Evening cocktails on the Garden Terrace are popular with guests as well as locals; arrive early
Valet and self-parking are available for $20 per night
Pets are allowed but an extra fee is required; see Details for more
Parking on site
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Beaux-Arts beauty with a destination spa and French-inspired restaurant in the heart of tony Newport
It’s hard not to be drawn in by the steamy history of this elegant mansion. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt commissioned the building in 1909 for his mistress, Agnes O’Brien Ruiz, wife of the Cuban attaché. The soul of the hotel is its history, but the personality is all Peter de Savary. This well-known yachtsman took over the hotel and refurbished it with great flair. Now operated by upscale hotel group Grace, the property still has de Savary’s collection of original American illustration art, from cheeky pinup girls to New Yorker covers and other humorous early 20th-century works.
Bed and Bath
From the Beaux-Arts front room, grand pillared staircases lead to the 33 rooms and suites. In contrast to the polished Gilded Age style downstairs, guestrooms have a more contemporary look, with white paneled walls, sash windows and a successful mix of fabrics in sherbet shades. Even Deluxe Rooms are a spacious 300 square feet, and all have flat-screen TVs, coffee machines and free WiFi. The are luxe touches, too, from the king-size beds dressed in Italian linens and cashmere throws, to the ample marble bathrooms stocked with Penhaligon amenities.
Opened in 2011, Muse restaurant dishes up New England favorites with a decidedly French twist: venison medallions with a blueberry reduction, pheasant and braised red cabbage, oysters and clam chowder are just some of the tasty sections. As for evening cocktails, there’s no better spot in the hotel (or Newport, for that matter) than the breezy Garden Terrace, with its sea-foam-green wicker chairs and general New England aura of lazy summer afternoons. The Vanderbilt Grace really shows its luxe side in the on-site spa. Take a dip in the indoor heated pool, followed by a couples massage in a candlelit treatment room. The spa uses Yon-Ka products from Paris, which are holistic, handcrafted and heavenly.
In the Area
Just down the street is the historic Newport Tower, as well as sailing and fishing tours in the harbor. Next door, the Newport Art Museum hosts outdoor movies and documentaries. In the summer months, take a sailing tour on one of the champion vessels manned by 12 Meter Charters (many are winners of the America’s Cup) or see the small city on two wheels, with bike rentals from Newport Bicycle. If you have time for only one mansion tour, make it the Breakers for its spectacular platinum walls, and don’t leave without a meal at the Lobster Bar. Get there early to score a front row seat for the sunset.