The immaculate white homes with hunter green shutters and pristine lawns along North Water Street are simply sublime. Dotting the street one after the other, they evoke the feeling that you’ve left reality and stepped onto a Hollywood set. Just as the quiet beauty of Lighthouse Beach comes into view on the right, the Harbor View Hotel beckons your attention on the left. Newly renovated, the 128-year-old hotel is the quintessential blend of Martha’s Vineyard charm, warmth, and laid back vibes.
Ascending the hotel steps onto the expansive wraparound porch, the creaks of the wooden floorboards reminded me of summers spent in the South and Caribbean. During those hot days and breezy evenings I would talk and laugh with my family as day stretched to night. That sense of the familiar—the squeaky floorboards and the rocking chairs resting atop them— are a fitting opening statement about the experience of being at the Harbor View Hotel. Well-appointed and carefully curated, it still manages to feel cozy and warm, a place where you can exhale and really leave everyday life behind for a weekend. The sense of home continues in the lobby and as I walked I began to really relax and leave the frenetic energy of New York City behind. Plush couches and decor awash in coastal colors by Boston-based designer Peter Niemitz gave me the feel of being in an oversized family living room or in this case a summer home.
If the lobby invoked feelings of home at first step, Bettini Restaurant and Roxana Bar, helmed by executive chef Patrice Martineau, reminded me I wasn’t in my home kitchen. Luckily, I arrived just as lunch service was underway at Roxana Bar. I opted for the Maine Lobster Fried Rice, which was the perfect dish to tuck into after traveling all morning. Edie’s Cold Brew, with its Kahlua coffee liqueur and cold brew, was the right cocktail for a little pick me up. And because vacation is about indulgence, if only a little, the espresso crème brûlée topped with vanilla ice cream was the ideal coda to my meal. Order it and thank me later.
After lunch, I decided to check out my room which was located in what’s known as the Historic Building. With prices starting at $299 night, the hotel’s rooms are divided into several areas which also include The Amity (set to reopen in the spring) and more exclusive options like the Presidential Sky Room and the Captain’s Cottages.
Upon opening the door, I was immediately struck by the amount of light that filled the space. As a city-dweller light is sometimes a precious amenity to me—but in my room which faced Lighthouse Beach— every corner was bathed in sunlight. Whether it was sunrise or sunset, the consistency of light and beauty of the beach created moments of serenity and stillness. At times it prompted me to pause and at least once cancel the next thing on the trip itinerary. In the room nods to the island continue with nautical touches and used a native oak tree motif on the curtains, headboards and other spaces.
Still, no matter how nice the room, vacations are about getting out and Harbor View Hotel provided great options for both a chill day on the property and getting out into Edgartown. In the afternoon, I napped poolside. In the evening, I played game after game of cornhole with the excitement of a small child. When I did leave the grounds, the hotel provided several options.
With complimentary bikes available and no city traffic to worry about, I spent mornings meandering through Edgartown enjoying the gorgeous real estate and stopping by the beach. However, the real perk that elevated the entire stay for me was the drive program through Mercedes Benz. With a GLS550, S560 Sedan and SLC300 available to take on a drive for three hours, it was the perfect length of time to take a spin out to other parts of the Vineyard. A little advice— take the SLC300 early in the morning, drop the top and head out to The Aquinnah Cliffs to enjoy the views without the crowds. My early morning drive was the perfect way to say goodbye to Harbor View Hotel and the quiet of the Vineyard before hopping aboard a Cape Air flight and gliding over the island back to din of the city.
Editor’s Note: This is part of our series on exciting new or restored hotels, The New Room with a View.