December 2017

Hygge hideaways: check into the coziest hotels in New England

As devotees of the Danish concept of coziness known as hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), we fully embrace this lifestyle as a pampering path to happiness. Through each season, hygge celebrates natural elements, simple pleasures, and creature comforts, like the relaxing glow of candlelight or the bliss of a bubble bath. In a word, aah.

Garnet Hill’s culture is rooted in the same everyday ease and enjoyment that’s integral to hygge; that’s partly why it resonates so strongly with us. Through our designs, we hope you’ve added this cozy, happy vibe to your closet and to your home … and now we’d like to help you add it to your travel experiences.

The diverse, delightful states that make up New England entice visitors from near and far. As a New Hampshire-based company, we know the area especially well. So as we embrace winter, the season hygge is best known for, we’re sharing a list of the coziest hotels in which to rest and recharge in our corner of the world.


Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Just south of bustling Portland, Inn by the Sea is a quiet retreat with a dreamy setting overlooking Crescent Beach, a one-mile swath of sand, shells, and sea glass. Nationally recognized for its green practices, the hotel masterfully blends exceptional service, understated luxury, and environmental preservation—so Mother Nature benefits from your stay almost as much as you do.

The main inn and surrounding structures house just 61 rooms and suites, most with views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the hotel’s immaculate lawn, dotted with gorgeous gardens and white Adirondack chairs in the warm months.

Designed for both couples and families, Inn by the Sea entices with all manner of indulgences, from a massage-for-two in the LEED-certified spa to the warmth and camaraderie of making s’mores around a nightly fire pit; its three-meal-a-day restaurant, Sea Glass, serves up fresh, local produce and seafood alongside an incredible ocean view. Back in your room, spoil yourself with curated comforts like a plush robe and luxe bedding; many accommodations have extra-cozy touches, too, including heated floors, an oversized tub, dimmers on light switches, and a gas fireplace…and some rooms and suites are dog-friendly, so your four-legged companion can cozy-up right next to you.


Manchester Village, Vermont

Dating back to 1769, The Equinox has had various incarnations over the centuries, including stints as Marsh Tavern, Thaddeus Munson’s New Inn, and The Orvis Hotel. It’s now a Luxury Collection property, with a well-earned reputation for extraordinary hospitality, there-when-you-need-it service, and unique amenities and activities.

Spanning 17 structures, with around 150 rooms and suites, this isn’t a small hotel, but it manages to maintain an intimate feel, in part, because of its proximity to the center of Manchester Village, a charming place framed by quintessential Vermont beauty, with historic homes, evergreen trees, and Equinox Mountain rising in the distance.

This hotel will keep you as busy as you desire. In the winter, nearby adventures include downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating, dog-sledding, sleigh-riding, snow-shoeing, snow tubing, and snow mobiling; back at the hotel, you can take classes at the studio and fitness center, enjoy a treatment at the spa, and swim laps in the serene 75-foot year-round heated indoor pool before taking your pick from five different on-site dining venues. (Whew.) Nestled back in your room, warm up under a lofty down comforter on your pillow-top mattress as you recover from a fun-filled day; some accommodations include an electric fireplace and Jacuzzi® tub for an extra dose of pampering.


New Castle, New Hampshire

One of New Hampshire’s few remaining grand dame hotels, Wentworth by the Sea first opened its doors in 1874. In the many, many decades since, this oceanfront enclave has perfected the art of a gracious stay. Just after the turn of the most recent century, an extensive 30-million-dollar restoration returned the hotel to its former glory and added all manner of modern comforts and conveniences.

Wentworth’s 161 rooms and suites are located in the main building and a collection of villas at the marina; the most unusual accommodations are certainly the bi-level Officer’s Suites located in the three original Victorian turrets that crown the historic main building. Each commands incredible ocean views and peeks at distant mountain peaks in the opposite direction.

Take the plunge in the indoor pool, head to the spa for a Duet Massage with someone special, and keep hunger at bay at Wentworth’s two acclaimed restaurants, Salt Kitchen & Bar and Latitudes Waterfront; if you stay over a Sunday, make sure to enjoy Bubbles & Jazz Brunch, a can’t-miss event that combines mouth-watering delicacies, lots of champagne, and live jazz. When cozy calls, slip back to your room or suite and sink into your heavenly bed; some accommodations have a marble whirlpool or Jacuzzi® tub, radiant heat floors, faux candles in decorative lanterns, and a gas fireplace.


Boston, Massachusetts

This city-center hotel is conveniently located in Boston’s Back Bay, close to Newbury Street, Copley Plaza, and Prudential Center, as well as a T subway stop, giving you easy access to the entire city. Built in 1906, the family-owned Lenox considers itself the original boutique hotel, and is committed to offering unique and very personal service, like a hand-written welcome letter waiting for you upon arrival. It also makes it a point to be as sustainable as possible, earning many awards for its environmental commitments, from recycling bins in each guest room to 100-percent offset of its energy use.

A 35-million dollar renovation has brought the glamour back to the Lenox. Its dapper lobby instantly sets a grand mood with a crackling fire, shiny marble floors, and sparkling chandeliers; upstairs, 214 rooms and suites wait to greet guests with a dependably comfy respite from the lively metropolis just outside.

The Lenox has a small gym and three dining venues; as a city hotel, it doesn’t need more than that. Here, it’s all about the accommodations, and each room and suite is outfitted with a remarkably comfortable bed and special touches like a bathroom cast in Italian marble (speaking of special touches, its hypo-allergenic rooms have an air purifier and down-alternative bedding); best of all, some rooms and suites have a wood-burning fireplace—upon request, a perfect fire will be built for you.


Old Saybrook, Connecticut

Commanding a sweet spot on the shores of Saybrook Point, this distinctive hotel overlooks a marina poised between Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River. Here, you’re promised a clever combination of northern extravagance and southern hospitality.

Saybrook Point Inn has 82 guest rooms and suites tucked away in its main inn and two guest houses (named Three Stories and Tall Tales, with cheerful architecture that seems straight out of a fairy tale), as well as a one-of-a-kind lighthouse suite, a stand-alone suite that’s a beacon at the end of the main dock.

There’s no excuse for boredom here. In the friendly town of Old Saybrook, pleasures await throughout the year, like walking “The Loop”, a scenic road dotted with grand trees and historic homes, and visiting “The Kate”, the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, a celebration of the life and legacy of the late actress, a beloved local in her day. Back at the eco-friendly hotel (one of 400 Energy Star-rated properties in the U.S.), recharge at Sanno Spa, delight in fine dining at the award-winning Fresh Salt, and burn calories at the gym or indoor pool before retiring to your room. Plush bathrobes come standard as does the refreshing sea air; some suites have aah-some extras like a luminary fireplace, fine European linens, heated floors, a full-body spray shower, and even a roof-top fire pit.


Newport, Rhode Island

Wish you had a friend with a sprawling vacation home next to the sea? Well, now you do. Castle Hill Inn is a coastal oasis in tony Newport, nestled atop on 40-acre peninsula where Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet. A historic oceanfront estate—built in 1875 as a gracious, shingle-style summer home for Harvard University marine biologist and naturalist Alexander Agassiz—it welcomes guests with extraordinary attention to detail and personalized service, along with equal parts relaxation, romance, and adventure.

The Inn is comprised of a mere 33 rooms, suites, and beach cottages. Each accommodation option offers the individuality you’d expect from a private home (there’s no cookie-cutter hotel décor here), along with perks like a full gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea.

Spend your days blissfully strolling the private beach and exploring the rocky enclave, a favorite escape for actress Grace Kelly. Get pampered at The Retreat at Castle Hill Farmaesthetics, a spa sanctuary using products based on a classic herbal formulation made with organic herbs and flowers from American family farms. Enjoy an exquisite culinary experience at The Dining Room, the elegant on-site restaurant featuring fresh, local ingredients.

Of course, we don’t blame you if you stay put in your room, especially considering that some are outfitted with feel-good delights like a chaise lounge in front of a gas jet fireplace (grab a good book!), an oversized soaking tub with ocean views (grab some bubble bath!), even a love seat by a bay window (grab your true love!).

Kristyn Lak Miller is a freelance Garnet Hill writer based in Portsmouth, NH.

2 responses to “Hygge hideaways: check into the coziest hotels in New England”

  1. Ann Margo says:

    Descriptions are so vivid. I like the historical perspective, the multi service aspects and the eco touch. Excellent writing! Thoroughly enjoyed this article.

  2. Dick says:

    Excellent article!

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