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trip report - castle hill inn / newport, Rhode Island

trip report - castle hill inn / newport, Rhode Island

Old Jun 26, 11, 7:05 am
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trip report - castle hill inn / newport, Rhode Island

service
outstanding. always very warm. front desk facilitated what may have seemed like odd questions/requests regarding checkin. i was able to have breakfast before checking in, and was told tea after checkout would not be a problem. (unfortunately never made it.) after that first breakfast while i was waiting for someone to pick me up, one staff member checked in with me, introduced himself, and said to let him know if there was ever anything he could do for me. the other standout was a staff member picking something up for me and delivering it, when it was not something that they had in their regular / "emergency" supplies.

while the professionalism could have been somewhat higher (in terms of standards here) there was always a certain level of formality, as opposed to being casual, while maintaining that warmth and friendliness. very welcoming. apparently one of the staff has been around for a long time, and knows all the regular guests.

breakfast and tea do not have bills, which i really appreciate. i dont understand why this isnt more standard. however its clear that you do have to sign otherwise (not aman style) based on the room service breakfast i did one morning.

im also not sure whether you have to mention room number or not, although i guess thats mainly a question when youre not signing for things? i would often mention room number when calling for shuttle to inn. when they arrived, i would confirm with room number, while i would think they could have confirmed with my name. there are only 8 beach house rooms, and i was towards the end, but i guess that is my nature to confirm things.

but i was (usually?) addressed by name. im pretty sure even by employees who had not met me. but it was not overdone or every time, which was a good thing for me.

they have two new mercedes benz ML SUVs for transfers between beach and inn. one has TVs in the back, which can probably be nice for kids.

speaking of kids, the beach accommodations are definitely popular with families. apparently there are lots of international guests, and i saw several during my stay, including a family staying on the beach.

botted water! at least in the beach houses, they made it clear it was unlimited complimentary. had six packs delivered at least twice. absolutely fantastic, and again dont understand why this isnt more standard.

several bottled water and 2 cookies (house made i think) during housekeeping. 2 chocolates during turndown.

the current GM has a background with FS and grand del mar.

accommodations
35 rooms - 9 inn, 6 harbor house, 10 beach cottage, 8 beach house, 2 chalet

i was pleasantly surprised to find the superior beach house i had in great condition. didnt notice any issues, even though its been a few years since renovation. not only was the kitchen stocked extremely well, but there was an ironing board and iron, a small battery powered lantern, and ipod stereo next to the bed.

also, while the beach cottages are literally right along the entrance drive, the beach houses are more privately located, kind of behind vegetation etc, in terms of viewing the accommodations and their parking area from the entrance drive.

dining
first time ive seen amuse at breakfast. fruit smoothies and bread. breakfast was always very good. lobster hash was indeed good and would make a great breakfast sandwich. had in room once. they charge $10pp for that, and you have to sign for it. also had - scrambled eggs, frittata, eggs benedict.

did not eat any other meals besides breakfast, but did also have an event, which was incredible.

breakfast and tea are guest only and complimentary.

guests have private beach with beach menu (not sure what beach service is like) as well a private area on lawn (with actual sofas and chairs with cushions) and a private deck (with high tables and stools) to make sure you are not impacted by the public.

for sunday brunch (not buffet) they have live music on the lawn.

there is also a room service menu, and a lawn menu.

bath
loccitane in inn and rooms. property bathrooms have been redone, some in past year, perhaps in january, when the property sometimes closes. stacked cloth paper towels in the inn. interestingly very contemporary style in the inn as well.

the beach house bathrooms offer windows with a view out to the ocean, as well as high windows in the shower to allow natural light. the lighthouse suite (also seems to be in great condition) has a very reasonably sized steamshower, which looked like all marble IIRC. robes were frette IIRC.

bed
comfortable bed, 4 pillow types on bed. in the beach houses, the TV comes out of armoire where it is stored, and can be angled to be viewable from bed. worked great.

transportation
you need a car, at least in high season. (although actually, perhaps prebooking taxis can also work.) i could have had serious problems getting back to castle hill from newport one night. i used taxis twice, and they did not take amex, and had $25 min for credit cards. although the minimum wasnt bad considering fare.

i used O2 / all occasion for airport transfers, at castle hill's recommendation. on the return trip they had 2 bottles of water, and said it was standard procedure.

Last edited by RichardInSF; Feb 16, 13 at 1:13 am Reason: Edit title to include state name as there are other Newports
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Old Jun 26, 11, 7:06 am
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no pics because was traveling as light as possible.

only R&C so only 5C members can get benefits.

chanler
enjoyable lunch and a fantastic event. bathroom had stacked towels, updated fixtures, flat screen TVs. more opulent atmosphere than castle hill, and only 10 rooms, but it doesnt have the acreage and location that castle hill has. the view is definitely not bad, and they have some rooms with large outdoor spaces.

other
saw the maltese falcon at the marina near hyatt, apparently in town getting $300K worth of new sails. pretty amazing seeing it in person. hard to imagine the eclipse is literally twice the length.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 26, 11 at 10:13 am
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Old Jun 26, 11, 7:56 am
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Thanks for the post.

Newport is an interesting market. I associate it with overpromising and underdelivering (based on two experiences, but neither at this property). This one sounds pretty good.

What it your first visit to the property?
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Old Jun 26, 11, 8:54 am
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Great summary. The property is a very good New England destination for a few days. And the beach houses are special in terms of New England accomodations.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 9:00 am
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yes, first stay.

NYBanker, where did you stay? seems like chanler is only other potential luxury option, with vanderbilt (under new management) a step down.

castle hill inn is pretty well regarded here. while my standards (and experience) arent as high, it really exceeded my expectations.

flyr16, thanks! when were you last there?

two questions for the regulars >

- one thing i missed was beach service - how is it?
- just how bad is the temperature / weather in winter? rates are so much better.

...

i trust my report conveys that my service standards are not as discerning, and while there are probably a lot of gaps compared to the really great reports here, i can try to fill in more by answering questions. my memory is good, i just dont notice the same level of detail in service. and of course i may have forgotten something i wanted to post.

...

for example - forgot to mention there is a great "business center" in inn, actually a sitting area upstairs with fireplace and a desk with computer and printer. and of course free wifi everywhere. (router in beach house, but i dont know how strong repeaters etc are across all 40 acres.)

also should clarify kitchen was stocked not just for cooking and eating, but also with toaster and kettle, which was in addition to nespresso machine.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 26, 11 at 9:12 am
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Old Jun 26, 11, 12:07 pm
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This is a great report, Kage. It certainly peaks our interest. We are not too far from Newport so it's on the list for a possible weekend stay in the future.
Thanks.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 12:52 pm
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My sister got married at Castle Hill two summers ago. A great experience. She stayed in the turret suite on her wedding night. Looked like a cool room with 270 deg. views. I've eaten in their formal restaurant several times. One of my favorites.
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Old Jun 26, 11, 2:11 pm
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Thanks for trip report Kage. :-)
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Old Jun 26, 11, 4:06 pm
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even if you self drive, a valet/etc comes down to your beach room and handles luggage in addition to showing you the room etc. i saw this happen with other guests.

this was a "gap" at sanctuary in scottsdale.

not sure how different properties/companies compare.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 26, 11 at 4:14 pm
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Old Jun 26, 11, 8:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
This is a great report, Kage. It certainly peaks our interest. We are not too far from Newport so it's on the list for a possible weekend stay in the future.
Thanks.
Ditto--I've heard consistently good things, and your report moves this up on my list of possible weekend excursions from NYC. Thanks for all the good details--
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Old Jun 27, 11, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by JGR01 View Post
Had brunch late summer there and it was FABULOUS.

Cannot vouch for the rooms (did not tour) but definately on my list of 'go back to' places.

The I think I would prefer it a bit off-season (winter with a fireplace) as opposed to height of summer season.
Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
I wouldn't say it is a 5* in the "usual" sense, but the place oozes charm and tradition, really takes you back to the genteel WASP Newport that I wouldn't mind being part of. You know, clambakes, sailing, Jackie Bouvier, and lawn tennis. Put on a blue blazer and sockless topsiders, and enjoy a bloody mary at the lawn bar.

I also have a soft spot for the place, since it was the first "upscale" place I stayed in, after a formal Newport ball, back in college.
Originally Posted by jja34-1 View Post
The Inn is fantastic...

I recommend the beach front cottages, which are a walk from the main building but have beautiful views and of course open right up onto the beach.
Originally Posted by BeantownFlyer View Post
I concur with what everyone has said so far...

So I would stay at the Inn again, but would not do it "in-season" where I think what you get is not worth what they charge. Besides, it is much nicer in the fall, when you can fire up your fireplace, and the places seems much more romantic.
Originally Posted by PETEFLYS View Post
i have stayed at the beachfront cottages. I thought they were very nice,heated floor fireplace with remote control. I beleave a huge sunken tub in the bathroom.
The rooms overlook the water and have a wooden deck. I just walked up to the inn for breakfast.
Originally Posted by flyr16 View Post
Originally Posted by JiangsuLu2002 View Post
Beach House's you get direct access to their small private beach. And they do have a very good restaurant.
The Beach House rooms really are very nice. ^ Very New England, lots of blond wood, lots of sunlight. The hotel has a very pretty dining room with an excellent breakfast. It is not a Four Seasons type property but its likely the best option in the Newport area.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/8031961-post12.html

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 29, 11 at 4:57 am
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Old Jun 27, 11, 10:13 am
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R&C (call R&C to book) 4th nt free includes castle hill inn
http://www.relaischateaux.com/en/sta...icEscapes/3714
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Old Jun 28, 11, 3:07 pm
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Thanks Kage,i haven't come across this hotel before.It looks interesting although I don't travel regularly to north america and when I do it tends to be a quick NYC visit.
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Old Jun 28, 11, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
yes, first stay.

NYBanker, where did you stay? seems like chanler is only other potential luxury option, with vanderbilt (under new management) a step down.
I've been to Chanler and Vanderbilt (in 2004, prior to the most recent overhaul). Vanderbilt (the old version) was a definite step down from Chanler. Though, I wasn't thrilled with Chanler, either.

Curious if anyone has been to Chanler and Castle Hill and could compare?

Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
while my standards (and experience) arent as high, it really exceeded my expectations.
If this is true, your standards and experience don't correlate at all with the volume of knowledgeable posts you have in this forum.
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Old Jun 29, 11, 5:07 am
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Originally Posted by NYBanker View Post
Vanderbilt (the old version) was a definite step down from Chanler. Though, I wasn't thrilled with Chanler, either.

Curious if anyone has been to Chanler and Castle Hill and could compare?
funny, i was sure there were comparisons here, but there arent.

events were great at both properties.

had a timid (presumably new) waitress at spiced pear. [edit - not spiced pear but veranda]

the main issue with chanler is location (including cliff walk) and acreage.

along similar lines as your comment >
Originally Posted by JiangsuLu2002 View Post
Castle Hill Inn & Resort (a Relais & Chateaux Property) is definitely a couple steps ahead of Vanderbilt Hall in terms of luxury. Their restaurant is also very good.
***
Originally Posted by NYBanker View Post
If this is true, your standards and experience don't correlate at all with the volume of knowledgeable posts you have in this forum.
as ive said before?

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Feb 15, 13 at 6:12 pm
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