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SmarterTravel Spotlight: The Cliff House Maine Review

Almost everyone stops for a moment when they walk through the front doors of the Cliff House, mesmerized by view. As the name implies, the Cliff House is built atop a high cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, so as soon as you enter, the floor-to-ceiling windows make you feel as if you’re suspended over the water.

Cliff house ice bar

I visited the Cliff House in January, which might not be when most people dream of visiting Maine, but it actually turned out to be the perfect relaxing winter getaway. Large wood-burning fireplaces are scattered throughout the lobby, lounge area, and restaurant, throwing off warmth and creating a cozy vibe. An outdoor hot tub steamed in the cold weather, offering a place to thaw while watching the ocean waves crash below. The night that I visited, the Cliff House was taking advantage of the 20 degree temperatures and throwing one of their famous ice bar parties, where a fire pit and heat lamps surrounded a bar sculpted out of ice, giving guests the chance to shake off cabin fever and mingle outdoors in the middle of winter.

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The Location

The Cliff House is located in Cape Neddick, Maine and is close to the scenic towns of York and Ogunquit. It’s an easy drive from Boston, and is close to a number of sandy beaches (for summer visits).

The Rooms

Cliff house rooms

The large hotel has 226 rooms, including suites and even a cottage to choose from. I stayed in a Cliffscape Oceanfront King Room, which overlooks the ocean and has recently been redesigned with a modern nautical theme. These rooms have balconies with endless water views, king size beds topped with locally made Cuddledown comforters, and plenty of space.

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The property has four dining options: Bald Head Coffee Co. (serving local favorite Bard Coffee, plus light breakfast options), Nubb’s Lobster Shack (casual dining with a focus on seafood), the Tidemark Terrace (a lounge area), and The Tiller Restaurant (more formal dining that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Cliff house dining

I enjoyed dinner at the Tiller Restaurant, where any table in the room offers beautiful views of the ocean. The menu here is seasonal, and focuses on locally available ingredients. The menu shows a map of exactly where your food is coming from: farms in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. For dinner, you might be served a meal of gnocchi and incredibly rich pillows of garlic cream topped with local mushrooms and roasted Brussel sprouts; or you might order the Maine Cioppino, a hearty stew which showcased the incredibly fresh seafood of the region. Dessert options include indulgent ice cream cookie sandwiches that use locally-made blueberry ice cream. The cocktail list has plenty of innovative options to choose form, like a spritz with tea-infused vermouth, orange bitters, and Prosecco.

The Spa

An over 9,000 square foot luxury spa continues the Maine theme by using locally sourced ingredients in the offered therapies, and are changed according to the season. The sunny sanctuary room is a quiet place to relax before and after treatments, and there are also saunas and steam rooms to continue the pampering.

Cliff house spa

Couples’ massages are held in a private room overlooking the ocean. The heated massage beds and warm blankets are used help to relax muscles, while the highly-trained therapists sort out every knot and sore spot.

Price and How to Book: Weekend rates in January start at around $278 per night. Book on the Cliff House’s website or compare rates on TripAdvisor.

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Caroline Morse Teel was hosted by the Cliff House. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos from Maine and all around the world.


By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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