images of New England summers. Lighthouses, beaches, cobblestone streets, weathered shingled houses with white trim, Nantucket has it all, including a lovely iconic hotel.
Nantucket is an easy ferry ride from Hyannis, Massachusetts in Cape Cod. The large passenger ferries have a café, televisions, and Wi-Fi to keep children entertained for the one-hour ride.
Summer is its high season, drawing its seasonal residents to their second or third home in addition to tourists from the Fourth of July until Labor Day. The season begins late April with the island’s Daffodil Festival and the year informally ends at First Stroll, an annual holiday event the first weekend in December. The best bargain months are April and November.
The Nantucket Hotel and Resort is absolutely the best choice for families on an island of boutique inns and bed and breakfast style accommodations. Here’s why.
The Ferry Shuttle Starts the Vacation Off Immediately
First, your family vacation begins the second you disembark the Nantucket ferry. The hotel staff member collects Nantucket Hotel guests in a vintage school bus from the 1930s. It’s charming, it’s hip, and it sets the tone for what’s to come. The couple who owns the Nantucket Hotel is interested in offering a unique guest experience.
The Family Suites
The rooms at the Nantucket Hotel are designed for family comfort. The majority are suites with hide-a-bed sofas, hidden Murphy beds under televisions, full kitchens and bathrooms beautifully decorated in casual New England beach chic. The ubiquitous blue whale will greet you as a bathtub toy, on the walls in the art, on the bed’s pillows.
A mechanical whale hangs behind the front desk of the lobby. Every child who passes pushes the red button at the front desk to make the mechanical whale will wag his tail and open its mouth. The whale symbolizes the whaling industry that built this community in the 18th century.
The Family Extras at the Nantucket Hotel
There are many family-friendly amenities on site that make the Nantucket Hotel a better choice for families. First there is a kids’ club in the basement next to billiards tables. Family programming has varying hours depending on the season. There’s a heated family pool as well as an adult pool next to the health club.
There is a nightly s’mores party, too, and cookies and lemonade are served in the afternoons. The Nantucket Hotel’s rate plan includes breakfast buffet except during summer’s high season. The restaurant on site is wonderful at pleasing parent and child palettes.
Great for Family Nights In
There’s not a lot of exciting nightlife in family travel. Fortunately, there’s a movie library shelf in the lobby where my children selected DVDs to watch. As we settled into our living room for the night after walks around town, we were delighted that the front desk also had bags of microwave popcorn. The hotel owners personally stock the books in every guestroom’s library, so you might find a book you had meant to read last summer, if another viewing of “Lady and the Tramp” isn’t your thing.
Vintage Fire Truck Rides
The ultimate family experience for younger guests at the Nantucket Hotel is the daily ride in a vintage fire truck. The owners love vintage cars (just like the bus that picks you up at the ferry), and the vintage fire truck sits outside the hotel like its mascot.
Families board the back and snuggle under blankets in cooler weather for the daily rides around the island’s beaches, playgrounds, and the main drag. There’s nothing more fun for the kids than pulling the rope that rings the bell, alerting every person shopping in town, walking a dog, or planting flowers that they are, indeed, riding in a fire truck.
The Nantucket Hotel is beautifully designed with original art throughout that is engaging enough for children to take interest. You can see more of our photos of the Nantucket Hotel, its Ritz Cracker painting, and the pool area in my other review.