Crowne Pointe Inn a low-key oasis in colorful Provincetown By Donna Tunney / August 05, 2005 Share 1 -- General Managers PicksThomas Walter, Crowne Pointe Historic Inns co-owner and general manager, shares his favorite room at the inn and the best place to eat in the area:Best room: Walter says the property doesnt number its rooms, using names instead. The best in the house is the Presidential, featuring a two-person whirlpool tub, a fireplace and outdoor sitting areas.Best restaurant: Walter recommends Patio, a new restaurant on Commercial Street in Provincetown. A short walk from the inn, Patio is casual, he said, but funky and fun, with good food offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The best part of it, he said, is sitting outside on the patio and people-watching.PROVINCETOWN, Mass. -- With watery roots still tied to its commercial fishing fleet, Provincetown, on the tip of Cape Cod, has emerged over the decades as a flamboyant summer playground for gay visitors and a year-round haven for writers and artists. Colorful in every respect and welcoming to alternative lifestyles, the town each summer draws thousands of tourists.Its busy Commercial Street and harborfront are home to dozens of shops, galleries, restaurants and, of course, bars, where, among entertainment by local theater groups, drag queens stage risque cabarets.On the streets, local musicians play for passersby, and sidewalk cafes fill to capacity by early evening.Amid the spectacle, quaint guesthouses, inns and small hotels welcome visitors, the bulk of them between July 4 and Labor Day.Some of the properties are situated on Commercial Street, which is hectic through the wee hours. Others are a block or two away, where vacationers might have a better chance of getting a restful nights sleep.One top-rated choice for the upscale client is the Crowne Point Historic Inn and Spa, a member of the Historic Hotels of America and in its sixth consecutive year as a AAA Four Diamond property.Located on Bradford Street (about a five-minute walk from where the action is) the inn is an oasis, a luxury compound of four buildings joined by a common courtyard, which is park-like with its greenery, bricked walkways, ponds and fountains.Owners David Sanford and Thomas Walter are on-site every day, running the 40-room property with the kind of attention one would expect in a first-class European hotel.Our guests are as diverse as Provincetown, said Walter. Travel agents send us clients who are looking for a full-service property and who are discriminating in their taste.The inn, which is open year-round, draws guests from throughout New England and from New York, Chicago and California, said Walter.Rooms and ratesAll of the inns public rooms and guest rooms feature period antiques, and some rooms have water views. Nearly all have whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and balconies.Rates include a hot buffet breakfast. The property provides a free beach shuttle as well as transportation from the local airport and the ferry dock.Fresh-baked cookies are served each afternoon, and every evening a complimentary cocktail hour offers wine and cheese to guests. The inn serves dinner nightly in its restaurant, the Bistro.Crowne Pointes 2,000-square-foot Shui Spa, designed by Charles Gruwell (who created the Four Seasons Hotel and Spa and Mandalay Bay Spa in Las Vegas), opened just over a year ago.Guests enter through one of the courtyard paths that crosses an Asian-inspired bridge spanning a 4,000-gallon koi-filled pond.Along with treatment rooms, the spas inner sanctum features a mineral soaking tub. The candlelight atmosphere is enhanced by the soothing sounds of a fountain designed into the back wall of the soaking tub. A bigger-than-life statue of Buddha is the focal point of an adjacent outdoor patio, where guests can relax on lounge chairs.The spa has unisex steam and sauna rooms, and a choice of nearly two dozen types of massage are offered along with manicures and pedicures.Two Jacuzzi tubs and a heated pool are located in the inns central courtyard, steps from the spa.Book itHigh season rates, from June 29 to Sept. 7, range from $219 to $479 per night, depending on the room.Off-season prices start at $100 per night. Deluxe rooms, executive suites and two-level penthouse suites are available, as is an all-inclusive option that can include dinners and spa treatments.Agent commission is 10% on the rack rate only.The property can be booked in the GDSs or by phone, (877) 276-9631. Its Web site is www.crownepointe.com.Getting thereThe inn provides free parking in a nearby municipal lot. Those who prefer to leave their cars at home can travel to Provincetown on Cape Air (www.flycapeair.com), which offers daily service in summer from Boston.The Plymouth & Brockton bus line (www.p-b.com) offers year-round service from Boston. Bonanza bus line (www .bonanzabus.com) offers year-round service from New York to Hyannis (connect to Provincetown on the P&B line from there).Bay State Cruises (www.baystatecruisecompany.com) and Boston Harbor Cruises (www.bostonharborcruises.com) provide seasonal ferry service from Boston.To contact reporter Donna Tunney, send e-mail to email@example.com.Five ways to experience P-townHere are five things visitors like to do while visiting Provincetown: " Climb the Provincetown Monument. Towering high above the town, the 252-foot monument is the tallest granite tower in the U.S. It provides panoramic views of the town and the waters surrounding the tip of Cape Cod. Entry to the Provincetown Museum, next door, is included with the $7 admission." Go whale-watching. Head to MacMillan Pier to board one of the whale-watch boats. With the Dolphin fleet, passengers receive a free ticket for a future excursion if no whales are sighted. Naturalists accompany every trip. Excursions last about four hours. In summer, adult fares are $20; kids age 12 and under, $17." Explore the bike trails. There are various entrances to the Provincetown bike trails; each is well-marked and easy to find. Trails take bikers through the wind-swept dunes to dense woods, ponds and the beach. Be sure to bring water and sunblock. No admission charge." Try dune trekking. Maps of the dune trails are available in the Province Lands Visitor Center, a short drive from town. There are several entry points. Take a compass, water and good walking shoes, as the sand gets quite hot. No admission charge." Find an outdoor table at any of the Commercial Street restaurants. Watch the world go by, or opt for a dining venue that faces the harbor and enjoy the water view instead.For more on things to do in Provincetown, visit the Provincetown Tourism Offices Web site atwww.provincetowntourismoffice.org.