Staying in one of Newport’s many B&Bs or Inns provides the chance to step back in time and enjoy an intimate experience in a restored historic home.
Walking under the canopy of trees along Bellevue Avenue, one can easily sense what led America’s Gilded Age royalty to build their summer “cottages” in this quaint, colonial town set on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island. Passing by these lavish residences give a taste of high society life at the turn of the 20th-century, but at some there’s also the opportunity to enter, and stay overnight, thanks to their conversion into Bed & Breakfasts that positively exude character and charm. Here’s our pick of the best.
The Cliffside Inn
Steps away from the historic Cliff Walk – a path that meanders along the cliffside – a stay in this 19th-century Victorian mansion gives visitors a true taste of Newport’s rich past, with modern amenities mindfully designed to match the vintage aesthetic. Once the home of acclaimed artist Beatrice Turner, the 16 spacious rooms range in price and character: 13 are located in the main house and three suites comprise the sea view cottages. The Beatrice, a signature room in the main house, features floral paintings on the doors by the artist herself, plus a Jacuzzi bathtub with views of Easton’s Bay. Rise early and seize the day with a hearty breakfast, or relax before dinner over complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres in this oasis, located within walking distance of bustling downtown, but nestled into a quiet neighbourhood, where you can sneak away and enjoy the solitude. From $368 per night.
The only B&B in Newport’s Mansion District, the Ivy Lodge is a late 19th-century “cottage mansion” designed by Standford White, the coveted architect behind the historic Rosecliff mansion on Bellevue Avenue. Be swept away by the grandeur of the Victorian gothic revival-style entryway and staircase, made of restored English oak. Choose from nine comfortable rooms, all with private bathrooms, and some featuring Jacuzzis. The spacious Turret Room is especially loved for its grand canopy bed and fireplace, while other more contemporary in-room enticements include a DVD and CD player. Each morning, enjoy a full continental breakfast, including baked apples and homemade breads. From $270 per night.
If you want to stay and play in downtown Newport, this inn, a short jaunt from the shops and restaurants of historic Thames Street, may fit the bill. Close by are Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharfs, from where you can set sail on a sunset cruise. Back at the inn, make yourself at home in one of six guestrooms and suites (many including Jacuzzis), renovated to provide modern comforts while maintaining their period charm. The newest addition is the third floor Captain’s Quarters, where the former Inn Keepers quarters have been transformed into a two-bed suite, including a kitchen and private deck, from where you can watch the sunset over Narragansett Bay. Enjoy a continental breakfast Monday through Friday and hot breakfast on weekends. Every evening, unwind during their complimentary wine and cheese social hour before hitting the town. From $277 per night.
America’s Cup Inn
Directly on the cobblestones of bustling Thames Street in the heart of downtown Newport, the America’s Cup Inn combines a mix of classic colonial New England decor and furnishings with imagery of the prestigious America’s Cup sailing event for which the region is known. The main Inn features 17 uniquely styled rooms, including an apartment suite that has its own kitchen and comfy living area, and some also have 4-poster mahogany beds, co-coordinated draperies and antique wicker furnishings. For extra character, request one of the rooms in the eaves of the house where the sloped ceiling lends plenty of charm. Other services and facilities include a common room library, a rooftop deck and complimentary breakfasts served each morning at a café a short walk away. Take a wander down to Newport’s famous harbour and waterfront to admire the sailboats and motor yachts anchored in the dock. From $171 per night.
Marshall Slocum Inn
Nestled under a shady beech tree, this Victorian boutique-style inn has been faithfully restored to reflect and preserve its colonial heritage. The inn is set in picturesque manicured grounds, and features a large rear deck where breakfast is served each morning overlooking the gardens. There’s also a front porch furnished with rocking chairs, creating an inviting environment in which to kick back and watch the world go by. Period antique furniture, original hardwood floors, and a nautical theme can be found throughout the elegant guest rooms, which are individually decorated and flooded with natural light. Modern in-room amenities come in the shape of a tablet with video streaming and cutting-edge internet channels. Notable attractions and places of interest including Bellevue Avenue, the Tennis Hall of Fame and the harbour front are all within a 10-minute walk. From $186 per night.