ACK and You Shall Receive
This booking service will make your Nantucket stay just right.
It’s the Tuesday of the last week in July, and you need two rooms on Nantucket for this coming weekend, during the height of the season. You can try to go through one of the online booking agencies, but it’s complicated, because one of the rooms is for your teenage son and his female cousin, so there needs to be some accommodation for privacy, and also, is there a pool on the premises? And do they offer gluten-free breakfasts? And exactly how long is the walk to town because you’re just getting over a sprained ankle?
It really would be better if you could speak to someone by phone.
But who you gonna call?
You’re planning a getaway of seven days or longer and have a budget that stretches anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000 a week. You want luxury accommodations in absolute privacy and a lead on a concierge service that can score you an in-house chef, a sunset cruise guided by an experienced captain, an in-home mani and pedi, and various other amenities.
Or you want to set up lodging for your wedding guests or your family reunion. Or someone of note (we can’t say who, but it would blow you away) needs a personal protection service in addition to utmost privacy.
Who you gonna call?
Bruce is Bruce Harrison of Nantucket Accommodations. The company caters to the hoi polloi (like me, the one with the kid and his cousin, who always waits till the last minute), but also meets the needs of a more rarified crowd. The business has had a number of owners over the years, but Bruce has largely been its voice since the mid 1990s. Originally hailing from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he came to Nantucket in 1981 to work for a summer at the White Elephant — hospitality is in his blood — and then forgot to leave.
Manning the phones from an office across the road from the island’s airport, Harrison enjoys the challenges of helping people find what they need, whether they’re procrastinators who don’t plan ahead or those who book in advance. And you can drive him as crazy as you want with particulars. He doesn’t seem to mind — nothing ruffles him — and those who call him know this because he never makes you feel rushed.
Perhaps that’s why he’s able to say, “We have so many returning customers season after season. We have fun with them and have become almost friends with them over the years.” He calls what he does booking.com with a human connection. It’s an idea whose time came — and went — and now, thankfully, has come back. Talking to a real live person brings unparalleled benefits.
What’s particularly great about the service (besides the fact that the hotel or B&B where you end up staying absorbs the cost of the booking fee) is that because Harrison lives on the island, he is familiar with every single space he rents. He is not telling you about it from what he has gleaned by glancing at a brochure. For instance, when he let me know that our room would be facing the pool, I was anxious because I didn’t want to have to hear any pool noise at odd hours. But he assured me that the building was set far back enough from the pool that I wouldn’t, and that I would appreciate the landscaping, as opposed to the nondescript parking lot that I’d see if he put us on the opposite-facing side.
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