The Chatham Bars Inn, Where Old New England Lives On
Written: Oct 5, 2001 (Updated Feb 1, 2002)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Formal, yet casual, old seaside resort
Cons:This place has a certain formality which may not appeal to all
The Bottom Line: Very agreeable, old shoe kind of comfort. The very essence of a New England seaside resort-quiet and sensible.
The Chatham Bars Inn sits quietly by the sea as it always has. If you are looking for the fast lane, drive on, because it won't be found here.
Lobby and Public Rooms
This place is remarkable not so much for its actual fixtures, as for its pleasing atmosphere. This is the kind of place to land in after fleeing your condo from a harried work week. It's just an hour or two outside Boston, so it is an easy escape. Chatham has remained charming, even in the wake of the torrential development that has devastated much of Cape Cod. There is nothing really exciting here, and that is exactly what has made it rewarding since it opened in 1914. The lobby has a scattering of comfortable chairs and couches where you might actually want to sit down for a while. The furniture is plain and comfortable-the kind you might expect to find at your Great Aunt Tillie's house on the Cape (if you have one). Nothing to jar the eye here, and nothing much to remember except the excellent care and service you receive from the very discreet staff. One very welcome room is their library-an enjoyable space, even if the shelves are filled with discarded copies of Robert Ludlum books.
The Main Dining Room offers good,solid New England cooking in an atmosphere of snowy linen,fresh flowers and candles. Not the place to slouch in your beachwear. Their dress code is rather strictly maintained and you are advised not to test their patience. You will be rewarded with excellent cooking (generally a set menu-unless this has changed) and a reasonably good wine list. This is also not a place to quibble about the price. It's not really outrageous at all, just commensurate with the services rendered. Breakfast is less formal and is very good also. The Tavern is a good place for a drink, but we did not try their food. It has the same kitchen as the dining room, so I would expect anything there to be quite good as well. The Beach House Cafe is down by the water's edge. Since we were there in October, it had already closed for the season.
The rooms here mostly have excellent views of the water or the immaculate grounds. Do not expect anything too fancy. Remember that this is essentially an old beach resort. Granite counter tops have not yet (hooray!!) made their ubiquitous appearance here. Do not be surprised or upset to find twin beds. A number of the rooms here have them. Just remember that your Aunt Tillie probably wants you to be chaste for your appearance at her house......Seriously, the rooms are of a fairly good size and have a charming austerity to them. The odd color combinations have likely been done away with in their recent renovations (as this is now part of the Leading Hotels of the World, I expect it has undergone some extensive changes). The reports I have had from acquaintances who've gone there since its renovation have been overwhelmingly positive.
There is a private beach and an outdoor heated pool. As I said, we were there in October, so we did not go near the pool. They have bicycles and boats for rental. If you are lucky, they may be having a clambake on the beach. This is a good place to bring the children, provided, of course, that they behave.
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