Rhode Island didn’t used to be the first place that came to mind when I thought of luxe weekend getaways. I’ve done the Newport thing a few times, I’ve been to Mystic, I figured I’m pretty much done. I’m ready to go back to The Hamptons in my own backyard, you know?
That was until I visited the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
I am what’s called in the hotel world, a luxury traveler. While this is certainly fabulous and glamourous, it can also be challenging when you visit smaller boutique hotels. Often, as hard as they try, they miss the luxury mark. Clearly, even after seeing amazing glossy pictures on the internet (aren’t they all?) I wasn’t sure what to expect.
We took a train from Penn Station to get there that went pretty fast and was eased by the availability of free wifi, thankyouverymuch! A shiny Mercedes met us to take us to the hotel. When we got there I was really stunned. This breathtaking and pristine yellow and white building with a big white porch was just a lovely sight high atop a bluff overlooking the beach.
My room that had a view of the ocean and the sounds of the wind and the waves were crisp and clear. Oh my, I’m going to like it here!! Actually, views of the Atlantic Ocean are visible from every corner of the hotel. Block Island, Rhode Island, and Montauk are all right there for you to see.
The 49 guest rooms and suites are very well decorated in an elegant style but with subtle touches to remind you where you are..a tiny starfish on the hand towel, salty and sweet snacks in glass jars, linens in soft blues. It was all very well thought out and quite spacious. Frette linens and towels, plush bathrobes and 4-fixture marble bathrooms with a large shower are standard in every room. Internet access, flat screen TV’s and iPod players ensure those who can’t miss Celebrity Apprentice or feel inclined to post pics of the room on Facebook (Here I am in my room! Isn’t it gorge??) are all squared away.
I went to Ocean House for a special they offer called Wellness Weekend. The OH! Spa at Ocean House is pretty big at 12,000 square feet. All the treatments are inspired by the ocean and the harvest and it’s all very charming. They have a nice gym and a small salt water lap pool overlooking the beach. I must say, one of my favorite things at the gym was something called Fitness On Request. You can go to the gym 24 hours a day and use this machine that transmits classes on a giant video screen. It was awesome!! A real spinning class, aerobics, dance, etc..all “live” on this video screen. Note to self: I really need to see about getting one of these.
The spa itself has 7 treatment rooms including a couple’s room and a nail salon. The OH! Spa uses a selection of seasonally changing treatments, so expect pumpkins, apples and sea salt to be in your treatments depending on what time of year you visit. Yum. I had a facial that was almost as nice as the oceanfront relaxation room I waited in for my aesthetician to retrieve me.
The property has several dining options and I found all to be delicious. I would venture to say even the pickiest foodie types would have no problem here. From Seasons for fine dining to a spa lunch at the Club Room to a fabulous breakfast on the beach, I was thanking my lucky stars for the 24 hour gym. The food was sophisticated and very fresh. Speaking of fresh, we got a smoothie making lesson from the resort’s own Food Forager, Jan Faust Dane who is one of those people you instantly adore. She was warm and down to earth and clearly loves her job. Farm To Table is they way they roll here and she leads the pack. I never thought a smoothie made out of sweet potatoes could be delicious, but Jan showed me the light and gave me a printed card with the recipe to take home. Love those details.
I didn’t venture into town but I heard it is really nice in the summer in that beachy new Englandesque way. To be honest, I felt no need to leave the property. The setting is postcard perfect, the food was great and they had lots of activities from yoga to wine tastings and an art collection that kept my friends and I engaged all weekend. But, what stood out the most to me was the impeccable service at every turn. Their staff is very well trained in the kind of service I like. Attentive without overbearing and elegant without a snobby vibe. It really was a pleasure to stay there. If you’re looking for a weekend of wellness or a week of clambakes and ice cream, I’m confident you’ll love this place. It really is a great place to visit.
Opened in 1868, closed in 2003 after being deemed beyond feasible repair and was rebuilt using the exact measurements of the original structure and several pieces of the actual building.
Sits on 13 acres with 650 feet of private beach for hotel guests
It is a 3 hour drive from NYC, 90 minutes from Boston, 45 minutes from Providence Airport
Free valet parking
Free Afternoon Refreshments
49 guest rooms and suites
Tournament level croquet lawn with an on site pro all sumer
Day trips to Newport and Mystic CT can be arranged
Check for ongoing specials events throughout the year
If you have small children that insist on a kid friendly type hotel pool, this is not for you.