Ocean views & luxury at Topside Inn: best hotel in Boothbay Harbor

by Oct 3, 2020Maine

Topside Inn Best Hotel In Boothbay Harbor Night

If you want a luxurious, yet laid-back hotel in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, then head straight to historic, romantic Topside Inn. Set at the highest point in town, you also get great ocean views from your deck, the lawn, or your window. It is arguably the best hotel in Boothbay Harbor.

When looking for an historic inn with a true coastal Maine feel while still providing contemporary touches, you won’t be disappointed by Topside Inn. It is arguably the best hotel in Boothbay Harbor with its romantic setting and sweeping ocean views.

Views, history, modern flair, great food, endless thoughtful amenities, and a gracious yes-we-can attitude sets apart Topside Inn. Doesn’t hurt that Topside is just steps from the town core but sits in a quiet residential neighborhood. And that it is perched on the highest point in town!

Topside Room With Ocean View Maine

Room 6 (and its partner room across the hall, 7) are literally THE highest point in Boothbay Harbor — with views to match.

Since Boothbay Harbor in Maine is close enough to large urban in the nearby states of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, the town can be overrun with visitors escaping the concrete jungle. Meaning, after exploring the sights on your trip to Boothbay Harbor in MidCoast Maine, nestling into your own calm 5-acre hilltop oasis is a blessing and a treat.

Views, heart and great food at Boothbay Harbor’s Topside Inn

Run by Mark Osborn and Buzz Makarewicz since 2014, Topside Inn quickly rose to the top of the list for best hotels in Boothbay Harbor (The couple was even named 2020 Innkeepers of the Year by non-profit trade group Hospitality Maine). Doesn’t hurt that the pair live basically next door and are truly hands-on owners. They are in the kitchen early to make breakfast, with Buzz focusing on the “sweet” meals and Mark taking on the savory fare. Whichever it is, you will be wowed by the gourmet feel and high yum homemade factor (I in fact caught them in the kitchen making ricotta gnocchi when I checked in to fact-check a couple of things.)

“We love to entertain, and this is entertaining but getting paid for it,” Makarewicz told me after checking me in with a glass of Prosecco. Breakfasts are in fact meant to “wow” people – and they have since they were asked for recipes so much they just came out with a cookbook.

Topside Inn Mark Buzz Luxury Hotel Maine

When I asked them to sit in the Adirondacks on the great lawn in front of Topside Inn, owners Mark (left) and Buzz laughed that they didn’t think they’d ever sat there since they are always busy running around and entertaining.

You get to choose as many items as you like on the daily breakfast menu.

>>One day’s menu when I was there: granola parfait with yogurt and fresh berries, fresh fruit, deviled eggs with bacon and blue cheese, banana bread French toast with buttermilk syrup, side of crisp bacon, watermelon strawberry & basil-infused water, and orange juice.

>>Another menu: banana berry parfait with vanilla yogurt and homemade granola; fresh fruit; sour cream pecan coffee cake; French Galette (buckwheat crepe with spinach, asparagus, Gruyere cheese, bechamel sauce); your choice of fresh-picked lobster meat, Black Forest ham or a sunny side up egg; and juice.

Hungry yet?

Breakfast Topside Room View

With COVID-19 distancing and safety protocols, breakfast in 2020 was delivered to your room in this tote. My dormer bench wasn’t a half-bad place to dine! What you can’t see are the delish deviled eggs with bacon and blue cheese and the banana bread French toast with THE yummiest buttermilk syrup (in the small bottle).

Non-stop amenities at the best hotel in Boothbay Harbor

Honestly, a stay there (at least if you are in the main house) does feel like a stay at a friend’s house – OK, a very large friend’s house, but a friend’s house, nonetheless. You may find Mark out watering the garden, or Buzz on the deck discussing area recommendations with a guest. You can even get a peek into the kitchen and watch them cook breakfast if you are up early enough. Loitering on the great lawn with the best views in Boothbay Harbor doesn’t hurt. It may have some of the best views on your trip to MidCoast Maine.

There is a dining room on the lower floor (where they used to serve breakfast prior to COVID distancing protocols in place when I was there in summer 2020. Breakfast in 2020 was brought to your room in a canvas tote, neatly packaged in snap-top glass jars and boxes and bottles to eat in your room or anywhere else you liked – even in town for an early shopping trip). There is a fully outfitted 24-hour one-wall kitchen with serving ware, utensils, glasses, plates and the like so you can help yourself if you bring back a meal. A full-sized fridge is also there to stash leftovers or beverages. Also, ready for the taking is filtered water and coffee and tea making. If there is a condiment or utensil you need, they will scurry into the main kitchen and find something for you.

Topside Amenity Wall Kitchen

In addition, there is a cabinet with snacks in the entry, that holds nuts, chips and snack bars, etc. – all gratis for guests. And don’t forget afternoon treats to go with that coffee or tea at this historic inn in Boothbay Harbor Maine.

Topside Inn’s past, present and future

Including 16 rooms in separate buildings (Windward and Leeward houses), there are 21 rooms, including one full suite with a master bath, kitchen and private living space (which by the way is where the duo used to live at first).

When renovating, they did a targeted job of keeping the historic, coastal Maine feel that inns there should (in our opinion) have, while adding some luxuries and amenities in the rooms that savvy travelers want: sleek sheets, extra plugs and USB ports, coffee machines, small room fridges, plenty of towels, and full bath accessories all make for a chic experience that remains come-as-you-are laidback. The rooms in the Windward and Leeward houses have decks, which the rooms in the main house do not have. I will say that after staying in Room 6 on the top floor in the main house with views forever (i.e. THE highest point in the city, meaning a short uphill hike from town, of course), I was hooked –I particularly loved the window seat in the dormer with expansive views. Room 7 (similar to 6, just a bit smaller) is the only other room on the floor — with a small sitting area on the floor between them – meaning two couples or some friends could take those rooms and have a very private space with their own private sweeping views in this top hotel in Boothbay Harbor.

Topside Boothbay Cozy Seating Area

A common seating area between rooms 6 and 7, which would become a private common space if both rooms were rented by one small group since it’s on the top floor.

The Topside building has been a part of Boothbay Harbor for nearly a couple of centuries, including as the home of 19th-century sea captain Cyrus McKown – he built the house in 1865. After 1934, it became a boardinghouse, and it was the Topside Lodge and Motel prior to current ownership. The separate lodging buildings were built in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and Osborn and Makarewicz gutted or greatly renovated much of those and the main house.

With a shutdown in spring 2020 due to COVID-19, they took advantage of the break to start renovating what was one ground floor guest room into a future guest bar – Bar One. It will be ready for the 2021 season (Topside Inn is open from about early May to October).

Also on top of the to-do list are having their own chickens so they can expand a fresh, local, farm-to-table emphasis to include their own eggs by summer 2021.

Neither grew up in Maine, but Osborn is from New Jersey and spent summers in Boothbay when he was growing up and also worked in area lodgings prior to purchasing Topside with Massachusetts-native Makarewicz, who has a degree in hotel management. Aside from having been touted as the inn with the best views in Boothbay Harbor, Topside has also won accolades as a romantic retreat.

“There is so much to love about Maine and the people,” Osborn said, “honest, welcoming, hardworking. And they love the state they call home.”

Although they are both on property constantly, there always seems to be a bounce in their steps, a smile in their eyes, and a joy in doing what they are doing – you feel their own love for Maine and for offering their own honest, welcoming experience at the best hotel in Boothbay Harbor.

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Disclosure: Therese was fully hosted at the Topside Inn. The review, opinions and ratings here are our own, and are not approved, provided, or otherwise endorsed or influenced by the hotel.​ ​​


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Rating the Topside Inn


OUR RATING Our hotel ratings will tell you what we think of an individual property and are not a comparison to other hotels in the area. They are valid at the time of our visit, which in this case was during the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant no daily housekeeping and some limitations on dinner service. Things can – and will -- change, of course, but we hope only back to pre-pandemic operations and not overall with properties like this that we love! We frequently pay for our hotel stays and will disclose whenever we receive discounts or comped room nights as a part of a hotel stay. Our ratings are a percent, with 100% being perfect and 0% someplace not even a rat would stay. We rate cleanliness/upkeep (e.g. dust on the windows, dirt under the beds, unclean bathroom fixtures, need of repairs/maintenance, etc.), comfort (e.g. taking into account quiet, how comfy the bed is, if there is a nice robe, a comfy chair, etc.), amenities (e.g. free parking, breakfast included, free Wi-Fi, free bikes, fitness gear, workout room, pool, etc. -- and we are not fans of hotels that say they include things, but then charge a facilities fee!), location (e.g. how easy is it to get around by foot, bike, and car), and value (e.g. how much we feel we got in return for the amount charged).