Next to the reception desk of The Veranda House on Nantucket Island there’s a large photo from the 1880s of the bed and breakfast. It shows well-heeled guests hanging out on the namesake verandas, admiring the view of the historic town center and the waters of the Nantucket Sound beyond.
Since that photo was taken the fashions have changed. The quality of photographs has greatly improved. But guests today still hang out on those same verandas. They still enjoy the view of the town and the water. They are still drawn to the iconic lodgings by its history. The Veranda House, after all, was built in 1684 — by the time the photo was taken it had already earned its place as one of the island’s historic icons!
But here’s what’s cool about the historic Veranda House: It’s modern, hip and comfortable too.
At many bed and breakfasts, especially ones this old, the guest experience is akin to staying at your grandparent’s place. The Veranda House is not that. After extensive renovations in 2008, the walls are brightly painted (and have plenty of power outlets) and the lobby looks like it belongs in a newly-built boutique hotel. The 18 rooms have modern amenities too: rain shower heads, iPod docking stations, new plush beds and flatscreen televisions with DVD players among them. Some rooms have private patios; others have direct, but non private, veranda access.
The Veranda House pairs these luxurious surroundings with highly personalized service. The friendly folks at the front desk are expert at providing advice on exploring the rich offerings of the island — there’s even a special beach concierge service available. Also cool is the exclusive “Insider’s Guide” available in each room. Written by The Veranda House staff, it lists 15 great, affordable Nantucket Island activities. Our favorite: “Get a bike from Young’s, sandwiches from Bartlett’s, beer from Cisco brewers, then spend the day at the Cisco Beach.”
The cost for a stay at The Veranda House is on par with comparable accommodations around Nantucket. Which is to say, it’s expensive. Standard rates range from US$139 to $649 depending on the room and time of year. For a typical room during the summer expect to shell out more than $300 a night. Rates include a complimentary champagne pour, a lovely table service breakfast and in-room internet1.
First, consider staying at The Chapman House instead. It’s located literally a few steps from The Veranda House and has the same reception desk and staff. Rooms at The Chapman House don’t have the updated bathrooms with rain shower heads that Veranda’s do, but if anything they are larger and quieter. Chapman guests eat their breakfast in a garden (not on the Veranda’s patio) and serve themselves buffet style — but the exact same food is available. And rooms at The Chapman House are approximately 5% to 20% less expensive.
Second, definitely check out the hot deals page on The Veranda House’s website. It lists available discounts and package deals including, on occasion, complimentary high speed passenger ferry service to/from Hyannis Port2.
At any rate, a stay at The Veranda House offers an ideal mix of modern comforts and historic charm. But make sure to smile in any photo taken of you enjoying the verandas. After all, that photo might end up hanging in The Veranda House two centuries from now.
1 We were disappointed that The Veranda House did not include complimentary bicycle use, which costs an astronomical $27 per day at a rental shop in town. However, The Veranda House does offer bicycle storage and guests can get 10% discounts on rentals at some in-town businesses.
2 From the time of writing until July 2nd, two complimentary high speed ferry tickets were being offered for a three night stay, one ticket for a two night stay. This is no small perk — round-trip passage for one adult costs $77!
Planning your Veranda House stay
Where: The Veranda House is superbly located, about a five minute walk from Nantucket Town but on a side street away from noise.
When: It’s closed from sometime in October to sometime in May. Check directly with the hotel for specific dates.
If you go: The stairs up to the rooms are steep and narrow — and there’s no elevator. The Veranda House staff will gladly carry your luggage up and down, but the stair-challenged should definitely ask for a room on a lower floor.
Family friendly? No. Kids under 10 aren’t allowed and kids older than that aren’t catered to. Nantucket has many better options for families. The other side of that equation being that, for couples looking to escape children, The Veranda House is ideal.
For your bookshelf: Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket
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