Boothbay Harbor hotel ranked best in America
The view, the ambience and the hotel itself are now likely to attract even more guests to the top of the hill.
BOOTHBAY HARBOUR, Maine – Fog moved in and out, alternately obscuring then revealing a unique view of Boothbay Harbor. The Topside Inn towers on a hill above the village, with white Adirondack chairs lined on the lawn, waiting to capture that view for guests.
The view, the ambience and the hotel itself are now likely to attract even more guests to the top of the hill after popular tourist website Tripadvisor ranked the Topside Inn as the “Best Small Hotel in the United States”. United”.
“We’ve received awards before, but to be named the number one small hotel in the United States is pretty incredible,” said Mark Osborne, who bought the inn in 2014 with partner Buzz Makarewicz.
The couple had no idea of the Tripadvisor rating until an alert triggered their phone one evening this week.
“And we looked at our phones and read the article and we looked at each other in shock,” Makarewicz said. “And we were absolutely thrilled.”
“Not only did we get number one in the United States, but we got number seven worldwide,” Osborne added.
They said the rating was a surprise, determined by Tripadvisor based on all the data it collects from site users, people who have stayed at the hostel.
The owners described the Topside Inn as “upscale” for Boothbay Harbor, with 22 rooms, most of which have ocean views. They say the entire facility has been modernized and in some cases rebuilt since they bought it.
The main house was built in the late 1800s, and there are two other buildings with guest rooms built more recently.
Osborne said the focus is on high quality, great service and friendliness.
“We had guests this morning and to say coming here is like coming home. It really means something,” Osborne said.
The hotel only serves breakfast, but an elaborate breakfast, the owners said. And it’s the one they cook themselves, taking alternate days in the kitchen.
“It allows us to make the food that we love and also to go see our guests,” Makarewicz said.
“Buzz really is a gifted cook,” Osborne said, “and I’ve always loved cooking.”
Both came to the hostel with different roots. Osborne said he summered in Boothbay Harbor as a child, but grew up in Massachusetts and then worked in the corporate world.
He left that and in 2003 came to Maine and bought a longtime Boothbay Harbor restaurant called the Thistle Inn. He sold that a few years later, went to culinary school for a while, then ran another local resort before hooking up with Makarewicz and buying the Topside.
Makarewicz said he studied the hospitality industry in school, but also worked in the corporate world until he moved to Boothbay Harbor and met Osborne.
Both praised their staff and said the relationship between those who work at the hostel and those who stay there is vital and is reflected in the reviews they see.
“When they say Mark and Buzz or Rebecca the general manager or Greg in our bar…when they mention us by name, I know we’re doing our job,” Osborne said.
As for the Tripadvisor rating, they said the hostel was almost at capacity last summer and expect it to be again, but hope their hotel’s higher rating will bring more people in Boothbay Harbor to hang out with other businesses.
“This ranking reflects the city in general. Just us here in a vacuum wouldn’t create that experience that people love so much. [It is] the restaurants, the botanical garden, the landholdings and everything people do in town that makes this place so special,” Osborne said.
And that view from the top of the hill – and the breakfasts – don’t hurt either.