American Seaside Escapes

Food & Wine: Cass House Inn, Cayucos, California.
At Cass House, Jensen Lorenzen prepares dishes like wild salmon; his wife, Grace, pairs the wines. Photo © Drew Kelly.
From Los Angeles's Venice Beach to the Jersey Shore, a new wave of beach hotels is as proud of its food as it is of its views.
american seaside escapes

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Cass House Inn; Cayucos, California

Chef Jensen Lorenzen and his wife, Grace, helped turn this 19th-century house (originally owned by the town's founder, James Cass) into a luxe five-room inn. Jensen's exceptional four-course dinners are built around produce from the inn's garden; the wine list emphasizes Central Coast producers like Kosta Browne.

Hotel Erwin; Venice Beach, California

Rooms at this hip new boutique hotel have balcony views of Muscle Beach and come with a free supply of surf wax for boarders looking to take advantage of the location 200 feet from the Pacific. At the hotel restaurant, Hash, Gordon Ramsay alum Micah Fields serves perfect post-surf breakfast dishes like buckwheat pancakes.

c/o The Maidstone; East Hampton, New York

Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg has given East Hampton's iconic 18th-century Maidstone Arms a Scandinavian twist. There are colorful Josef Frank upholstered chairs in the lobby and red Kronan bikes (a civilian version of Swedish army bikes) for riding to the beach; there's also a place to play Kubb, a Viking game. Chef James Carpenter is even serving some Swedish dishes like skagen—toasted brioche topped with shrimp, caviar and dill crème fraîche—at the hotel's new restaurant, the Living Room. The 200-vintage wine cellar, however, is Scandi-free.

Bungalow Hotel; Long Branch, New Jersey

Fans of the hit reality-TV show Jersey Shore may be surprised by the tastefulness of this new beachfront hotel. Husband-and-wife team Robert and Cortney Novogratz of Sixx Design (stars of Bravo's 9 By Design) are responsible for the funky cowhide chairs and one-of-a-kind artwork, like surfing photos by Jeff Devine. There is no on-site restaurant, since the hotel owners also operate the fantastic brasserie Avenue, just one block away. Its entire seafood-centric menu is available for room service.

Camden Harbour Inn; Camden, Maine

All 18 rooms at this harborside inn are named after famous ports of the Dutch East India Trading Company (a nod to its owners' Dutch heritage). The exterior is classic New England white clapboard; the interior, a mix of mod lighting from Habitat and Asian antiques. Its outstanding restaurant, Natalie's, looks like a Parisian boîte, offering ambitious dishes like ravioli filled with lobster, beef cheek and foie gras by chef Lawrence Klang.

The Postcard Inn; St. Pete's Beach, Florida

Restaurateur Steve Hanson turned a 1950s Colonial Gateway Inn into a retro-style hotel with vintage surfboards in many of the 196 rooms and a photo booth in the lobby. An outpost of Wildwood BBQ & Burger serves mahimahi tacos in addition to ribs and brisket.

The Ocean House; Watch Hill, Rhode Island

This grand oceanfront Victorian hotel recently completed a $140 million renovation. A full-time forager works with 40 area farms to supply the five dining venues. At night, a restored lobster boat takes guests on cocktail cruises.

The Stone House; Little Compton, Rhode Island

This newly restored (and now eco-friendly) 19th-century mansion has 13 rooms, a Hinckley yacht and two restaurants—Pietra (Italian) and 1854 (comfort food). Both are run by chef Paul Wade and feature ingredients sourced from within 25 miles.

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