|The Point Independence Inn in Onset is an 1800s beachside Mediterranean mansion. (ELLEN ALBANESE/GLOBE STAFF)|
ONSET-- With a setting this spectacular -- at the intersection of the East River, Onset Bay, and the Cape Cod Canal -- an inn might get away with offering nothing more than the natural beauty of sea and sand. Happily, the Point Independence Inn offers more: cordial hosts, pleasing decor, comfortable rooms, and a spa.
Having missed the exit off Route 25, we drove the narrow, twisting streets of Wareham until we saw the cream-colored stucco building, with turrets and a striking red clay tile roof, looming in the distance at the land's end.
The decor is Mediterranean-mansion-meets-Tommy-Bahama, starting with a parking lot of shimmering white crushed shells. Inside, natural colors predominate: beige and brown walls, grass cloth in the parlor, and gleaming hardwood floors. On the first floor spacious windows open onto a panorama of sand and sea; the owners have thoughtfully not ruined the view with fussy window treatments, so the distinction between indoors and outdoors is almost transparent. A round room off the parlor is particularly striking, and a wraparound porch offers encounters with the elements.
In summer guests can rent kayaks to paddle Onset Bay, by Wicket and Onset islands. The inn will also make reservations for charter fishing trips.
Michael and Jackie Kennedy bought the inn , which dates to 1880, at auction five years ago and closed it for a year for a complete overhaul. They excised all things Victorian and floral, replacing them with natural woods, neutral colors, and tropical accents. "We wanted it to feel like the Mediterranean beach house it looks like from the outside," Jackie said.
We stayed in the Harbor View Room, the inn's second-largest accommodation. The spacious room has an extruded round sitting area with three deep windows. Olive sheer curtains with gold embroidery keep the lovely view in focus, and wood slat blinds provide privacy. There were two comfortable cushioned wicker chairs in the alcove, on either side of a glass table on a rattan base. It was a bright and pleasant place in the daylight, but it was impossible to read after dark, since there were no lamps by the chairs.
The queen bed had an intricately carved headboard and posts. Two rattan and leather narrow chests served as night tables. A lovely floral lacquered chest and a gold-colored pedestal fan added to the Casablanca feel. The floors were bare polished wood in keeping with the beach house theme. The room had a small refrigerator, wine glasses, and a corkscrew.
There was a large sink in the room and a small bath with a toilet and shower. Bath products were above average: Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, and sea salt soap. But there was no place to stash toiletries either near the sink or in the bathroom.
We took advantage of a "two by the sea" couples massage, simultaneous treatments in adjoining rooms. The spa was attractive and soothing. The treatment was a garden-variety relaxation massage, although I had asked for deep-tissue work focused on certain muscles. It would be a pleasant experience for someone new to massage.
Our hosts made dinner reservations for us at the Stonebridge Bistro, a short walk away, which offers steak and seafood at reasonable prices. From our table we could see the lights of the inn twinkling across the East River.
Coffee and tea are available 24 hours a day, but we were surprised to find that breakfast is not served in the off-season. On a Sunday morning in April, we had a tough decision to make: Should we stay and savor the inn's spectacular setting until checkout time or head for the local diner? We chose to defer breakfast for one last walk on the beach.
Ellen Albanese can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.