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Luxury Hotels: A Trio of Rhode Island Gems

Thanks to two prominent investors and a vision for historic preservation and tradition, guests visiting New England's coast can enjoy Ocean House, Weekapaug Inn, and now The Preserve Club & Residences.

Back in the late 1800s the gilded age of prosperity reigned and Newport Rhode Island was a summer haven for wealthy tycoons like the Vanderbilt's. About 30 minutes from Newport, summer travelers vacationed at the grand dame Ocean House, in upscale Watch Hill. After a century and a half of hospitality, Ocean House fell into disrepair and was on a path to demolition.

With too much history and nostalgia to knock down, fund manager Charles Royce bought the Ocean House and restored it back to its glory, reopening in 2010. Fast forward a few years later and down the road in humble (but equally upscale) Weekapaug, there was a similar story with a charming but rundown little waterside inn. Partnering with Wall Street investor Lang Wheeler, the two crafted their magic and stunningly restored Weekapaug Inn. With a passion for exceptional, personalized service, Ocean House Management's mission is to provide guests with extraordinary experiences.

Ocean House

Ocean House is a boutique luxury hotel with just shy of 70 rooms, directly facing the beach, and about a 5 minute walk to downtown Watch Hill. This grand Victorian building was originally built in 1868 and has been meticulously restored while also offering modern comforts like strong wifi and super cozy bedding.

Perched on 13 acres with its own private beach, there is plenty to do here...or enjoy the pampering pleasure of doing nothing at all. Walk along their 1,000 feet of sandy beach, sip lemonade in a rocking chair on the front porch, play croquet on the lawn, or cozy-up in front of the fireplace with a book.

Who Is Best Suited at Ocean House

Discerning travelers are at home at Ocean House. This is a luxury seaside property with an "informal formality". As a non-tipping property, everyone at Ocean House welcomes you with genuine smiles, from the valet to the front desk to the housekeeping team. This the type of property where you want to "dress" for dinner, order a cocktail "up", and enjoy the Gatsby surroundings. You almost feel like there should be a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk en route to its owner staying in the corner suite. Everyone finds a home at Ocean House; couples celebrating an anniversary (or engagement!), families on summer vacation, ladies escaping for a spa weekend.

Signature Suites

All rooms are lovely at Ocean House...and those signature suites...WOW! These 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites are unparalleled and each one is uniquely designed, decorated, and independently owned (and managed by Ocean House Management). From the two story Tower Suite with views in four directions, to the direct ocean views of the Sea Glass Suite or the edgy decor of the contemporary Lighthouse Suite, each signature suite has its own unique style. Some signature suites also have their own private entrances straight out to the main lawn and beach path.

Beyond Summer

Watch Hill is a seasonal New England village. Summer months mean shops are open, town restaurants are full, ice cream is being scooped and the harbor moorings are occupied with visiting boaters. In the off-season, 144 people consider Watch Hill their full time residence and the town quiets down (although nearby Westerly boasts a population of 22,000).

Partnering with Veuve Clicquot, Fondue Village arrives to Ocean House each winter, typically from December to May. This unique private dining option is for up to six people in your own vintage gondola. With European glassware, chandeliers, and a private server, you can sip champagne while enjoying a memorable dining experience.

Fit for Foodies

As a Relais & Chateaux member Ocean House is serious about their cuisine, in their fine dining restaurant as well as their casual and beach options. Ocean House's Center for Wine & Culinary Arts offers complimentary wine and cooking classes to taste and pair wines with your favorite local dishes. Sommelier Jonathan is full of humor and insight and Chef Kat is a Rhode Island native who specializes in gluten free options, far exceeding those boring plastic-wrapped GF crackers.

During summer, book early to enjoy Ocean House's lobster boil on the beach. Authentic New England fare with lobster, ribs, corn on the cob, steamed clams, and all your favorites.

Don't Miss This

One of the best times of the evening? Around turndown before dinner, when the cocktail cart comes by! Each evening Ocean House showcases a signature cocktail and this fire engine red cart passes through the corridors ringing doorbells at each room. Purchase the signature cocktail or select your favorite beverage (ours was a Manhattan) and nibble on a treat in your room as you get ready for dinner.

Weekapaug Inn

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Weekapaug Inn was built in 1899 and operated as a seasonal resort for four generations. After being shuttered for a few seasons, it needed some TLC and the preservation team of Royce and Wheeler restored Weekapaug Inn back to its glory, with the local community's enthusiasm and support.

Overlooking Quononchotaug Pond (say that five times quickly!), Weekapaug Inn is a 27 room New England style inn, plus multi-bedroom suites with private entrances, and a few newly built "cottages". Across the pond and a 10-minute walk or a 3 minute golf cart ride and you reach Weekapaug's stunning 2-mile private shoreline, with Block Island on the horizon. During summer months, The Bathhouse is available for guest's convenience, with beach towels, beach chairs & umbrellas, and a team of beach butlers to help you setup for the day.

Family Activities

Year round there is so much to do at Weekapaug Inn for families. Summer means the beach, going crabbing in pond, yard games and crafts with Naturalist "Teddy" (he could be every kid's favorite uncle!), or exploring the fairy houses in the Land of Paug around the property. In the cooler months, enjoy s'mores by the firepit, take a Jeep safari, enjoy a pasta cooking class, craft your own driftwood decorations, or hike along Sand Trail.

Unexaggerated Farm-to-Table Dining

Weekapaug Inn is committed to supporting local farmers and suppliers. No food travels more than 150 miles to reach the dining tables at Weekapaug Inn. Menu items are inspired by traditional Rhode Island fare like sobrasada (similar to chorizo) and fresh caught seafood. Since many Italians and Portuguese settled in Rhode Island in the past, there are wonderful influences from those cuisines. With Weekapaug Inn's Relais & Chateaux affiliation, you can be confident you will eat well here.

And Now There is The Preserve

Ocean House Management Collection's newest affiliation is The Preserve. Set inland from Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn, this 3,500 acre property is minutes from I-95 and world's apart from anything like it in New England. Arrive to The Preserve and you feel transported to a hunting lodge like you would imagine in Kentucky or Tennessee.

The Preserve is ideal for all outdoor sporting enthusiasts and a premier shooting sports destination. With the longest indoor automated shooting range in the USA (over 150 yards), there is good reason why special forces and State Troopers come here for simulation training.

In addition to sporting clays and pheasant hunting, there are many other activities here from fly-fishing to golf to equestrian to ziplining and ATV courses. If you enjoy your stay enough, your advisor can help with a club memberships too.

Unique Private Dining

While the lodge offers fine dining, why not enjoy your own Hobbit House for the evening? These 200 square foot "homes" are built into the landscape and crafted from stone. Dinner is prepared and delivered to you and they have partnered in the past with Maker's Mark for a little bourbon fun!

Long considered a summer destination, these three properties are open year round and loaded with unique experiences, regardless of the month.

Elli Travel Rates are the Same as Published Rates.

Book with your Elli Travel Advisor or email to unlock complimentary benefits such as breakfast daily, resort credits, room upgrades, and more.


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