Luxury Boutique Hotels of New Jersey
A memorable getaway could be less than an hour away
By Taylor Smith
Looking for a spring getaway, or the perfect place to host a special event? Now’s the time to visit one of these stunning inns, all located within the Garden State.
Courtesy of the Nassau Inn
The Nassau Inn
10 Palmer Square, Princeton
A full-service hotel in downtown Princeton’s Palmer Square (www.palmersquare.com), The Nassau Inn is the ideal place for an escape or romantic getaway any time of the year. Offering historic charm with modern amenities, The Nassau Inn features the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, a beloved local gastropub with significant Princetontonian charm and history. During the winter, guests will enjoy the oversized stone fireplace and snug atmosphere. A favorite of Princeton students and alumni, visitors will notice the colorful mural painted by Norman Rockwell behind the bar. Past guests have left their mark in the surface of the dining room’s tables, and a famous photo gallery of noteworthy Princeton University graduates lines one wall. Live music is a staple, and the American grill menu is also served al fresco on the restaurant’s outdoor patio during the warmer months.
In walking distance to Princeton University, The Nassau Inn has always had a storied connection to the Ivy League institution. Originally opened in 1769 at 52 Nassau Street, The Nassau Inn was demolished and rebuilt in 1938 at 10 Palmer Square to make way for road adjustments and construction of today’s Palmer Square, the site of much of downtown Princeton’s shopping, dining, and even housing.
The hotel has 188 guest rooms and four banquet rooms with over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A popular site for weddings any time of year, The Nassau Inn’s Prince William Ballroom is perfect for a joyful reception or a timeless candlelit dinner.
The Bernards Inn
27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville
World-class dining and accommodations come together at The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville. Called “the grand dame of the Somerset Hills,” The Bernards Inn offers four-star, farm-to-table gourmet cuisine. In addition, the executive pastry chef goes above and beyond to create spectacular desserts and wedding cakes. Managed by a team of wine directors, The Bernards Inn’s wine collection has been awarded the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine for the past eight years. Each of the specially appointed guest rooms includes pastoral-themed oil paintings, architectural detailing, and antiques that capture the traditional settings of the great estate homes of the Somerset Hills.
The Grand Summit Hotel
570 Springfield Avenue, Summit
Nestled in Summit, The Grand Summit Hotel is a popular choice of discerning travelers for its close proximity to New York City, Newark Airport, Short Hills, Parsippany, Whippany, Morristown, Chatham, Madison, and Millburn. Located at the intersection of downtown Summit and the residential district, it offers unforgettable relaxation in a park-like setting, while also being close to cultural and recreational attractions. The Grand Summit, now preparing to celebrate its 150th birthday, exudes classic styling while offering innovative and progressive services and amenities. Family owned and operated, The Grand Summit believes in working with local artists, craftsman, food artisans, and coffee roasters. Many of the art pieces in the hotel were created by local artists and are offered for sale, with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. When it’s chilly, be sure to stop in for a quiet rest by the roaring fireplace in the lobby.
The Madison Hotel
1 Convent Road, Morristown
The Madison Hotel in Morristown is more like a grand estate with year-round events, dining, and wedding activities. Set amid a bucolic landscape, The Madison Hotel is noted for its Georgian-style facade and dramatic clock tower, and blends timeless elegance and personalized service with modern technology and award-winning cuisine to create an unforgettable guest experience. GK’s Red Dog Tavern and Rod’s Steakhouse offer year-round dining, fine wine, and spirits. From intimate to regal, The Madison Hotel’s wedding services are centered on the extravagant Glynallyn Ballroom, where their wedding experts tend to every detail. For arts, culture, history, and shopping, Morristown is home to the Mayo Performing Arts Center, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Drew University, College of St. Elizabeth, Washington’s Headquarters, and The Mall at Short Hills along with many boutique shops.
Photography courtesy of Lesley Unruh @allenunruh
37 North Mountain Avenue, Montclair
Located 12 miles west of New York City in the attractive suburb of Montclair, The George is the project of makeup maven Bobbi Brown and her husband, Steven Plofker, a real estate developer and attorney with a background in urban planning from Harvard University. The couple has called Montclair home since the 1980s. The George was originally built as a private residence for the father of Charles Van Vleck (the architect for the Rockefeller family), and became a hotel known as The Georgian Inn in 1940.
The couple used their sense of design and understanding of Americana to transform the forgotten Georgian Inn into a destination spot in the heart of Montclair. Creative Director Brown handpicked toiletries, food, snacks, beverages, linens, books, and furniture from some of her favorite brands.
Dogs are welcome at The George (the couple’s dog Biggie wanders through the hotel), and each of the 32 rooms is designed with a bespoke feel with first-class amenities. Room rates include a complimentary breakfast available for two guests in the breakfast room. Guests should contact reception for a list of recommended restaurants in downtown Montclair, which has become something of a dining mecca within New Jersey.
Known for her makeup color palettes, Brown went with an industrial feel for The George, painting the walls in a flat gray paint and exposing original brick finishes and matte black hardware. Tartan-covered headboards and deep tufted couches complete The George’s modern-day look.
Lastly, be sure to notice the name of each of the 32 rooms, which are all decorated differently. The “Jack” for example, includes black-and-white photographs of Jack Nicholson and coffee table books on Jacqueline Kennedy.
Courtesy of The Peacock Inn
The Peacock Inn
20 Bayard Lane, Princeton
The Peacock Inn is a 16-room boutique hotel located close to downtown Princeton. With excellent access to sidewalks and walking paths, guests are able to leave their rooms and visit all of Princeton’s historic sites, from Princeton University and McCarter Theatre to Einstein’s home. The attractive colonial-style mansion features upscale dining in its signature bar and restaurant. Brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, cocktails, and dinner are offered most days. Dinner menu standouts include Crab Cake Croquettes, Baby Kale Salad, Seared Duck Breast, and Southern Mist — an olive oil and pistachio sponge with ivory chocolate cream, sour cherry compote, lavender merengue, and cocoa sauce. The afternoon tea menu includes English-style scones, sweets, and savories, along with an optional champagne flight and caviar experience.
250 5th Avenue, Asbury Park
The Asbury is at once a hotel, social club, rooftop lounge, and art space. Expertly matching up the seaside town’s mix of rock ‘n’ roll and Victorian-era charm, The Asbury is perfectly situated for visitors to have direct access to Asbury Park’s beaches, nightlife, and dining. You can enjoy The Asbury’s live music in the lobby; sunrise yoga; outdoor movie theater, Baronet; lively lobby bar, Soundbooth; and rooftop escape, Salvation.
The 110 guest rooms come in a wide range of sizes, from king and queen rooms to family rooms and suites that can sleep up to eight. The bathrooms are light and bright, and the fashionable rooms are accented with black-and-white vintage photographs of Asbury Park. Two blocks from the Asbury Park beach and boardwalk, the hotel is also a popular site for family gatherings, weddings, and celebrations, and features 4,800 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor space “unlike any other on the Jersey Shore” for any special occasion.
The Hewitt Wellington Hotel
200 Monmouth Avenue, Spring Lake
The Hewitt Wellington Hotel is one of the Jersey Shore’s most beloved boutique hotels. Located less than three short blocks from the ocean, the hotel also features views of the spring-fed lake for which Spring Lake is named. The three-story Victorian hotel features Deluxe Lakeview Suites, many of which feature a private balcony. The hotel restaurant, Whispers, is regularly voted a top dining destination within New Jersey. Gift certificates are available, as well as Romantic Getaway Packages, perfect for wedding anniversaries or just to show someone you care.
Photo by Don Pearse Photographers, Inc
The Reeds at Shelter Haven
9601 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor
The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor is a year-round luxury boutique hotel and resort located on a bay and just steps from the Jersey Shore. With 37 distinctively designed guest rooms and suites, the Reeds offers bayside and oceanside views, distinctive sunsets, numerous dining options, boat docking, beach services, and convenient access to Stone Harbors’ downtown shopping district. Voted one of Conde Nast Traveler’s “World’s Best Hotels” for the second year in a row, The Reeds is imbued with an easy, coastal style. The perfect escape for a romantic winter getaway or summer wedding, the hotel offers flexible event spaces for 10-220 guests. The two restaurants on location are Sax, an indoor restaurant and lounge (open daily throughout the year) and Water Star Grille, a seasonal outdoor dining experience open May through September.
Debuting this May, Salt Spa at The Reeds includes a brine light therapy lounge and Turkish bath, a blowout bar and makeup application studio for weddings or a night on the town, a nail care salon, waxing services, and a fully-equipped fitness center.
You may not want to leave The Reeds, but if you do, there’s plenty to explore in Stone Harbor. White sandy beaches are complemented by unique shore town shops, parks, watersports, fishing, and local attractions.
Photo by Dyanna LaMora Photography
200 Congress Place, Cape May
A favorite of United States presidents such as Franklin Pierce and Ulysses S. Grant, Congress Hall is situated in the beach community of historic Cape May. Cape May was a favorite of summer revelers and rivaled Saratoga Springs, New York, and Newport, Rhode Island, as the place to see and be seen during the summer months. Benjamin Harrison actually nicknamed Congress Hall his “Summer Whitehouse.”
With panoramic ocean views, Congress Hall is bordered by Beach Avenue to the south and Washington Street Mall to the east. With 108 guestrooms styled and furnished in seaside hues of blue, white, and seafoam green, the hotel melds the simple pleasures of the past with modern day conveniences. During warmer months, guests can relax in a private beach tent overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, lounge by the pool, or sit in a bleach white rocking chair overlooking the Grand Lawn.
The Sea Spa at Congress Hall includes a unique array of spa treatments in a bright, cheerful environment. Treatments feature all-natural beauty and spa products by Thalgo, which are derived from algae, seaweed, and other oceanic elements. Congress Hall’s excellent dining options include the Blue Pig Tavern, Boiler Room Pizzaria, and Tommy’s Folly Coffee Shop.
The Cape May Historic District includes over 600 buildings in the late Victorian style, shingle style, bungalow style, and more. Also, not to be missed is Beach Plum Farm, located just 2 miles away. Beach Plum is home to chickens and piglets, and produces a wide variety of fresh produce.