It’s no surprise why Todd Snyder, the menswear designer, picked Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine to design a new Treeptop Lodge room—it’s the first kind of partnership for both the hotel and Snyder, who is known for elevating everyday sportswear. Hidden Pond’s General Manager, Kirsten Cauouette, talks to T&C about the collaboration, how the property is deploying unique kinds of technology to minimize in person contact during the COVID era, and some of the hidden corners of Kennebunkport that she says are a “must” for any visitors.
What do you consider the “best” room at Hidden Pond? Why?
When guests ask me what I consider to be the best unit at Hidden Pond, I always struggle with the question – it’s like asking a parent with four children which one is their favorite. All of our units have their own sense of place, charm and uniqueness that make them special in their own way, and every guest has a different favorite. That being said, this season we added our Treetop Lodges and in those we have a very special one, The From Away Lodge by Todd Snyder. It was inspired by Todd Snyder x L.L.Bean’s Fall 2020 “From Away” Runway Collection. When you think Maine, L.L.Bean is always something that comes to mind, and The From Away Lodge is the perfect blend of Maine heritage and rustic luxury.
What does it start at per night?
$1,000 per night.
What is the Hidden Pond experience?
Gallery: Already Thinking About the First Vacation of 2021? Here’s Where to Go (Town and Country)
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January is often considered one of the bleakest months of the year. The excitement of the holidays has worn off, it’s unbearably cold (for most of us), the restrictive New Year resolution diets have begun, and there’s nothing ahead but a long, interminable winter. All this makes it an ideal time to plan a getaway, especially more so since most travelers have already done their trips during the holidays so there are less crowds to contend with. Whether you’re in pursuit of sun or snow, here are a few ideas for your first trip of 2021.
*Be mindful of ever-changing Covid-19 travel restrictions for each destination and take note of cancellation policies. As with all travel during this time, take the necessary precautions to keep yourself—and others—safe.
Located just 28 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, Alta is a veritable skiers’ paradise. Snowboarding is banned here and it enjoys a fraction of visitors as its neighbor Park City (Alta gets about 500,000 visitors a year, while Park City gets more than 3 million). Stay at one of the newest hotels on the block, Snowpine Lodge, which underwent a $50-million renovation in 2019 to become a fully ski-in/ski-out hotel, the area’s first. The après-ski amenities at the 68-room hotel include Alta’s first full service spa, slope-side hot tubs and heated pool, an oxygen bar, fire pits, and heated ski lockers.
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The birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, the small Leeward island of Nevis epitomizes everything a Caribbean island should be: that off-the-grid feel, laid-back charm, and plenty of lush landscapes and tropical beaches. It’s also home to the 11-room Golden Rock Inn. The hidden gem, owned by the artists Brice and Helen Marden, is a foodie paradise that offers visitors a uniquely bohemian experience. Prefer something more beachy? Book one of the recently renovated guest rooms at the Four Seasons Nevis facing the sugar-soft sand of Pinney’s Beach.
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There is no beach or ski resort but it is inauguration month, so while the pandemic will table the usual, crowd-gathering fanfare, there is still sure to be a palpable celebratory feel all around the nation’s capital. To get the utmost in privacy (and, therefore, safety), head over to the posh Rosewood in Georgetown, which recently unveiled six townhouse-style accommodations—a first of its kind in the city—next to the hotel. Each one is 1,100 square feet in size, 4 stories tall, has a private entrance, and is equipped with a fireplace, state-of-the-art kitchen, soaking tub, washer/dryer, and a private backyard patio—all to make you feel like a true Georgetown denizen, a la Jackie Kennedy circa 1961.
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Big Island, Hawaii
With daily highs around 83 degrees and lows around 79, January is one of the best months for a trip to the Big Island—especially with such stunning attractions like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and ‘Akaka Falls, not to mention all the outdoor activities to be enjoyed such as rainforest hikes, stargazing, snorkeling, golf, surfing, and hot springs. For the ultimate New Year splurge, book one of the five private bungalows at the Mauna Lani, an Auberge Resort. At 4,000 square feet, they will more than comfortably sleep a group of 6 and provide seamless indoor-outdoor living (think private chefs, outdoor rain showers, a pool). You’ll be tempted to extend that holiday into a long-term WFH situation. Same goes for the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, which has a special rate (40% off) for stays longer than 14 days.
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Blue Mountains, Jamaica
Located 3,100 feet above sea level, Strawberry Hill offers a different kind of Jamaican vacation. You’ll trade sea for mountains (the panoramic Blue Mountains, in this case) and sweltering sun for a misty, cool breeze. Owner Chris Blackwell (who is also the mastermind behind the iconic Goldeneye, just two hours away) often entertained his music friends—Bob Marley, Mick Jagger, and Willie Nelson—at the 12-cottage property back in the ’70s. Along with all the hiking, flora, and authentic Jamaican cuisine, there is one other major reason to pay a visit to this region: the fabulous coffee.
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Jackson Hole, Wyoming
There really is no winter playground for outdoor enthusiasts quite like Jackson Hole. Its ski runs are legendary (and notoriously challenging) and the surrounding wilderness (home to elk, bison, bears, wolves, and bald eagles, to name a few) and national parks (Teton and Yellowstone) provide so much to see and do, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, fly fishing, and sleigh rides, plus heli-sking and cross-country skiing for the uber-adventurous. Stay at the ultra-luxe Amangani, whose blazing log fires and heated outdoor pool (with the most amazing views of the Tetons and Snake River Valley in town) will feel like heaven after a long day of extreme sport.
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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
On January 15, Baja California Sur will welcome a new hotel to the region: Paradero Todos Santos. Founded by two Mexican entrepreneurs with a bent for soft adventure, the 35-suite property will be a bohemian paradise: it’s located within an agricultural area comprising more than a dozen family-owned farms, the furniture is made by Mexican artisans, there is an on-site 100,000-square-foot botanical garden, an open-fire kitchen features an Oaxacan clay oven, and the surfing is top-notch. Barefoot luxury at its finest.
The Hidden Pond experience has always been about making guests feel comfortable and relaxed with the ability to do everything or nothing while staying with us. Some things have changed, including the addition of a lovely welcome booth where you will be whisked away to your cottage without having to go inside the Lodge (where our Guest Reception is located) to complete paperwork. This is in an effort to prevent in-person contact as much as possible. To help us prepare for arrival, we partnered with Whistle Technology, a text-based program, that allows us to send guests waivers, check in details, pre-arrival questionnaires and communicate with guests throughout their visit via text, to continue offering our Guest Services in a safer practice. Earth restaurant has rearranged the dining room to create at least six feet of space in between tables and has rolled out a prix-fixe menu this season. We’ve added beautiful dining spaces on our pool deck, chef’s gardens and even reimagined our Back Porch Bar and Artist Shed to be unique outdoor and private dining experiences for guests.
How would you describe the vibe at the hotel?
Our motto is “drive slowly, breathe deeply,” and we really try to slow things down a bit for our guests and allow them to have a relaxing visit. The vibe has slowed down even more this season as we have a minimum of 24 hours in between reservations, which has cut down our in-house guests, providing more space for everyone on property. The restaurant has also had a more relaxed vibe this season–guests are taking their time and enjoying leisurely dinners. We’ve done everything we can to make people feel as “normal” as possible during these “anything but normal” times.
Kennebunkport is known for the Bush compound, lobster, and freezing water. What’s it less known for that visitors should be sure to check out?
Kennebunkport has a rich fishing village history with many sea captains’ homes. It also served as an essential shipbuilding center until the War of 1812. The village has transitioned over the years to become a true hospitality village and quintessential destination to visit while you are in New England. There’s really accommodations and cuisine for everyone, from a casual fried clam roll or lobster roll at the Clam Shack to an elegant tasting menu at the White Barn Inn. The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust also plays an integral part of maintaining the charm of our village by conserving and stewarding land. They have conserved over 2,300 acres of forest, field and waterways from development and have beautiful trust preserves with trails to enjoy throughout the town, many of which are open to the public for exploration. Emmons and Smith Preserve are both close by and should be added to your list of things to do while you are here with us.
How would you spend the perfect day at Hidden Pond?
I would start with a cup of coffee in my cottage and either a yogurt or some quiche (both are stocked in the cottage prior to arrival). Then I would take a quick jog down the nature trail on property before jumping on a bicycle, which is already placed at the cottage, and go for a ride over to The Tides Beach Club–the only waterfront hotel on Goose Rocks Beach. At The Tides, I would leave the bike on their bike rack and go for a nice walk along Goose Rocks Beach before biking back to Hidden Pond. After an invigorating outdoor shower, I would head to Dock Square and grab some lunch at The Boathouse and maybe a little ice-cream at Rococo’s. I’d then walk around the streets of the village to look at some of the sea captains’ homes, along Ocean Avenue up past the Colony Hotel, St. Ann’s by-the-sea, and Walkers Point. When I got back to Hidden Pond I would take a nap on the screened porch of my cottage before getting ready for a wonderful dinner at Earth. If you rent a golf cart, it’s a fun ride up the road to get to the restaurant and enjoy dinner and then head to the campfire by the main lodge to have some s’mores before turning in for the night. Back at the cottage, I would set the fireplace for at least a half hour and leave the windows open to enjoy the sounds of the peepers (frogs) before falling asleep in the most comfortable bed ever.
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