Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Different from the typical Nantucket hotel
Opened in 2002 by shoe designer Vanessa Noel, The Vanessa Noel was the first boutique hotel in Nantucket. The rooms and reception area are decorated in a sleek, minimalist vibe with lots of white paired with wood accents. It’s more New York City chic than classic New England decor.
However, on-site dining area Cafe V Bar is decorated in a completely different fashion, with dark brown walls, animal prints, and bursts of color in the throw pillows. It’s as trendy as the rest of the hotel -- without being quite so understated.
Unless guests want to congregate in Cafe V, there isn’t much in terms of common space. The hotel is less for people who want the typical cozy “inn” experience, which can include meeting other guests over breakfast and afternoon tea, and more for those looking for a trendy hotel room in a historic Nantucket neighborhood.
Five-minute walk to downtown
Located on a side street downtown, The Vanessa Noel is walking distance to everything in the area -- shops, restaurants, and bars -- which is good, because there isn't much parking to be had downtown, especially during the busy summer months. The inn does have some limited parking available for guests.
Nantucket is an island 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, next to Martha's Vineyard. While the Vineyard boasts some lovely homes, Nantucket's real estate puts it to shame. This is where the rich come to vacation, and the prices around town reflect that. Don't expect to run into the Hollywood crowd -- here it's more CEOs, politicians, and billionaire businessmen who have their second homes on the island. The atmosphere is relaxed, but polished at the same time.
Nantucket is about history and natural beauty. It features some of the highest concentration of Pre-Civil war structures and oldest operating windmill in U.S. You’ll find cobblestoned streets downtown (always fun to drive over), plenty of historic mansions converted into bed-and-breakfasts, and boutiques shilling expensive brand names. While the shopping and dining is fantastic, the beautiful beaches are probably the main allure. The southside beaches are key for surfers (Cisco is a local favorite), Madaket has phenomenal sunsets, Jetties is close to town and great for families, and Great Point Beach is accessible only by four-wheel drive.
There are a number of ferries to get to and from the island, but The Steamship Authority ferry from Hyannis is the only way to bring a car across the water, although travelers are strongly discouraged from bringing their cars. During the summer, when the population swells from 10,000 to 50,000 people, finding parking can be next to impossible. It's easier to rent a car once you're on the island (plus, the ferry fee for cars can range from $120-$200 each way depending on the season).
Minimalist decor for a chic Nantucket boutique
Eschewing traditional New England decor that is so common to the island, The Vanessa Noel goes more for a New York-style boutique feel. The eight rooms are minimalist in style, decorated mostly in white and without a lot of furnishings (this could be because some of the rooms are extremely small and don’t have the space). What actually is in the room is high-end, however -- Frette linens, plasma TVs (though small), and vessel sinks in the bathroom.
Hotel namesake shoe store and trendy breakfast cafe
The Vanessa Noel's eight chic, minimalist rooms feel more New York City than Nantucket -- and as in New York City, some rooms and bathrooms are small (it's a historic building, though, so that is to be expected). The only common area for guests being the colorful Cafe V Bar, adjacent to the lobby, where breakfast is served daily in the high season. The location in a quiet residential neighborhood a couple blocks from downtown is quite convenient for guests wanting to explore the Nantucket scene.