Luxury Comes Naturally at the Inn by the Sea in Maine
With a tagline like “Luxury comes Naturally,” you can be sure I was looking forward to my stay at the Inn by the Sea in Crescent Beach, Maine. So often when we hear the terms “ecofriendly” or “green hotel,” I think most people’s perceptions are…scratchy, uncomfortable bedding; low pressure showers; dim lighting; less comfort and inconvenience…all this for a higher price! It couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a recent study found that many green hotels were actually less expensive than other comparable hotels. And you can definitely find luxury at an ecofriendly hotel.
Voted one of the World’s Best by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2012, and Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List for 2014, Inn by the Sea is Maine’s premier luxury beach destination. The list of ecofriendly initiatives that the Inn by the Sea has implemented goes on and on. Guests are surrounded by indigenous gardens which provide food and habitat for wildlife, and the rooms are cleaned with non-toxic, Green Seal products. Room amenities are natural, packaged in recycled bottles and displayed on recycled glass trays. Their sheet and towel program helps protect the endangered monarch butterfly and funds habitat restoration for bunnies…more on that later! The fitness room has recycled rubber floors and no VOC paint and the spa has recycled sheet rock walls and uses bamboo towels. The Inn is heated with biofuel and the pool with solar panels. They truly know how to blend exceptional hospitality with environmental preservation.
In addition, some of the other ecofriendly aspects include:
- The first Hotel in Maine to heat with Biofuel
- The first hotel in Maine to be Carbon Neutral through offsets (2007)
- The first hotel in New England to have dual flush toilets
- The first SPA in Maine to be Silver LEED(R) certified
- Recycled sheetrock and metal studs
- Recycled cork floors
- 22 nesting boxes and 6 bird feeders
- Restoration of Habitat for endangered New England Cottontails
- Recycling bins in rooms & function spaces
- Sheet and towel program donates to environmental agencies
- CFL’s and LED light, lights on timers
- Dining room uses local produce and seafood fresh from nearby farms and the sea
- Guests use recycled compostable key cards
- Green Meetings & Weddings
What I found really intriguing was their collaboration with the Department of Conservation, and the Inn’s funding for habitat restoration for monarch butterflies and the endangered New England cottontail. Now that’s something you don’t always see a hotel becoming involved with…ecofriendly or not! Using local plants that create ever blooming gardens as well as creating habitat for local wildlife has earned the inn a Wildlife Habitat certification from the National Wildlife Federation. Beautiful indigenous nectar gardens and milkweed are specifically planted for endangered butterflies. During the growing season guests are invited to classes on “How to Plant for Wildlife” and children enjoy “Bug’s Life Garden Tours” where they learn about local ecosystems from a bug’s view point.
In an effort to stop the New England cottontail from vanishing in Maine, the Inn has assumed responsibility for removing two acres of invasive, non-indigenous plant species, such as bamboo and bitter sweet, from state property. The Inn replanted the area with local shrubs such as raspberry, blueberry, dogwood, alder, winterberry and dewberry to create a high-quality, safe habitat for New England cottontails. The rabbits were named as candidates for the US Endangered Species Act in 2006 and are listed as endangered in Maine and New Hampshire.
The grounds of the Inn by the Sea are truly amazing – long, sweeping walkways lead to beautiful gardens and grassy areas. They have a boardwalk that takes you through a lovely wooded area and opens out onto a beautiful, pristine stretch of beach. If you’re looking for privacy, this is the place to go as the beach is only available to hotel guests.
The rooms are spacious, inviting and quite luxurious. Large ocean view suites feature deluxe bathrooms with oversized showers or tubs, plush bathrobes, and amazingly comfortable bedding. You can even choose to stay in a beach suite or cottage, which have two bedroom accommodations and flexible floor plans, perfect for families!
And let’s not forget the food! Don’t expect Chilean Sea Bass when you visit their premier restaurant, Sea Glass. Executive Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich’s menus feature underutilized seafood fresh from Maine’s coastal waters. The Chef works with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and knowledgeable local fishermen to identify abundant and delicious fish from the Gulf of Maine that are relatively unknown and certainly not overfished. By serving lesser known fish, the group hopes to help preserve the diversity and health of the Gulf of Maine. The chef also sources fresh produce, meat and poultry from local farms whenever possible in a true celebration of Maine fare.
All in all, the Inn by the Sea is an amazing place to experience true ecofriendly luxury, enjoy delicious, healthy meals and support habitats for endangered species. It doesn’t get any better than that!