Are you looking for lodging on Nantucket that’s a little more exotic? Perhaps a hotel that’s more cosmopolitan and less seaside-themed than other island options?
Dare I ask it? OK, I’ll ask it: Do you want to stay in a sexy hotel?
Because that’s what the creators of the Faraway Nantucket hotel say they’ll be bringing to the island when their property opens in June. Its founders, a real estate development company called Blue Flag Partners, think there’s an unmet demand for a place that feels less like a traditional Nantucket hotel and more like the high-end properties found in some of the world’s most sophisticated cities.
“What we saw is that much of the design on Nantucket, especially as of late, has been a lot of the same,” said Brad Guidi, a partner at Blue Flag. “With white shiplap and a beachy feel.” They wanted to do something that would stand out.
Faraway occupies a block in downtown Nantucket that was once home to the Roberts Collection. It’s a group of inns with its own courtyard and restaurant. The challenge for the developers was trying to remain respectful to the original architecture while executing a vision of a hotel where they would be likely to stay as consumers.
Jason Brown, another partner at Blue Flag, refers to the hotel as an oasis.
“We wanted to create something that was a little more like what we saw in New York, Paris, or London, just done on Nantucket,” he said. “We really wanted to celebrate the history of the buildings themselves, but deliver a product that was a little bit fun and a little bit sexy.”
Sexy and Nantucket are two words that don’t often appear in the same sentence. The developers said they enjoyed planning a hotel that was still respectful of the island, but offered something that would appeal to a mixed clientele in a town where “frankly, you’ve got a lot of old white men.”
The hope is that the rooms, which are filled with playful patterns, textures, and colors, draw in those looking for a different Nantucket experience. There is no white shiplap, but there is plenty of wallpaper with oversize graphics. That’s combined with textiles, colors, and accessories that modernize the hotel. It may not be everybody’s cup of chamomile, but it looks downright posh. Depending on the season and demand, rooms will start in the high $300s to low $400s per night. That number can swing much higher or much lower.
The 62 boutique hotel rooms feature king- and queen-size beds, suites, less expensive rooms with shared baths, plus a “quad room” that offers two bunk beds, a mini fridge, and a private bathroom. It can connect to a queen room for families and groups.
When it came time to create the hotel’s restaurant, the partners once again looked at what they thought was lacking on the island. Enter Sister Ship, a 140-seat indoor-outdoor restaurant. They describe it as “relaxed, maritime cuisine.” They said they’re hoping it’s a restaurant where people feel as if they can simply hang out, have fun, and enjoy the frozen drinks.
“I think what’s happened a lot in Nantucket is that the restaurants have become almost unascertainable for a lot of people,” Guidi said. “It’s not unusual to go to Nantucket and spend $400 or $500 on a meal. But we’re trying to offer something that is much more relaxed.”
It remains to be seen if Faraway will hit the lofty ambitions of its developers. In describing what they’re aiming for, Guidi and Brown often mention some of the most prestigious hoteliers in the industry. In the interim, they’ll be trying to persuade vacationers they need a sexy escape on an otherwise Lily Pulitzer-and-polo-shirt kind of island.
“A lot of people were heartbroken when we changed the Roberts Collection. I think everybody ultimately hates change and is terrified of change,” Brown said. “We get that. But we always take it as a personal challenge to convert those people and have them love the property as much as the new guests who are arriving.”