Shining Sails does not quite meet the criteria for a real B&B, but it is acceptable lodging when one takes into account where it is located, and the way of life on Monhegan Island.
Important things to keep in mind when considering, or booking, a stay at Shining Sails: Most rooms have kitchenettes with stoves, fridges, pans & lobster pots, dishes, dish liquid, etc. Take advantage of that and bring food with you. You'll be relieved you did. Restaurants / delis tend to close early or unexpectedly. Pick up fresh lobster or other fresh sea catches at the Fish Market down the road, and fry / broil / boil super fresh lunch / dinner in your "apartment."
Breakfasts here barely qualify to be called "continental." There are only bagels, limited spreads, homemade (delicious) muffins, fruits (apples, oranges), generic unappetizing dry cereal (neither name nor store brands), and coffee / tea / orange juice. One day they ran out of OJ and, since I don't drink coffee or tea, I had to go find my breakfast elsewhere (Btw, Carina's makes great salmon sandwiches for breakfast.)
The innkeepers are polite, but aloof and seemingly uninterested in their guests (especially first-timers). They are nothing one would expect in a B&B owner. However, when one observes the social mannerisms of other native or long time Monheganites, one will notice most of them also behave in such an aloof way. So SS guests should not hold that against the innkeepers. I, however, did have the disconcerting impression that I, as a first timer at SS, did not belong there and maybe even have taken away a room / time frame that would have gone to one of their regulars. Most of the guests were retired, and much older than myself. In the mornings, these regulars who had been staying at SS for several years / decades, sat in the common room chatting with each other and the innkeepers as if I they were one big family. In essence, my presence was ignored. Not exactly a welcoming way to start a morning, but that's Monhegan Island culture. Next time I stay at SS, I will have breakfast elsewhere and avoid this awkward situation.
The positive details: SS is in a great location, a few houses away from the "busy" part of the island (so it is quiet most of the time). All essential shops and restaurants are within a 5-minute walk of SS. There is a cute, overstocked library directly across the dirt road from the inn. Apartment #3 (where I stayed) is clean, adequately sized (although the bedroom is extremely tight) and has a cute, bright kitchenette and living area. The bed is firm, in a comfortable sort of way. Best of all though is the great view out the west windows, and the tranquility. Yes, you can go sit on the private little deck outside the apartment's living room door. But you can also see the ocean and stars while laying on the bed, or sitting on the toilet bowl!
Shining Sails has some flaws, but it does have a certain appeal. I decided to stay on Monhegan Island to refresh, relax, and purge my mind of my old hectic responsibilities. And Shining Sails helped me arrive at the relaxing mental state Ultimately, on Monhegan Island, the hotels / inns / b&bs are only places where one sleeps and washes up. It's the rest of island that is important; that's where you go on vacation, or to paint, or to hike, and eat and live.
Upper rooms have magnificent views of the peaceful harbor. Leave your windows open all day while y...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.