Editors' Picks

Ocean House

Classic American beach retreat, grand, pampering

1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill 02891


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At a Glance

The luxurious Ocean House, with its iconic yellow façade, wrap-around porch and sweeping views of the ocean, is a blend of old and new, celebrating its storied past while providing modern amenities and service.

Indagare Loves

  • The hotel’s collection of original art by Ludwig Bemelmans, the French illustrator responsible for the Madeline children's books
  • The bevy of resort amenities, including a professional croquet lawn, squash courts and complimentary wine and culinary classes
  • The five-star, 12,000-square-foot Ocean & Harvest Spa
  • The signature suites, which are individually-appointed and feel like private residences


In the decades after it opened in 1868, Rhode Island’s iconic Ocean House was a beacon for monied aristocrats and the East Coast elite who frequented the resort for its prime location on the Atlantic, subdued glamour and discrete privacy. And while parasols have given way to blue and yellow beach umbrellas and cabanas complete with butler service, the Victorian-style Ocean House remains a nostalgic reminder of the past, with all the modern amenities to ensure a five-star experience.

After nearly a century and a half in operation, the property closed in 2003, was knocked down and then rebuilt in nearly exactly the same style, reopening to guests in 2010. During the reconstruction, the architects paid painstaking attention to the original design of the hotel, even noting the exact size and location of all the windows so that they would be placed in the correct position in the new building. While slightly expanded, the now–156,000-square-foot building, which is decorated with more than 5,000 artifacts from the original property, looms large from its perch on a pristine stretch of private beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Almost imposing from the outside, the grand hotel, which is the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond resort in Rhode Island, still manages to feel cozy thanks to its boutique size, with just 49 rooms and 20 signature suites. The guest rooms are all done in varying shades of pastels and channel a seaside cottage vibe that is cozy yet modern, with iPod docks, LCD TVs in the bedroom and bathroom, Frette linens and a complimentary mini bar that remains stocked with jars of chocolate goodies and crackers throughout one’s stay. The suites at Ocean House are all individually appointed and provide some of the most luxurious accommodations in the region. From the bi-level Morgan suite, which is done in lacquered wood to resemble a sleek yacht, to the Penthouse suite and its sprawling rooftop with 360-degree views, these rooms are some of the most exquisite.

The resort offers a plethora of luxe amenities, including a museum quality art audio tour, billiards room, spacious fitness center, Center for Wine & Culinary Arts (which runs wine and cooking classes), indoor pool, two squash courts and the 12,000 square-foot Ocean & Harvest Spa, one of the most blissful aspects of the property. During the warmer months, guests can make use of the shuffleboard court, croquet green and the beach club, where any number of water sports can be arranged.

The on-property dining options are so diverse that guests can enjoy all meals on property without growing tired. The five-star, five-diamond COAST restaurant is the most upscale and boasts stunning views out over the water. The more casual Bistro serves classic American fare with a New England twist. The al fresco Verandah and Seaside Terrace both offer a great shellfish selection as well as family-friendly bites like a big kid grilled cheese. Sun bathers need not leave the beach for meals, as the resort’s Dune Cottage serves brick-oven pizzas, salads and sandwiches from the sandy shore. Weekly events like the Sunday jazz brunch and summer lobster bakes provide even more variety.

Ocean House is also the perfect place to enjoy the winter season. Gondola Village, the hotel's annual culinary pop-up experience, allows guests to dine in one of three gondolas amid a French Alps-inspired backdrop. Complete with fire pits and twinkling lights, it's a delightful option for breakfast, lunch, early evening crepes, aperitifs or dinner. Guests stay warm with heated blankets (and Veuve Clicquot). During the 2022-2023 season, a portion of the proceeds from Gondola Village go to the Ocean House Fund for Charitable Giving, a donor-advised fund administered in cooperation with the Rhode Island Foundation, which supports children in need, the disadvantaged, and foodways-related causes in the local community. 

Who Should Stay

Those looking for a cozy, luxurious seaside escape and a taste of old New England charm.

Getting There

Ocean House is a three-hour drive or train ride from New York City and two hours from Boston

Written by Emma Pierce

What's Nearby
Indagare employees walking up stiars

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