You’ve gotta love Maine! “The way life should be”… Vacationland… home of lobsters and lighthouses and long coastline (longer than California’s)! Maine has a certain magic, authentic and genuine from the people – Mainahs – to the pretty places – seaside villages and secluded harbors. Here are our favorite luxury places to stay in Maine…and by luxury we don’t mean “fancy” or “pricey” but unique, relaxed, hospitable, happy…
The Cliff House is a most dramatic setting, and posh resort – clinging to Bald Head Cliff on the border between York and Ogunquit. This striking setting has been home to a hotel for over a century – and recent upgrades to Cliff House Resort and Spa make it special, especially by Maine standards. Check in, and check out the infinity edge pool and hot tub overlooking the bold Atlantic. From Cliff House, you can explore the beaches of York and Ogunquit, the art colony and boutiques of Perkins Cove and Ogunquit village. Take a boat ride for an ocean view perspective of this grand hotel perched on the Cliff. Savor cocktails and lobster back at the serene resort after exploring the southern Maine coast including 1897 Nubble Light – the most photographed lighthouse in Maine!
Luxury tip – don’t miss a Rum Punch at Barnacle Billy’s (just one- pretty potent!) in Perkins Cove, and live piano bar music upstairs at The Front Porch- it’s a gay old time!
We love Kennebunkport so much, we call it home! Summer retreat for presidents and celebs, beautiufl; sandy beaches, but a real salty vibe besides in the working harbors of Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Our favorite hotel is waterfront – of course – The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel in the heart of K’port. This swank setting has a bird’s eye view from your private deck of the bustling Kennebunk River and harbor, and you are steps to Dock Square shops, the best happy hour bars and dining spots!
Beach lovers should stay on Kennebunk Beach at Seaside Inn– a 9th generation family owned property with private beach access. Not fancy, but the focal point beach, outdoor ocean view hot tub and homemade breakfast in the 1850 Boathouse make it delightful. Ride a complimentary bike to town for shopping and dining, and sleeps to the sound of the ocean and smell of salty air.
Luxury tip – Stripers Waterside at the Breakwater Inn & Spa is the place for happy hour and sunset overlooking the ocean with a cocktail in hand! Drive, walk or bike out to Walker’s Point along Ocean Ave to see the grand “summer cottages “of Kennebunkport, the home of the Bush family and two US Presidents, and “Anchor to Windward” – a beautiful monument and gift from the townspeople to their beloved #41.
Portland Casco Bay
Portland Maine is great big little city! A beautiful working waterfront, an Old Port with cobblestone streets and some of the trendiest chefs anywhere – Portland is cool! Downtown Portland has several chain hotels – Marriot, Hyatt, Westin, Hilton.
But in Casco Bay, we love the islands for a truly special getaway. Hop on a Casco Bay ferry, or go by boat to Chebeague Island Inn or Inn at Diamond Cove on Diamond Island. Sleeping on an island is special – surrounded by the sea, life slows to a leisure pace, no cars, no cares… just ocean view paths, and bikes, and bites of the freshest seafood and lobster.
Boothbay Harbor and Midcoast Maine is arguably where the real coast begins…
Seaside towns like Boothbay and Wiscasset, Rockland, Rockport and Camden are stunning, with everything you need- and none of life’s stuff that you don’t. A few mid Maine favorites are sister-properties Linekin Bay Resort and the quieter Newagen Seaside Inn on Southport Island.
Linekin Bay Resort has a fantastic location, with sweeping ocean views out to Linekin and Boothbay Harbor. This century-old resort harkens back to “camp days” with its all-inclusive lodging in cabins (modern and luxe however) and all the toys you can enjoy – sail, paddleboard, kayak, swim in the heated salt water pool, breakfast and dinner is part of the package too- always with a water view!
Newagen Seaside Resort is the more demure sister, a relaxed Inn with protected water views from the sweeping lawn, hotel style lodging, a pool, bikes to ride around Southport Island, and a wonderful old-school Pine Room building filled with billiards, candlepin bowling, pingpong and other classic “indoor games” (read: no electronics). Newagen’s summer lobster bakes outside with local music and s’mores by the campfire are a highlight at this quiet 20-acre resort.
Luxury tip: For the freshest lobster, right off the boats in this picturesque harbor, go to Robinson’s Wharf by the Cape Newagen Swing Bridge connection to Boothbay to Southport Island. Picnic tables and daily picked lobster for lunch or dinner – it doesn’t get more Maine than this, watching the lobstermen unload their haul at the dock and the outdoor cook steaming your lobster dinner – winner!
Continuing up coast, referred to as Down East, are seaside gems of Camden, Castine- out on a spectacular peninsula, Blue Hill – tucked in a protective cove surrounded by beautiful bluish hills, and of course – Mount Desert Island – home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. See more on Visiting Maine, Vacationland.