This winter, The Break Hotel in Narragansett RI is the perfect refuge for shell-shocked East Coasters who wish to unplug from the crazy campaign hoopla, unruly weather, and crowds.
On a side street in a residential neighborhood a couple of blocks from the steely Atlantic Ocean, this beautifully designed 16-room boutique hotel is a respite for travelers who appreciate what’s come to be a growing trend in American hospitality: the happy middle ground between stark minimalism and over the top glitz, in-house “small-bite” farm-to-plate dining, and friendly but not overly fussy service.
One in the trend-setting Lark Hotel Group (think Kimpton, with smaller properties), The Break Hotel has all these components, so it’s no surprise that it is often fully booked – even off season.
I’ll get this out of the way. Narragansett is a beach town, but The Break is not right on the beach (however – no other hotels are, either. Most near the public Narragansett Beach – a 10 minute drive up Ocean Road – are across the street), so don’t expect to walk out the door and on to the sand. That said, people who book a room at The Break are generally not the “grab a beach-chair and Mai Tai then spend the day tanning” set, preferring cool design and friendly service over direct access to the beach.
I was swept away by the stylish and colorful lobby – its centerpiece a crystal clear, and impeccably maintained saltwater aquarium. In winter, a fire blazes behind glass, casting shadows on the salmon, aqua, mustard and cream-colored seating, a most inviting tableau.
Check in is efficient, friendly and mellow. You receive an I-Pad, loaded with information about the hotel and the surrounding area, to use during your stay.
Rooms at The Break Hotel
Rooms are sizeable, fresh and playful, encompassing a grab bag of furniture and accessories. There’s a small wood-stove-like fireplace in the corner, an analog clock and old-fashioned dial phone atop a simple desk with clear Lucite chair. Polished wood floors, large flat screen TV, a painting above two upholstered chairs, it’s a fun take on your Auntie’s shore home.
Bathrooms are bright white with a punch of French’s Mustard Yellow colored sink and wall in the immaculate double rain shower.
Drinks and Dining at The Break
The Break’s marine-hued in-house restaurant, Chair 5, has turned into a destination unto itself. Private and communal tables (one, in the shape of a surfboard), beneath a carpeted ceiling and lovely blown-glass lamps, promote sharing and conversation.
Helmed by Chef Basil Yu (formerly chef de cuisine at the celebrated Muse Restaurant in Newport RI) dishes, like the Funnel Clam Cake ($7), are innovative tweaks on traditional American fare. I could have scarfed down a few orders of the phenomenal Fried Brussels Sprouts ($5), crispy-brown and sprinkled with slices of garlic. That and the wonderful Smoked Chicken Wings ($12) could have been a complete meal for me.
But I had to try the Roasted Root Vegetables ($9) served over black rice and wheat berries, a delectable cold-weather dish perfect for the Vegan in your life, if you ask for it without the Buttermilk Dressing.
There’s another bar on the 4th floor, and that’s where you want to be for optimal ocean views. In warm weather, the bar’s deck throngs with patrons, but off-season, views are best savored from inside.
The morning smorgasbord, which is complementary with the room, is artfully presented. If you adore tapas (and who doesn’t?), you’ll fall for the freshly made small-bites, set out in individual portions. Sweet and savory tarts and scones change daily, as do egg dishes, but don’t miss the homemade Greek Yogurt. It’s as dense and creamy as premium ice cream.
The Break has a small fitness room and one room dedicated to spa services (though you must arrange treatments at least a day in advance). There’s also a heated saltwater pool, kept covered off-season until a guest wishes to take a dip, at which point the cover is removed and steam rises like that from a geothermal hot spring: particularly beguiling while its snowing.
Just the Facts
Rooms and Suites from $179 to $589 (depending on room size and season) include afternoon treats, water bottles, and large “tapas” style gourmet breakfast.