Top 30 Northeastern Hotels: Readers’ Choice Awards 2021

Why did this hotel grab your attention? What’s the vibe?
I have stayed at the White Barn Inn at least 13 times in my life and will never forget the first time I drove there. It was 5pm and my boyfriend and I were there, but about to be late for dinner in the dining room at 6pm. We had called ahead, told them we were in a rush, and needed a few minutes to get ready for dinner in my room. When we arrived there were three men there: one to take my hand, one to take all the luggage; one to bring my boyfriend to check us in.

What is the backstory?
It’s not for nothing that the White Barn Inn has received just about every hospitality and dining award possible, endless applause from regional magazines, and AAA Five Diamonds for a place on the Gold List of the traveler. Previously appointed as a Relais & Châteaux member, in 2013 he joined Grace Hotels and then Auberge Resorts Collection. Meanwhile, since its opening in 1973, it has attracted couples seeking enchantment and celebrities seeking discretion. On the latter, the perfectly professional staff are definitely silent, but be aware that there have been many here. And they indulged in everything the decadent property has to offer: infamously rich lobster fettuccine with a brandy butter brandy sauce; the 90-minute Himalayan salt stone massage at the spa; hand-wrapped picnic baskets for beach picnics at sunrise (or sunset). All.

Tell us all about the accommodations. Any advice on what to book? There are three levels of accommodation: guest rooms, suites and lodges. In the Junior Suite, the most impressive of the rooms I have stayed in, the details are really taken care of – decadent fabrics on the king bed (and at every turn, from the cushions to the window treatments), fresh flowers, a bed double fireplace and a spa-like bathroom with whirlpool for two.

Is there a charge for Wi-Fi?
The resort charges a daily fee of $ 35 in low season and $ 40 in summer, which is added to the room rate, and includes Wi-Fi.

Food and drink: what are we looking at?
Jonathan Cartwright was the first chef to put the 19th century barn on the culinary radar screen of the United States and made it a destination restaurant. He was brought in by the inn’s original owner, and he led the effort to turn Maine ingredients and rustic specialties into exhilarating dishes. These days, that honor goes to Chef Matthew Padilla, who took Cartwright’s place and rose to the occasion. At dinner, when jackets are a must, that means tasting menus full of exaggerated luxurious creations such as foie gras au torchon with strawberries and fennel jam. It serves its own take on Cartwright’s signature dish, lobster fettuccine in a brandy sauce; it’s now a lobster and morel linguine with carrots and Calabrian pepper. Everything is elegantly served on white linen-covered, candle-lit tables under exposed beams lit by spotlights, adorned with works of art, American crafts and farm implements. At breakfast (which is included if guests book the ‘bed and breakfast’ rate), there are entrees like Lobster Eggs Benedict and custom omelets that arrive with a delicious side of potatoes à la la. duck fat.

How was the service? Starting with the formal yet warm welcome from your car when you arrive to the easy check-in and charming banter when shown to your room, the service is superb. The staff come from all over the world and have extensive experience in high-level international hospitality. Plus, they’re really excited about the experience the property has to offer, and it shows in details like their knowledge of the champagne map and recommendations for hikes in the area. And the concierge arranges virtually anything your heart desires, whether it’s a private bike tour around the Kennebunks beaches, a hot air balloon ride, a cooking class, or a private dinner. in the restaurant’s wine cellar.

What kind of travelers will you find here?
The majority of guests are couples of all ages who, if not actively participating in a courtship ritual, are on a romantic getaway. When groups do appear, it is often to celebrate a graduation ceremony or a distinguished family reunion.

And the neighborhood? Does the hotel fit in?
Aside from the relative frenzy of downtown Kennebunk and Kennebunkport (in the summer, Dock Square is full of families looking for ice cream and fried clams, bathers, and window shopping), the Inn sits quietly in its beautiful residential area. If there wasn’t a little white sign at the end of the driveway, you might not even know it’s here, passing the nearby beach. That said, a 15-minute walk or five-minute bike ride from the hostel will immerse you in the rest of the city action.

Is there anything you would change?
What is most remarkable about The White Barn Inn is the extent to which they seem to have thought of everything. Fresh flowers in the hallways; free shipping in the living room; the soothing repertoire played every evening by the pianist in the dining room; umbrellas held for guests upon arrival; relaxing massages at the spa. You come out of a stay here wondering why all of life can’t be so seamless. It is almost impossible to imagine anything that needs to change.

Are there any other features of the hotel to note?
The daily resort fee of $ 35 includes not only Wi-Fi, but a continental breakfast, afternoon tea and snacks, bikes, and pool access.

Conclusion: is it worth it? Why?
Not only is it worth it, but don’t be surprised to find yourself eagerly planning your next visit. And until then, think back to how happy your stay was, with all of its special touches, exemplary food and almost clairvoyant service.

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