The Heart of New England
New Hampshire's Four Grand Hotels

Many states would be honored to
have just one grand hotel.
New Hampshire offers visitors
four remarkable grand hotels,
each with a role in history all its own.

New Hampshire’s White Mountains first attracted tourists to take the grand tour
of New Hampshire in the 19th century. The Presidential Range that envelopes
Mount Washington has 86 peaks, and dramatic notches are the only way to cross

It was here in the notches that lodging houses to attract visitors were built in the
early 1800s.

When railroads made getting to the mountains a simpler task, grand hotels were
built offering luxury in the heart of the wilderness. At one time, there were more
than a dozen of these luxurious getaways in the state. New Hampshire’s grand
hotels once offered their own post offices, printing presses, newspapers, baseball
leagues and dormitories for chauffeurs. Presidents, poets, statesmen and
celebrities all signed the guest registers at one time or another.

Three of these vast palaces survive today:
The Mount Washington Hotel in
Bretton Woods,
The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in Dixville Notch, and The
Mountain View Grand
, newly restored in Whitefield. The juxtaposition of their
architecture and setting is as impressive today as it was a century ago. A fourth
grand hotel,
Wentworth By the Sea in Portsmouth reopened its doors in 2003.

The restoration of The Wentworth-by-the-Sea Marriott Hotel and Spa was
completed in May 2003. This Grand Dame by the Sea was originally built in 1874.
It features 168 rooms, including one room in each of its three turrets. With a 10,000-
square-foot Conference Center, an 8,500 square foot spa including massage rooms,
treatment rooms, saunas, whirlpools and an indoor pool, and the renovated
outdoor pool near the waterfront, the Wentworth offers a historic sense of place
and style. The Wentworth's claim to history is its role in the 1905 Treaty of
Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War, when the hotel housed the
Russian, Japanese and American delegations.

The Mount Washington Hotel
A masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, The Mount Washington Hotel
arose in the shadow of the highest peak in the northeast. Conceived by
industrialist Joseph Stickney, it opened in 1902 and immediately became a
favorite summer spot for poets, presidents and princes. In 1944, The Mount
Washington hosted the Bretton Woods International Monetary Conference.
Delegates from 44 nations convened, establishing the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund, as well as setting the gold standard. Today it has
become a National Historic Landmark, still offering guests two golf courses, a
renowned dining room, shops, and amazing views from its vast porch. Its grand
rooms have been completely restored, and its lobby is a monument to a past era.
In the winter, the resort has miles of cross-country skiing, and New Hampshire’s
largest downhill ski area at Bretton Woods.

The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel
This hotel has operated continuously since the opening of the Dix House, just
after the Civil War. The original inn honored the town's first landowner, Colonel
Timothy Dix, a hero of the American Revolution, who lost his life during the war
of 1812. The town's European settlers, the Whittemore family, shared their hearth
and home with wayfarers on the old Coös Trail through Dixville Notch. In 1895, a
wealthy Philadelphia industrialist, Henry S. Hale, purchased the Dix House and
renamed it The BALSAMS. Hale steadily expanded and enhanced the facilities. By
1918 he had completed the Hampshire House, an elegant addition that doubled
the overnight capacity of the resort to 400 guests, which is also the current
capacity. The BALSAMS is an all-inclusive resort with skiing, golf, swimming,
hiking, and one of the most breathtaking settings in the world, complemented by
distinctive service. And it is also here that the first in the nation voting is held in
the New Hampshire primary.

The Mountain View Grand
The Mountain View House in Whitefield began in 1866 as a modest country inn
with a spectacular view. Over the years, several grand additions were made. By
the summer of 1884, the Mountain View House could accommodate over 100
guests. With an amazing setting, a lush golf course and a guest register filled with
America’s leading celebrities and politicians, the hotel flourished into the 1960s,
but closed in 1981. The new 146-room
Mountain View Grand reopened its doors
in May 2002 after the completion of a $20 million restoration. It features revived
fountains and English gardens, more than 20,000 square feet of conference,
meeting, and wedding facilities, scenic golf courses, a 5,500-square-foot ballroom,
four dining rooms, custom-made mahogany furniture for the guest rooms, and a
state-of-the-art European spa located in the tower atop the hotel.

The Other NH Grand Hotels
Twelve of New Hampshire’s historic grand hotels have succumbed to fire,
abandon, and demolition: the Crawford House, Summit House, Faybian House,
Twin Mountain House, Mount Pleasant House, The Maplewood, Sinclair House,
Sunset Hill House, Deer Park, Intervale House, The Kearsarge and The Profile
House. Another three, The Eagle Mountain House and Wentworth Hall in
Jackson, and Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway survive as hotels with
Photo Courtesy of The Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods
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