Faraway Nantucket — Photo courtesy of Matt Kisiday
Faraway Nantucket is a boutique hotel built from a collection of 19th-century homes clustered at Centre and India streets in downtown Nantucket. Like many grander buildings around here, at least one of Faraway’s collective was a home of a whaling captain. The brutal industry that this small island, some 30 miles from mainland Massachusetts, dominated from the 1700s to the early 1800s brought great wealth here.
Nantucket’s beautifully preserved town center includes cobblestone roadways, a bane for cars but so appealing to the eye, and red bricked sidewalks. The town is so strollable – past local businesses and some familiar national names; past art galleries, many displaying local artists' work; past bars and restaurants that cater to a population that swells from around 12,000 year-round to over 50,000 in the summer; and even to The Whaling Museum on Broad Street, which recalls the island’s bloody past.
Faraway Nantucket is part of Boston-based Blue Flag Partners' growing hotel portfolio, which renovated five more adjacent properties top-to-toe, each beautifully refurbished and brought under the Faraway boutique design umbrella.
- Faraway Nantucket
Historic as these buildings are, the ambiance in the guest rooms is bright and modern. Elegantly patterned runners covering original wood flooring in the corridors, and dark indigo-ivy doors lead to spacious rooms. As many of the original fixtures as possible, including beautiful banisters, were preserved in the renovation, which sensitively updated without losing the rich character of the original homes.
Room 417 in the large Gate House, for instance, is a spacious top floor room with angled ceilings and a large entryway. Richly textured fabrics in eye-catching patterns cover two upholstered chairs, while a Queen Anne-style round three-footed pedestal tea table is updated in a pale wood and the white linen-covered bed stands on a cream-and-blue wavy-patterned rug. Blinds with a classic leaf-and-flower printed fabric warm the muted beige-and-white backdrop of the walls. A large fridge is hidden behind a curtain that matches the blinds.
Faraway Nantucket's room 417 — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
This room not only has plenty of floor space, but plenty of storage space too: the original walk-in closet is augmented by a large armoire and a pale wood dresser. Spaciousness is something that is repeated in the natural light-flooded bathroom’s large tiled shower.
The hotel is fully accessible and dog-friendly, and though it has an adult vibe perfect for couples and small groups, the Quad Room has fun bunk beds. Also, one of the buildings is a family-friendly self-contained cottage with a full kitchen and sumptuous living room with a fireplace. Upstairs, the cottage has two large bedrooms and a room with twin beds; a pull-out sofa downstairs offers additional sleeping spots. The cottage has its own small patio space, and a private pathway leads through to Faraway’s beautiful, buzzing courtyard, cafe and restaurant.
Faraway Nantucket's self-contained cottage — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
That restaurant, Sister Ship, is an island hot spot both for its nighttime bar scene and its dining.
Beautifully designed, a sultry interior – colored with dark inky blue paint and decked out with knickknacks and well-worn old book – leads to a leafy courtyard that serves as an outdoor restaurant and lounge. During the day, coffee, teas and pastries are on offer, but the dinner menu is when things start to swing. Along with meats and local fish and seafood, the menu of small and large plates is seasonally inspired and heavily focused on local goodies.
Faraway Nantucket's courtyard — Photo courtesy of Matt Kisiday
Town beaches, including Children’s Beach, which has a playground, are less than a 10-minute walk from Faraway. But then all of downtown is so easily walkable, you'll wonder why the inn is called Faraway. Nantucket is the anglicized pronunciation of the Wampanoag people’s name for the island, which was occupied by the English in 1659 – the Wampanoag called this the faraway land.
Borrow a bike and explore the island — Photo courtesy of Linda Laban
There is no parking on site, just street parking, but this town and the island are easily navigable without a car – borrow one of the Faraway bikes and explore the quieter shoreline out of town. Also, the Steamship Authority’s high-speed Hy-Line passenger ferry cuts travel time from mainland Massachusetts in half to just an hour, compared to the Steamship Authority’s car ferry. It also cuts the cost considerably. The island is served by several national airlines, especially in high season.