Imagine staying with cherished friends in their immaculately restored country home, which happens to have been designed for a Vanderbilt yes, one of those Vanderbilts. Now luxuriate in the idea of being greeted with a glass of champagne upon arrival and every day at breakfast in the garden, residing in your own well appointed suite, lounging by the pool, and discovering ample nooks around the home where one can sip a cocktail, escape with a book from the library, play billiards or engage in intimate conversations. This is exactly how it felt to stay at The Vanderbilt Grace, a small hotel at the top of the luxury scale in Newport, Rhode Island. It was just like staying in a private home with a host who anticipates your every need, a home which has received the coveted AAA/CAA Four Diamond awards for the hotel as well as for their restaurant ‘Muse by Jonathan Cartwright’ one of New England’s most celebrated chefs. The Vanderbilt Grace is small hotel nirvana.
LOCATION Nestled between the architectural splendor of Bellevue Avenue, made famous by other Vanderbilt sumer cottages, and Thames Street, the Main Street of coastal Newport bustling with shops and restaurants. The sanctuary of the Vanderbilt Grace is within walking distance of the best Newport has to offer. Four o’clock is the magic hour when cocktail service begins on the artfully designed roof deck which allows a 360° view of Newport and the harbor basin. Make sure to pop up to the roof later in the evening to catch a blissful sunset.
INTERIORS This 33 room boutique hotel offers a delightful mix of authentic historical charm and modern pleasures. From the garden terrace to the upper main stair, intimate little seating and gathering areas are scattered about as a reminder this was and is meant to feel like a home. The guest rooms are tastefully outfitted for ample comfort, in soothing seaside colors. No detail is too small from the aromatic oil options for your olfactory delight to the fresh, and I mean really hot-out-of-the-oven, sinful cookies by the bed at turn down.
Where many hotels, even at the five star level fail, the Vanderbilt Grace excels. Their guest rooms provide ample seating options, plus they offer generous closet and storage space for those who like to unpack not live out of the suitcase.
I COULD LIVE HERE The Vanderbilt Grace is one of those rare hotels where one wouldn’t mind finding themselves stuck inside due to a rainy day. One has only to grab a beautiful book from the bookshelf next to the bed and snuggle back in if the the day appears daunting. The luxurious spa has plenty of pampering options worthy of the gilded age. Both the Conservatory for casual contemporary fare from breakfast through dinner and Muse by Jonathan Cartwight, dinner only, are both overseen by Chef Cartwright. Your palate will be delighted no matter what your pleasure.
A REPEATER The Vanderbilt Grace is an intimate luxury hotel people return to year after year. It is easy to see why it ranks as one of the places to stay in Newport. The staff was professional and authentically friendly. Every question was met with a pleasurable answer. Ever the feverish critics, there is nothing we could find which wasn’t perfection. Was my opinion swayed by the simple fact one had to only ask, as I’m not a coffee drinker, to have hot chocolate each morning? No, however once you taste chef prepared hot chocolate (real melted chocolate with milk) you’ll be back awaiting your breakfast with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning… it is so good. We’ll definitely be back. Cheers!