Modern Charmer, $$
There are a lot of fun times to be had at Blind Tiger, a nine-room guest house between West End and Old Port in the charming city of Portland, Maine. And lots of fun has already been had, apparently: Back in the days of Prohibition, the Federal-style mansion was a lavish party place known in the neighborhood as "Social Corners;" the phrase "blind tiger" was local parlance for an illegal joint where one could find a stiff drink. Let's just say that there's lots of texture and color — historically, figuratively, and literally — within these walls. And though the building has been in meticulous shape since its first occupants showed up 200 years ago, the bold colors, eclectic furnishings, and diverse artwork really make it sing, from the parlor lounge to the basement billiards room to the rooftop cupola.
Click here for reservations and don't forget to check for any special offers Blind Tiger may be running. Pro tip: For the best treatment and care, cut out the middleman and book directly with the hotel.
At a Glance
Vibe: Stately — but not stodgy — city charm.
Standout Detail: Old bones dressed up in new colors and materials.
This Place Is Perfect For: A romantic getaway; a cute birthday buyout.
Rooms: Nine rooms with an eclectic mix of modern and vintage furniture, artwork, leather armchairs, and pretty bathrooms. Eight of the nine rooms have beautiful wood-burning fireplaces. The room named Bon Viveur can accommodate four people (for an extra fee), but the others max out at two. You can bring your well-behaved kids — just beware there probably won't be any others around.
On Site: Lounge, billiards room, 4th-floor lookout for cozy merrymaking; essential oil aromatherapy diffusers for in-room relaxation; picnic blankets and baskets for daily excursions; concierge services.
Food + Drink: Guests can head up to the third-floor pantry to help themselves to complimentary breakfast — a selection of homemade breads and pastries, fruit, yogurt, French press and pour-over coffee, tea, and other light items. When the sun's over the yard arm, they can peruse the cocktail books for inspiration and recipes. It's BYOB, but fancy barware and mixers are available for making cocktails to take down to the basement billiards room or up to the cupola overlooking the harbor.
What to Do Nearby
Portland is very walkable ... and very adorable. The city's inhabitants utilize the best ingredients, from farm to sea, that the state has to offer. There are terrific restaurants and bars, brewpubs, markets, specialty shops, and weekly farmers market. While in Maine, lobsters are the obvious choice (you can even jump on a boat to catch your own). Music performances, art installations, and walking tours abound. Blind Tiger has a number of recommendations for all of these things, along with a list of local spas, shops, theaters, and ideas for getting into nature. You can (and should) also see the Fathom guide to Maine.