Relax at this boutique hotel on a Massachusetts island
Faraway Nantucket — Photo courtesy of Matt Kisiday
The Faraway Nantucket is a boutique hotel built from a cluster of 19th-century homes clustered on Center and India streets in downtown Nantucket. Like many large buildings here, at least one of Faraway’s collectives was the home of a whaling captain. The brutal industry that this small island, about 30 miles from mainland Massachusetts, dominated from the 1700s to the early 1800s brought great wealth here.
Nantucket’s beautifully preserved downtown features paved roads, a scourge to cars but so appealing to the eye, and red brick sidewalks. The city is so easy to navigate – past local businesses and some familiar national names; old art galleries, many of which exhibit the work of local artists; past bars and restaurants that cater to a population that grows from around 12,000 year-round to over 50,000 in the summer; and even the Whaling Museum on Broad Street, which recalls the island’s bloody past.
Far Nantucket is part of the growing hotel portfolio of Boston-based Blue Flag Partners, which has renovated five other adjoining properties from head to toe, each beautifully remodeled and placed under the Faraway boutique design umbrella.
As historic as these buildings are, the ambiance of the rooms is bright and modern. Elegantly patterned runners over the original parquet flooring in hallways and dark indigo ivy doors lead to spacious bedrooms. As many of the original fixtures as possible, including beautiful railings, have been retained during the renovation, which has been sensitively updated without losing the rich character of the original homes.
Room 417 in the grand Gate House, for example, is a spacious top-floor room with sloping ceilings and a grand entrance. Richly textured fabrics in eye-catching patterns cover two upholstered chairs, while a three-legged round Queen Anne style tea table is updated in a pale wood and the bed upholstered in white linen rests on a wavy pattern in cream and blue blanket. Blinds with a classic fabric printed with leaves and flowers warm up the beige and white background of the walls. A large fridge is concealed behind a curtain matching the blinds.
Faraway Nantucket Room 417 — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
This room not only has a lot of floor space, but also plenty of storage space: the original dressing room is complemented by a large wardrobe and a chest of drawers in light wood. Space is something that is repeated in the large tiled shower in the bathroom flooded with natural light.
The hotel is fully accessible and dog-friendly, and while it has a grown-up vibe perfect for couples and small groups, the Quadruple Room has fun bunk beds. In addition, one of the buildings is a family-friendly independent chalet with a full kitchen and a sumptuous living room with fireplace. Upstairs, the cottage has two large bedrooms and a bedroom with twin beds; a sleeper sofa downstairs provides additional sleeping arrangements. The cottage has its own small patio and a private path leads to Faraway’s lovely bustling courtyard, cafe and restaurant.
Faraway Nantucket Self-Contained Cottage — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
This restaurant, Sister Ship, is an island hotspot for both its late-night bar scene and restaurants.
Beautifully designed, a sultry interior — stained with dark inky blue paint and adorned with trinkets and well-worn old books — leads to a leafy courtyard that serves as an alfresco restaurant and lounge. During the day, coffee, teas and pastries are on offer, but it’s on the dinner menu that things start to move. In addition to local meats and fish and seafood, the menu of small and large plates is seasonally inspired and heavily focused on local treats.
Court of Faraway Nantucket — Photo courtesy of Matt Kisiday
The town’s beaches, including the children’s beach, which has a playground, are less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Faraway. But all of downtown is so easily walkable that you’ll wonder why the hostel is called Faraway. Nantucket is the Anglicized pronunciation of the Wampanoag people’s name for the island, which was occupied by the English in 1659 – the Wampanoag called it the Far Land.
Borrow a bike and explore the island — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
There’s no on-site parking, just street parking, but this town and the island are easily navigable without a car – borrow one of the Faraway bikes and explore the quieter coastline out of town. Additionally, the Steamship Authority Hy-Line high-speed passenger ferry cuts travel time from mainland Massachusetts from half an hour to just one hour, compared to the Steamship Authority car ferry. It also significantly reduces the cost. The island is served by several national airlines, especially in high season.