It used to be, when traveling to Kennebunkport Maine, that there was only one luxe hotel to check into: Relais & Chateaux property, The White Barn Inn. The rest were (and to some extent, still are) all stuffy mansions and frilly Bed & Breakfasts. Then came Hidden Pond in 2009 (see my earlier post and review on this self-proclaimed “beach resort”) to shake things up a bit. Now, another luxe hotel – the Tides Beach Club  – has entered the scene and it just so happens to be the sister property to Hidden Pond.

It used to be, when traveling to Kennebunkport Maine, that there was only one luxe hotel to check into: Relais & Chateaux property, The White Barn Inn. The rest were (and to some extent, still are) all stuffy mansions and frilly Bed & Breakfasts.

Then came Hidden Pond in 2009 (see my earlier post and review on this self-proclaimed “beach resort”) to shake things up a bit. Now, another luxe hotel – the Tides Beach Club  – has entered the scene and it just so happens to be the sister property to Hidden Pond.

I should point out that Tides Beach Club is not actually new. In fact this turn-of-the-century Victorian inn, enviously located across 3-mile stretch of Goose Rocks Beach,  has been accommodating guests since 1899 .  Under new management (The Kennebunkport Resort Collection – which is changing the hotel landscape in the resort town), the inn received a badly needed interior renovation in 2011.

The new interiors are designed with a contemporary coastal flavor  (and from what I can see an assortment of Oomph and Bungalow 5 furnishings) featuring 21 guest rooms in soothing seaside tones, and public spaces featuring woven rugs, retro beach house accessories and comfy couches. Two suites, aptly named Ocean and Sea, were furnished by Jonathan Adler.  Add a wonderful restaurant and bar, a wrap-around veranda for leisurely lounging, a host of activities such as paddle boarding, bike excursions and kayaking with the hotel’s fitness guru, and access to sister property Hidden Pond’s offerings of    spa (Tree Spa), restaurants (from its own organic garden) and nightly bonfires… and you have a winner.

Thank you to Romi Howard, travel aficionado extraordinaire and past Inviato contributor for her review below of the hotel, which she visited just recently with friends. She was so enthusiastic about their experience, she sent over a review immediately upon her return.

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Review:

“We were going to visit our daughters in Maine for visiting day and the thought of staying at one of those chain motels nearby the camp was exceptionally unappealable particularly since we had tried it one time and they were dirty, dowdy and depressing. We went with another couple whose daughters were at camp as well and were looking forward to some adult fun and relaxation prior to visiting day.

I heard the Tides Beach Club had recently been renovated. My family used to stay there prior to it being renovated and had fond childhood memories. However, it was in need of a major overhaul.  We were cautiously optimistic when just a week prior to our arrival there was a blurb in Departures magazine touting its Jonathan Adler-accented rooms and boho chic vibe, unusual for Maine accommodations. Needless to say we were thrilled with hotel.

What We Loved:

So many to mention but here I go:

  • The main lobby area with accompanying bar and restaurant is subtlety chic, cozy and charming. Very well appointed furniture but not too fussy – makes you want to just endlessly hang out with a book or cocktails.
  • The food: fresh and delicious. The continental breakfast included with your room rate is full of fresh baked goods, homemade granola , yogurts , fruits and frittatas. The croissants are delicious!
  • The rooms:  All accented with Jonathan Adler touches. Beautifully appointed and very seaside chic. The beds are ridiculously comfortable.  Malin & Goetz products in the bathrooms were a nice touch.
  • The inclusive access to sister hotel, Hidden Ponds, including free car service shuttle between properties is great. The recently opened (2011) farm-to-table restaurant at Hidden Pond “Earth” was fantastic –  set in an amazing ambience serving delicious foods made with local, organic ingredients.
  • The bar: Cocktail hour was great. The staff poured fun drinks, were exceptionally attentive and gave helpful suggestions.
  • The proximity to the white powdery beach (Goose Rocks), right across the street, is worth the stay alone.  Comfortable chairs, umbrellas and amenities are at your beck and call along with the Beach Tenders (beach service staff)
  • The service was fantastic. Miles and Erin, in particular, really go out of their way to make you feel at home and make sure that all your requests and needs are met.

What We Didn’t Love:

  • There are no safes in the room!
  • Little drawer or closet space for your belongings. No rack to place your luggage.
  • Charging $45 for use of the stand-up paddle boards where they are most often free in all other luxury resorts seems excessive.
  • Rooms can be on the small side.

Don’t Miss:

  • Dinner at the new open-air restaurant, Earth, at sister property Hidden Ponds is a must-do (see feature photo).
  • Cocktails hour on either the porch or at the bar.
  • Ramp Bar & Grill on the pier at Cape Porpoise Harbor is a worthwhile stop.
An impressive collection at the bar

Skip:

The kitschy town of Kennebunkport. Go once. You won’t need to go again.

Tips:

Book room #304, which is the only standard room with a king-size bed with direct ocean-view views (all other rooms with direct ocean views have queen size beds).

Tides Beach Club is best for couples, or with older children. For younger families, go to Hidden Pond.

Would you return/recommend it to a friend?

Absolutely! Already booked our rooms for next July.

Room rates at the Tides Beach Club  begin at $305 a night. Click here to check availability. 

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