When does a $300-a-night hotel room qualify as budget friendly? When it’s designer decorated, handsomely appointed, features magnificent ocean views, provides concierge-level service — and goes for $700 in midsummer.
Every lodging has peak and off-peak seasons. For resorts by the sea, midwinter is the time to find the lowest rates of the year. If you’re willing to forgo the beach, you’ll get a good deal on all the other accoutrements of these top-tier lodgings.
Newport, R.I., is the region’s epicenter of luxe accommodations. The Castle Hill Inn (590 Ocean Drive, 888-466-1355, www.castlehillinn.com), a Relais & Châteaux property, sits on a 40-acre peninsula overlooking Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Bedrooms in the 1874 mansion are equipped with fireplaces and whirlpool or soaking tubs; high tea is served every afternoon; and the cuisine offered in a U-shaped dining room overlooking the ocean is outstanding. In January rooms can be had for as little as $299, compared with July and August rates of $699-$1,499. The Winter Warmer package, offered through April, runs from $1,279-$1,855 including all taxes and gratuities and includes two nights in a “superior” room, gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea daily, “hot toddy for the body” tandem in-room spa treatments, and a $100 credit to use toward food and beverage.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk (117 Memorial Blvd., Newport, 401-847-1300, www.thechanler.com) oozes understated luxury. Overlooking Easton’s Beach, it was built around 1862 for New York congressman John Winthrop Chanler and his wife, Margaret Astor Ward. Its current design dates from a renovation around the turn of the last century. It still feels more mansion than hotel, with high ceilings, fabric wall coverings, and sparkling chandeliers. Winter rates start at $229 compared with $649 in summer. If the lovely Spiced Pear Restaurant is beyond your budget, at least stop in for a drink and catch the view of the Atlantic through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Note that in January the property is open only the last two weekends of the month; the regular schedule resumes in February.
In a city known for its Gilded Age mansions, 41° North (351 Thames St., Newport, 401-846-8018, www
.41north.com) delivers luxury with a hip, modern vibe. Every piece of furniture was custom-made for the hotel, and Italian marble in vibrant colors is used generously in countertops, sinks, and fireplace frames. Each room has a gas fireplace, wet bar, and iPad preloaded with hotel information. A “premium water view” guest room that runs $799 per night in peak season can be had for $279 in winter.
The Glowing Winter Nights package, offered through April 1, includes two nights, in-room spa treatments, gastronomy course and tasting, a seafood tower from the raw bar with a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne, winter classic movies, and two tickets to the outdoor Newport Skating Center; rates start at $1,375 for two.
At the southern tip of Rhode Island, another Relais & Châteaux property, the Ocean House (1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, 401-584-7000, www
.oceanhouseri.com), is an exact replica of the inn that welcomed guests to tony Watch Hill for 136 years, from 1868 until 2003. The rambling yellow building with multiple balconies, porches, and staircases overlooks the Atlantic, Block Island, and Montauk, N.Y. Furnishings combine British Colonial, Early American, and New England coastal themes in sunny yellows and blues. A “deluxe king” room goes for $895 in July and August, but you can book the same room for $400 in January. A Winter Wonderland package is an even better deal; starting at $320, weekdays only, it includes breakfast, skating rink tickets, and hot chocolate or cider. Spa packages offer similar discounts. All guests have access to complimentary afternoon refreshments, culinary and art classes.
The beach at the Chatham Bars Inn (297 Shore Road, Chatham, 809-527-4884, www.chathambarsinn.com) is a popular swimming and sunbathing spot. In summer you’ll pay a minimum room rate of $465 at this AAA four-diamond resort overlooking Pleasant Bay. But through March you can snag a room featuring Frette linens, Aveda bath and body products, Bose wave radios, and high-def televisions for $199 plus tax and resort fee. And you’ll still have access to the fitness center, full-service spa, dining room, and afternoon tea. The charming town of Chatham with galleries, shops, and restaurants is within walking distance of the inn.
At the new Nantucket Hotel and Resort (77 Easton St., Nantucket, 508-228-4747,www.
tel.com) winter rates start at $175 per night for king and queen rooms, which sleep two, and rise to $450 per night for three-bedroom suites, which sleep 10 to 12. Comparable summer rates are $750-$2,250 per night — with a two-night minimum. The off-season rates include continental breakfast, use of an onsite fitness facility, concierge services, lemonade and fresh-baked cookies every afternoon, and limited onsite parking. The hotel, which opened in July, is in the heart of Nantucket, within walking distance of shopping and restaurants. Winter rates are offered through April 10, but the hotel will be closed from Feb. 4 to March 13 for renovations.
From the porch of the Beach House (211 Beach Ave., Kennebunk, Maine, 207-967-3850, www.beachhseinn
.com) you can hear the thud of surf on rock; cross the street and you’ll hear the soft click-click-click of waves receding over millions of smooth, round pebbles. The interior of the inn, which dates to 1891, exudes understated elegance and good taste, with spare, soothing decor in neutral tones of white and beige. Through March a garden room at this sister property of the White Barn Inn is available for $149 per night, a little more than half the peak-season rate. It includes continental breakfast, afternoon tea and treats, port wine and brandy, and gorgeous ocean views. A Winter Special package includes two nights, chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival, a four-course dinner for two at the White Barn Inn one evening, and continental breakfast each morning; rates range from $436 to $1,058 per couple.
Ocean views, spa treatments, gourmet cuisine, and sumptuous rooms for a fraction of high-season rates — who needs the beach?Ellen Albanese can be reached at ellen