Down East Maine Sensibility meets Euro-Alpine Glam at the Claremont Hotel in Acadie


True design hotels have always been hard to find in Down East Maine, a rugged region between the state’s midcoast and the Canadian border. But that doesn’t mean that the delightfully picturesque and sparsely populated region (well, more of the year anyway) doesn’t deserve one. Down East receives more than its fair share of seasonal revelers from out of town, drawn to unspoiled nature and time-stranded fishing settlements dotting the rocky coastline – and they’ve long wanted a new harbor. tether to savor the bas-terrestrial delights of authentic Maine. Finally, the reinvented Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor is ready to appease design lovers who venture to Acadia, by merging local heritage and sensibility with a microdose of glamor reminiscent of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Europe.

Long before its post-transformation reveal this summer, The Claremont had been one of the most storied accommodations on Mount Desert Island, home to major Down East Maine attractions, such as Acadia National Park (the only national park north-east) and its storybook portal. harbor town of Bar Harbor. Situated on six acres at the mouth of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast of the United States, the 19th-century retreat is now run by Kennebunkport hotelier Tim Harrington and his business partner, Debbie Lennon. For the hotel’s thoughtful redesign, they anchored the concept in the legacy of the McCues, the family who took possession of the historic property in 1968. While it exudes a certain respect for the past, the Claremont also has been refreshed with contemporary and upscale features. notch style to appeal to the most demanding aesthetes.

“It’s an ongoing conversation: how do you deliver a nostalgic experience while adding modern amenities? Says Krista Stokes, chief designer and artistic director of The Claremont. “We absolutely love the ancient craftsmanship of the various buildings and have done very little construction in terms of construction so that we can retain most of those details.” Today’s Claremont has been expanded to accommodate a total of 51 accommodations: 34 rooms, 12 cottages, four suites, plus a secluded three-bedroom waterfront Ocean House. The lush gardens also feature a lavish spa, croquet club, heated outdoor pool, and a quartet of food and drink outlets, including upscale Little Fern Restaurant and Harry’s Bar. “We modernized the systems making sure, as part of our heritage, that the integrity of the building is maintained and strengthened for the next 100 years,” continues Stokes.

To help him complete the new project, Stokes enlisted the help of Boston-based Keeler & Co. Interior Design. “We [approached] designing with the same level of care and attention to detail that was given to the building process a century ago, celebrating local craftsmanship, showcasing iconic wallpapers and creating a bespoke experience that is true to the spaces and history of each of the many buildings, ”says Laura Keeler Pierce, Founder and Principal Designer of Keeler & Co.

For the interiors of the main suites and common areas, the team imagined a sophisticated color palette of blue, green, yellow and touches of cranberry and cherry that refer to the surrounding nature and the island beyond. The serene shoreline cabins instead have an array of backcountry camping vibe, with wood-paneled walls, stone fireplaces, and retro Americana artwork. “Upon arriving at the property, it’s impossible not to see how the Claremont is situated in one of Mount Desert Island’s most special places,” says Pierce. “Add to that the rich history of the building, a place that has seen generations of guests and celebrations – much of the inspiration for the design is to maintain this nostalgic and bygone era that guests have enjoyed for years. on the property.

The playful personalized wallpaper by Sister Parish, a designer with deep roots in Down East Maine, brings together the charm of the new and the old world. The fabrics and textiles come from the legendary British brand Morris & Co., a nod to the sentimentality and English influence that permeated American design at the turn of the 19th century. Scattered throughout the property are antiques picked from all over New England, as well as an array of artwork by local artists.

Inspiration was also found in iconic old photos of people dressed in trendy clothes, enjoying the mundane of everyday life in style. For Stokes, these visual references revealed how elevated – and appreciated – simple times and places can be when there is a more acute emphasis on details: “The gardens, the woods, the harbor, the smells, the mountains, the local people. It is all magic, “she said.” We are temporary inhabitants of this beautiful property and our sincere hope is to make it better for future generations. “

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