If you haven’t been to Maine’s Samoset Resort in a while, you’ll be amazed at the changes. I toured the oceanfront resort in Rockport, overlooking Penobscot Bay and adjacent to the Rockland Breakwater, with general manager Connie Russell, who showed off the recent improvements. He has a right to be proud. Many accommodations use the word resort, but few live up to it. The Samoset does.
Among the changes since my last visit:
• a new zero-entry pool: Dive in and savor the views of windjammers sailing by the Breakwater Light and golfers on the course; warm up on a chilly or foggy day in the large hot tub; have lunch at the Splash Pool Bar.
• the Flume Cottage, built on ledges at the ocean’s edge and with a hot tub on its oceanfront deck, plus three other one- and two-bedroom guest cottages clustered near the shorefront and on the golf course, all with spectacular views.
• La Bella Vita Restaurant, the new Mediterranean-themed dining area (replacing Marcel’s) is both casual and chic, it flows both internally and externally, with tables inside overlooking the deck, which in turn overlooks the golf course and ocean. For a special occasion, consider the glass-walled wine room. A daily happy hour features discounted drinks and tapas specials.
• Enoteca Wine Bar &Lounge, flows from the dining room indoors and patio outdoors. Grab a seat at the bar to watch chefs prepare antipasti platters or tend pizzas in the brick oven. (Hint: The Umbria piza, with wild mushrooms, asiago cream, truffle oil, and arugula is scrumptious; $11).
• The Spa at the Samoset, offering facials, massages, body treatments, and salon services as well as a small lounge and outdoor patio area.
• updated room decor: One of the best parts of the Samoset is that all the rooms are quite spacious and have at least ocean glimpses if not jaw-dropping views. Updating the decor is ongoing, but if you prefer a more modern look, ask for one of the rooms that’s received a facelift (personally, I prefer the traditional decor).
Other signature Samoset facilities and programs include the oceanfront 18-hole golf course (Not a golfer? The pro shop offers a 45-minute narrated cart tour that covers the resort’s history and highlights signature holes); the health club with indoor pool; lawn equipped with croquet, shuffleboard, volleyball, tetherball, etc; and summer children’s programs.
As always, the best deals are the packages.