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Our History
  • History of White Elephant Hotel, Massachusetts Top
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The White Elephant has graced Nantucket's waterfront since the 1920's. Originally a collection of rustic cottages, the hotel was the dream of a prominent Nantucket socialite, Elizabeth T. Ludwig. She believed that the property would, one day, be a fine harborside hotel.
 
Her pet project became the talk of the town, known affectionately as "Mrs. Ludwig's white elephant" - a witty name that stuck. But Mrs. Ludwig never wavered in her belief that the White Elephant would become a gracious Nantucket hotel. The lodging business prospered and additional buildings were added, as were a new dining room, lounge and cottages.
 
In the early 1960's, new ownership transformed the property from a quaint seaside escape into a vacation destination. The original White Elephant was dismantled. The wings were moved to a nearby destination where they are still used as housing for summer employees. The cottages were relocated adjacent to the main building and are known today as the Garden Cottages. The current main building was designed and built so that the rooms would offer a view of the ever-changing harbor.
 
During 1999, the White Elephant underwent yet another stunning transformation. The traditional comforts and amenities of the hotel were made even more welcoming and beautiful with new, luxurious rooms and suites surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens.
 
In 2008, the highly acclaimed Residences opened on the former site of the Harbor House Village. The Residences reside in a collection of buildings that include the Manchester House, the intimate Springfield House and the historic Harbor House which is now the new Inn. The Manchester and Springfield Houses have been transformed with Victorian and shingle-style authentic Nantucket architecture and stunning light-filled interiors.
 
The Mad Hatter and Brant Point buildings front the former Mad Hatter Lawn where a 130 year old tree - one of the oldest trees on Nantucket - has been protected for future generations to enjoy. The remaining buildings, Cliffside and Madaket, blend with the existing residential character on the corner of Easton and North Water Streets.
 
Over the last few years, the Inn has been added to the White Elephant. Located next to the Residences, the Inn features contemporary suites and deluxe rooms with a stunning lobby. Right off the lobby, guests enjoy the proximity of the Ballroom, Foyer and Executive Boardroom spaces - ideal for meetings and celebrations.
 
Much has changed at the White Elephant, to be sure. But one thing has remained the same. Just as in years long ago - but for very different reasons - the breathtaking White Elephant is still the talk of the town.
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