A charming cottage in a residential side-street with just 15 rooms, boutique bolthole Salt House Inn knows a thing or two about both beds and breakfasts. The former are plump feather-topped affairs housed in cosy, quirky new-Shaker bedrooms; the latter are home-made, seasonal and best enjoyed under the inn’s wisteria-covered pergola. Happily, Provincetown’s dune-blessed coast and buzzy nightlife are within easy reach, should you wish to trade comfort and care for more hedonistic delights.
11am. Earliest check-in, 4pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $180.00, excluding tax at 14.45 per cent.
Rates include a home-made breakfast of baked treats, yoghurt parfait with a daily-changing topping and tea or coffee.
P-town may have earned its reputation as a haven for progressives, but that doesn’t mean it’s averse to a spot of old-school charm: while away an afternoon under Salt House Inn’s wisteria-cloaked pergola, or just ding the silver bell at the desk if you need help with anything.
The hotel closes in winter from 1 November to 30 March.
At the hotel
Terrace, lounge, free WiFi. In rooms: cable TV, bathrobes, minibar, free bottled water, CO Bigelow toiletries.
Our favourite rooms
Owner-designer Kevin O’Shea’s take on New England chic is bright, white and breezy. Hung up on slatted headboards behind marshmallow-soft beds, one-off finds from local beaches and flea markets add a touch of whimsy to minimalist walls, timber beams and caramel-hued hardwood floors. Standard Double rooms are perfect for solitary retreats, but a bit snug for a couple; if you’re after some personal space and a separate reading area, opt for a Deluxe King room instead. With a vaulted ceiling, soft lighting and a freestanding bath at the foot of the bed, the Loft is for dyed-in-the-wool romantics, and comes with sea-salt soap and salts for a luxurious soak.
Pack exercise gear to work off the catch of the day; swimsuits for see-and-be-seen pool parties.
Pets aren’t allowed at the inn, but staff can put you in touch with nearby Provincetown Pet Resort if you can’t bear to leave your furry friends at home.
Leave the little Smiths at home: Salt House Inn is for over-16s only.
The day-bed on the terrace is a good spot for a fresh-air breakfast in bed.
Keep things crisp but casual with well-cut shorts, breeze-blown hair and tricep-skimming tops.
There’s no restaurant as such, but Salt House Inn’s rustic, seasonal breakfast is served at a farmhouse table in the Breakfast Room or out in the gardens. Home-made granola and yoghurt parfait sit alongside daily changing sweet and savoury specials – a tantalising start to the day.
You’ll need to hit P-town for a taste of something stronger than coffee.
Breakfast is served from 8am to 10.30am.
Have your pastries and granola brought up to your room during breakfast hours.
Salt House Inn is tucked away on a leafy residential street just a couple of blocks from buzzy Commercial Street.
A 10-minute drive away from the hotel, Provincetown Municipal Airport serves daily 20-minute flights to Boston’s Logan Airport, an international hub that can also be reached by car in three hours.
During high summer, negotiating the traffic to Cape Cod can be an intense experience. If you do drive however, it’s easy enough to find. From Route 6, turn left onto Conwell Street and head towards the centre of town. Salt House Inn is on the right as you approach Bradford Street. Turn right onto Railroad Avenue and right again to find the hotel’s free car park; there’s space for one car for each room.
Seasonal high-speed ferries from Bay State Cruise and Boston Harbor Cruises take just 90 minutes to cross over from Boston; the port is a 10-minute walk away.
Worth getting out of bed for
Whizzing around on two wheels is de rigueur in Provincetown; call ahead so the hotel can arrange bicycles to use on arrival. If you’d rather keep your feet on firm ground, hit the Beech Forest Trail, a pleasant mile-long stroll looping around wetlands and warbler-harbouring woods. Hop in a four-wheel drive for a tour of Cape Cod’s glorious coastline: Art’s Dune Tours have been doing what it says on the tin since 1946, though they’ve since upgraded their 1936 Ford Woody to more modern, beefy rides. Lifeguard-protected Herring Cove Beach is a long stretch of golden sands blessed with spectacular sunset views. If you’re after less pastoral pleasures, ask the house manager to book an appointment at around-the-corner Namasté Spa, where an octogonal Moroccan-inspired hammam and Finnish sauna prep visitors for tension-releasing massages. A cornerstone of P-town’s creative district, The School House Gallery showcases contemporary photography, paintings and prints by local artists, and dishes out sage advice on collecting and investing in the arts.
Beach-themed The Canteen is the best spot in town for a hot buttery lobster roll; crispy cod tacos, moreish buffalo wings and clam chowder wink seductively from the blackboard menu. Open in the summer, Victor’s dishes up New England’s freshest catch in irresistible sliders, ravioli and risottos. Stop by the raw bar at happy hour for a couple of oysters or some wild-caught ahi tuna. Snag a table at romantic nook-in-the wall Front Street Restaurant, where the low ceilings, dimmed lighting and warm staff are as enticing as the seasonal tastebud-tingling Mediterranean fare.
Diminutive Pop + Dutch is a welcoming deli-cum-sandwich-shop; pop in for a hearty BLT, a tempting lunch box or a handful of condoms from the jar on the counter – a nod to the joint’s colourful past as a sex shop.
Nightlife in Provincetown is one of rituals. Evenings start at 4pm at the Boatslip Beach Club’s legendary Tea Dance, an alfresco gathering of hedonistic, like-minded souls emphatically not to be confused with the Tea Party. Saunter down Commercial Street and pick whatever drag-queen show tickles your fancy; the Crown & Anchor hosts singalongs, leather-themed soirées and springtime post-hibernation bear parties. Finish things off at Spiritus Pizza, where crowds converge at 1am for a late night slice-and-boogie.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this charming hotel in Cape Cod and unpacked their board shorts and rainbow flags, a full account of their coastal break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Salt House Inn in Provincetown…
Hidden away on a leafy side-street just a couple of blocks from the joyful crowds of Provincetown’s Commercial Street, Salt House Inn kick-started the Salt Hotel group – a quartet of elegant, effortlessly cool boltholes bearing testament to the Atlantic Coast’s enduring appeal. When he first opened the inn in 2013, owner Kevin O’Shea’s mission was to redefine the traditional B&B. This careful transformation of an 1850s salt-miners’ cottage into a laid-back haven for P-town visitors has achieved just that, thanks to a liberal application of light-reflecting white, inviting beds and a quirky take on Shaker style. Don’t expect five-star facilities, a restaurant or freshly mixed cocktails – but do sit back on the terrace, kick off your shoes and make yourself at home.
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