Once the whaling capital of the world, Nantucket lies 30 miles off the coast of Massachusetts's Cape Cod. At the peak of its whaling days in the 19th century, the tiny island became very prosperous. Today tourism makes the local economy go 'round.
Aside from hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline and beaches, visitors are lured by the island's darling historic town (also called Nantucket) with its cobblestone streets, charming inns, excellent restaurants, and tony shops. The entire downtown is an official National Historic District encompassing more than 800 structures within one square mile that predate 1850.
Most visitors arrive by ferry on foot into the harbor of Nantucket and then get around on foot, bike, cab or shuttle bus. (It's possible, but expensive, to bring a car across on the ferry.) An easy four-minute walk from the pier, Harborview Nantucket is both a convenient and extremely comfortable choice for families looking for a luxurious stay.
Not quite a vacation rental, but not quite a hotel, Harborview Nantucket is comprised of 11 impeccably designed luxury cottages that frame a green lawn beside a harbor cove where boats bob on the water. Outside, these cottages resemble traditional island fishermen's houses with their gray cedar shake siding and white trim. Inside, the look is modern and light, with a fresh palette of cream and spring green and a multitude of bells and whistles. Each cottage has a gorgeous full kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances.
Every room, it seems, has a large flatscreen TV with cable. Bedrooms are dressed in quality linens and feature drop-dead-gorgeous bathrooms with jet showers. Each cottage has its own password-protected, free wi-fi.
The property is a wonderful oasis in this bustling little town, and it would make a super home base for multi-generational gatherings or reunions. You can prepare meals in your cottage (there's a grocery a few blocks away) or take advantage of the many great restaurants in Nantucket. There are places in town to rent bikes, and you're just a block from a bus stop where you can catch a shuttle to Children's Beach, Surfside Beach, or a half dozen others. The town itself is a gem, every street cuter than the next, and families should not miss a visit to the Whaling Museum.
While Harborview Nantucket provides a concierge service and housekeeping, it is not a resort. There is no restaurant, pool, fitness room or spa. Complimentary activities include paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, and lawn games such as corn hole, bocce and ring toss. There is a small, sandy beach that's ideal for young children because the water is protected and extremely calm. Another nice perk is the small touch-pool aquarium on the grounds, which is also free.
Prices are not cheap, but for families looking for spacious digs, privacy, luxury, and a killer location in one of New England's most coveted summer spots, Harborview Nantucket may be just the ticket.
Best cottages: All 11 cottages are beautifully designed and furnished to the same standard. Families can choose between two-, three- or four-bedroom cottages. Our two-bedroom could easily sleep six people, or even seven if someone slept on the living room couch. Multi-generational groups can book adjacent units.
Best season: Harborview Nantucket is open April through December. Like most hotels, the property uses a surge pricing model based on supply and demand. Summer is peak season on Nantucket and prices reflect that at Nantucket Harborview. Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, rates can be as much as 60 percent lower.
Visited: July 2016
Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.