City Chic Comes to Nantucket

Vanessa Noel's new hotel

The women of Sex and the City have taught the world what real city girls already know: Forget fresh-baked cookies—it's shoes that make our mouths water. "There's something fabulous about a heel that changes the way you feel when you walk into a room," says Vanessa Noel, who not only designs footwear to swoon over but now has even created the room itself. This summer the New Yorker brought a dash of city style to beautiful but staid Nantucket, scene of her childhood summers, with the opening of a new eight-room hotel, VNH. Move over blue whales, creaky floorboards, and gloppy lobster rolls—here is 100 percent over-the-top indulgence.

From the moment you walk into the hotel, in an 1847 house just steps from the famed Jared Coffin House (which, incidentally, could use a makeover), there's style aplenty. Off the lobby, with its leopard-print carpet and 1930s Baccarat chandelier, is a boutique with more than 100 of Noel's designs (some of them exclusives that won't even be available at the shop she's scheduled to open next spring on New York's East 64th Street). In the Vanno Bar, a swank lounge that serves caviar and gravlax from Manhattan's Caviarteria, guests can sip Champagne from upholstered banquettes—or from two whimsical swings hanging from the ceiling. "Children always know how to have fun," says Noel, "and I thought adults should, too."

The bedrooms reflect her taste for understated opulence: silk-taffeta Roman shades, sleek Armani Casa furniture, featherbeds with Frette linens, and plasma-screen televisions. Though the sandy colors may say summer beach, the VNH will be open year-round—which makes it a perfect perch for the island's annual Christmas Stroll celebration the first weekend in December. Rooms, $340-$480. At 5 Chestnut Street; 508-228-5300.