First of all, this is a beautiful historical Newport home, furnished with lots of antiques. There are a couple of rooms on the main floor that are very inviting, and offer lots of reading materials, and information about the Newport area. It is also in an excellent location in Newport. It's about 3 (long) blocks down to the Cliff Walk, and about 2 (short) blocks to the road that runs down the center of Newport - Bellevue, which is also the street where several of the Newport Mansions are located. So, we found the location of the inn to be ideal for walking in Newport, or at least for keeping any car trips very short.
BE AWARE - due to the age of the home, and the fact that it is kept very clean and well maintained, there are no street shoes permitted in the house. So, you would be advised to bring slippers or house socks with you. This rule is understandable, however, it is somewhat inconvenient, when loading/unloading luggage to/from the car, or even if you just want to go out for a walk in the neighborhood. Also, if there are more than a couple of rooms occupied during your stay, the front entryway can get pretty full of guests' shoes, which in some cases carried a distinct aroma. We have stayed at a lot of B&B's in the past several years, and I don't remember another one where we stayed that had this strict a rule about the shoes. But, in the owners' defense, they do make it abundantly clear in their pre-stay communications that this is the rule, and please bring slippers or other footwear for inside the house.
One idea might be to provide inexpensive slippers to guests, upon request, or available at the entryway.
Our room was on the second floor, and we found it to be very quiet - no neighborhood or road noise at night. It had a fireplace, but we weren't offered the opportunity to have a fire (I think it might be a wood-burning fireplace, not sure) - I had the impression that this might have been an option if the weather was cold, and it seemed cold enough to us, but perhaps not cold for RI. Or, maybe it's non-operational. If you are interested in a fireplace in the room, make sure you ask if it's more for decoration, or if it can be used during your stay. We didn't ask, so don't know the answer.
Our room on the second floor was fairly large, and decorated with antiques, as well. We found it had plenty of room for our luggage. The bathroom was small, but adequate. The toiletries provided were one soap, one body lotion, and one shampoo. I believe there was a hairdryer in the room, although I'm not sure. If you need one, I think they may have them - just ask. The water in the shower did take quite a while to heat up one evening, but this can be explained by the age of the home. It seemed better the next morning.
The bed looked very nice, but didn't sleep as comfortably as I thought it would. Not sure if it was an older mattress, or just kind of lumpy and too soft.
When the inn has more than just one or two guest rooms occupied, they do offer an evening snack of cookies or brownies. They also had out at all times teas, hot chocolate, a pot for heating water, as well as water and sherry, for an evening nightcap. And, I think coffee may have been available, too. We didn't need it, so I just don't remember.
To the side of the large dining room there is a butler's pantry that guests may use. There was a fridge in there - not sure if it's available for guests - I didn't ask, but it might be.
The owner we dealt the most with was Nick, although we also met Brian briefly. They do live on the property, in case there was any kind of emergency. I understand from other reviews that Brian is the chef, but not sure if he cooked our breakfasts or not. Nick was the one who served breakfast, and I assumed he also cooked it. I will say the breakfasts were either 2 or 3 courses, and VERY filling and presented in a gourmet fashion, on beautiful antique china in the lovely dining room. The two mornings we were there, I would say we were served "sweet" breakfasts, more so than savory (I know some B&B's try to switch off between sweet and savory), but I'm not complaining. I think one morning was a delicious stuffed french toast, and I think the other was a plate of pancakes (maybe pumpkin pancakes??). These were just the main courses - there was a preliminary course, plus several side items each day, including meats (either bacon or sausage or both, I think). Anyway, the breakfasts really were delicious and outstanding, if a bit extra sweet. They certainly were more than filling, and probably could have lasted most guests until dinner, or until just a light luncheon! I'm not doing justice to the breakfasts here, because I don't remember everything that was included, but they were definitely the highlight of our stay. By the way, if the house is full, there are two seatings for breakfast, and there is actually a signup sheet in the dining room the night before so you can request your breakfast seating time. We had very pleasant conversations with the other guests the mornings we were there. Everyone sits at a large dining room table - I think it could seat 8 guests at a time.
When we arrived, Nick greeted us, showed us around, and even insisted on carrying our bags up to our room for us. He also had helpful advice about the location of the inn within Newport, some history of the area, things to do within walking distance, etc., etc. He knows the area well, and is a wealth of information about Newport and RI.
In each room, there is a notebook on the bed with information about the area, sightseeing, etc., etc. We tried to utilize the book primarily as a restaurant guide, since it had information about lots of the restaurants in Newport. While the descriptions were colorful, we found that it was a bit overwhelming for us to utilize, and therefore not as helpful. A suggestion might be to reorganize the restaurant guide into some order - either listing restaurants alphabetically, by cuisine type, by location/distance from the inn, by pricing, or in some form. The descriptions seemed to be in no particular order, so if you were looking for their review of a particular restaurant, you had to flip through several pages; if you were looking for a particular cuisine, you had to read through every description; etc. It just was a lot of information not organized in a way that was helpful to us. Again, the same information organized in some fashion might be more useful.
Overall, I think Nick (who was the owner we dealt with, primarily) really enjoys owning a B&B, and works hard to ensure that his guests have a pleasant experience. If it's your first trip to Newport (or even later!) he certainly has lots of information to share with guests about the city.
Finally, I will say that, because of the elaborate breakfasts we were served, I think the rate of $150/night for two people is a fair price (this was their off season rate). However, we were told in advance that because our bill was less than $600, we needed to pay in cash. We don't run in to many B&B's today that have that caveat. In addition, be aware (as it states in the pre-stay reservation email) that there is also a 13% tax AND a 4% service charge added on to the room charge (payable in cash).
I understand the tax, but I assumed the 4% service charge was for people who were paying by credit card, to cover the fee the inn has to pay for credit card processing fees. I wasn't aware this would be added on to our bill when we paid cash. Not sure what the 'service charge' was for, but I do disagree with that fee. I didn't really look carefully at the pre-reservation booking info, and received no paper bill upon checkout, so didn't realize that we were paying that fee until weeks later. If the service charge is the gratuity for housekeeping, I don't think it's right that that is added on to the bill. I think housekeeping services should be included in the room charges, and any gratuities should be at the discretion of the guest.
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- Also Known As:
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