This Quaint Maryland Beach Town Is Home to an Ultra-stylish Boutique Hotel

The Wildset Hotel in the historic town of St. Michael's provides a relaxing retreat for travelers looking for a small-town getaway.

Exterior of The Wildset Hotel
Photo: Maya Oren

St. Michael's, Maryland, has everything a small vacation town needs: walkable streets with restaurants, bakeries, and kitschy nautical shops; a waterfront lined with historic homes and cobblestones; and plenty of spots to enjoy a refreshing beverage after a day spent on the water.

With just over 1,000 full-time residents, St. Michael's draws tourists in with its slow travel atmosphere and unique history (it's known as "the town that fooled the British" thanks to a few ingenious townspeople who crafted quite the diversion during the War of 1812) and enviable location on the Chesapeake Bay.

It's undoubtedly doable as a day trip destination from Baltimore or Washington, D.C. (each is about an hour and a half drive away), but a weekend stay in this charming town should be on your to-do list. Overnight visitors have an array of available accommodation options, but there's a new kid on the block that should be top of mind: The Wildset Hotel.

Interior of guest room at The Wildset Hotel on the Maryland coast
Maya Oren

The 34-room boutique hotel, located on North Talbot Street, the town's main drag, opened in July 2021 after a head-to-toe renovation. The property is spread across four different buildings, each dating back to the 19th century. Its main building began as a schoolhouse, transformed into a private residence in 1871, and finally turned into the hotel it is today.

Interior of guest room at The Wildset Hotel on the Maryland coast
Maya Oren

Though the original structure and Victorian porch remain, the main building now comes with plenty of modern upgrades. That includes many of the hotel's rooms, which boast ultra-calming decor thanks to hand-crafted tiles, aged brass, antique and custom furniture, wide plank oak floors, and airy, neutral tones.

Interior of guest room at The Wildset Hotel on the Maryland coast
Maya Oren

Los Angeles-based interior design group Kathryn Lager Design Studio is responsible for the distinctly cool-yet-coastal, rustic-meets-modern details and wild marsh-inspired color palette that define the guest rooms and common spaces. One of the most visually impactful aspects of the property is the main building's mural, a series of swimmers painted by artist Lenora Yerke.

Due to the nature of the historic buildings, each guest room is slightly different; most have freestanding fireplaces, many have private porches or balconies, and a few have soaking tubs. All are outfitted with Grown Alchemist products and supremely cozy bathrobes.

Room service is not offered, but guests won't go hungry. There's a coffee shop in the main building, and every morning, a sumptuous spread of fruit, yogurt, granola, and fresh pastries is laid out for guests (which is included in your resort fee). You're welcome to eat on the porch or bring your breakfast haul back to your room for a more leisurely start to the day.

Dinner menu and water glasses at Ruse, apart of The Wildset Hotel
Maya Oren

Guests can also dine in the hotel's restaurant, Ruse, defined as a "reimagined take on the traditional eastern shore dining experience." It's open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday — and you'll want to come ready for multiple cocktails to pair with plenty of seafood. Chef Michael Correll's seasonally evolving menu centers around locally available items, including oysters and shellfish from the Chesapeake. Allie Balin heads up the cocktail and wine program; those familiar with the culinary scene may know her as the co-founder of Nashville's Henrietta Red.

Small appetizer plates at Ruse
Maya Oren

If you have room after filling up on piping-hot baguettes with melty butter, blue crab rangoons, and any of the menu's mouthwatering mains, it's time for s'mores. Grab your kit — with graham crackers, marshmallows, and milk chocolate — at the front desk and head back to the lawn chairs surrounding the firepit to roast as many as you'd like before calling it a night on your dreamy little getaway.

Rooms at The Wildset Hotel start at $139 a night; head to thewildset.com for more information or to book your visit.

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