A Truly Historic Hideaway
Posted On Sep 28, 2016
Treat yourself to Gilded Age glamour at the Chanler at Cliff Walk, set amongst the seaside splendor and storied mansions of Newport, Rhode Island.
When your home life starts to feel a bit too humdrum, perhaps it’s time to infuse some unrepentant glamour into your life by way of historically high-minded Newport, Rhode Island. Long known for its throwback opulence and summer “cottages” (read: eye-popping mansions), this seaside city on Aquidneck Island is a world-class vacation destination, and the Chanler is among its best spots to hang your hat.
Built in 1865 as Congressman John Winthrop Chanler’s summer home, the Chanler also previously served as a school for girls, an apartment for Naval officers, and a historical museum. Today, it’s a boutique property boasting the best ocean views in Newport—steps away from Easton Beach. It holds the distinction of being the first mansion on the famous Cliff Walk, and the only hotel located there.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the friendly staff with complimentary Champagne and an in-room sweet, such as fresh cookies or s’mores kits from the award-winning hotel restaurant, the Spiced Pear. The 20 lavishly decorated guest rooms each have their own historically inspired décor, and each named according to their styles—Louis XVI, Martha’s Vineyard, and English Tudor, to name a few. There is a particularly famous dark and delicious Gothic room that many guests love (while others shy away). Ocean and garden villas have private hot tubs, saunas, and courtyards, while all rooms are equipped with Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs in both the bedroom and bathroom, Keurig coffee makers, gas fire places, heated bathroom floors, and Jacuzzi-style tubs. (Some rooms have in-room jetted tubs, meaning they are in the bedroom, not in the bathroom.)
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily in three different dining atmospheres and 24-hour mansion room service is available. For a more laid-back experience, the Veranda and the Bar have stunning vista views and offer New England fare—lobster BLTs, buffalo shrimp tacos, pear-apple pizzas, and the like.
For a more elegant epicurean experience, the Forbes four-star rated Spiced Pear restaurant serves modern American cuisine with seasonal, local New England ingredients and boasts beautiful views of the ocean. Must-tries include tempura fried Maryland soft-shell crab served with housemade mustard, the Chanler clambake (comprised of poached Maine lobster, corn, potatoes, little neck clams, and mussels), and a prime beef sirloin served with a Yukon gold potato black-truffle purée. Guests can also indulge in the private, kitchen-view chef table and a six-course tasting menu.
After eating all the indulgent food that the Chanler and the town of Newport have to offer, a little exercise may be in order. The Chanler offers passes to a local gym and one of the friendly valets can give guests a lift in a hotel car. If you want to skip the gym for the great outdoors, take a stroll along the famous Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile stretch along the rocky New England shoreline that begins at the Chanler. Expect choice architecture and natural splendor, like various native birds and flowers you’ll spot along the way.
The Chanler offers services reminiscent of the Gilded Age as well, including bath butler service and beach butler service. The latter can arrange a perfect day at your favorite beach with chairs, umbrellas, and a lunch picnic if you wish. Complimentary house car service is available on an on-call basis in a trio of Buick Enclaves, ready to bring you anywhere in town. Although the hotel doesn’t have a spa, in-room spa services are offered by Spa Voyage, a traveling spa company performing facials, body treatments, nail services, and massages.
Out & About
The town of Newport is filled with restaurants, bars, sights, and shops—all utterly non-commercialized and approved by the town council. There are many niche storefronts such as Newport Jerky Company, Virgin & Aged, and the Spice & Tea Exchange of Newport. There are about 180 restaurants in town, ranging from five-star lavish indulgences to more casual eateries, such as the Black Pearl Restaurant, known for its award-winning chowder. While out and about in this lovely city, don’t miss visiting the historic and lavish Newport mansions and the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum.
After a long day, relax by the fire pit and take in the view while roasting s’mores and sipping cocktails. Afterwards, why not order room service and enjoy a long bath? Be it a romantic retreat or pure-relaxation getaway, the Chanler at Cliff Walk has all you need and more. Prices start at $415 in low season and $659 in high season. Visit thechanler.com.