Best of New England: Rhode Island
Hotel : Urban
Though today’s cookie-cutter “boutique” hotels like to lay it on thick with the neon and the trance music, Hotel Providence emphasizes substance over flash, as it has since it opened in 2005. Not that it isn’t hip — but the hotel’s style is a timeless aesthetic that calls to mind Ralph Lauren as much as Ian Schrager. The 80-room spot has the requisite luxuries — WiFi, pillow-top mattresses, marble bathrooms, high-end toiletries — and an elegant restaurant aptly named Aspire. // 139 mathewson st., Providence, 401-861-8000, hotelprovidence.com.
Inn : Victorian
Once upon a time, grand Victorian hotels dotted the eastern coastline. Thankfully,
a handful survive on Block Island, none of them more charming than the cupola-topped Manisses, with a speakeasy-style bar downstairs, rooms decorated with antiques, and homey touches — brass chandeliers, decanters of brandy — that transport you back centuries. // Spring Street, Block Island, 401-466-2421, blockislandresorts.com.
Inn : Seaside
CASTLE HILL INN
Something about this oceanfront retreat induces a state of utter relaxation. Sure, the bustle of Newport awaits anyone who ventures beyond its gracious rooms, private beach, walking trails, and sweeping views (the one from the Turret Suite’s soaking tub is our favorite). But for us, sipping cocktails in Adirondack chairs before selecting from the locally focused dinner menu provides sufficient excitement to last a weekend. // 590 Ocean Dr., Newport, 401-849-3800, 888-466-1355, castlehillinn.com.
THE CHANLER AT CLIFF WALK
Whether it’s all those frothy waves or the promise of exotic lands, the ocean inspires romance. Few resorts capture the spirit better than this Gilded Age “cottage” perched over Newport’s Cliff Walk. “Ocean villa” rooms feature grand four-poster beds, fireplaces, and deckside Jacuzzi tubs overlooking the crashing surf. Other accommodations, meanwhile, are decked out in themed décor from Europe of ages past, including English Tudor, Italian Renaissance, and Louis XVI. // 117 Memorial Blvd., Newport, 401-847-1300, thechanler.com.
Beds can be great, but everybody knows the best part of “B&B” is breakfast. And this grande dame of Newport pulls out all the stops every morning, with a spread that might include its signature eggs Newport, a delectable mélange of poached eggs, crab cakes, roasted red peppers, and Canadian bacon — plus fruit crêpes, blueberry pancakes, stuffed French toast…need we go on? If that’s not enough, the twice-weekly afternoon high tea is practically a dinner in itself. The other “B” in the equation is no slouch, either: Expect fine Italian linens atop fluffy mattresses, and at least one fireplace in every room. // 2 Seaview Ave., Newport, 800-845-1811, cliffsideinn.com.
Resort : Beach
Built three years after the Civil War, the Ocean House, with its buttercream-yellow façade, was a welcome sight for generations of beachgoers who came to the scenic peninsula of Watch Hill to play croquet on the lawn and bathe in the ocean. Now, after a $140 million rebuild, the Victorian beauty has updated that elegance for a new era with 49 brand-new luxury rooms, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a spacious spa. The best amenity, however, is one that’s timeless — a private beach beneath the cliffs complete with chairs and drink service. // One Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, westerly, 401-315-5599, oceanhouseri.com.
Resort : Family
HYATT REGENCY NEWPORT
For being one of the top destinations in New England, Newport can be a frustrating experience for families, with its crowded wharfs, silent B&Bs, and “don’t-touch-that” mansion tours — all of which raise the stress level for vacationing parents. Think of the newly renovated 257-room Hyatt as a family oasis, set across a causeway from the bustle of downtown Newport and featuring outdoor and indoor pools, organized games and activities, and a parklike “Great Lawn” where kids can stretch their legs to their heart’s content. Adults, meanwhile, will appreciate the Five33 lounge, which boasts panoramic views of Narragansett Bay and a killer coconut-rum cocktail. // One Goat Island, Newport, 401-851-1234, newport.hyatt.com.