Wentworth by the Sea's claim to fame is the Treaty of Portsmouth.
In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt sought out a setting similar to the summer White House in Sagamore Hill. The prerequisite was to find a warm and inviting hotel, where Russian and Japanese diplomats would negotiate the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the Russo-Japanese War. Wentworth by the Sea Hotel was chosen. Located at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, a few miles from Portsmouth, NH and close to the Maine border, the colossal hotel exemplified Victorian America, then and now.
At the time, the recently deceased Wentworth and brewery owner, Frank Jones, had previously arranged a gratis 30-day visit for the diplomats. And it was in the Ambassador's Suite that the Armistice that ended the actual fighting was made.
To commemorate the history making event, a tiny cherry tree -- which was grafted from one of the original cherry trees gifted to Washington, DC 100 years ago -- was planted last month near the Wentworth's rock garden.
Now a Marriott Hotel, Wentworth by the Sea & Spa was originally an 82-room hotel built in 1874. Five years later it was transformed into a 300-room resort destination, but by 1982 the doors closed to the faded grand dame hotel and it stood dormant, decrepit and facing doom. It was on the National Trust's most endangered sites and was literally saved from the wrecking ball twice. In 1996 developer Ocean Properties saved the day and sunk 30 million dollars into the neglected building. When it re-opened in 2003, the immaculately restored hotel was brought back to its former glorious state.
The sparkling white hotel with the red roof and three turrets features 161 guestrooms. The turret suites and water view guestrooms overlook the Isles of Shoals. A path in the rock garden leads guests gradually down to the outdoor pool and beyond to Latitudes Restaurant, a first-class marina with 170 slips that accommodate vessels up to 200 feet and the Little Harbor Marina Villas. Each of the 18 bi-level marina suites features a full kitchen and private balcony with a private gated swimming pool.
Must do tips:
Dine alfresco on the deck and under an umbrella at Latitudes with an elevated view of the bay and marina. Heated lamps take the evening chill away and inside a toasty fireplace makes the bar extra cozy.
Dinner at the elegant Wentworth dining room should not disappoint with sumptuous, classic creations using local ingredients. Reserve a table under the original frescoed ceiling; this outstanding feature is the room's focal point with a fantasy pale blue sky, puffy white clouds and cherubs holding a rose garland.
After dinner, stop in intimate Roosevelt's Lounge off the lobby for a cocktail and to listen to contemporary jazz.
Book a signature treatment: Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap ($130 & $170), Sea Salt Body Exfoliation ($130 & $170) or a custom massage ($80, $120 & $155). The latest treatment is the 75-minute Ultimate Spa Experience, including a four-handed massage, facial and foot & leg massage ($235).
Take a dip in the indoor swimming pool.
The Wentworth by the Sea Marina provides charters, day sails, harbor cruises and deep sea fishing charters.
Before leaving, a visit to Portsmouth is not complete without taking a leisurely coastal drive along scenic Route 1A. Allow at least three hours for the 18.5-mile drive on this byway that runs along New Hampshire's coastline. Have your camera handy for Atlantic Ocean panoramas and stop at Hampton Beach. Driving Directions: Begin the route in Portsmouth and drive south on Route 1A through the town of Rye. Continue south along the coast for approximately 15 miles. The route ends just past Seabrook.
Wentworth by the Sea invites dogs that are 30lbs or less. There is a $30 fee per dog per stay.
A walking path leads from the gazebo through the rock garden and down to the swimming pool, Latitudes Restaurant and marina.
Each marina suite offers a balcony and a small private gated pool. Photo: Susan Fogwell
Dog-friendly at The Wentworth - Photo: Susan Fogwell
Two large windows in dog-friendly, water view room 436 overlook the rock garden, gazebo, and Isles of Shoals. Don't forget to bring binoculars. Photo: Susan Fogwell
The marina offers 170 slips and first class ammenities. Photo: Susan Fogwell
The full house marina. Photo: Susan Fogwell
Dine alfresco at Latitudes Restaurant for lunch or dinner overlooking the bay and marina. Photo: Susan Fogwell
With 161 guestrooms including three suites in the turrets, the imposing hotel houses an indoor pool, spa, fitness room and elegant dining room. Photo: Susan Fogwell
View from the marina - Photo: Susan Fogwell