Families usually flock to Plymouth, Massachusetts to see the famous Plymouth Rock, or visit the Mayflower II. But many times, they come to Plymouth just to visit the John Carver Inn. Located in the heart of Plymouth, walking distance to downtown and all its attractions, the John Carver Inn & Spa blends Colonial charm with modern conveniences. Our family has visited Plymouth as a day trip before, as it is conveniently located just an hour from Providence, an hour south of Boston and about a half hour north of Cape Cod. However, this time we were visiting for a mother-daughter getaway and the John Carver Inn was our primary destination.
Its biggest draw is the indoor Pilgrim Cove Pool. Maintaining the theme of the town, the pool features a life-size replica of the Mayflower with an 80-foot water slide. Parents can enjoy the whirlpool set in the center of the pool, accessible by bridge, and watch their kids swimming in the pool and splashing in the waterfalls below. Just off the pool area is a small game room and sauna and during school vacations, the hotel also offers family activities such as bingo, animal shows, magic acts, and face painting in its many meeting spaces. When I visited with my 10-year-old daughter, I lost count of how many times she went down the slide and I had a hard time dragging her out of the pool for dinner.
We found the John Carver Inn to be very well suited for families, with 74 rooms, many of which are adjoining. There were also six suites, some connecting for families or larger groups. We were fortunate to stay in one of the Fireplace Suites on the third floor. We entered the suite into the main living space, which included a pull out couch and a dual-sided gas fireplace. The adjacent eating area offered a full size dining table with four chairs. It felt like a little apartment and after swimming and showering, we just had to get cozy and curl up in front of the fire and order room service from the in-hotel Hearth ‘n Kettle restaurant.
The bedroom featured a comfy king size bed and a whirlpool tub on the other side of the fireplace, so it would also make a romantic getaway. Just off the bedroom was a large bathroom with a walk in shower and plush bathrobes hanging behind the door. Separate from the bedroom was a large dressing room with a Keurig machine, complimentary bottles of water, and candies. Families are able to keep food and drinks cold in the suite’s small refrigerator.
Whether you want to eat in your room or just downstairs, the hotel offers two on-site dining options. The Hearth ‘n Kettle is a Colonial-style family restaurant, serving up basic comfort food fare. The newer, trendier WaterFire Tavern features tapas and small plates. Families and small groups can sit around the Fire Fountain, like an in-table firepit, and watch the changing colors of the lights as they dine.
When we visited, we weren’t just there for the pool, but also the spa. The Beach Plum Spa, which has locations at The John Carver Inn in Plymouth, The Daniel Webster Inn in Sandwich, and The Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis, offers a full range of services, including nails, facials, scrubs, wraps, and a number of different massages. The unique thing about the Beach Plum Spa is that they offer services for kids and tweens including a decadent-sounding chocolate milkshake pedicure, where kids enjoy a hot chocolate while soaking their feet in a chocolate milkshake bath, get exfoliated with a chocolate scrub and finished with an application of chocolate mousse lotion and choice of nail polish. What I had never seen offered before, but we were happy to try out, were parent-child massages.
As we changed in the locker room we were giddy with excitement about sharing this experience, and giggled while rolling up sleeves of a robe that was much too big for a 10-year-old girl. We had a chance to really unwind and prepare for the massage in the small but peaceful relaxation room, gazing up at the twinkling lights set against a twilight blue ceiling. Our therapists greeted us and brought us back to the couples massage room with tables side by side so we could enjoy the experience together, and, as a parent I could keep an eye on how it was going to help smooth the way for her very first massage experience. The massage itself was so wonderfully relaxing that we both melted into our respective heated tables, reluctant to ever leave.
But leave we must as this was just a short getaway. But before we left, we spent some time walking around the charming downtown and waterfront of Plymouth, checking out the Grist Mill, Jenney’s Pond, Brewster Gardens, and the famous Plymouth Rock and historic waterfront. It was a weekend of relaxation, fun and mother-daughter bonding that was renewing in so many ways.
The John Carver Inn is located at 25 Summer Street in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Rooms start at $122 per night and can be booked online or by calling (888) 906-6181.
Disclosure: Tamara and her daughter were provided with a complimentary room, breakfast, and massage, but the opinions are her own.