In Newport we stayed at the Vanderbilt Grace, which we loved so much we stayed an extra night. This boutique hotel is situated in one the former Vanderbilt homes. Built in 1909, the building has gone through several incarnations before becoming a hotel. When we went, the hotel was full but we did not feel crowded.
The check-in area is the old entrance hallway. It’s grand, comfortable and informal at the same time. Let me explain because those adjectives seem contradictory. The check-in desks are actually small antique desks. A table in the middle of the room holds flowers and jugs of water. In addition, there are bookcases and sofas scattered around. We were greeted at check-in with glasses of champagne – very civilised!
The old ballroom has been transformed into 2 large suites. They are large enough to easily be a full 1 bedroom apartment. There is a full kitchen with a retro Smeg refrigerator and a kitchen island. There is a 6 seater dining room and sofa seating around the flat-screen TV.
The public areas are hardly used. There are chairs scattered around in the smaller rooms for people to sit and chat or play traditional games. The grand staircase, likewise, is merely decorative since efficient elevators whisk everyone to their rooms.
The family rooms are duplexes. The master bedroom and bathroom is upstairs. Downstairs is a sofa bed, kitchenette and a toilet. It was perfect for us because the children were close (but not too close!). Our family suite was decorated in sea green and taupe with accents of burnt orange.
I loved the decor and the colour scheme throughout. The predominant colours are restful sea greens, blues, greys and taupes. Being Newport, the sea theme continued with maritime objects placed about the hotel. The hotel was not themed per se – just the occasional nautical map or boat model.
It was a mix of traditional furniture and modern styling. For example, there were many antiques interspersed with modern fixtures such as glass tiling and chrome taps. I got the feeling the hotel clientele included older people as well as young families, quite of few travelling together as part of a family trip. The decor tried (and succeeded) in meeting the expectations of cross-generational family travel. For example, the elevator has library wallpaper for a fun touch.
The pool room is decorated in a traditional style. I love the glossy red paint!
Breakfast was served in the old conservatory. The food was as delicious as the decor. The room led into the garden which was overflowing with flowers. We opted to stay in the conservatory because it was air conditioned!
We had dinner one night and drinks another night in the hotel restaurant. The restaurant, Muse with chef Jonathan Cartwright, is reputed to be one of Newport’s best and quite popular. We took our children and we noticed other people had their children too. The men needed to wear a jacket and our son (to his dismay) had to wear a collared shirt. We also enjoyed having drinks in the nearby bar area and listening to the the piano player.
There are several other little touches that elevate this hotel to among our favourties. For example, the roof top terrace has a bar and comfy Adirondack chairs placed in small groups with potted plants for privacy. It has a great view of the harbour and the town. The pool was small but our kids enjoyed having afternoon dips as a break from sight seeing. When we left, the bellhop loaded our car with suitcases and extra bottles of cold water for our journey.
We loved this boutique hotel. Our room layout was perfect for us with a duplex and 1.5 bathrooms. Although a gracious boutique hotel, the staff were friendly and made our children feel comfortable. For example, our children even scored some small presents from the staff (stickers and temporary tattoos). Sometimes, you do feel at certain posh hotels that the children are merely tolerated. We would definitely stay here again.