Despite being the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island is packed with experiences, accommodations, and activities for luxury-conscious travelers. Although Newport is the star of the state, there’s plenty to see and explore nearby, and driving through Rhode Island is easy considering the state’s small size.
With 400 miles of coastline, there are plenty of beaches and colonial coastal towns to visit. But there’s more to the Ocean State than seaside charm. During the Gilded Age, America’s wealthiest families gathered in Newport and many of their mansions have been preserved, making it an attractive architectural destination. Providence offers a vibrant metropolitan counterpoint to the state’s quaint towns. Rhode Island also has plenty to offer outdoor sports enthusiasts with 59% of the state being covered in forest.
Providence, the state capital and most populous city, is a great place to start a Rhode Island vacation. In addition to the international airport, a train station served by Amtrak is also located here. Make a reservation at the Beatrice, a 47-room luxury hotel that opened in 2021 in the restored Exchange Building, located downtown. The rooms are equipped with Mascioni linens and Dyson hair tools.
After a night in Providence, settle into the Preserve Sporting Club & Residences in Richmond, located less than an hour from Providence and Newport. The reserve is located amidst 3,500 wooded acres and offers accommodations including chic hotel suites in the Hilltop Lodge, fully furnished townhouses, and lavishly appointed tiny homes. Booking a room at this four-season sports retreat grants guests access to activities such as clay shooting, equestrian programs, fishing, golf, and a five-star spa.
The Preserve’s sister property and the state’s only five-diamond resort, Ocean House, sits on a bluff in Watch Hill overlooking its private beach. In addition to the traditional rooms, visitors can choose from eight cottages and 20 exclusive suites, including an expansive three-bedroom penthouse with sea views.
End your trip at Hammet’s Hotel, located on the waterfront in the middle of downtown Newport. The location is ideal for exploring Newport and is within walking distance of most of the area’s must-sees. One of the highlights of this hotel is its expansive deck overlooking the Newport Marina.
Bellini is one of the best Italian restaurants in Providence located in The Beatrice. This restaurant takes a modern approach to traditional Italian dishes with an emphasis on local and fresh ingredients. The bar and lounge are not to be missed, with expertly crafted cocktails and a well-curated wine list.
Whiskey lovers can book a private Maker’s Mark tasting at the Preserve Sporting Club & Residences. Sample new and rare bottles from the portfolio, including a special recipe created for The Preserve. A dining menu that emphasizes seasonal ingredients that pair well with whiskey accompanies the experience. What makes this tasting even more unique is the place where it takes place: a charming “Hobbit House” (as in the Lord of the Rings) licensed by New Line Cinema in North America. The Hobbit houses are built on the property with all the stones and materials taken from the land and fitted out to match each season.
In Newport, Bar ‘Cino is a local favorite for lunch or dinner downtown. The Italian bistro is known for its grilled pizzas. For ocean-view dining, book a table at Cara, an intimate restaurant at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a boutique hotel set in a restored Golden Age mansion. Cara offers blind tasting menus inspired by European cuisine using local New England ingredients. This is the premier dining experience in Newport.
The Lawn at Castle Hill Inn, once a Gilded Age summerhouse built in 1875 and now a boutique hotel, is the best place for sunset cocktails in Newport. The Adirondack chairs that dot the property’s lawn overlook Narragansett Bay and are the perfect place to end a day in Newport. Visit another former mansion-turned-hotel, The Vanderbilt, for cocktails and views on their rooftop terrace.
From beaches to art to golf, there is something for every type of traveler to enjoy in Rhode Island.
In Providence, don’t miss WaterFire, an award-winning fire sculpture installation located on the rivers of downtown Providence. The event was created by a local artist and attracts almost a million visitors each year.
Discover Newport in a classic Jaguar with Newport Jaguar Tours. Choose your vehicle (options include a convertible) and tour itinerary which can be customized to suit your interests. Along with seeing the town’s scenic beauty and architecture, your guide provides in-depth knowledge of Newport’s history and its famous residents.
A tour of Newport’s Golden Age mansions is the highlight of a visit to Rhode Island. The mansions are meticulously preserved and private and group tours are offered. Newport’s most famous mansion is The Breakers, the summer home of the Vanderbilt family. HBO fans Golden age recognise, if applicable, pieces that were used as sets in the show.
Known as the Sailing Capital of the World, water sports are an important part of Newport’s history. One of the best ways to experience the essence of the city is to get out on the water. Book a private sail with America’s Cup Charters, where passengers can sail with the largest fleet of America’s Cup winners in the world. Then, visit the new Newport Sailing Museum to learn about the city’s nautical past.
The writer was a guest on Visit Rhode Island.