A tradition since 1972, Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the summer season in both Cape Cod and Nantucket over Memorial Day weekend. The three-day regetta, which raises money for local charities, includes hundreds of sailboats racing from Hyannis to Nantucket, and ends in a full-on parade-turned-party where residents and locals celebrate with clambakes, barbecues, and beer. It's a super popular event, so the island of Nantucket is swarmed with visitors during the holiday weekend. But we found a few hotels that still have some availability (as of publication).
Nantucket never comes cheap, and over Memorial Day Weekend you can expect to pay a premium. But The Vanessa Noel offers some of the least expensive rates in the downtown area, within walking distance of the harbor and numerous shops, restaurants, and bars. The only common area for guests is the colorful Cafe V Bar, adjacent to the lobby, where free breakfast is served daily in the high season. But all-white rooms in this historic inn are cute and cozy.
The big, luxurious one- to three-bedroom units at White Elephant Residences are a good choice for families and groups. Unlike vacation home rentals, these units come with the perks of a hotel stay — daily housekeeping, a seasonal outdoor pool, and a well-equipped fitness center. There’s not much in terms of a communal feel, like you might find at an inn or smaller hotel, but that’s part of the allure for some. It’s just a five-minute walk from downtown, and a 20-minute drive from Sankaty Head Lighthouse.
A cottage-and-loft-style property, The Cottages at Boat Basin has almost completely booked up — with the only rooms left being nearly double the price of those at White Elephant. The self-contained units have an even more central location for the festivities, however, being directly located on the harbor. Freebies that (slightly) make up for the steep rates include bicycle rentals, a shuttle to Surfside Beach, and Wi-Fi.
Jared Coffin House is the second-most affordable stay on our list. Being one of the oldest inns on the island means a couple things: It gives travelers a taste of Nantucket history and classic New England style, but some of the rooms and bathrooms are small. Open year-round and centrally located near the downtown area, the inn also features the elegant and popular Nantucket Prime restaurant.
The Wauwinet is one of the coziest inns in Nantucket. The charming New England property is surrounded by both the bay and the ocean, and some (bayside) guest rooms offer amazing sunsets. One of the island’s most loved restaurants is here, and free coffee, tea, and baked goods are served in the library each morning. Note, though, that children under 12 are not allowed at the inn — which is a pro for some.
The 18-room Veranda House offers luxury, but in a chic and modern setting that sets it apart from the many historic inns and hotels on the island. Originally built in 1684 as the home for William Gayer, the first Nantucket representative in the General Court, the building features lovely grounds and harbor views, as well as a quiet room where the free daily breakfast is served. Children under 10 are not allowed.
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