Watch Hill’s new haute getaway
When you want a long getaway, escape to Watch Hill Inn, the newest addition to the Ocean House Hotel Collection. Debuting at the end of summer 2014, this once residential complex in the heart of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, now offers 19 spacious suites, all complete with gourmet kitchens, living rooms, washers and dryers, and spectacular views that will make it easy to linger there longer.
When most people think of a beach vacation, they consider an extended stay. Watch Hill Inn is designed for guests staying a long weekend, week or even a month. Kids are more than welcome. Each of the modern, residential-style condos — which begin at 650 square feet and extend to the 4,000-square-foot penthouse — feature distinct spaces for dining and entertaining. Many even include large balconies with views of Narragansett Bay, perfect for indoor-outdoor living. Nautical, upscale décor in a soft blue and gray color palette creates a slightly more modern vibe than its sister properties (Weekapaug Inn and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ocean House), while techy touches like Sonos HiFi systems, streaming music and movies, in-room iPads and Apple TVs are a nice addition to gratis high-speed WiFi. Many rooms also include gas fireplaces.
Sister property Ocean House is the grand dame of Watch Hill. But at Watch Hill Inn, you’ll have the best access to the town’s main drag, which includes chic souvenir shops with Lilly Pulitzer dresses, the historic “flying horse” carousel (one of the oldest carousels in the country, it suspends its horses from a center frame, instead of the floor, which gives riders more motion) and St. Clair Annex — don’t miss the restaurant’s housemade ice cream in flavors like coffee Oreo.
One of the best-kept local secrets is that this sleepy Rhode Island area is a good spot for VIP watching. Pop-country star Taylor Swift has a house just up the road, and she often brings her friends to vacation in Watch Hill. Recent guests have included actress Emma Stone, TV star Jaime King, model Karlie Kloss and actress/author Lena Dunham. Plenty of other A-listers also hit the beach here for the low-key, no-stress vibe.
Tip: Be sure to plan your visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day — the town closes down during the off-season.
The Special Perks
Details are a big deal to Watch Hill Inn’s staff. Enjoy a glass of champagne at check-in and select your preferred bath products and scents from top lines like Asprey, Molton Brown and Red Flower, offered up in a chic beribboned bag to take to your room. Service is discreet yet friendly, but don’t reach for your wallet. Ocean House and its sister establishments’ busboys, bellmen and drivers don’t accept gratuities; exceptions are made for waitstaff and spa therapists. Reserved parking (a premium in downtown Watch Hill) is gratis.
Watch Hill Inn proper doesn’t offer a dedicated restaurant; you are welcome to dine at any of the Ocean House Collection’s outlets. But you won’t go hungry. A generous daily afternoon tea with refreshments like mini cupcakes will keep away the hunger pangs, and there are more small bites, beer and wine each evening. A daily continental breakfast is also available.
As a guest of Watch Hill Inn, you can enjoy all that big sister Ocean House proper offers, as well as the neighboring property in the collection, Weekapaug Inn. The Mercedes house car can give you a lift anywhere you need to go. Shared services include fine dining at Seasons restaurant (don’t miss the delicious Sunday jazz brunch), the Five-Star OH! Spa and gym, a private beach, indoor and outdoor pools, and more.