In literature as in the media, lighthouses are usually viewed from the perspective of the ship that’s looking for light. It signals “home”, “guide”, and dry land. After traveling for days on end through the vastness of the sea, lighthouses are always a welcome sight—especially for travelers who may feel lost in their journey. This is probably the same charm that attracts most travelers who choose to stay in lighthouse hotels. From a room in a lighthouse hotel, you get the other side of the story.
You get to look out to the vastness of the sea without leaving the warmth of the hearth. Below are the top 15 lighthouse hotels you can stay in—whether you’re a traveler who’s sea-weary, or a native who’s looking at the prospect of setting sail. Nothing can be more romantic than these lounges.
Argentina: Faro Punta Delgada
In the remote peninsula of Valdes in Argentina sits a quaint and steadfast lighthouse called the Faro Punta Delgada. It’s a considerably long drive from the Puerto Madryn airport, but the lounge is worth it. Standing there since 1905, the lighthouse is reminiscent of the Naval Social Club and the Postal Office of Argentina. You can just catch a whiff of the lighthouse’s character.
While the guest rooms themselves aren’t actually in the lighthouse, and are located in three buildings surrounding it instead, you’ll still get a clear view of the sea. There are a total of 27 guestrooms to choose from, and the site’s restaurant will give you only the best of Patagonian cuisine.
Navy enthusiasts would be very happy here because there’s no dearth of Navy memorabilia. The place is also teeming with wildlife: from whales to Magellan penguins and llama-like guanacos.
Don’t forget to sign up for a guided hike so you can explore the best of the landscape. There are also excursions which would let you view elephant seals, and more conventional horseback riding activities. Tours can also be arranged to the lighthouse. It would be very interesting to find out how it works.
Netherlands: Harlingen Lighthouse Hotel
When people speak of Netherlands, the word “panoramic” isn’t uncommon. However, the best vantage point is still probably up the spiral staircase of the Harlingen Lighthouse Hotel. This art deco structure has been around since the 1920s, and has been guiding ships home since then. Its transformation to a guesthouse didn’t happen till 1999, though, and it only has one suite which can fit two people.
While it’s not the most spacious lighthouse hotel, the narrow-three-floor suite certainly makes up for it with modern amenities and funky décor. In the first and second floor, you’ll see the bathroom with a circular shower space, as well as the Tower Room which is the suite’s assigned bedroom. Both have great views of the Netherland’s land- and seascape.
The third floor, or the Lantern Room, houses the dining area, so you’ll be having your meals with that special someone underneath the copper dome of the lighthouse, amidst the salty sea air and a wide pan of the harbor. If this is your idea of the perfect honeymoon or lover’s getaway, book yourselves a night. The tower is open all-year-round. Rates would vary depending on the season.
Wales: West Usk Lighthouse
Your tour of lighthouse hotels wouldn’t be complete without a beacon from Wales. European waters are just one of a kind, and the West Usk Lighthouse in Wales proves this point. This light tower watches over the Bristol Channel, and is only 15 minutes away from Newport. The proximity to the city makes it a popular waterfront getaway for those looking to spend a quirky yet cozy weekend, away from the crowd.
The fact that it sits right at the countryside, and has been there since 1821 only adds to the charm. The current owners renovated the place in the late 1980s, and it has served as a unique hotel since then. With guestrooms built into the main frame of the tower, it now appears a bit wider in the mid-portion, but the spiral staircase leading to each of the four crescent rooms make the architecture no less graceful than other beacons.
The good news is that all rooms have their own baths, so there shouldn’t be any worries about waiting all night for a stranger to finish taking a bath. Spa amenities and a hot tub at the rooftop are also available for guests. These are not in the tower structure itself, but built in a neighboring structure which also houses an infrared sauna and a therapeutic tank for flotation.
What’s more, this hotel offers workshops, therapies and courses all related to the spa. The place is a bit odd, but it’s also pretty endearing.
Scotland: Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel
The Loch Ryan Sea’s coastline is notorious for being turbulent and rocky. This is why the Corsewall Lighhouse has been functioning more than just a mere pretty lighted tower in the night sea sky. Without it, travelers at sea can literally lose their lives in these treacherous waters. It has been keeping sailors from getting into trouble since 1815, and today, the Corsewall Lighhouse Hotel is one of the prime destinations for weary buccaneers who are looking for accessible luxury hotels after being tossed and turned at sea.
Adding to the charm is the fact that it only comprises of five rooms. At most, you’ll be sharing the prime space with four other families. Each of these rooms is situated in the lighthouse’s original structure. This is also one of the reasons why the hotel attracts a lot of historians and history buffs. Each room also has its own private bath.
You can book the entire place if you’re planning to throw a huge bash and you’ve been meaning to use the Scottish waters as an evocative and unique backdrop. Would you like to stay in the same room with your collage buddies? The cottages scattered in the area are also good alternatives. The suites here have family-room setups, or lodgings with more than one room. The lighthouse hotel is only 25 minutes away from Stranraer by car, and is the perfect vista for Scottish seascape and landscape.
Do you love nature? You’ll get most of Scotland’s bag-of-tricks here, with your daily dose of seals, deer and birds, all viewable via the bicycle lane lining the shoreline. The food is also a must-have, with five-course dinners served at the lighthouse hotel’s own restaurant. Apparently, the menu here has earned its share of culinary awards.
Michigan: Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn
Off the shores of Lake Superior is the Sand Hills Lighthouse Inn. The Lake itself is located at a tiny town in Michigan with a population of 150 people, more or less. Since 1919, it has been sitting there, guiding sailors back home, and for a brief time, it was even the training grounds for the Coast Guard during the Second World War.
In 1955, it was then turned into a private summer house before it opened to guests forty years after that. Today, it offers eight posh rooms furnished with rich Victorian beds and tables, all of them with their own baths. If you’re planning to celebrate a special occasion with a stay there, you may want to book any of the two rooms with Jacuzzis and private balconies. One of these special rooms even has its own fireplace.
If you don’t live in Michigan, you’ll be glad to know that the lighthouse hotel is only 25 miles away from Hancock Airport. It welcomes guests all-year-round, and all rooms have heating/air conditioning devices. You won’t run out of things to do, either, no matter what season you plan to visit. Summer and fall are the peak seasons in Michigan, though, so you may want to book early if you’re planning to stay during these times.
While staying here is good any time of the year, it’s best to schedule your stay when you can view the northern lights.
Oregon: Heceta Head Lighthouse
Since 1894, the Heceta Head Lighthouse has been guiding seafarers home to the Coo’s Bay and Newport. Strategically located between two coastlines, the lighthouse now attracts travelers who wish to lodge right next to this Queen Anne-style tower. The guesthouses, although they’re not built into the lighthouse’s structure itself, are still in great proximity to the tower. You can stay right beside the lighthouse in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, which has six very cozy rooms.
The atmosphere is casual, leaning more to the B&B rather than posh hotel. The position of the lodgings gives you the best vantage point of the Pacific. The lighthouse is 205 feet tall, and the night view is haunting and romantic at the same time. Only three of the cottage’s rooms have private baths, so if you don’t like sharing bathrooms, you may want to book early.
Only an hour-and-a-half’s drive from the city, the Heceta Head Lighthouse attracts travelers all-year-round. Aside from the majestic nighttime views of the light beams emanating from the tower, the lodge is also famous for its food. Oregon cheeses are certainly a gastronomic treat for guests, whether they’re from Oregon or visiting for the holidays. Comparatively, the rates here are lower than other lighthouse hotels.
New Zealand: The Lighthouse
If you’re a big Lord of the Rings fan, then you should definitely stay at the Lighthouse in New Zealand. There’s not better vantage point that a perch, after all, from a lighthouse tower. Located at the Island Bay, this lighthouse turned guesthouse is only a 15 minute drive from Wellington. It’s known as a hideaway where tired city dwellers can commune with nature without suffering the long travel.
The lighthouse is more of a guesthouse than a hotel, though. Only one guest can stay at a time, so if you’re thinking of braving the crowds during peak season, you might have to book early. On the first floor of the tower is the bathroom and the kitchen, while on the second floor, a bedroom complete with a TV and a DVD player awaits guests who are looking forward to a peaceful weekend.
Also on the second floor is the living room which opens to a balcony that goes around the tower. From the balcony, you’ll get views of New Zealand that’s worth a hundred times more than what you’ve paid for the stay. The rates include breakfast, although you may want to bring a cell phone with you because there are no phones in the lighthouse.
For dinner and lunch, you may want to explore neighboring restaurants, all reachable on foot. Seal watching at the nearby Reserve is also a popular pastime for most guests. There’s also a beach fronting the lighthouse.
If you can’t get a booking for your desired date, you may want to try The Keep. This is a sister tower, along the shore, which has three floors and offers impressive views of the South Island and Cook Strait.
New York: Saugerties Lighthouse
Another home away from home is the Saugerties Lighthouse in New York. Standing there since 1869, this structure has become a sort of icon, with its red brick walls and beaming light. The Saugerties was restored in the mid-90s and has been serving as a popular B&B on the side for weary New York City slickers. The beacon also holds a small museum which is open to guests all-year-round. The peak season, though, is during the summer when the lighthouse hotel offers private tours. For daytrips, the gift shop and the keepers’ quarters are constant attractions. The best view is at the top of the tower where the 46-foot-high light devices serve as guide to navigators of the Hudson River.
For overnight stays, there are two guestrooms. Both of them have double beds and enviable views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River Valley. Because there are only two guest rooms, and because of the popularity of the lighthouse hotel, you may have to book up to a year in advance just to stay here. Neither of the rooms have private baths, although there is a common bath which can be shared by both parties.
Another put down is the lack of air conditioning, and the fact that hair dryers are prohibited. If you don’t mind roughing it out a bit, the overnight rates are pretty practical and include breakfast.
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