Think of Nantucket in the summer and the island playground off the coast of Massachusetts conjures images of preppy New England, lobster pots and pristine beaches. Yet, of late, the homespun vibe has nurtured something of a more design-led aesthetic.
One of the clearest examples of this is shoe designer Vanessa Noel’s second boutique inn, Hotel Green (second picture), which is the island’s first environmentally conscious, organic luxury hotel. After hearing from friends about its sustainable chandeliers and milk-based paints, I worried that it might be a painful exercise in austerity. But no, this 1837 Greek Revival gem on Natucket’s Centre Street felt far from it.
New York City-based tastemaker Noel has an eye for the natural finishes, fine linens and bold pops of colour that enliven this historic building. Each of the nine rooms and one two-bedroom suite have been decorated using rustic-chic materials such as hemp rugs, bamboo blinds and Frank Gehry-designed recycled-cardboard chairs and tables (first picture) – with wall colours ranging from cucumber to cantaloupe. Their muted tones are offset by vibrant, old-school Bakelite rotary telephones and graphic silk-screen artworks by Peter Gee. Organic snacks and beauty products by Kama Ayurveda, as well as foam-rubber mattresses by Green Sleep augment the Mother Earth effect.
But all of this green living isn’t at the expense of comfort – to wit, flatscreen LCD televisions and plush robes (albeit of the hemp variety). Stepping out of the rooms into the public spaces takes you to the hotel’s organic Café V Bar, where caviar and gravlax are on offer. The ambience is hip in a flax, feathers and vegetable-tanned-leather way.
I’m sure there’s not a more stylish, hypoallergenic, chemical-free place to rest your head on the island.