Almost everyone stops for a moment when they walk through the front doors of the Cliff House, mesmerized by view. As the name implies, the Cliff House is built atop a high cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, so as soon as you enter, the floor-to-ceiling windows make you feel as if you’re suspended over the water.
I visited the Cliff House in January, which might not be when most people dream of visiting Maine, but it actually turned out to be the perfect relaxing winter getaway. Large wood-burning fireplaces are scattered throughout the lobby, lounge area, and restaurant, throwing off warmth and creating a cozy vibe. An outdoor hot tub steamed in the cold weather, offering a place to thaw while watching the ocean waves crash below. The night that I visited, the Cliff House was taking advantage of the 20 degree temperatures and throwing one of their famous ice bar parties, where a fire pit and heat lamps surrounded a bar sculpted out of ice, giving guests the chance to shake off cabin fever and mingle outdoors in the middle of winter.
The Cliff House is located in Cape Neddick, Maine and is close to the scenic towns of York and Ogunquit. It’s an easy drive from Boston, and is close to a number of sandy beaches (for summer visits).
The large hotel has 226 rooms, including suites and even a cottage to choose from. I stayed in a Cliffscape Oceanfront King Room, which overlooks the ocean and has recently been redesigned with a modern nautical theme. These rooms have balconies with endless water views, king size beds topped with locally made Cuddledown comforters, and plenty of space.
The property has four dining options: Bald Head Coffee Co. (serving local favorite Bard Coffee, plus light breakfast options), Nubb’s Lobster Shack (casual dining with a focus on seafood), the Tidemark Terrace (a lounge area), and The Tiller Restaurant (more formal dining that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
I enjoyed dinner at the Tiller Restaurant, where any table in the room offers beautiful views of the ocean. The menu here is seasonal, and focuses on locally available ingredients. The menu shows a map of exactly where your food is coming from: farms in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. For dinner, you might be served a meal of gnocchi and incredibly rich pillows of garlic cream topped with local mushrooms and roasted Brussel sprouts; or you might order the Maine Cioppino, a hearty stew which showcased the incredibly fresh seafood of the region. Dessert options include indulgent ice cream cookie sandwiches that use locally-made blueberry ice cream. The cocktail list has plenty of innovative options to choose form, like a spritz with tea-infused vermouth, orange bitters, and Prosecco.
An over 9,000 square foot luxury spa continues the Maine theme by using locally sourced ingredients in the offered therapies, and are changed according to the season. The sunny sanctuary room is a quiet place to relax before and after treatments, and there are also saunas and steam rooms to continue the pampering.
Couples’ massages are held in a private room overlooking the ocean. The heated massage beds and warm blankets are used help to relax muscles, while the highly-trained therapists sort out every knot and sore spot.
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Caroline Morse Teel was hosted by the Cliff House. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos from Maine and all around the world.