Chatham Bars Inn hotel review
Built in 1914, Chatham Bars Inn has been a staple for holidaymakers to Cape Cod for over 100 years. It was first touted as an exclusive hunting lodge for moneyed Bostonians and over the years has evolved into a favourite family-friendly luxury retreat. We visited Chatham Bars Inn over the 4th of July holiday when it was draped in red, white and blue. Right on the beach and surrounded by white picket fences, we’re certain there’s not a more American place to spend Independence Day or a classic East Coast summer vacation.
Traveller: Lindsay Ridenour of Compass + Twine
Room: Deluxe Cottage Room
Address: 297 Shore Road, Chatham, Massachusetts
Date: July 2017
Best for: A picturesque American summer retreat on Cape Cod
The Signature factor
Set atop a hill, Chatham Bars Inn provides beautiful, sweeping views of the water. The side lawn is studded with inviting white Adirondack chairs, the perfect place to enjoy a drink while taking in the views.
Take a spin around the sprawling property and you’ll quickly see this is the ultimate American summer escape. Shingled cottages dot the waterfront hotel, brick paths wind through beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, white Adirondack chairs lie at every turn, and no detail seems forgotten.
Arriving at Chatham Bars Inn, you’re immediately impressed by the meticulously manicured gardens. Lush green lawns blanket the property, bushels of gorgeous blue and purple hydrangeas bloom all around, and spray roses scent the air with the loveliest floral notes.
Our Deluxe Cottage Room was simple in design, but beautifully appointed. Up one flight of stairs in the Hunting Lodge cottage, a huge king-sized bed sat draped in crisp, white linen. On the far side of the room, a cosy sitting area lay beneath the window, while a wardrobe just big enough for a suitcase full of clothes was directly across the room. In the bathroom, a classic-style tub also served as a shower, and a charming pedestal sink stood nearby. We certainly had all we needed for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
In my opinion, the best rooms on the property are the Ocean View Master Suites found in the beachfront cottages. With direct beach access, these rooms are difficult to secure, as there are only a few and they are very enticing. This size rooms sleeps 2-4 people and offers plenty of space, comfortable king-sized beds, a spacious bathroom and balcony. Beautiful views greet you each morning and the deck is the perfect place to sip a cocktail as the sunsets.
On my plate
While in-room dining is available, there are four delicious restaurants on the property to choose from. The Veranda is the most casual eatery in the Main Inn, allowing guests to dine al fresco and is perfect for breakfast or an early dinner with kids. At the beach, you can enjoy lunch or dinner at The Beach House. Hotel guests will likely not be the only people enjoying a meal here; it seems to be quite the scene for locals who also wish to enjoy an al fresco meal while music quietly beats in the background. STARS is by far the most upscale option at Chatham Bars Inn. At the helm is a James Beard-award-winning chef, Jody Adams, who prides herself on sourcing all ingredients locally. She even grows all that she can off site at a farm owned by the inn. The food here is delicious, thoughtfully prepared, and beautifully served. Our favourite dining option is easily The Sacred Cod. This tavern-style restaurant serves amazing food in a dimly lit, yet inviting, atmosphere. Snag a seat in the dining room or pony up to the bar, order a drink and be sure to dine on the baked oysters. Served in their shells, the oysters are swimming in browned butter and topped with breadcrumbs – the flavours are just amazing! The clam chowder is a staple to the menu and full of flavour, as is the decadent lobster roll. We also enjoyed the sourdough-encrusted haddock, served with herbs and butter.
I wish I could take home…
The baked oysters and lobster rolls! So fresh and delicious, I could easily survive on just those two dishes the rest of my life!
Chatham Bars Inn does have a spa tucked away towards the back of the property. The spa menu includes a variety of massage treatments, facials, and scrubs, as well as manicures, pedicures and waxing. They also have 12 spa suites, which are adults-only and designed with relaxation, luxury and pampering in mind. These suites are above the spa and give guests the ability to enjoy spa-like experiences right in the room.
On the green
The Inn has its own golf course, however, nearby you’ll find one of the best 18-hole courses in the area. Additionally, you can check out Chatham Seaside Links for a leisurely nine-hole course.
Chatham Bars Inn is such a lovely property, you really won’t want to leave. It offers multiple sailing experiences, such a seal spotting, whale watching or a seashore tour. A knowledgeable crew can be hired for fishing excursions, and the hotel provides a complimentary boat shuttle to a larger beach if you want to mix it up. Bikes are available for use on and off property, and there are tennis courts if you’re up for a set. A huge lawn is set up with croquet, bocce ball and horseshoes, as well as a swing set for the kiddies. The Inn is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your four-legged friend along.
Chatham Bars Inn is just a few minutes walk from Downtown Chatham. You can easily walk to town for dinner or for an afternoon or shopping. The walk to town passes by some of the loveliest estates on the Cape.
Service at the beachfront restaurant, The Beach House, was certainly disappointing. Taking a break from the pool for a quick bite ended up taking at least two hours from the time we were seated until we got the check. We found this a bit too long when you’re hoping for a quick, easy lunch. While it shouldn’t take two hours to serve guests a lobster roll, once we did have it on our plate, it was delicious!
Where to find Chatham Bars Inn
Sarah Driggs and Lindsay Ridenour are the storytellers behind the NYC-based luxury travel blog, Compass + Twine. Follow along on Instagram @compassandtwine as they unearth some of the best hotels and travel experiences around the globe. From scenic landscapes to local cafés, they reveal the true character of a destination, always highlighting the best place to stay!