(July 23, 2015 - Travel Weekly)
In the 19th century, Nantucket blossomed into one of the richest towns in the country thanks to a thriving whaling industry. Two centuries later, the island channels its lucrative past by being one of America's most luxurious vacation destinations.
Nantucket Island Resorts owns properties that are continually ranked among the nicest on the island by publications such as Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. The White Elephant, located on the Nantucket Harbor waterfront and minutes from the center of town, has been a landmark since its establishment in the 1920s. With its 67 guestrooms, suites, cottages and lofts, the property offers a variety of quaint yet elegant accommodations.
Those who want the experience of staying in a private home without sacrificing a resort's amenities will be satisfied down the road in one of the apartment-like residences at the White Elephant Village. I stayed in a one-bedroom residence, which, in addition to the spacious bedroom with Pratesi linens and chic bathroom, boasted a separate living room, kitchen and semiprivate porch.
The two properties share some amenities, such as priority access to the White Elephant Spa and dining onsite at the Brant Point Grill. Other amenities, like the heated outdoor pool at the village and the White Elephant's expansive Harborside Lawn, are limited to guests of the resort itself.
Docked directly in front of the White Elephant's lawn are several Hinckley yachts, owned by Barton & Gray Mariners Club. The White Elephant has a partnership with the day-boating club, enabling guests at both properties to book half- and full-day excursions aboard the otherwise members-only yachts. The boats range in size from 36 to 44 feet and are powered by jet drives, rather than propellers, enabling the captains to anchor close to the beach. Picnicking on the beach is a popular activity, and passengers only have to wade through knee-deep water to reach land.
Barton & Gray can also bring cruisers across the harbor to Topper's, the restaurant at the White Elephant's sister property, the Wauwinet. (Free shuttles are available to the general public from the town center.) The oysters at Topper's, cultivated and harvested a few hundred yards off-site, are positively delightful. Served on a platter among seashells and seaweed and steaming with hot seawater, the dish looks straight out of "The Little Mermaid" and was light, fresh and absolutely delicious.
Rates at the White Elephant begin at $225. Visit www.nantucketislandresorts.com.
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