Hotels in Maine

There’s precious little glitz to this New England classic. An immaculate lawn, scattered with Adirondack chairs, slopes towards the sea. A gravel path winds through permaculture gardens to reach pebble-strewn Crescent Beach.

The coast doesn’t have a monopoly on Maine romance. Snuggle in a shared sleeping bag or cozy up in front of the woodstove at these off-the-grid mountain cabins, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Granite workers from a nearby quarry used to bunk at this delightfully simple rooming house, which overlooks a narrow spit between two coves in Andrew Wyeth country. Stay in one of the bright rooms in the main house or in the peaceful former chapel.

A historic inn right in the middle of the harbor town of Camden, Hartstone is actually a cluster of handsome buildings with views of the dramatic Camden Hills.

I’ve heard it said that the turreted, stone façade of the Norumbega Inn is the most photographed spot in Maine. I have my doubts, but it doesn’t seem like a stretch to put it in the top ten. The soaring seaside B&B was built in 1986 and modeled on the great castles of Europe.

Couples massage in the spa? Champagne and strawberries upon arrival? Dinner for two in the French-influenced, five-star dining room (which, btw, is a timber-framed barn)? Or maybe just a wicker basket packed for a beach picnic?

Enjoy fresh flowers and fruit in your room upon check in, Jacuzzi tubs and rain showers in marble and granite bathrooms, and complimentary bikes and canoes with which to explore surrounding Kennebunk and the coast.

Inland Maine isn’t known for its elegant accommodations, but Blair Hill is the conspicuous exception to the rule. A grand hillside mansion on a fieldstone foundation, the hotel overlooks the mountain-ringed Moosehead Lake.

Marble bathrooms, massive windows, and radiant floor heating are the sort of touches you can expect in the coastal-inspired rooms and suites of the Cape Arundel Inn. Ocean restaurant features lauded French-inspired cuisine and sea views at every table.

This grand dame of the Kennebunkport waterfront opened as a luxury hotel more than a century ago and has seen four generations of family management. A private beach, heated saltwater pool, and an eighteen-hole putting green are among The Colony’s more indulgent facilities.

A Relais & Châteaux property, Camden Harbour Inn is one part stately New England Brahmanism and one part Euro-chic refinement.  The view of Camden Harbor is quintessentially Maine, while the high-design suites, personal butler services, and James Beard–recognized restaurant ooze worldly

An on-call launch service takes you out to a tiny mound of windswept granite, a half-mile off of (car-accessible) Southport Island. There, you settle in to one of two ocean-view suites with king beds and marble baths.

Peaks lives a weird double-life. It’s a commuter’s island—more than half its year-round residents ride the 15-minute ferry into Portland for work—but it also hosts waves of summer tourists, who come for art galleries, beaches, and wooded trails.

If there’s a lovelier wraparound porch in all of Maine, I haven’t found it. This restored Greek Revival inn was built in the 1920s on the largest island in Casco Bay, a 15-minute hop from the mainland.

Isle Au Haut is one of the great secrets of the National Park System, a trail-covered annex of Acadia National Park to the north that sees a fraction of the visitors, since the only way to reach it is via a spottily scheduled mail boat.