PROVINCETOWN — Set back from the hubbub of Commercial Street, Sage Inn & Lounge is a chic retreat with a soothing vibe, letting its guests chill out while only steps away from the shops, bars, restaurants, art galleries, and other Provincetown temptations.
This 19-room inn has a long history that predates its recent incarnation in 2012. The property debuted as the Pilgrim House in 1810, and in mid-century hosted Henry David Thoreau. In the 20th century, it was home to a series of nightclubs — including the Madeira Club, where Lily Tomlin performed — before it was destroyed in a four-alarm fire. Rebuilt in 1990, it debuted as Vixen, a female-friendly dance bar.
Today, after a million-dollar makeover, Sage’s owners Diane DiCarlo and Jeanne Leszczynski are committed as much to the cultural and scientific heritage of Provincetown as they are to running a top-notch place to dine and sleep.
“Provincetown was the first arts colony in the United States. They want to make sure it stays intact. The hotel is here to support the arts and the Center for Coastal Studies,” said Dan Vanwaus, the assistant general manager.
Indeed, if you are a member of a Provincetown cultural nonprofit and dine at the lounge, Sage will donate a percentage back to your organization. In the off-season, they offer discounted inn rates to guests participating in programs offered by these organizations with the aim of filling rooms with “artists, interns, students, and scientists.”
The reservation desk in the open and airy cocktail and dining lounge doubles as the hotel check-in desk. On a recent summery day, we took the elevator to our third-floor room and settled in. The walls were the color of sand, the exception being one painted as blue as the Cape Cod sky. Doors, windowsills, beadboard accents, decorative shelves, comforter, and linens — all white — added brightness. A touch of whimsy: a deconstructed bicycle, also painted white, was mounted above and below a long thin shelf on the blue wall. Vanwaus reports that all rooms have been renovated in the same clean and casual style, each with a private bath, queen- or king-sized bed, air conditioning, flat-screen television, and free Wi-Fi. A light continental breakfast (hard-boiled eggs, pastry, yogurt, fruit, granola, coffee and tea) is served daily.
Lounge décor, in muted tans and — yes — sage, includes a series of low glass and stainless tables, stylish leather and fabric chairs and banquets, tall tables and chairs, and — on the second level — a narrow outdoor porch with seats offering views of the brick pathway to the street, and the bay beyond.
Chef Lucio Garnia has helmed the kitchen since the opening, producing a tasty selection of appetizers, small plates, and desserts ($6-$25). Though they offer no entrees, you won’t leave hungry. Favorite items include truffle fries, lobster sliders on homemade brioche buns, flatbread with shaved potato and caramelized onions, and deconstructed chowder with littlenecks, potato, and smoked bacon. New to the menu this season — and not to be missed — short rib sliders, lamb sliders, organic green salad with fennel pollen, sweet chile-glazed jumbo chicken wings, and tempura broccolini. The bar menu features herb-infused cocktails plus wine and beer by the glass, bottle, or flight. The fresh herbs for bar and kitchen are plucked daily from the towering herb wall on the first floor patio. The lounge is open year round (daily in summer; weekends in winter) and features a glass fireplace to brighten chilly evenings.
Beach chairs and towels are available for daily rental ($10/$2). On site parking is available; however space is limited so make sure to ask when making a reservation ($10/day). A driveway off Freeman Street accesses the hotel for unloading bags. Staff will recommend nearby parking lots if the hotel’s is full. Well-behaved pets under 35 pounds are welcome in some rooms ($75 per stay).
Summer rates $180-$300, fall $130-$180, winter-spring rates $80-$150.
SAGE INN & LOUNGE 336 Commercial St., Provincetown, Mass. 508-487-6424, www.sageinnptown.com