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Monday, August 5, 2019

Happy Places: Chatham Bars Inn

My college roommate had exceptional taste so it was no surprise to any of us when she announced that she was getting married at the Chatham Bars Inn (Chatham, Massachusetts). If you are a beachy sort of girl, this is the penultimate place to celebrate the union of you and your best friend. It was (of course) a perfect, sunny day when they said "I do." I remember that day so clearly. There was something about the way the Cape Cod sun bounced off of my roommate that day that made her the most beautiful bride I had ever seen.  I still think about this magical day, even years later, even after several stays of my own at Chatham Bars Inn. Memories you make here stay with you.

Several months ago I stayed at the hotel with one of my closest friends for a girl's weekend, my birthday gift from L.  The baby was with Larry back in Seattle, so it was very much a girl's weekend of relaxation, sleeping in, room service and inhaling the Cape Cod salt air. It was exactly what we both needed.

My room the first night was a short walk from the main building, in this house facing the ocean
I arrived a day before my friend did and I decided to stay in one of the adjacent cottages owned by the hotel, It was am enormous, beautiful king-bedded room overlooking with the beach. After checking in, I visited the relaxing spa and fitness center  (open 24/7) which was a nice winding walk from the main building. In addition to the treatment rooms, the spa had refreshments, a meditation garden and its own pool and hot tub.

The tranquility begins in the meditation garden

I loved the spa so much that I purchased a set of the signature spa body wash and lotion to remind me of my stay.  I could have easily just spent the entire day relaxing by the quiet pool.  I fell into bed completely blissed out and woke up refreshed. In the morning I took a brisk walk down to the beach then hiked up to the main building to have breakfast at Stars (the formal dining room.)
If you go: Try the Tides Massage which mimics the wave motion of the ocean.

Breakfast, an omelet (goat cheese with chopped tomato and herbs) was delicious and the coffee perfectly strong.  I went into town for some shopping and later in the afternoon I moved over to the main hotel into a top floor room with two queen beds overlooking the beach. The room was smaller than the one I had the pervious night and I wondered if Waverly had been with us, if there would have been room for a crib. There was a table with two chairs to work at or enjoy room service. The room was cozy for the two of us and our suitcases but when you realize that the Inn started its life as a hunting lodge, it makes sense that the rooms would be small, enough to accommodate one or two people and their gear. The bathroom was also small but well appointed. The beds were heavenly, the linens cool and smooth and the pillows perfectly firm. The Chatham Bars Inn has perfected hotel sleeping.
If you go: Ask for a room in the main hotel if you prefer to be closer to the restaurants and lobby area

Our room in the main building

Our favorite part of the room was the shared deck. It was enormous with several lounge chairs for each room. I can imagine several  families or groups booking adjacent rooms and having quite the joint cocktail hour before dinner.

We both felt like being pampered so we spent most of the time enjoying the hotel property. There are so many spaces around the property to enjoy. In the main hotel itself, there are several restaurants, Stars (formal dining), The Sacred Cod (a tavern atmosphere), The Veranda (outdoor dining with ocean views) The Beach House (oceanfront, casual dining) and The Farm, an 8-acre farm which produces fresh seasonal vegetables for the restaurants, as well as a farm to table dining experience. Other than the restaurants, the South Lounge is a cozy place to curl up in front of the fire or just grab a quiet moment.
If you go: Try the Grapefruit Martini (Belvedere Grapefruit, grapefruit shrub, St. Germaine, Cointreau and bitters) in The Sacred Cod

The Farm to Table dining experience (Image courtesy of Chatham Bars Inn)

My favorite place on the property (Image courtesy of Chatham Bars Inn)
One of the favorite spots at the Inn is The Beach area complete with ocean-front heated pool, private cabanas, comfortable loungers and food and beverage service all located on the hotel's private quarter-mile beach. It is across the street from the hotel and it's a little hike, especially if you have little ones with you but it's worth the walk down the boardwalk to the beach.
If you go:  Try the swordfish tacos with avocado crema along with the Angel Chaser (Tequila, Mezcal, Chambord, Ancho Reyes, guava and lime) served poolside.

Chatham Bars Inn also offers activities from cooking school (which we did and it was better than we could have imagined), pool parties, kid's activities, yoga on the beach and my favorite - the dive-in movie at the pool. Chatham Bars Inn is the quintessential Cape Cod experience. Whether it's a summer vacation or staying cozy and learning how to decorate gingerbread houses at Christmas, The Chatham Bars Inn is a place that you can't help but feel happy.

To book your Chatham Bars Inn vacation, visit or call 1.800.527.4884.

*My college roommate who got married here? She is happily married with three beautiful kids.

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