Grand hotel: Wentworth-by-the Sea


The greatest charm of that now-near-vintage Christopher Reeve movie, Somewhere in Time, was the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan, where it was shot. As Reeve’s character explored the hotel, he magically found love in another century, to the tune of stirring romantic strain of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagannini.

But my near-obsession with grand hotels goes much farther back. I will never forget my first glimpse of what is now the Omni Mount Washington in New Hampshire,  in 1969. Oh, it was breathtaking!. We haven’t been lucky enough to stay there—not yet—but it remains on our list.

Last week, however, my daughter and I were lucky enough, however, to stay in another of New England’s gracious old hotels, of which, at one point, there were reportedly about 400.  Wentworth-by-the-Sea near Portsmouth, NH. Check the link to read its history, which, of course, is part of the charm with these grande dames. Over decades, centuries even, important people walked their halls; and important things, sometimes not so nice ones, happened there.

We had a lovely two-night stay in this serene location overlooking the water. The weather was picture-perfect, and the shops, restaurants, and landmarks in nearby Portsmouth were, as always, a joy to explore.

Decor-wise, the hotel had an ultra-modern look that, against the backdrop of the 19th Century architectural deals didn’t quite work for me. Eclectic is fine when well done, and I have no objection to updating; but the modern furnishings seemed a bit odd and out-of-place, and the feeling of stepping back in time was completely lost in the execution.

The view and gardens are magnificent. Enjoy the photos!






9 thoughts on “Grand hotel: Wentworth-by-the Sea

  1. Mary Hart

    Mu Uncle and his wife stayed there in the 50’s, as did my parents – and one year I as a 20 year old I was more or less cajoled into accompany the adults. Despite the incredible beauty of the place – and great meals – I was glad I brought a book. I didn’t dare use any of the facilities that cost extra as my uncle was paying the bill. I did, however, love getting lost in my books on that porch. In those days, the decor matched the period and that did make it fascinating. I’m not sure I’d favor updating the place ( maybe more modern tubs and showers and accomodations for handicapped, but otherwise, I wish it had been left as I remember it). Great to see the pictures of the grande olde dame!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali

    I like be these atmospheric old hotels – especially as I haven’t been to any in America, and only seen them in films. I look be the photo of the veranda.

    Liked by 1 person

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