Late in 1890, work began on “The Nantucket Hotel & Resort,” then called the “Point Breeze,” a new hotel close to the Nantucket Sound beaches. Among the islanders who watched the building rise from its foundation that fall were men and women who remembered the great Nantucket whaling industry days.
Just 50 years previously, Nantucket whaleboats had set out across the oceans returning, oftentimes after years at sea, laden with oil that helped light a pre-industrial world. However, by the mid-1800s, a cheaper, more abundant way of powering America’s homes and factories was discovered and Nantucket found that half its population had fled and, for the first time, that its warehouses and wharves had fallen silent.
However, Nantucket possessed a spirit and beauty unlike any other and it wasn’t long before summer visitors began disembarking from the steamers that now linked the Island to New England’s coastal towns. They came every year to admire her mansion-lined streets, historical sites, and pristine beaches. After decades of decline, Nantucket had discovered a new kind of business…tourism.
The Nantucket Hotel & Resort (The Nantucket) opened its doors in the summer of 1891 and, today, still embodies the spirit of that age. Early advertisements boasted of the hotel’s running water, gaslights, billiard halls, croquet lawns, sea views, and orchestra. Guests danced across the Hotel ballroom’s polished, wooden floors or reclined in rocking chairs on the verandah. The more adventurous guests even allowed themselves, in the words of a newspaper from that period, “the invigorating and delightful indulgence of sea bathing.”
Today, visitors are still drawn to Nantucket. They come to experience the Island’s charming streets, and to take in her seascapes and shifting Atlantic Ocean light. And, The Nantucket still stands…the last of the grand, old Nantucket hotels from the Island’s age of elegance.
In the summer of 2012, The Nantucket, re-opened its doors after the most extensive refurbishment in its history. The Hotel retains the authentic feel of its historic exterior – while inside – it embodies a completely new, casual-style atmosphere and 21st-century, family-friendly comforts. The Hotel’s new name pays tribute to the Point Breeze’s predecessor and neighbor, “The Nantucket,” which was the first grand hotel built on Nantucket in 1885.
With its new swimming pools, The Nantucket Club, Breeze Bar & Cafe, and Grand Ballroom, The Nantucket offers the all-suites’ accommodations and amenities that guests expect from a world-class hotel that is within close proximity to the beach and heart of Nantucket’s historic, old town. Welcome to “The Nantucket!”