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Luxury Hotels: Three Best Maine Resorts & Hotels

On a recent weekend, we took a drive up the coast to visit three Maine properties. While they tend to be client favorites during summer months, there was plenty to draw clients to visit during the off-season.

Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth


Just south of Portland Maine, Inn by the Sea is located in quaint Cape Elizabeth. From NYC the drive is about 5 1/2 hours (without traffic) and from Boston it is about a 90 minute drive. After exiting I-95 the drive along the winding local road takes you through a relatively residential area before you see the circular driveway for Inn by the Sea.

Tip: After exiting the highway, you can pop into the town of Scarborough before arriving to the Inn. For a quick, casual dinner O'Reilly's Cure is perfect. Irish American-Korean American husband and wife ownership make for fresh, unique cuisine, good beer selection, and great cocktails. Even though it is casual, we recommend you make reservations because it is very popular.


Inn by the Sea is a boutique property with about 70 rooms across a small handful of buildings. The main building houses the reception area, the restaurant and bar Sea Glass, the spa, and a handful of their more traditional guest rooms upstairs.

In a handful of newer buildings adjacent to the main building, you find the recently renovated Cove and Beach Suites. Walking distance from these suites to the main building is about 90 seconds. In 2-3 story buildings there are elevators or exterior stairs, and all rooms have exterior entry and water views. Suites are spacious, with separate bedrooms, large bathrooms and soaking tubs, fireplaces in the living rooms and small, kitchenette facilities. Ground floor suites have sliding glass doors to a patio; upper suites have balconies facing the beach. Décor is contemporary nautical with white walls and clapboard against bold colored graphical fabric patterns, blended with New England theme touches like round, porthole accent windows, wooden buoys and lobster knickknacks.

Tip: If staying in a Cove Suite, ask for the last suite in the farthest building from the main building. There are no buildings beyond that so you overlook the next property, which is a lovely residential home with a vast lawn.

Beach & Pool

Inn by the Sea has a small pool, and this property is for beach-lovers vs. pool lovers. Inn by the Sea is adjacent to The Crescent Beach State Park, which is a stretch of Maine coastline offering sandy beaches and saltwater coves. A 2-minute walk along a board-walked footpath leads you from the inn to the beach. With wide open beach access, you can spend a hot summer day, or search for seashells during a meandering beach walk any month of the year. PS…Remember that Maine lobsters thrive in cold water…and the ocean water is chilly in Maine!

Other Facilities

During cooler months, Inn by the Sea lights up the firepits on their deck overlooking the water. It is a cozy way to sip wine and relax on a sunny winter afternoon (blankets are available) or enjoy a Hot Toddy and nighttime stargazing.

In the lower level of the main inn there is a spa and fitness room. For the avid gym-lover, you may desire more; but for a guest who needs to burn a little energy for a ½ hour, the fitness room is adequate.

What We Love

Inn by the Sea’s location allows you to spend the day enjoying the beach, and then explore Portland’s culinary scene each evening for dinner. Only 15 minutes north and you are in the heart of Portland.

Tip: Book a stay at Inn by the Sea during Portland's periodic Restaurant Weeks for the perfect foodie getaway.

Book your stay at Inn by the Sea with your Elli Travel Advisor to receive the following benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Daily full breakfast for two guests per bedroom in restaurant (alcohol and gratuities not included, not to exceed $30 USD per person)

  • $100 USD equivalent Resort or Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Cliff House, Cape Neddick

Pass your way through the local streets of Ogunquit, wind your way up and over the residential hills, and you arrive to the gatehouse entry of Cliff House. After passing through security, valet park your car at the entrance and step into the lobby. Not more than 3 feet into the lobby and you hit that “WOW” moment seeing their dramatic clifftop views, floor to ceiling. Now it is easy to fully appreciate this hotel’s name: “Cliff House”. Reclaim your bearings and you almost feel like you have boarded a luxury ship. Stained wooden ceilings, cozy couches with intimate gathering spaces, and maritime artwork create the vibe.

Ways to Spend Your Time

Descending a circular staircase off the main lobby is the spa. There are nine treatment rooms and their lounges are loaded with natural light, with more floor to ceiling windows facing out. Cliff House has a topnotch gym with two Peloton bikes, racks of free weights, and about a dozen cardio machines. Their spa and gym will please most guests looking for a morning of fitness and/or pampering.

Tip: Book their award-winning Seasonal Salt of the Sea treatment as soon as you make your room reservations. Cliff House is very popular with bridal parties and ladies’ weekends. Just past the spa reception is their super snazzy boutique, with local products and fashionable clothing items.

Cliff House has its own theater! The Hartwig Theater is located steps from the main lobby and offers live performances and movies. This small, theater typically offers two movie showings: one for children during the day and a second movie in the evening geared toward adults. And recently Cliff House partnered with Broadway sensation Jelani Remy from “Ain’t Too Proud” and “Lion King” and award-winning composer Bobby Cronin to offer “Broadway on the Cliff”.

In addition to their two outdoor pools, Cliff House also has an indoor whirlpool and a pool for kids to enjoy or guests to swim laps. Organized activities are offered daily and can be coordinated with the concierge team.


Cliff House is comprised of a number of connected buildings hugging the cliff of Maine’s rugged coastline. Fully renovated and redesigned, there are approximately 225 rooms in these 3-4 story buildings. The Ledges rooms are centrally located and offer some of the most impressive views over the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. Fresh and spacious, room décor includes lightly stained wood floors, contemporary striped area rugs in blues and grays, and soft colored furniture, with whimsical nautical accents like ship cleats for door handles.

One of our favorite features? The Maine Station. Located on each floor, the Maine Station is a complimentary self-serve butler’s station. Stocked and open 24 hours, guests can prepare a cup of coffee, grab pre-packaged light snacks, and refill water bottles with filtered water and seltzer on tap.

Tip: Looking for a family vacation rental and enjoy the benefits of a hotel? Ask you advisor about Cliff House’s three bedroom Weare Cottage. It sleeps 10 people and is set on the

Good to Know

Since Cliff House sits clifftop, there is no beach at this property. About two miles from the resort is the charming town of Ogunquit with many local artist’s galleries, shops, and restaurants. A hotel shuttle runs to/from town and there are public beaches in Ogunquit to enjoy (pack your own beach bag). Parking in Ogunquit is limited so you are better off taking the hotel shuttle if you are headed to the beach during the day or restaurant for dinner.

Cliff House has two outdoor pools. The stunning Instagram-worthy pool you see in most photos overlooking the cliff is the adults pool and the family pool is around the bend, facing a different view. On prime summers weekends, these pools can get crowded. If you have flexibility, you may enjoy a midweek visit when capacity is a bit lower.

Book your stay at Cliff House with your Elli Travel Advisor to receive the following benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Continental Breakfast for (2) daily in Tiller Restaurant.

  • $100 USD Retail Credit, applicable towards Spa Products, Spa Apparel and Spoondrift Retail products and logo wear.

  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

The White Barn Inn, Kennebunk

Kennebunk is in Southern Maine and made famous by the Bush Family Compound, Walker's Point Estate. The two former President Bush’s (father and son) adopted this small coastal New England town to counter Texas’ steamy hot summers.

The White Barn Inn is managed by Auberge Resorts and is about a 10-minute stroll from Kennebunk’s shops and boutiques. If you are not looking to walk, White Barn Inn’s fleet of Land Rovers can shuttle you back and forth.

This inn is perfect for a long weekend to relax and unplug. White Barn Inn is charming and romantic, with is clapboard siding, small and cozy sitting rooms, and nooks to play board games. The main building was built over a century ago and captures that era's authenticity with cozy, low ceilings, traditional trim molding, and the slightly creaky staircase with the modern carpet runner. You quickly realize there is soul here. In 2020 the inn opted to close for a short period and update the décor. The result is a well-executed mix of traditional armchairs placed on an animal print area rug, or a French antique side table against whimsical wallpaper designs and a modern art painting. These touches freshly move this traditional inn into current times.

Food is important at White Barn Inn and they have been awarded both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star recognitions. This elegant and romantic dining room serves beautifully presented dishes inspired by local New England cuisine. Make reservations in advance; this is one of the area's top restaurants!

Looking for more casual dining? Walk into town and enjoy burger and beers at Federal Jacks, or nibbles and locally distilled spirits at Batson River Brewing & Distilling.

Book your stay at White Barn Inn with your Elli Travel Advisor to receive the following benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Full Breakfast daily for two

  • $100 USD Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)

  • Private kitchen tour

  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Elli Travel Rates are the Same as Published Rates.

Book with your Elli Travel Advisor or email to unlock complimentary benefits and help with your travel arrangements.

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