The Asticou Inn is a splendid choice for those who wish a traditional Victorian vacation, perhaps the best of its kind in this dying breed of genteel accommodations. It is emphatically not a brand-new, glitzy contrivance with all mod cons and a surfeit of pointless amenities. Nor should its oceanfront location be construed as implying the hotel solicits those looking for seaside revelry.
What it is is a wonderful throwback to the days when people would make extended visits to Mt. Desert Island and other wealthy summer enclaves, looking not so much to be seen and mingle but rather escape and relax in relative private. Those who did not own homes of their own often would lodge in these seaside hotels (intentionally built to resemble the era's summer cottages) within easy reach of their friends. The Asticou is the last example of this kind of hotel on the island, and one of the very few left in the country. (There are a handful of period houses turned hotels in the area, but no other Victorian seaside hotels.)
As such, the Victorian ethic and aesthetic prevails. The hotel has a certain faded charm, a quiet demeanour, and an indisputably wonderful location on one of the continent's most beautiful islands. The restaurant leans toward elegant, and the reading room and porches (both front - facing the harbour - and rear - facing the road) are wonderfully peaceful.
The rooms run small - again, as was the norm for this era - but are charming. They are designed for sleeping and have all the necessary amenities, nothing more than what is needed. The walls leave a bit to be desired in terms of acoustics, but the overall serenity of the hotel and its focus on undisturbed tranquility mean you likely won't lose any sleep.
If you understand what the Asticou Inn offers (hint: read the Web site) - and how difficult it is to find this nowadays - the otherwise hefty prices make sense. I find them a tad high, but the compensation is readily at hand when one factors in the location and ease of getting to and from anywhere on the island.
As anyone who has lived in a large Victorian house will attest, these buildings have their own personalities. Each one is different. The Asticou is not really for families with children (although it does have additional outbuildings to accommodate them) nor those looking for entertainment and activity at the speed of light. It is really for those who want to escape, who want to relax in and be surrounded by quiet beauty with an unpretentious ambiance, and who are willing the pay the price that this entails.
If this is you, this is a wonderful choice as well as an unrivalled opportunity to stay in one of the last hotels of this kind anywhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A beautifully restored 19th century country inn at the foot of Acadia National Park and overlooking Northeast Harbor. The beautiful Asticou Azalea Gardens are right across the street from the inn. The history of this property is truly fascinating!The inn features a restaurant and a heated swimming pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Asticou Hotel Northeast Harbor
- Asticou Resort Northeast Harbor
- Asticou Inn Maine/Northeast Harbor