Connecticut Magazine - April 1988
The Grand Resorts of New England
A marvelous sense of privacy and lovely, everchanging views….
The Claremont, Maine
The Claremont, established in 1884, is Mount Desert Island’s oldest hotel and on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1978 much renovation was done, and the hotel, although maintaining its charm, has all the up-to-date facilities of a summertime resort. The setting of the hotel is spectacular, and outstrips the location of any other public lodging on Mount Desert Island. From its numerous sitting areas-the porch with dark green wicker chairs and rockers, the expanse of lawn with broad-armed white wooden chairs, or the new boathouse where you can have lunch or a drink at night – it is possible to look for imposing Cadillac Mountain across Somes Sound to beautiful waterfront estates in Northeast Harbor. If you bring binoculars along you can clearly see the huge swimming pool at Northeast Harbor’s swim club, and all the lobster boats, sailboats and motor yachts that ply these waters. The view changes by the minute, and one never tires of it. This is one of those rare places where you can spend your entire vacation without leaving the grounds, and still have seen some of New England’s most beautiful scenery.
The Claremont consists of the old hotel with new dining room, two guest houses, Phillips House and Clark House and 11 cottages. Although the whole complex is certainly larger than a standard inn, the prevailing atmosphere is friendly, helpful and comfortable. There is a marvelous sense of privacy. The rooms in the hotel are decorated with chenille bedspreads, white curtains, and old, comfortable, clean furniture. The floors are a bit creaky, but not to worry – folks here go to bed very early. Phillips House has larger rooms, a shared living room with fireplace and a broad wrap-around veranda. Clark House has a suite, and the cottages have bed-rooms, living rooms with fireplaces and sundecks. Ask for a room with a view.
The common rooms comprise a reception area, a game room and the living room. The reception area has a fireplace that is roaring most mornings and evenings. The game room is lined with book-shelves. The living room has a television and comfortably worn furniture. There’s also a small porch where all events taking place on the island are listed.
The dining room has been built so that every table has a view of the water. Jackets and ties are required at dinner; nonetheless, the atmosphere is relaxed, not stuffy. The food is very good to excellent, with an emphasis on fresh fish. Many of the 10 or more entrees that are offered each night, all cooked to order, have a slightly French twist, though rarely depart from solid home cooking. On Saturday night, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding is served. Fresh boiled lobster is available any night. At lunch, served right in the boathouse on the water, simple, delicious sandwiches are available.
There is much to do on Mount Desert Island, but guests who wish to stay near the hotel will find plenty to keep them busy. There are clay tennis courts, badminton and water sports. Rowboats and motorboats are available. The Claremont is home of the Claremont Croquet Classic, held every August. Guests are invited to participate or sip a drink on the veranda and watch.
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
Innkeeper: John Madeira, Jr.
11 Cottages, 3 suites, 25 doubles,
2 singles; all except 2 with private bath
Season (cottages): $80-$118EP
Off-season (cottages): $56 to $69 EP
Hotel & Phillips House: singles $65MAP,
Doubles $110 to $120MAP
Clark House suite: doubles $124MAP, $72EP
Open mid-June to September