With so many travelers sticking to domestic destinations over the past two years, some U.S. drive-in destinations have been the big winners. Two of the big winners in particular at the places where White Elephants Resorts operates.
For those unfamiliar, White Elephant Resorts is a Boston-based company with a collection of four hotels and resorts and a full-service marina on Nantucket along with a new property in Palm Beach.
“We are excited because the two are destinations that really complement each other,” Aoife Owens, the vice president of sales and marketing for White Elephant Resorts told TMR.
The properties serve a luxury guest, with accommodations and activities that make it a good fit for a wide range of luxury clients including families, couples, groups, weddings, and more.
Here is a quick overview of what you can expect out of both destinations, including what travel advisors should know:
The Wauwinet in Nantucket. Photo: White Elephant.
About 30 miles off of the coast of Cape Cod lies Nantucket, one of the U.S.’s most historic, and iconic, travel destinations.
The island traces its history back to the advent and development of the whaling industry in the 19th century and back even further to European settlers in the 17th century. Over the years, it has become known through depictions in popular culture, including the 1990’s sitcom Wings and the inspiration for the main streets in many of Walt Disney’s early movies.
Nantucket has long been the go-to summer getaway for residents in the Northeast with its idyllic shopping and dining on the island’s Nantucket Town, 10 beaches, 30 miles of bike paths, golfing, and sailing options, and The Whaling Museum, which is the backbone of the island’s history.
Today, the island is accessible via ferry from Manhattan, Hyannis, and Nantucket, Mass. JetBlue, United, and American Airlines also all offer direct service to Nantucket from several cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte.
For those wanting a quicker way to get to Nantucket, Blade, a private helicopter company, offers by-the-seat seaplanes from the east side of Manhattan to Nantucket.
The high season, according to Owens, is July through August.
The Jared Coffin House. Photo: White Elephant.
Rooms and suites
There are five main accommodations under the White Elephant name:
- Main Hotel offers 66 rooms and suites overlooking the harbor, including some rooms with their own private outdoor space.
- Garden Cottages, which are located right next to the main hotel and offer one- to three-bedroom spaces set amid Nantucket gardens.
- Residences and Inn, which offers 21 rooms and suites, along with another 25 residences, ranging from one to three bedrooms. Think of these like a private beach home, each with its own floor plan and fully equipped kitchens.
- Easy Street Loft and Loft at 32 Main, which are located in downtown Nantucket. These accommodations offer three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths close to Nantucket’s cobblestone streets and independent boutique stores that have become an iconic part of the island.
- Lilly Pulitzer Cottage is a one-bedroom, one-of-its-kind accommodation featuring classic bold Lily prints and patterns.
Outside of the White Elephant name, other properties on the island also fall under the White Elephant Resorts banner—The Wauwinet, Jared Coffin House, and The Cottages at the Boat Basin.
The Wauwinet is a 32-room Relais & Châteaux property, the only hotel or resort on Nantucket with access to two separate private beaches. The Wauwinet originally opened in 1875 as one of Nantucket’s first hotels. Even with that storied history, it feels brand new after a renovation of its lobby, library, guestrooms, and cottages in 2019.
The Jared Coffin House, originally built by and named for one of the island’s original shipping merchants, is the only one of the properties open year-round. A three-story mansion, the House offers 30 rooms, along with 13 more in an adjacent house, all decorated with period antiques and reproductions.
The Cottages at the Boat Basin sit alongside the slips at the island’s main boat basin, offering some of the best views in all of Nantucket. The Cottages offer 24 different rooms and suites ranging from one- to three-bedrooms each, all with fully equipped kitchens and access to Priority Bicycles and kids’ fishing rides, reels, and nets. This also includes The Woof Cottages, reserved for those traveling with pets.
Entrance to The Cottages. Photo: White Elephant.
White Elephant dining is spread across the different accommodations on the island. That includes the Brant Point Grill overlooking the harbor, a go-to restaurant for fresh local steak and seafood, located in the White Elephant section.
For guests at The Wauwinet, Topper’s offers a seasonally inspired menu featuring local seafood and produce, including vegetarian options. The highlight of Topper’s is usually fresh oysters that are sourced just 300 yards from property.
For those at Jared Coffin House, The Tap Room at the lower level, just re-opened in 2020, offers pub-style food that attracts both locals on the island and visitors. The menu offers traditional New England clam chowder, and French dip sandwiches, along with local beers from Cisco Brewery.
White Elephant offers a variety of experiences free of charge depending on the property. The Cottages at the Boat Basin, for instance, offer access to priority bicycles and kids’ fishing rods while the Jared Coffin House offers beach chairs and towels along with morning coffee and pastries.
The Wauwinet offers a free hourly shuttle to and from town and a ferry shuttle, while the White Elephant offers access to those priority bicycles and access to BMW vehicles that guests can use during their stay. The BMW partnership allows guests to use them per day to explore the island on their own.
The company has several other partnerships, including a couple that is worth noting for luxury guests—one is with NetJets, which serves the island as White Elephant’s exclusive private aviation partner. The other is with Barton & Gray Marina Club, which provides the iconic Nantucket-yacht experiences to guests interested.
The Palm Beach Entrance. Photo: White Elephant.
White Elephant’s property on Sunset Avenue in Palm Beach is the newest addition to the company’s portfolio. The 32-room hotel opened its doors in November 2020 in the former Bradley Park Hotel, a historic building on Palm Beach’s Main Street just two blocks from the beach that goes back to the 1920s.
The hotel is just a 12-minute drive from Palm Beach International Airport and offers 13 rooms and 19 suites spread across four floors, with a design that “captures the spirit of a grand home while maintaining the ambiance of a landmarked boutique hotel.”
The rooms range from 500- to 3,000-square feet and all feature custom-designed furniture. The largest rooms are the two penthouse suites, which offer large living rooms, full kitchens, and terraces ranging between 800- and 1,200-square-feet each.
The property includes 120 original pieces of colorful modern and pop art personally curated by the owners and Boston-based architect Elkus Manfredi.
Most business for White Elephant comes in direct, but with a luxury clientele and growing group business, Owens told TMR that travel advisors are becoming more and more important for the company.
“A lot of our guests now want that connection, and others want the recommendation from someone they trust,” she said. “Travel advisors are becoming so important for us.”
White Elephant is ready and willing to work with travel advisors to customize a client’s vacation, too, whether that be with gifts on-site or arranging celebrations.
“We can personalize it as much as possible,” she said.
In terms of bookings, the high season for Nantucket is usually July through August, and for Palm Beach, it’s December through March. Much of the capacity is booked six months or so ahead of time—some guests book a year out while they are on property—but Owens said that there is always opportunity for closer-in bookings and off-season bookings.
It’s also fairly common for guests to return to one property, or travel frequently from one location to the other.
Just like its guests, Owens said White Elephant can help customize travel advisors’ experience working with the company.