Visitors who want to be right on the beach—not next to it—choose the Cliffside. First opened as a private beach club during the 1900’s (a few of the existing buildings date to 1904), the property occupies a stretch of sand just west of Jetties Beach, cheerfully marked by the hotel’s signature yellow, green, and blue beach umbrellas. The 27 rooms and suites here aren’t particularly fashionable; the 17 Beach Club rooms, in particular, have unbeachy dark-brown carpeting, wood paneling, and leather couches (although they do have water views). The nine Gold Coast rooms, set inside old bathhouses, are a bit brighter, and still retain some historic elements (wood beams, sloping white-painted ceilings). All, however, share the same access to the chichi on-site restaurant and nightspot, The Galley, and all are just a hop, skip, and jump from the crashing surf.
Tip: The Cliffside is the only hotel on Nantucket that caters to fitness fanatics; in 2006 the property added a 3,000-square-foot gym and lap pool.
Room to Book: The single stand-alone beach cottage—with beamed cathedral ceilings, huge windows, a kitchenette, and a private deck—is the property’s prettiest lodging.