The Escape Artist
Get It Together
A vacation home with hotel services combines the best of both worlds.
No one wants the stress of planning a vacation when he or she is on vacation. When big groups get together, however, someone invariably ends up in the thankless role of administrative assistant, researching and organizing rentals, meals and activities in an unfamiliar setting. If you’re thinking about a large reunion on the Cape, you can skip the hassle by going through a realty group and concierge service. Realtors John C. Ricotta & Associates have partnered with local businesses to provide a five-star, private escape in Chatham.
If your group numbers 10 or less, ask for 201 Main St., across the street from the beach and steps to the lighthouse. It might look like a modest cottage from the outside, but the four-bedroom Cape Codder boasts spacious rooms, custom cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances, a hot tub and a small gym. Weekly rates aren’t cheap, even in the low season, but it’s less per person than a stay at the nearby swanky Chatham Bars Inn. And you won’t have to worry about noise complaints from hotel guests, since your whole party can let loose in the basement, which is outfitted with a full-sized bar area that comes with hookups for a keg, a 100-inch projection TV and a pool table.
The downside to renting a house in the Cape, even a luxury one, is that linens and towels aren’t typically included. You can rent high-end sheets and Turkish towels (as well as cribs and other baby gear) through Essential Rentals Inc., but if you don’t want to spend your vacation making beds and cleaning up after your guests, Ricotta will set you up with their concierge, Holly Abbate. Before your arrival, she’ll stock your Sub-Zero fridge with provisions (just send her a list the day before), make your beds, provide you with a goody bag of eco-friendly household products you might need during your stay and greet you with fresh flowers from New England Gardens of South Harwich. Her eye for detail includes toilet-paper rosettes in the bathroom. She’ll even arrange daily maid service, just like in a hotel. Like any good concierge, she’ll also suggest ideas for your stay, like at-home clambakes where a driver will drop off a fully cooked meal and pick up all the equipment the next day.
Indeed, to maximize your downtime, leave the cooking to professionals. Tony Tocantins, chef/owner of Toucan Cater, will come to your home and prepare a four-course tasting menu with wine, which might include enormous diver scallops with a rosemary-thyme beurre blanc, soft shell crab over salad greens, lamb chops and chocolate mousse with raspberry whipped cream and a Champagne truffle. He’ll even leave you some of his outstanding French dressing to take home as a souvenir. Like Abbate, Tocantins is hooked up to the network of local purveyors, so he can cherry-pick produce, wines and meats at the best prices.
You can reward yourself for all this clever outsourcing by treating yourself to an in-home massage of the same quality as at a hotel spa. Masseuse Jenelle Kutinsky tailors your time on her table to your problem areas, knowledgeably zeroing in on tension. Although that may not be a problem anymore. When you eliminate the groceries, the chores and hassle inherent in family vacations, you may find yourself spoiled for future trips. The only drawback is you’ll have to find something else to bicker about.
John C. Ricotta & Associates
1181/1173 Main St., Chatham | (508) 945-0440 | chathamrentals.com
(508) 776-6497 | coastal-concierge.com
Essential Rentals, Inc.
(877) 377-3685 | essentialrentals.com
(774) 722-3409 | toucancater.com
Treats Catering Inc.
25 Scarsdale Road, Dennis | (508) 385-1540 | treatscatering.com
(774) 269-9198) | theyogashackandspa.com
• Discovervacationhomes.com has a useful map listing rentals with concierge services in North America and the Caribbean.
• Organize your own clambake through Treats Catering Inc. and save 20 percent on the concierge service charge.