The Claremont Hotel's History

Perched on a hillside with a commanding, panoramic view of the ship-friendly waters of Somes Sound, it’s no surprise that the magnificent location for The Claremont Hotel was chosen by a retired sea captain. After Captain Jesse Pease made his last cargo run of sugar and molasses from Portland, Maine to New York in 1883, he commissioned a contractor to construct the hotel he’d always dreamed of running.

Claremont aerial shot

A New Age of Summer Travel Begins in Southwest Harbor

The Claremont Hotel opened the following year and quickly became a popular destination for wealthy families from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts to escape the summer heat. When Captain Pease passed away in 1901, his wife Grace took over as owner and manager before selling the hotel to Dr. Joseph D. Phillips in 1908. Grace stayed on as manager until her death in 1917, at which point Dr. Phillips assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations. The Phillips family ran the Claremont Hotel until 1968 when Lawrence Philips and his sister Elsie sold the property to Gertrude and Allen McCue.

In the late 1980s, the McCue’s transferred ownership of The Claremont Hotel to their son Bill who was already busy running a successful law practice in Portland. To ensure the hotel had an experienced, hands-on manager, Bill turned to the young man who first started working at The Claremont as a teenager to be his General Manager. That young man was Jay Madeira who, along with his two brothers and two sisters, formed an extraordinary hospitality team the McCue family depended on for the next forty years and who guests adored.


An Iconic Hotel Gets a Makeover

When the next generation of McCues decided to pursue other interests, Bill realized it was time for a change. In September, 2020 he sold The Claremont Hotel to Tim Harrington, the creative hospitality leader behind the revitalization of several historic properties in Kennebunkport including The Tides Beach Club, Hidden Pond, and Cape Arundel Inn and Resort.

So while a new era is beginning at The Claremont Hotel, we believe our attention to detail, commitment to excellence, and passion for creating unforgettable hospitality experiences will be a lasting tribute to every owner who came before us.