Now Open: White Elephant Nantucket Unveils Complete Renovation

Categories: Lifestyle, Travel,
June 20, 2023,

White Elephant has been an integral part of Nantucket’s history since the 1920s. Dreamed up by local socialite Elizabeth T. Ludwig, the harborfront landmark has evolved into the island’s most timeless resort, with a collection of chic accommodations showcasing the very best of the beloved destination. In time with the White Elephant’s 100thanniversary, the resort debuts yet another metamorphosis, with a multi-million-dollar restoration and renovation of its 54-room and -suite Harborside Hotel and 11 Garden Cottages. What’s more, the White Elephant partnered with Arhaus, a leader in artisan-crafted and responsibly sourced home furnishings, on an exterior refresh providing a mix of teak and all-weather wicker pieces for the outdoor spaces.

Elizabeth Lowrey, Principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, the design firm who brought us the multi-award-winning White Elephant Palm Beach, has conceived a bright, airy, residential-inspired refresh, drawing on the essence of Nantucket—its history, the quality of light, its natural landscapes, the colors, textures, and artistic legacy—to breathe new life into these historic accommodations.

All materials and finishes have been replaced, from the carpets to the fixtures and the furnishings, with an emphasis on design details that are authentic to place and exude effortless sophistication. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and manufactured by Pennsylvania-based carpet mill Bloomsburg, the carpets and textiles draw on the island’s rich history of basket weaving, while exterior ship lights evoke Nantucket’s deep seafaring traditions. A color palette of Labrador blues and seafoam greens are inspired by the coastal surroundings. The brand’s deep heritage is woven throughout, with brass elephant knockers on doors, elephant door and drawer pulls, and elephant needlepoint pillows in rooms.

Ranging from 375- to 450-square-feet of living space, guestrooms are individually designed and awash in a coastal color palette, with rattan textiles, white oak desks, scalloped lampshades and headboards, and grass cloth wall coverings that evoke the island’s dune grasses. Of the 54 accommodations, 25 of the rooms and 25 of the suites provide direct access to the harborside lawn and the coastal surroundings.

Like the distinct patterns that make up an exquisite quilt, the 11 cottages—which span 400- to 900- square-feet—have all been individually decorated and styled after plants indigenous to Nantucket: Bayberry, Hydrangea, Daylily, Beachplum, Honeysuckle, Holly, Arrowwood, Marigold, Rosa Rugosa, and Snapdragon. Each cottage took a plant as inspiration, with color palettes and artworks that evoke the flora—tones of buttery yellow for the Honeysuckle room, pale lavender for Beachplum, and pale pink for Rose. The cottages are set in a newly landscaped verdant garden area complete with pathways that crisscross the central lawn.

The White Elephant also debuted a redesigned lobby that has been reimagined with an expanded retail space and more approachable concierge and reception areas. A centerpiece of the new lobby is a 16-foot-long commissioned artwork by Israeli painter Orit Fuchs (who created an acrylic artwork for sister property White Elephant Palm Beach), depicting a harborside scene of a woman (dressed in Nantucket reds) in a rowboat, floating by the White Elephant.

New original art was installed throughout the rooms and corridors, resulting from the brand’s all-new Artist in Residency Program that launched in August 2022. New York based art consultant and curator EmilySantangeloworked closely with White Elephant’s owners, the Karp family, to create a residency made up of acclaimed artists from around the world. The artists spent two weeks exploring the island to gather inspiration for their works, venturing to some parts of the island only accessible by boat.

Among the featured artists include New England-focused painter Mary Chandler, who created watercolors of the indigenous Nantucket flora for which the cottages are named; installation photographer Thomas Jackson, who shot a series of colorful beachside photographs; the Maine-based landscape painter Greta van Campen, known for her contemporary hard-edged landscape scenes; Swedish artist Clara Hallencreutz; and painter Renée Levin, who is best known for her depictions of coastal and natural objects.

As part of White Elephant’s new era, the brand partnered withArhaus, the premium home retailer known for its artisan-crafted furniture and décor, to outfit the White Elephant’s harborside lawn and cottage courtyard, as well as the balconies and private decks. The collection of outdoor furnishings curated for the White Elephant was inspired by the natural beauty and coastal charm of Nantucket. Lounge furniture stretches across the property’s outdoor spaces and includes heirloom quality resin wickerchaisesand teaklounge chairsshowcasing custom blue upholstered cushions that were made exclusively for the White Elephant. Limited edition, co-branded White Elephant X Arhaus embroideredcashmere throwsare available for sale at the hotel and online throughout the season.  

Later this season, White Elephant’s culinary offerings will expand as well. From July 9th through the 27th, White Elephant will be home to Grill 23, Nantucket’s only steakhouse. The two brands share common bonds of New England roots and dedication to excellence. Guests will enjoy the same Grill 23 experience that they have come to adore at the Berkeley Street location in the Back Bay, as the full front of the house and back of the house teams are making their way to the island. The 118-seat dining room’s transformation is being overseen by Boston-based designer Peter Niemitz. The menu will feature Grill 23’s favorites like A5 Wagyu, 100-day dry aged ribeye and raw bar.

Seasonal nightly rates start at $375 for a guestroom, $675 for a suite, $775 for a one-bedroom cottage, and $1,275 for two- and three-bedroom cottages. 

For more information, visitwhiteelephantresorts.comor call 1.800.475.2637. 

Read more about VIE’s trip to White Elephant Nantucket Here!

ABOUT white elephant resorts | Nantucket & palm beach

White Elephant Resorts is a collection of premier hotels and resorts on Nantucket, MA and in Palm Beach, FL that specialize in bringing their award-winning combination of service, design, and amenities to today’s discerning traveler. Properties includeThe Wauwinet, with access to both bay and ocean beaches and home to award-winning TOPPER’S restaurant;White Elephant, the iconic hotel located right on Nantucket Harbor with the Brant Point Grill;Jared Coffin House, a historic hotel in Nantucket Town and its restaurant, Tap Room;The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin, private waterfront cottages; andNantucket Boat Basin,a 240-slip full-service award-winning marina.White Elephant Palm Beachdebuted in November 2020 in Palm Beach, FL with Nantucket-favorite LoLa 41 restaurant.The Wauwinet  was ranked inTravel + Leisure’sT+L 500 awards. In 2022,The Wauwinet  was recognized byTravel + Leisure’sWorld Best Awards and bothWhite ElephantandThe Wauwinetwere recipients ofConde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards. TOPPER’s isAAA’s only “Five Diamond” restaurant on Nantucket and has been a recipient ofWine Spectator’s “Grand Award” for 26 consecutive years. Following its debut,White Elephant Palm Beachhas also been recognized as the #1 Resort in Florida in Travel + Leisure’s 2022 World’s Best Awards. 

VISIT whiteelephantresorts.com TO LEARN MORE

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