Last Updated on February 9, 2020 by Malerie Yolen-Cohen and Sandra Foyt
Three miles removed from the madness of downtown, the Castle Hill Inn sits on headlands overlooking Narragansett Bay. This location makes it the perfect vantage point from which to watch boat traffic coming in and out of the harbor in Newport, Rhode Island.
The inn was originally built as a Marine Laboratory and summer home for Swiss-born copper-mining tycoon, Alexander Agassiz, whose studies formed the basis for the modern science of Marine Biology.
Castle Hill Inn encompasses both Agassiz’s chalet-like house, his own lighthouse, and newly built beach cottages.
First Impressions of Castle Hill Inn
The inn is all one would expect from a Relais and Chateaux property. It’s exclusive, highly luxurious, and offers exceptional service. Plus, it’s the only Newport RI lodging with a private beach.
Check in is casual and friendly. Since the Castle Hill Inn is an upscale compound with guest chambers scattered all over the property, bellmen in golf-carts are kept very busy.
Rooms, Suites and Cottages at Castle Hill Inn
The Rose Room is one of seven rooms in Agassiz Mansion. History meets romance in quarters featuring detailed hardwood paneling, a gas jet fireplace, and a Jacuzzi tub set in a marble bath.
Beyond the main building, there are rooms and suites in the Chalet event space, Harbor House, as well as the beach cottage and beach house rooms.
Book a Cottage or Beach House. The sandy shore, complete with chaise lounges, umbrellas and beach service, is literally right off your balcony.
Each room and suite in both the main house and beachside has its own personality, with its own decor. Of course this is mostly of the elegant-country-shore house variety.
Suites in the weathered-shingled Beach Houses feature bleached hardwood walls, cathedral ceiling, small galley kitchen, large glass shower baths, and a sizable deck overlooking “Grace Kelly Beach.” The royal starlet used to escape to these shores when summering in Newport. And now you can, too.
It’s perfect for those who want a bit of privacy. Just be sure to get dressed before stepping onto the deck that connects to a row of other suites.
Dining at Castle Hill Inn
It was pouring when I was seated in the conservatory dining room, with stunning Narragansett Bay views to equal the food plated like Miro compositions. Despite the weather, the room was full of happy, satisfied patrons who raved about the Lobster Braised in Butter and Rabbit Confit “en croute.”
I chose the Salmon With Smoked Beats, which, just FYI, should remain on the locally sourced menu. Smoking, it turns out, is a fascinating and oddly delectable way to cure root vegetables.
But the takeaway from the evening – and I WISH it was a takeaway, was my “default” dessert – Milk Chocolate Ice-Cream. Like hardened frozen custard, it was creamy, rich and as comforting as the best homemade chocolate pudding.
If it wasn’t raining, I would have opted to have dinner on “The Lawn.” Peppered with white Adirondack Chairs, and overlooking the water, a good casual, small-plates meal and glass of wine will go a long way into the night, when the lighthouses start blinking like fireflies.
Things To Do At Castle Hill Inn
Enjoy the only private resort beach in Rhode Island. Outfitted with chaise lounges, umbrellas, towels and attentive staff, you need not leave resort grounds to work on your tan.
Take a small path to Castle Hill’s own 34 foot white saltshaker Lighthouse, built by original owner, Agassiz to protect ships coming around the bend.
You’re in luck if you happen to be here at the start of the Great Bermuda Race. Join 2,000 other people on the Yacht Club-like lawn to wave to the sailboats leaving the harbor.
Or – there’s nothing more thrilling than catching the muscular, techno yachts participating in the Volvo Ocean Race being escorted into town. Rain or shine, these streamlined vessels come within just yards of the Inn’s dining room.
Just the Facts about Castle Hill Inn
Rooms and suites from $440 to $1750 (depending on room/suite and season). The $50 per day resort fee (per room) includes on-site activities, the beach, yoga classes, and a full cook-to-order breakfast featuring Lobster Hash and French Press coffee.