Exploring the Gilded Age, 3 Days of Luxury in Newport RI

Advisor - Hollie Grantham
Curated By

Hollie Grantham

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  • Arts & Culture

  • Beaches

  • Boutique Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Rhode Island

  • Spa

  • Coastal

  • Snorkeling

A mast of a boat.
Curator’s statement

Newport, Rhode Island, is one of the most striking places on the US East Coast. Its jaw dropping cliffs lined with mansions from the gilded age overlooking the Atlantic Ocean set the backdrop for indulging in all things luxury. As a New Yorker, this is one of my favorite weekend getaways from the city and dare I say, maybe more enjoyable than the Hamptons.

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Where to stay

The Chanler at Cliff Walk

High-end hotel set in an elegant 19th-century mansion with a polished restaurant and terrace on Newport's famed Cliff Walk.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Castle Hill Inn

An elegant Relais & Châteaux inn with impeccable cuisine, hyper-individualized service and refined decor.

Fora Perks
  • VIP welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection

Luxurious hotel set in a 1900s mansion with polished rooms and suites, a spa, restaurant and two outdoor pools.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Day 1: A Relaxing Arrival & Sunset Aperitif

A sunset over the coast of Newport, Rhode Island.

On day one, I love to take my time driving up from New York and arrive around lunch time. Driving over the bridge into Newport on a Friday always feels like a treat and the perfect time for the “out of office” message to go on. While there are many amazing places to stay in Newport, my favorite is always The Chanler. As you pull up to the gates and see the stunning mansion with its ocean backdrop, you know a world class experience awaits. Checking in at the Chanler, you instantly feel like a weight has been taken off your shoulders. The staff is incredible and gives you the feeling that you can walk into this luxe mansion turned hotel and let your worries melt away. Once we have checked in, lunch at The Cafe on the terrace is a must. The terrace sits right on the Cliffwalk, which is a famous walking path in Newport cutting into the edge of the cliffside over the Atlantic taking you along all of Newport’s most famous mansions. From the Chanler’s Cafe terrace you get jaw dropping views of Easton’s Bay, and the hotel grounds which are always blooming with flowers (the hydrangeas are particularly incredible.)

After an incredibly fresh lunch that includes oysters and polishing off a bottle of wine, we will typically settle into the room. Every room at the Chanler is equipped with a luxe spa bathtub. Before heading out for a Friday night dinner in town, I will always indulge and get lost in whatever book I am reading at the time. Once I have thoroughly indulged in the luxury that my room has to offer, we take a bottle of champagne and sit on the Adirondack chairs on the lawn to watch the sun start to set over the bay. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a quiet Friday evening aperitif.

Once ready for dinner, the staff at the Chanler is ready to whisk you down the hill into town chauffeuring one of their private black cars, or if you feel like stretching your legs, you can easily walk. Dinner on Friday night is typically spent at 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grille, where the vibe is lively, the martinis are strong and the filet and lobster tail is what I am having.

Day 2: History & Beach Relaxation

A Gilded Age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

After a fairly relaxed Friday of indulging, waking up and taking a stroll on the Cliff walk is a perfect way to start the day! The mansions of Newport all have a story, and the most famous ones are open to the public and accessible right off the Cliff walk. The most notorious mansion is The Breakers, which you should absolutely explore. Once inhabited by the Vanderbilt’s, this mansion of the gilded age is sure to transport you right into another time with its ornate architecture and expansive grounds. While Newport has many mansions full of history that you can tour, two of my favorites are The Elms, which is modeled after an 18th century french chateau and Rough Point, which was notably owned by Doris Duke, and has what I think is one of the most interesting histories.

After taking a morning tour of one (or two) of Newport’s mansions, spending the afternoon on the beach to catch the sun is a must. Easton’s Beach is one of the largest in Newport and if you are staying at the Chanler, it is right below the hotel. The staff makes sure you don’t have to lift a finger to enjoy your time on the beach. By the time I have gone upstairs, changed into my bathing suit and come back down, they have beach bags packed with towels, sunscreen, water and whatever else you might possibly need. They will either drive you down to the beach and set you up, or you can take the more adventurous option and set out on the beach cruisers! Taking the beach cruisers and their perfectly packed wicker baskets is the epitome of a New England summer, and the ocean breeze on your face just feels right. We always grab lobster rolls at Flo’s Clam Shake before settling at a spot on the beach, because what is better than eating fresh seafood with your toes in the sand?

The crown jewel of all restaurants in Newport, is Bouchard Restaurant and Inn (currently undergoing a name change to Chantrelle.) This establishment is what you would find in a typical french village, where you can rent a room and find some of the best food you will ever taste in your life right down stairs. There is a business casual dress code that gives you the perfect excuse to dress up a little for a date night. I can not stress this enough, make sure you order the Dover Sole. It is flaky, buttery, cooked to perfection and in my opinion, the best Dover Sole on the East Coast.

Day 3: Sailing

Sailboats in the marina in Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport has a lot of hidden gems and is quite honestly one of the most relaxing places to take a scenic drive. At least one of the mornings I am in town, grabbing the car and doing a loop on Ocean Drive with the windows down is an absolute must. You can discover the hidden rocky beaches like King’s Beach, or the hidden sandy cove of Collin’s Beach where the Inn at Castle Hill sits (a relais and chateaux property that I also highly recommend for luxury hotel stay.) One of the best spots to grab a drink and a bite to eat is the Safari Room, with its gorgeous ocean views.

One of the most iconic activities Newport has to offer is sailing! It is hard to imagine taking a weekend in Newport and not participating in this activity. Enjoying the evening with a sunset sail to top off your weekend is the cherry on top. If you feel like being social, you can join in a group sailing activity, or if you want a truly intimate and private experience, there are options to charter a private sail as well. Enjoy drinks and take in the view of the beautiful Newport scenery as the sun sets on your last night in town!

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspo? Check out my guide First Timer's Guide to London.

Advisor - Hollie Grantham

Travel Advisor

Hollie Grantham

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Rhode Island.