By Anjelique Kyriakos
As the days grow longer and summer peaks, your quintessential New England getaway awaits at The Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI, one of three luxury properties owned by Ocean House Management, LLC. In 2003, the inn was closed for a seven-year, $146-million renovation that meticulously recreated the building’s original 1868 footprint and façade. It was reopened in 2010 as a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond property that is a charming as it is high end and high tech.
Upon stepping on the hardwood floors of the lobby, guests are greeted by the sounds of soulful piano tunes belonging to a bygone era. The Victorian sits high on the bluffs of Watch Hill as a landmark that offers hospitality and entrancing views of the Atlantic. This combination has drawn generations of summerers and weekend warriors. Old-world grace abounds, but so do 21st-century amenities. All 49 guest rooms and 15 signiature suites are appointed with historical artwork — and equipped with iPads, docking stations and complimentary Internet access.
The pampering begins as soon as the valet greets you in the driveway. From there, the getaway is yours and you are invited to lose yourself at this timeless summer estate. While it would be easy to recline in a porch rocker and sway for hours, you should try to avail yourself of the resort’s wonderful array of activities from Tai Chi to oyster shucking lessons.
For a daily dose of endorphins, visit the top rated OH! Spa, which offers complimentary Beach Boot Camp and seaside yoga. After class, slip into tranquility in the spa’s marble, herbal steam room or enjoy a seaside Cabana Massage.
The Ocean House offers casual and farm-to-table dining, boasting local sustainable ingredients and an impeccably paired wine list. Take a cooking lesson during your stay and take home some reminders of your stay — The Ocean House’s signature bites.
Needless to say, no New England summer is complete without a Lobster Boil and BBQ, which the inn offers to guests on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. As the sun dips over the horizon, head out to the private beach to enjoy live music and expertly paired food and wine prepared by the Ocean House’s expert culinary team with ingredients sourced within 150 miles.
The resort holds a number of activities for guests of all ages. From watercolor workshops to Sunday movie nights, and even child-sized bathrobes, neither you nor your little ones will want to leave — but when the time does come to say goodbye, cotton candy for the road will sweeten the return to reality.
If you feel like venturing beyond the property, you can take a charter boat and explore nearby Block Island for the day, accompany Food Forager to local farms and fishing docks, or take a stroll into the enchanting Watch Hill village for a rite-of-passage ride on the historic Flying Horse Carousel. Don’t forget to grab homemade ice cream at St. Clair Annex before window-shopping your way back to your room!
A Culinary Experience Like No Other:
New to the Ocean House is their Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, a 3,000-square foot intimate place to taste, create and explore food and wine. Perfect for foodies and wine connoisseurs, this new facility offers hands on experiences to your vacation not available anywhere else. The architecture of the Center is inspired by an early 1800’s Connecticut tobacco barn. It features two library cellars showcasing an 8,000-bottle Wine Spectator award-winning collection (with a tasting space) and a Gaggenau Demonstration Kitchen. Guests can take part in a roster of daily complimentary cooking demonstrations.
Culinary classes revolve around New England’s agricultural bounty and seasonally inspired produce, seafood, local meats and cheeses in an interactive learning environment, teaching you techniques that will wow your friends and family back home. For the wine lovers, there are complimentary beverage education classes plus fee-based programs for individuals and groups. If you want to go more in-depth with both wine and food education, you can enroll in a monthly series of hands-on classes with on-site professionals and even guests from the culinary and wine world.
Or, if you just want to experience a meal you’ll never forget — you can partake in tailor-made dinners, working with the Wine Director and Food Forager to create a custom menu that pairs Seasons’ farm-to-table cuisine with each selection of wine.
Book It: Rates start at $805 per night, 888-552-2588, oceanhouseri.com
INN THE KNOW…
Rhode Island has so many beautiful places to stay. If you love the Ocean House, try these, too!
Nestled on the peaceful Quonochotaug Pond, The Weekapaug Inn in Westerly, RI, is a sister property to the Ocean House. First opened in 1899, the inn, which has 27 room and four suites, offers a “barefoot elegance” that includes TV-free rooms, clawfoot tubs and farm-to-table gardens that encourage the whole family to unplug. Days start with Beetle Cat sails and paddle yoga and end with s’mores. The Sunday Brunch is not to be missed.
Book It: Rates start at $450 per night, 888-813-7862, weekapauginn.com
Watch Hill Inn
This timeless, elegant coastal inn overlooks Little Narragansett Bay in the heart of downtown Watch Hill, RI. Dating back to 1845, the Watch Hill Inn is the oldest original structure in the village — without sacrificing modern amenities. Newly acquired and renovated, the boutique property, with its 18 residentially inspired and decorated suites, feels like the summer home you wish you had.
Book It: Rates start at $805 per night, 401-584-7400, watchhillinn.com