It is hard to write a review of the Claremont Hotel, as the place is like none other. My family arrived at this 100+ year old hotel on the gorgeous Maine coast on a family vacation after previously staying at a 5-star Marriott hotel on the sea in New Hampshire. The Marriott had three pools and a spa and housed us in a two-story condo with full kitchen, washer-dryer, marble bath, two TV's and many other amenities. By contrast the Claremont did not even have a TV in the room, nor air conditioning, nor even a hair dryer, - no business center, no hot tub, no fitness center, and the rooms were small and sparsely furnished. Upon arrival, my family rolled their eyes and wondered what we were doing in this quirky place. To make a long story short, after 4 nights at the Claremont, my family did not want to leave and was busy quizzing the staff on how we can make reservations for a longer stay next summer! They had forgotten about the 5-star place altogether! Claremont is about as unique a place as you can dream up. It is amazing that it even exists. Dramatically sited on the Maine coast, the Hotel is fairly small with 4 stories of freshly painted and simply furnished rooms. We stayed for a night in a large adjacent old house called Phillips which was a little on the musty side but we then were able to move into the main hotel's "3rd floor" (which is actually the old attic) and we had two connecting rooms with a bath and a gorgeous view of the water and islands beyond. There are also cottages scattered about the property. We found plenty to do. We played croquet on one of three courts (they were actually having a very serious croquet tournament and the pros taught my daughter the fine points of the game on the kids' court). We used the hotel's one-speed bikes and pedaled all around Southwest Harbor. We played chess on their oversized lobby board, and used the hotel's little rowboats (after bailing out the previous night's rainwater). We walked the rocky shore at low tide and walked into the small but lively nearby Southwest Harbor town center. We never made it to the hotel tennis court but will do so next time. They had a jazz concert and a lecture on Winslow Homer by a curator at Smith College in their little garden room while we were there, mainly oriented to the adults. The breakfasts came with the room and were good. (We also took a great guided kayak trip elsewhere on the Island). It was a trip back in time. We totally loved it. and are hopeful to spend more of our 09 summer at the Claremont. If you go there with an attitude that things will be in perfect condition or that the staff will be corporately trained (although the assistant manager is a delightful chap who once worked for Marriott), you will be disappointed. If you want to try to get a feel for the quirkyness of 'old Maine" and walk the shore at low tide and enjoy a simple holiday, give the Claremont a try.
- Also Known As:
- Claremont Hotel Southwest Harbor
- The Claremont Hotel Maine/Southwest Harbor