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White Elephant Nantucket will unveil a multi-million dollar restoration and renovation of its 54-room Harborside Hotel and 11 Cottages. The refurbishment will debut on May 5, 2023, to coincide with the White Elephant’s 100th anniversary.

The refresh has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Lowrey, principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects, the design firm behind multi-award-winning sister property White Elephant Palm Beach. The bright, airy, residential-inspired redesign takes its inspiration from the history, quality of light, landscape and artistic legacy of Nantucket itself.

All materials and finishes will be replaced, from the carpets to the fixtures and the furnishings, with an emphasis on design details that are authentic to place. The patterns of the textiles will draw on the island’s rich history of basket weaving; exterior shiplights evoke Nantucket’s deep seafaring traditions; and a color palette of blues and greens are inspired by the coastal surroundings. The brand’s heritage will be woven throughout, with brass elephant knockers on doors, elephant door and drawer pulls, and elephant needlepoint pillows in rooms.

White Elephant Refresh Inspired by Nantucket

Guest rooms at the Harborside Hotel range from 375-450 sf, and will feature 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 66 accommodations, 25 of the rooms and 25 of the suites provide direct access to the harborside lawn and the coastal surroundings.

The property’s 11 cottages range from 400-900 sf and will all be individually decorated and styled after plants indigenous to Nantucket: Bayberry, Hydrangea, Daylily, Beachplum, Honeysuckle, Holly, Arrowwood, Marigold, Rosa Rugosa, and Snapdragon. Each cottage will take a plant as its inspiration, with color palettes and artworks that evoke the flora – such as tones of buttery yellow for the Honeysuckle room, pale lavender for Beachplum, and pale pink for Rose. The two-bedroom cottages feature decks with coastal views, while the one- and three-bedroom cottages are set in a newly landscaped garden area complete with pathways that crisscross the central lawn.

The refurbishment will also extend to the lobby area, drawing in local elements such as a basket weave carpet design that nods to the surroundings. The lobby redesign will also add an expanded retail space and more approachable concierge and reception areas, as well as a large-scale commissioned artwork by Israeli painter Orit Fuchs (who created an acrylic artwork for sister property White Elephant Palm Beach). The artwork will depict a harborside scene of a woman dressed in Nantucket reds in a rowboat, floating by the White Elephant.

New original art will be installed throughout the rooms and corridors, resulting from the brand’s Artist in Residency Program, launched in August 2022. New York-based art consultant and curator Emily Santangelo worked 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.

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.

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