Arrival/Check-In: White Elephant Hotel isn’t a drive-to destination, so the check-in process begins upon arrival at the airport or ferry terminal, where a designated shuttle awaits incoming guests. My husband, Kevin, and I arrived via scheduled ferry for the final weekend of the season — Nantucket Stroll, an island-wide holiday celebration. It was the first weekend in December, and the ferry crossing from Hyannis to Nantucket was a pleasant, albeit chilly, trip. We’ve visited Nantucket in spring, summer and fall, but this was our first winter weekend, and I felt a bit of a thrill as the ferry rounded the bend into the harbor, passing by the wreath-laden Brant Point Lighthouse. The shuttle driver was ready and waiting at baggage claim. We hopped into the warm vehicle for the quick ride to the hotel. Check-in was quick. We were in our room within minutes of arrival.
Guest Quarters: The private deck outside the sitting area of our first-floor guestroom faced the adjacent private home; we enjoyed an around-the-corner view of the harbor. It was too chilly to spend time on the deck, but we realized we’d prefer this location even in summer. The harbor view may not be direct, but the privacy factor trumps a direct harbor-view room.
Our king suite opened to a welcoming vestibule. A dressing room and large closet on the right led to a small but functional bathroom. We walked straight through the vestibule to a sitting area with a couch and desk on the left and a comfortable chair set in the far right corner. On the immediate right, a large, flat-screen television sat atop a cabinet housing the minibar. The separate bedroom was large and welcoming with a king-sized bed furnished with lush linens.
Services/Amenities: White Elephant Hotel is open seasonally from mid-April through Christmas Stroll weekend. Although our visit coincided with the final weekend of the season, service was top-notch. We’re not big on dressing for breakfast, so we definitely appreciated the complimentary morning coffee and pastry service. I donned yoga pants and a T-shirt to grab the equivalent of a continental breakfast we enjoyed en suite. The hotel is within easy walking distance of Nantucket’s town center, so we strolled back and forth to shop, dine and check out special weekend events. That said, we were thrilled to learn about the complimentary shuttle service on one night when we were running very late for dinner — on a weekend when restaurants book months in advance.
The Experience: As I understand it, White Elephant got its name because it was once considered a “white elephant” in the sense of the slang meaning for a useless possession. If that’s true, this “white elephant” is living large. It’s a gorgeous property offering 5-star service. The 2013 season kicked off in mid-April, just in time for Nantucket’s annual Daffodil Festival.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality bed linens
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Complimentary bottled water
- Stocked minibar
- Ample lighting
- In-room coffeemaker
- Iron and ironing board
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
- State-of-the-art fitness center
White Elephant Hotel
50 Easton St.
Nantucket, MA 02554
tel 508 228 2500
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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