It's no surprise why Todd Snyder, the menswear designer, picked Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine to design a new Treeptop Lodge room—it's the first kind of partnership for both the hotel and Snyder, who is known for elevating everyday sportswear. Hidden Pond's General Manager, Kristen Caouette, talks to T&C about the collaboration, how the property is deploying unique kinds of technology to minimize in person contact during the COVID era, and some of the hidden corners of Kennebunkport that she says are a "must" for any visitors.
What do you consider the "best" room at Hidden Pond? Why?
When guests ask me what I consider to be the best unit at Hidden Pond, I always struggle with the question - it’s like asking a parent with four children which one is their favorite. All of our units have their own sense of place, charm and uniqueness that make them special in their own way, and every guest has a different favorite. That being said, this season we added our Treetop Lodges and in those we have a very special one, The From Away Lodge by Todd Snyder. It was inspired by Todd Snyder x L.L.Bean’s Fall 2020 “From Away” Runway Collection. When you think Maine, L.L.Bean is always something that comes to mind, and The From Away Lodge is the perfect blend of Maine heritage and rustic luxury.
What does it start at per night?
$1,000 per night.
What is the Hidden Pond experience?
The Hidden Pond experience has always been about making guests feel comfortable and relaxed with the ability to do everything or nothing while staying with us. Some things have changed, including the addition of a lovely welcome booth where you will be whisked away to your cottage without having to go inside the Lodge (where our Guest Reception is located) to complete paperwork. This is in an effort to prevent in-person contact as much as possible. To help us prepare for arrival, we partnered with Whistle Technology, a text-based program, that allows us to send guests waivers, check in details, pre-arrival questionnaires and communicate with guests throughout their visit via text, to continue offering our Guest Services in a safer practice. Earth restaurant has rearranged the dining room to create at least six feet of space in between tables and has rolled out a prix-fixe menu this season. We’ve added beautiful dining spaces on our pool deck, chef’s gardens and even reimagined our Back Porch Bar and Artist Shed to be unique outdoor and private dining experiences for guests.
How would you describe the vibe at the hotel?
Our motto is “drive slowly, breathe deeply,” and we really try to slow things down a bit for our guests and allow them to have a relaxing visit. The vibe has slowed down even more this season as we have a minimum of 24 hours in between reservations, which has cut down our in-house guests, providing more space for everyone on property. The restaurant has also had a more relaxed vibe this season--guests are taking their time and enjoying leisurely dinners. We’ve done everything we can to make people feel as “normal” as possible during these “anything but normal” times.
Kennebunkport is known for the Bush compound, lobster, and freezing water. What's it less known for that visitors should be sure to check out?
Kennebunkport has a rich fishing village history with many sea captains’ homes. It also served as an essential shipbuilding center until the War of 1812. The village has transitioned over the years to become a true hospitality village and quintessential destination to visit while you are in New England. There’s really accommodations and cuisine for everyone, from a casual fried clam roll or lobster roll at the Clam Shack to an elegant tasting menu at the White Barn Inn. The Kennebunkport Conservation Trust also plays an integral part of maintaining the charm of our village by conserving and stewarding land. They have conserved over 2,300 acres of forest, field and waterways from development and have beautiful trust preserves with trails to enjoy throughout the town, many of which are open to the public for exploration. Emmons and Smith Preserve are both close by and should be added to your list of things to do while you are here with us.
How would you spend the perfect day at Hidden Pond?
I would start with a cup of coffee in my cottage and either a yogurt or some quiche (both are stocked in the cottage prior to arrival). Then I would take a quick jog down the nature trail on property before jumping on a bicycle, which is already placed at the cottage, and go for a ride over to The Tides Beach Club--the only waterfront hotel on Goose Rocks Beach. At The Tides, I would leave the bike on their bike rack and go for a nice walk along Goose Rocks Beach before biking back to Hidden Pond. After an invigorating outdoor shower, I would head to Dock Square and grab some lunch at The Boathouse and maybe a little ice-cream at Rococo’s. I’d then walk around the streets of the village to look at some of the sea captains’ homes, along Ocean Avenue up past the Colony Hotel, St. Ann’s by-the-sea, and Walkers Point. When I got back to Hidden Pond I would take a nap on the screened porch of my cottage before getting ready for a wonderful dinner at Earth. If you rent a golf cart, it’s a fun ride up the road to get to the restaurant and enjoy dinner and then head to the campfire by the main lodge to have some s’mores before turning in for the night. Back at the cottage, I would set the fireplace for at least a half hour and leave the windows open to enjoy the sounds of the peepers (frogs) before falling asleep in the most comfortable bed ever.
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