What We Love
- Easy access to Newport’s sights, from the waterfront to art galleries
- The Vanderbilt signature massage, with warm aromatic compresses
- Muse restaurant serves New England favorites like clam chowder
- Indoor and outdoor heated pools
- READ MORE: 72 Hours in Block Island, RI
What To Know
- 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
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
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.
How to Get There
We were very disappointed in our experience at the Vanderbilt. We were there at a very slow time, so it seemed as if the staff was sort of phoning it in. The decor is somewhat cheap, not befitting a luxury historic hotel...fake library wallpaper in the elevator. When the heating kicks on in the bedrooms it is as if a helicopter was suddenly landing indoors...so that happened at least twice an hour all night long. The cleaning staff just forgot to clean our room altogether. We mentioned to the staff that the lighting in the billiard room was flickering on and off, the staff member just said, 'oh yes...that happens all the time.' Sounds to me that there will be flickering lights in that room for some time to come. All this would be unsurprising in a hotel that costs half what the Vanderbilt does. But this is a pricey place and I would suggest they need to work harder to earn their reputation. Oh yes....and then there is the resort fee....in the dead of winter. It's not exactly a resort.
Stately hotel with great attention to detail. Nice location as well. Rooms were spacious and decorated nicely with all the comforts. Visited for a quick overnight but Definitely going to return. Highly recommend this hotel.
We stayed here on a Friday night in early November. We gat an early check in, then went out to an early party.
When we returned, we stopped in the bar, the decided to join for dinner.
The restaurant is very comfortable and the food served for a Taste of Newport week was very good. But I the wines pours by the glass were small, maybe I got mixed into the wine tasting, which I hate.
Breakfast in the morning was a treat; cappuccinos, egg quesadilla topped with the most delicious buffalo chilly!
The room was comfortable, but expensive.
When the bill came, there was a $53 resort charge that was not mentioned any where. All together with state and local taxes the bill was well over $550 for the night.
My husband and I stayed here for just one night as part of our New England road trip. We arrived in the afternoon after a long drive and were warmly greeted by Devyn who arranged for our cases to be taken to our room and to park the car. He was very friendly and gave good advice about the best way to spend our short time in Newport. The glass of bubbly while checking in was a lovely touch. The hotel is a beautiful building and we particularly enjoyed looking at the photographs on the walls. Our room was on floor four and we were slightly mystified as to why we were advised to use the back lift. On one occasion dirty dishes were being returned to the kitchen and on another the lift was full with a linen trolley. It didn’t match up with the elegant surroundings of the hotel especially as we discovered that the floor three lift was equidistant to our room. Our room was clean and quite large with a beautiful bathroom. I particularly enjoyed the luxurious Molten Brown toiletries and the deep bath. Everything was in place for a good night’s sleep but unfortunately it didn’t happen for me. Because of the shape of the room I found the bed area quite claustrophobic and it was very warm. The air conditioning unit, right beside the bed, was loud so that would not have been conducive to sleep. We ate in the restaurant in the evening and both the service and the meals were very good, as was the delicious breakfast taken in the conservatory. I would give five stars for customer service,dining experience and the beautiful building but because of minor issues, for me it was not quite perfect.
After our 3 hour drive we pulled up and were instantly greeted and our luggage was taken and car parked for us. We were offered a glass of fizz (and gratefully accepted it) whilst we check in which was a very nice touch. The first room we were shown to was perfectly nice, on the 3rd floor (I think), but we instantly knew we couldn't sleep here due to the rumbling constant noise of the air conditioners above. It went right through the room. We were shown a second smaller room, although slightly better regarding the noise it still wasn't good. Thankfully, the lady on Reception sorted us out and transferred us to a larger room on the 1st floor which was perfect. We were really pleased they helped sort a solution for us and without making it difficult.
Very comfy bed, large bathroom, sitting area, kitchenette and views over towards the harbour. The furniture and carpet could do with some updating, but the overall feel was of a light, relaxing room.
We stayed two nights, and unfortunately didn't get the chance to eat here, so can't comment on the dining experience, although the dining room looked very elegant and quite busy. The garden terrace outside is very pleasant too.
For us the best part of the hotel was the roof top bar - a real hidden gem of a place, buzzing with people and with stunning sunset views & fun staff. We were given a voucher for our first drink which was lovely and sat chatting to some other guests.
Everywhere was easy to get to. We did a 2 hour sailing tour of the harbour one morning and caught an Uber taxi to the start of the cliff top walk along to The Breakers Mansion (Well worth a visit!). If you want a change for Breakfast, walk the 7 minute harbour walk to Belle's Cafe (opens at 7am everyday) in the boatyard. It was best breakfast we had in our 10 days in New England.
We enjoyed Newport and all it has to offer and would love to stay in the Grace Vanderbilt again.