Cape Cod’s only Five-Star Resort.
My web diet gives me a daily dose of luxury hotel websites and their social media. There is a pretty predictable language and look to how high-end properties attempt to lure well-heeled guests. The Wequassett in Cape Cod has a slogan, “You’ve arrived.”
I admit I harrumphed just little when I read it. All of my friends who know the Cape had said, “You simply HAVE to go.” I was told they know how to cater to families well. I expected a lot. (Check your dates for rates.)
The bell staff, dressed in their crisp navy stripes and blue Bermuda shorts set the tone of the resort—playful and preppy — as they greeted us with a polished but relaxed welcome. The bellmen are delighted to use their golf carts to photobomb your pictures or escort you to the pool if your toddler skins his knee.
After our drive from Boston, my children were very eager to get out of the car, and they ran ahead of me into the 18th-century building used for registration. They perched themselves next to the lemonade and cookie table with very innocent looking faces. While our rooms were getting ready, we explored the property to learn what type of activities the resort offers.
The Wequasset Location
Situated at the end of Cape Cod before the road turns north to the tip at Provincetown, The Wequasset faces the Atlantic ocean next to Chatham. It’s minutes to the ferries and airport at Hyannis.
The main focus is the water. The Wequassett, named by the Wampanoag, enjoys a fantastic location inside a protected cove called Pleasant Bay. This beach is perfect for water sports, sandcastle building, and hermit crab catching.
The pool area is beautiful and distinctive to the resort’s location, situated on a mini peninsula with water views in three directions from its cabanas and loungers.
As I listened to good early 80’s music over the loudspeakers and eavesdropped on the tween girls flirting with one of the boy lifeguards, I felt twelve again—suddenly smelling the ghost aroma of Bain de Soleil’s orange sun-tanning jam, SPF 4.
Adding to the nostalgia, the staff is dressed from head to toe in retro, striped Ralph Lauren uniforms. Only the extra wide white belts of the male servers and the absence of front pleats reminded me that it is 2015. Oh, and little people that kept yelling at me, “Mommy, watch!”
Staff members are plentiful, and poolside service is attentive, circling with small glasses of lemonade. Life guards watch children and provide goggles, kickboards, and diving toys.
Our pool time was so relaxing and easy. My kids wouldn’t get out of the pool until dinner time, and one night we ate poolside, and the other we walked about fifty feet to the Outer Bar and Grille, or maybe it was at LiBAYtion, the bar next to it.
The Outer Bar and Grill and LiBAYtions
This waterfront bar and restaurant were swinging for the middle of the week. The views of Pleasant Bay alone justified the crowds of resort guests, tourists, and locals from the area. The staff are great at accommodating in-house guests first before outside crowds.
Our menus arrived, and the special touches that the Wequassett makes for families started appearing. This two-page menu in the shape of a sailboat for children is one of the best, most thorough, I had ever seen. This is where so many hotels fall short and the Wequassett really impressed.
My children were able to eat all of their favorite grow foods while I had a wonderful grilled halibut. We finished an excellent dinner that offered all of the dreamy elements of a festive night out in the Caribbean, a live rendition of Chuck Maggione’s classic “Feels So Good” by the band, yet we were only ninety minutes from home.
A beachfront Cape Cod resort for kids
The sand beach at Pleasant Bay, adjacent to the pool, offers a box of sand toys, paddleboards, sail boats, and lounge chairs.
Those interested can take a resort launch several times a day to the Cape Cod National Shoreline. Order a picnic basket from the in-room dining menu for a day at the beach, rustic style, a stark contrast to the resort’s pool experience.
There are no umbrellas, but I saw savvy families who had packed sun tents. The resort has fold-up beach chairs and towels in the boat.
The Best Family Rooms at the Wequassett
The accommodations at the Wequassett vary in views and size. The signature suites along the water are the ones to get, though the garden view options here are still pretty beautiful because of the outstanding landscaping. Seeing this resort when the hydrangeas are in bloom in July should be on your bucket list.
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Our suite had two queen beds and a sleeper sofa, beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sailboats in the bay, ample space, storage, and a soaking Jacuzzi tub prepped for a child-free soak with an across the tub rack filled with loofahs, soaps, and a book on the Cape Cod shoreline.
The challenge for parents is finding the privacy to enjoy it, however, as the bathroom is only separated from the main room by folding wooden shutters. Children above forty inches will enjoy climbing through this window approximately eight times before they tire of its novelty. Plan your bath accordingly.
The various cottages are scattered around property, many with patio areas or balconies, and the ground level rooms also offer fireplaces.
Unique Family touches at the Wequassett
Children receive a welcome amenity of house made ice cream from in-room dining, and mini mason jars of sundae toppings accompanied the notes.
Every afternoon, a pool attendant changes from his Ralph Lauren uniform to a Good Humor ice cream man and drives a vintage truck to the pirate playground, opposite the treasure chest ball pit for an afternoon treat.
At two and four o’clock, the ice cream man visits the pool. A staff member circles the pool to alert the guests to queue for ice cream sandwiches and popsicles.
This is such a beloved tradition, that a resort guest’s child put on his own costume, marched around the pool ringing the bell, and helped serve the crowds.
The pool also hosts movie nights for families, and pool service stops at 10P.M., making a casual family night easy at the resort.
The retail space at the resort just opened with a new gourmet candy store and a beach kiosk that offered children’s beach wear.
The Wequassett Kids’ Club
The family programming at the Wequassett is headquartered at a beautiful children’s club along the most breathtaking pathway of hydrangeas on the Cape.
With an expansive inside room with soaring ceilings, an outside amphitheater, and pirate ship playground, the kids’ room is very top-of-the-line.
The kids’ camp has programs from two-year-olds to tweens. The hour and a half morning session for 2 and 3-year-olds is a perfect respite for parents that won’t induce any guilt.
The half-day sessions for those aged four and older are exceptional in their theming: cookie making in the hotel kitchen, treasure hunting in the resort boat, gardening, eco tours of the bay, and beach Olympics.
Nighttime programs center around movies and dance parties. A child would enjoy a week’s stay with all of the options.
Adult time at the Wequassett
While children are being entertained, parents will appreciate the resort jazz festival or the silence at the hidden adult-only pool.
There is no spa on site, so a day spa in nearby Chatham will send a massage therapist. The bell staff can also whisk you to your appointment in the resort’s two BMW SUV’s.
Twenty-Eight Atlantic at the Wequassett
On our second night, my husband joined us and we craved a real meal. We booked an early table at the resort’s signature restaurant, Twenty-Eight Atlantic. Despite the modern décor and the sun-lit room, the restaurant’s formal service would be suitable in an exclusive, dark-paneled club in Boston.
We were suddenly a little nervous when we noticed we had the only children in the dining room. Everybody else was smarter than we were by sending their kids to a glow-in-the-dark dance party.
I had packed my mom bag of table toys and managed to keep things civil through an amuse bouche and two memorable courses, particularly the scallop crudo served over a macadamia nut gazpacho. But things started turning sour at dessert.
I looked up at the headwaiter apologetically and said, “I fear our window closed, and it’s best if we ask for the check.” He looked sympathetic, “Why don’t we deliver your dessert to your room?” And they did, within five minutes.
If I haven’t already painted an impressive enough canvas of how well the Wequassett caters to families, let me finish by describing the Twenty-Eight Atlantic’s breakfast service.
A bountiful buffet in the main dining room is lovely, but the children’s buffet inside a pirate ship, served by a pirate in costume is just what they do. What other resorts plan at holidays for children are the everyday offerings from the Wequassett.
This is the kind of outstanding effort to serve families that distinguishes the Wequassett from many other resorts. I ran out of wipes and asked if housekeeping had diaper wipes. A knock at the door an hour later, a bellman handed me a Wequassett bag with a container of wipes.
This is, indeed, a Preferred Family hotel in the Legend category, the most exclusive of the Preferred Hotels. At turndown service, when I saw that housekeeping had placed my makeup on a towel between the sinks, our housekeeper had placed a Wequassett sunglass cleaning cloth next to my spotless sunglasses. Impressive touch.
The biggest drawback of staying at the Wequassett is dealing with the return to normal life for your children. My kids wouldn’t leave without a fight to stay another night. We lingered a little longer by the pool and made out way back to Boston. They were out cold from ice cream comas, swimming with new friends, and looking for horse shoe crabs.
I may be able to offer a daily ice cream to my kids in the summer, but I draw the line at dressing up as a pirate and serving them waffles.
Although we were guests of the Wequassett Resort, these opinions are my own.
Check your dates for rates.