The 8 Best Hotels in Newport, Rhode Island
With its historic sailing culture and grand mansions, Newport has long been a summer playground for wealthy East Coasters. But the town is also a haven of family-owned fish shacks, salty-dog bars, and quiet beaches, which is why it's the perfect vacation spot for just about anyone seeking a waterfront getaway. Here, we deliver Newport's best hotels, from an iconic grande dame to a playful boutique.
Jen has been a staff editor at Architectural Digest, Travel + Leisure, and Martha Stewart Weddings, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Afar, and Elle Decor. When she's not snowmobiling in the French Alps or tasting scotch straight from the barrel in Scotland, she's at home in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
For a glimpse of Gilded Age life during the reign of the Vanderbilts, look no further than this historic grande dame. The 1873 mansion, which once belonged to the great granddaughter of John Jacob Astor, occupies a prominent perch on a scenic National Recreation Trail overlooking Easton Bay. Each of the hotel’s 20 rooms highlight a different style, from Greek Revival to Regency to Louis XVI, but all are decorated with opulent period antiques such as crystal chandeliers, stone fireplaces, and mahogany furnishings as well as heated floors in the baths. Downstairs, Cara’s multi-course tasting menus inspired by New England flavors with a French twist is equally elegant.
Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina
A five-minute shuttle across Narragansett Bay from downtown Newport takes you to secluded Goat Island, the site of the 1842 Newport Harbor Light. It’s also the home of Gurney’s, a nautical-inspired resort and 22-slip marina that houses 257 spacious rooms with modern conveniences (complimentary WiFi; business and fitness centers) that the city’s historic inns often lack. Like its sister property in Montauk, New York, the hotel’s best amenity is Newport’s only outdoor saltwater pool. Its sundeck lounge encourages stylish lazing, but a director of fun can also set you up with wine tastings and mixology classes, treatments at the onsite Seawater Spa, or reservations at acclaimed Italian restaurant Scarpetta.
Forty 1 North
Eco warriors visiting Newport won’t find a better place to stay than Forty 1 North, Rhode Island’s first LEED-certified hotel. All 28 rooms and cottages come outfitted with environmentally sound amenities, from sustainable woods and LED and compact fluorescent light bulbs to all-natural bath products, low-flow shower heads, and fast-dry towels designed to encourage reuse (even if they do overlook the gas-guzzling yachts docked at Forty 1 North’s marina on Narragansett Bay). Even the walkways that take you around the property are paved with cement mixed with recycled glass and shells to minimize the need for new materials, while the romantically lit fine-dining restaurant features floor-to-ceiling French windows designed to capture ocean breezes.
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If you find cheeky takes on Gilded Age glamour more appealing than fussy florals and period antiques, then Gilded is right up your alley. The 17-room boutique hotel, housed in two Victorian-era homes on a leafy residential lane just a 10-minute walk from the main drag on Thames Street, combines vibrant colors and modern flourishes—think graphic patterned fabrics, gold-hued side tables, and mixed-media artwork that give the epoch’s dominant Rococo and Beaux Arts styles a contemporary spin. The playful vibe continues downstairs in the bed-and-breakfast–style dining area, a purple-walled space where clam-stuffed baked Portobello mushrooms, honey-roasted pineapples, and freshly made pastries are served on a fuchsia counter backed by psychedelic butterfly-clad wallpaper.
With its print-on-pattern aesthetic (think zebra stripes, boho ikat, and mod hexes) and bold color choices, Gilded’s sister property The Attwater is not your average New England stay. In a centrally located 1910 mansion district building that was once a beer hall, the 12-room bed and breakfast offers a modern riff on preppy nautical palettes, with infusions of seafoam, coral and olive green. Venture down to the patio and café for the house-made lemon-ginger scones before a day of exploring Newport’s seaside diversions—or an afternoon of being massaged into deep relaxation in the hotel’s intimate spa treatment room.
How better to summer like a Gilded Age titan than to stay in the former home of a Vanderbilt scion? In a 1909 mansion on a quiet street near Belleview Avenue, Grace Vanderbilt maintains all the, well, graciousness of its original incarnation with model ships and early 20th-century framed illustrations. The 33 streamlined rooms are more modern, with crisp white linens paired with sherbet-hued fabrics and cashmere throws, white paneled walls, and contemporary luxuries like flat-screen TVs and coffee makers. There’s an onsite spa, an indoor pool, and a greenhouse-like terrace lounge, but be sure to leave time for renting a bike to tour the surrounding mansions, then returning for a candlelit dinner of classic New England cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant.
Castle Hill Inn
It’s easy to see why the Castle Hill Inn, a five-minute drive from downtown, is considered one of Newport’s most romantic hotels. Set on a 40-acre peninsula overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay, the 1874 mansion was built by mining magnate Alexander Agassiz as a summer home to rival all others. The cottages feature the quintessential seaside palette of greens and blues and come equipped with fireplaces for cuddling on chilly evenings and cast iron tubs built for two. On the main house’s third floor, the room to book is the mahogany-paneled, bi-level Turret Suite, whose spiral staircase leads to a telescope for late-night stargazing. As in bygone days, guests spend their afternoons playing bocce on the lawn, sunbathing on the hotel’s private beach, or cruising on Castle Hill’s Hinckley yacht.
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Old-world hospitality sets the vibe at Hotel Viking, a former lodging for VIP guests of Belleview Avenue during the Gilded Age. Champagne and fresh-shucked oysters are served on the garden patio, the Dark and Stormies come with a view at the Top of Newport bar, and the spa specializes in Balinese- and Thai-inspired treatments. Although the lobby was recently renovated and guest rooms and suites reflect more modern luxury (think marble showers and Egyptian-cotton linens), much of the period-inspired décor, including vanities and credenzas, remains an homage to the hotel’s 90-year history.
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