Courtesy of Ocean House
When you think of luxurious properties in Rhode Island, images of the Gilded Age mansions of Newport may quickly come to mind. But tucked away in the less congested area known as Watch Hill lies a spectacular seaside resort that just might be the state’s hidden gem.
Perched high atop an oceanside bluff in Westerly, RI, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, sits a stunning Victorian known as Ocean House.
Courtesy of Ocean House
The Grand Dame opened here in 1868 and is said to have welcomed guests for more than 136 years before it closed in 2003, reopening in 2010, following a $140 million historic rebuild.
When reconstructing, the owners took great care to thoughtfully replicate the resort’s original exterior design. The interior here also pays homage to New England’s historic Golden Age of hospitality.
Courtesy of Ocean House
From the moment you arrive, friendly valet attendants provide assistance with luggage and whisk guests flawlessly to the nearby check-in area.
The waterfront property offers 49 extraordinary guestrooms along with 20 more spacious signature suites and a “Cottage Collection” of standalone luxury homes located in and around the property (including two spectacular additions Intermare and The Oceanic, the largest residence offering 10,400 square feet of space, nine bedrooms, a screening room and hot tub).
While checking in, guests are offered a glass of champagne to enjoy in the lobby (or outside on the covered terrace) – the perfect greeting to relax and unwind while your luggage is being shuttled to your room. The lobby also offers complimentary morning coffee and afternoon snacks daily. A harpist can be found playing here at 3 p.m. greeting guests as they check in Friday through Sunday.
The gratuity-free property (excluding restaurants and bars) is an added amenity for guests not worrying about tipping. The accommodations here are far from “standard” and range from 375 square feet to 600 square feet for a stay in the Grand Deluxe Guest Room. Each elegantly appointed room offers luxurious amenities that include 400-thread count linens, 100 percent goose-down pillows, marble bathrooms, 100 percent cotton Italian-woven towels, and plush bathrobes.
There are several different room offerings to choose from within each category. The upgraded 550-square-foot Club King guestroom located on the first floor is guaranteed to offer a sumptuous stay. Located next to the members-only Club Room, the pet friendly room features a beautiful entry, a spectacular marble bathroom with soaking tub, king bed, separate living area with gas fireplace, and a covered outdoor terrace, offering stunning oceanfront vistas.
A stay here includes access to the exclusive members-only Club Room. Reservations are required for all meal periods with a menu from The Bistro being offered here. The adults-only restaurant does have a dress code of collared shirts required and jackets requested for men with no jeans or shorts permitted at dinnertime.
The Club King guestroom is outfitted with all of the amenities you would expect from a luxury resort, and more. A small fridge is filled with complimentary non-alcoholic refreshments while three glass jars are filled with gourmet snacks to enjoy during your stay.
For four-legged friends, Ocean House rolls out the red carpet to welcome them. From dog treats and cleanup bags to water and food bowls, every detail was considered to ensure they also have a comfortable visit. A pet bed is also available for use during their stay. Over the warmer months, be sure to take your best friend along to Thea at Dune Cottage for an afternoon cocktail or dining on Mediterranean-inspired fare right by the ocean.
There are six restaurants available to choose from at the Relais & Chateaux property ranging from beachfront to fine dining. The covered terrace also offers the perfect spot to enjoy a hearty in-room alfresco breakfast delivered from room service while soaking in the panoramic views.
There are certainly plenty of dining options at Ocean House, but a visit to the posh pad’s sister property, the intimate Weekapaug Inn, should not be missed. Executive Chef Andrew Brooks heads up the kitchen at The Restaurant. Located a short drive from Ocean House, Weekapaug Inn was originally built in 1899 before closing for renovations in 2007. After a five-year renovation, it reopened in 2012 and now features 33-guest rooms, including four Signature Suites, three Fenway Suites, and two Carriage House Suites.
While The Restaurant offers formal dining, the dress code here is resort casual and the vibe is laid-back chic. Chef Andrew focuses on showcasing farm fresh ingredients in an approachable menu. A four-course tasting menu with additional wine pairing is available for the ultimate indulgence. The main a la carte dinner menu changes with the seasons. Expect to find a raw bar selection that includes native oysters, local littlenecks, and shrimp cocktails. Seasonal salads may feature roasted beet salad and butternut squash soup.
For main events, handmade pasta dishes like Italian sausage rigatoni are standouts. There is also a nice selection of fresh seafood offerings, including their signature pan-seared halibut topped with truffle beurre blanc.
Offering easy access from Ocean House to Weekapaug Inn, the resort also provides guests complimentary use of one of their Mercedes-Benz automobiles (based on availability), which can be reserved at the front desk. Other activities to be enjoyed on property include a croquet clinic, shuffleboard, squash, wine and cooking classes, a self-guided art tour or historic guided tour, and even yoga and Pilates classes. A heated saltwater indoor lap pool adjacent to the spa on the lower level overlooks the Seaside Terrace’s sun deck.
If you feel like doing nothing, head to the 650-foot private beach and reserve one of the cabanas for extra privacy. Complimentary bikes are available for use during your stay, and there is also a screening room featuring classic showings of films like “The Great Gatsby” and “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” when the weather gets colder. Weather permitting, an outdoor fire pit provides the perfect warmup.
Courtesy of Ocean House
This year, the property wanted to honor beloved illustrator and author Ludwig Bemelmans on the 125th anniversary of his April 27, 1898 birthday.
As a result, they are now showcasing the Bemelmans Gallery and offering a stay in the Bemelmans Suite. The curated collection located on the hotel’s lower lobby level is the largest permanent, private collection of work by Bemelmans on public view in the world, and includes original works and illustrations from the beloved Madeline series.
Available now through November 16, the Ocean House is offering an “Autumn on the Atlantic” package that includes a $100 daily spend credit, two Ocean House mugs, and an Ocean House history book. Weekapaug Inn is also offering a “Mid-Weekapaug Escape” available Sunday through Thursday evenings where guests receive a $100 daily resort credit plus breakfast for two each morning in The Restaurant.
While goodbyes are never easy, sending guests off with extra special touches like a bag of saltwater taffy, sustainable water cartons from Everybody Water for the ride home, and dog treats for special guests made for an unforgettable experience.
Ocean House is located at 1 Bluff Avenue in Westerly, RI.