Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI

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Three miles removed from the madness of downtown, the Castle Hill Inn sits on headlands overlooking Narragansett Bay, making it the perfect vantage point to watch boat traffic coming in and out of Newport Harbor. 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 what I’d expect from a Relais and Chateaux property: exclusive, highly luxurious, exceptional service.  Plus, it’s the only Newport lodging with a private beach. Check in is casual and friendly, and as per the nature of an upscale compound where guest chambers are scattered all over the property, I was assigned a bellman to golf-cart me to my quarters.

Rooms, Suites and Cottages at Castle Hill Inn

Beach House at Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI

Book a Cottage or Beach House and 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: mostly of the elegant-country-shore house variety.

Beach House Suite, Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI
Beach House Suite, Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI

Suites in the weathered-shingled Beach Houses feature bleached hardwood walls, cathedral ceiling, small galley kitchen, large glass shower baths, and a sizeable deck overlooking “Grace Kelly Beach” – where the royal starlet used to escape to. 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

Food plated artistically at Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI

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 went with 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.

The Lawn at Castle Hill, Newport RI

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

Private Beach off deck, Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI
Private Beach off deck, Castle Hill Inn, Newport RI

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.

Lighthouse at Castle Hill Inn Newport RI

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. 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.

Just the Facts about Castle Hill Inn

Rooms and suites from $400 to $1250 (depending on room and season) plus a $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.

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