Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina just unveiled newly renovated and refurbished suites — and not a minute too soon, as Newport’s peak travel season is underway.
The waterfront location, once occupied by a Hyatt, has been noted as a prime getaway spot since it opened in 2017. Interior designer Stella Abdoulin, principal of California’s SA Dezign Studio, oversaw its recent 16-suite refurbishment.
Although SA Dezign Studio also worked on Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa and oversaw the interior design of the newer Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, which debuted this spring nearby on Long Island, N.Y., the idea is not to create a uniform company look. Rather, Gurney’s seeks to honor individuality.
“What’s really special about these designs is that each property has a sense of place,” said David Smiley, Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina’s general manager.
“Each has its own identity,” he added. “We wanted to keep this hotel feeling like you’re in Newport. Newport has such a prevalent yachting history, and this property has a boat-y feeling.”
Located on unique Goat Island, over the causeway from the Newport Visitor Center, the hotel officially opened as Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina in January 2017. Its nautical blueprint shows up in the navy-on-white bed coverings and the room’s round porthole-style mirrors.
“Nautical, but with a modern twist,” said Smiley, referring to the op art on the walls and the Mid-Century Modern simplicity of the furniture, which pairs with the original building’s contemporary design.
“It was a lot of fun watching it all evolve. The anticipation from blueprint to completion was very exciting,” he added.
Each suite’s footprint remained unaltered and no major construction was necessary; the work was completed in three months, with little fuss.
“We are very fortunate that we did not have to do any major building work,” Smiley said. “It was more about enhancing the natural beauty and the rich history we already have here.”
This recent work on the hotel’s 16 existing suites constitutes phase two of a renovation project that began with Gurney’s Resorts acquisition of the property.
Phase one included overhauling the standard rooms and inputting the restaurant, Scarpetta, both of which now have a sleek, chic look with plenty of gleaming white. The lounge and outdoor deck, which looks out over Newport Harbor Light and the nearby bay, were also upgraded.
There will be more changes to the public spaces in what’s become a surprisingly expansive property.
“We have lots of opportunities to enhance the open spaces — that will be a surprise,” Smiley said, unwilling to reveal details before they can be confirmed. “We’ve had some meetings and discussed some ideas.”
The suites are now magnificent, he said, but his favorite element is one that was already in place.
“The best thing is the amazing vista of Narragansett Bay and the Pell Bridge; it is breathtaking,” Smiley said. “We just wanted the renovation to enhance that so we can be more of a part of that.”
Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, 1 Goat Island, Newport, R.I.