Best of New England: Massachusetts
Inn : Modern
THE PORCHES INN AT MASS MOCA
This northern Berkshires spot was converted from row houses formerly occupied by mill workers. The hipster sensibility is unmistakable, though some of the original down-home charms are retained by breakfast service that arrives in lunch pails and souvenir auto-touring plates on the walls. There are also plenty of modern comforts, including down duvets and a swanky lobby bar. Outside, guests enjoy a year-round heated pool, a bonfire pit, and a forest gazebo complete with wireless Internet. And the mill next door? It’s now the celebrated Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. // 231 River St., North Adams, 413-664-0400, porches.com.
B&B : City
THE CHARLES STREET INN
Walk through a narrow door into one of the cavernous rooms at this nine-room Victorian-themed inn, light a fire, and you’d swear you were staying at a country retreat, not a B&B in the heart of downtown Boston. But despite rich period furnishings and the general air of quietude, all the excitement of Charles Street and Boston Common is just steps from the front door. // 94 Charles St., Boston, 877-772-8900, charlesstreetinn.com.
Resort : Spa
CHATHAM BARS INN
If Fitzgerald had created Jay Gatsby today, he might have installed his protagonist at the Chatham Bars Inn. The 1914 hotel’s foyer alone, with its polished floors and columns, is irreproachably classy. Still a place where old New England summers, the property encompasses 25 acres, four restaurants, a spa, and more than 210 guest rooms and cottages (a handful of which sit on bluffs overlooking the Atlantic). // 297 Shore Rd., Chatham, 508-945-0096, chathambarsinn.com.
Hotel : General Excellence
After all these years, Boston’s premier hotel property manages to exude classic New England style while still keeping up with the times. The unflappable service and prime location overlooking the Public Garden inspire fierce loyalty to this local institution, which completed a total makeover in 2008. Flat-screen TVs and marble-topped dressers have replaced timeworn furniture and outdated décor, making for a style that’s anything but fusty. // 200 Boylston St., Boston, 617-338-4400, fourseasons.com/boston.
Hotel : Luxury
For some reason, the word “luxury” in these parts tends to get modified by adjectives like “classic,” “old-world,” and “traditional.” Well, kudos to the Mandarin for showing that edginess and sophistication can go hand in hand. From the moment you enter, floor-to-ceiling art and Asian minimalist design combine to create a sexy, modern vibe. Upstairs, plush rooms feature enviable views of the Back Bay’s townhouses, while downstairs you’ll find three of Boston’s most talked-about dining destinations: L’Espalier, the region’s flagship Sel de la Terre outpost, and Asana. // 776 Boylston St., Boston, 617-535- 8888, mandarinoriental.com/boston.
Resort : Family
OCEAN EDGE RESORT AND GOLF CLUB
This place proves summer after summer that “family vacation” isn’t an oxymoron. The mid-Cape institution has hit upon a formula that every (supposedly) family-friendly resort should copy: three-bedroom suites to maximize personal space; kitchens, so you can avoid public mealtime meltdowns; and in-suite washer-dryers. Ocean Edge also hosts beachside campfires, barbecues, and ice cream socials, plus one different day camp for kids each week. You may even find time to hit the resort’s Nicklaus Design golf course or get a facial in the spa before the tots notice you’re gone. // 2907 Main St., Brewster, 508-896-9000, oceanedge.com.
Resort : Romantic
Take a sprawling English-style country house, fill it with dark wood and period antiques, and plop it down in the middle of a secluded area in the bucolic Berkshire Hills, and you have a place that could inspire even the most jaded lovers to recitations of poetry. But it’s the flawless service here that really puts this hotel over the top. Whether you want 24-hour in-room dining, a “hydrolifting” facial at the Potting Shed Spa, or a rare vintage from Blantyre’s peerless wine cellar, staffers deliver it with élan. // 16 Blantyre Rd., Lenox, 413-637-3556, blantyre.com.
Resort : Seaside
As if the mesmerizing elegance of this Relais & Châteaux property — with its top-notch restaurant (and wine list with 1,400 selections), luxury spa, two private beaches, and “no-children-under-12” policy — weren’t enough, the Wauwinet is also situated in one of the most glorious spots on Nantucket: nine miles from civilization on the island’s northeastern tip. The folks here have thought of every detail to make your stay as romantic as possible, down to the 400-thread-count Pratesi linens, the hot buttered popcorn and DVDs delivered to your door, and the couples’ massages. You may never leave the resort, let alone your room. // 120 Wauwinet Rd., Nantucket, 508-228-0145, wauwinet.com.