Destination Guide

Newport & Coastal Rhode Island

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Photo by Onne van der Wal
America’s First Resort,” Newport has set itself apart from New England’s other seaside enclaves for nearly four centuries. The town celebrates its colonial architecture and Gilded Age mansions with style, and its harbor is a yachting mecca. Just beyond the sailboat-filled waters of Narragansett Harbor, Rhode Island’s Atlantic coast is a dreamy string of sandy beaches, with several towns (and hotels) worthy of a trip in their own right.

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grand new england hotel on coast in daytime

Ocean House

While the parasols of its nineteenth-century origins 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.

Exterior View - Castle Hill Inn, Newport, New England

Castle Hill Inn

The fabulous shingled mansion that presides over the westernmost point of Newport was built in 1874 for a marine biologist who clearly appreciated the incredible spot overlooking the opening of Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. In the decades since then, the house has witnessed hurricanes, wars (it housed Naval Officers during World War II) and became a hotel that housed movie stars (Grace Kelley moved in while filming High Society).

With rooms in the main house, including a suite in the turret, and in separate beach and harbor cottages, the hotel offers guests the chance to experience a quintessential New England summer escape. Of course, the hotel is winterized and open all year but rather than evoke the grand European formality of the Newport mansions just up Ocean Drive, Castle Hill feels more like nearby Hammersmith Farm, the childhood escape of Jackie Kennedy who spent days on the water and on horseback. The 35 rooms range from Victorian in style (in the main house) to settings that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalog (in the beach houses and cottages) to simple and modern with gas fireplaces (in the Harbor rooms). Throughout, furnishings feel lush and fresh, with fleece shearling throws and Newport-favorite Farmaesthetic toiletries. The Harbor rooms abut a beautiful back lawn that leads down to a tiny, secluded rocky beach. Beach rooms are set directly on the property's private beach (about a 5-minute walk down the hill from the main house).

Activities on offer include bocce ball and croquet on the lawns, kayaking, paddle boarding, yoga and the inevitable gazing out at the sea from Adirondack chairs. When guests want to head into town, the staff will happily take them in a hotel car or via the property's beautiful new motor launch, which runs from the hotel's private marina. The excellent concierge team can also arrange for such off-property undertakings as surfing lessons, bike riding, bird watching, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding and polo. At night there are regular clambakes, beach bonfires, movie nights and stargazing with a local astronomer.

The Lawnis the hotel's warm-weather outdoor restaurant overseen by chef Karsten Hart, who has a European and New Orleans background. A traditional afternoon tea is also served daily in the lobby.


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