My Review of The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport Rhode Island
Updated: Apr 20, 2021
While choosing our first vacation in over a year we considered several options but decided on Newport, RI. It is one of our favorite places to visit. Newport is a seaside city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island. It is located in Narragansett Bay approximately 74 miles south of Boston and 180 miles northeast of New York City. It is known as a New England summer resort town and is famous for its historic mansions and its rich sailing history. It was the location of the first U.S. Open tournaments in both tennis and golf, as well as every challenge to the America's Cup between 1930 and 1983. It is also the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport, which houses the United States Naval War College, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and an important Navy training center.
As a critical care nurse my wife had a really tough year. I really wanted to make this trip special for her so I planned every aspect of the trip to be as special and relaxing as possible. Her favorite part of Newport is visiting the mansions that were built during the gilded age. I chose The Chanler at Cliff Walk not only because it is the most luxurious boutique property in Newport but it is itself a mansion built during the gilded age. The mansion was built in the 1870's for New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler and his wife Margaret Astor Ward, great granddaughter of the distinguished businessman and millionaire John Jacob Astor. Through the years it functioned as the Tolethorpe School for Girls, served as a summer home to Bishop Francis Patrick Keough, operated as an apartment building to house Naval officers, and was even used for a short time as a historical museum, among others. Some of the artifacts from its days as a museum have actually been integrated into the current décor. The Cliff Walk Manor was sold in June 2000 to Detroit businessman John Shufelt, who temporarily closed the hotel to embark on an extensive three year renovation and refurbishment to the building. Shufelt sought to bring attention to the history and original elegance of the mansion, while at the same time creating a luxury hotel and restaurant experience as had not been seen before in New England. Along with his wife, Jeanie, Shufelt reopened the hotel in 2003 in its current format as The Chanler at Cliff Walk.
A few days before we were to arrive we received a call from The Chanler to see what our contact comfort level would be. We were given the options for luggage assistance, valet service, standard or contactless check in, and housekeeping services.
We elected to have all of the normal contact and services being we are both fully vaccinated. When we arrived at the property we were greeted and our bags were taken from the car to our room. We immediately noticed valet driver was following all of the Covid protocols including wearing freshly changed gloves and even putting a plastic cloth over our car seat when getting in to park the vehicle. Check in was quick and we turned down a free upgrade(Thanks to the Virtuoso program!) because we wanted the specific room that we had booked. We were given a quick tour of the property and walked to our room while learning about the history of the property. When we got inside our room we were presented with a welcome letter, a welcome amenity, along with an orange Jaffa cake made by their in house pastry chef.
The room was beautiful. It fit exactly the style my wife likes and everything in the room was in perfect condition. Our room was named English Tudor which fit the theme perfectly. Each of the 20 rooms at the property are themed with different locations and time periods in mind. This room was our favorite but we also liked the Nantucket room which is an Ocean Villa. The Ocean Villas have a private outdoor entrance and space including a hot tub and sauna.
With the Virtuoso benefits we had a continental breakfast included each morning which could be served in The Cafe or right in our room. The breakfast pastries, 1 savory, 1 sweet were some of the best we have ever had.
After breakfast we would go for a walk on the cliff walk which is right outside of the hotel. The views were great and the smell of fresh air and sea water along with the gentle sounds of the water splashing on the rocks below had us start each day relaxed and rejuvenated. This is the PERFECT location to stay in Newport! We walked down cliff walk all the way to our favorite of the mansions, The Breakers. The combination of Covid along with it being early in the season had The Breakers closed to visitors but we enjoyed viewing it from the outside. We even saw a local lobster boat dropping their pots.
The service during our stay was outstanding in all ways. When we would return to our room we were always surprised by the small touches during housekeeping service. Our many charging cords would be bundled and tied with velcro wire ties, at turndown there were chocolates and bedtime stories waiting for us, and they even saw that I was working on a laptop during our stay so they left me a microfiber cloth to clean my screen. We we always felt well taken care of.
On our last night at The Chanler I arranged a special experience for my wife and I to celebrate our return to the "real world". I arranged a private dinner curated by their award winning restaurant Cara. Their sous chef Kyle led us through a 6 course tasting menu. Kyle's passion came through with every course and the meal blew us away. From the private room set beautifully with fresh roses, to the high level service predicting what we would need before we needed it, to the high level cuisine, this restaurant could easily have a Michelin Star if it was located in a major city and on the Michelin radar. I would highly recommend arranging a private dinner like this if you visit Newport!
Based on my personal experience I can highly recommend The Chanler at Cliff Walk! When booking your stay with me I can offer the Virtuoso amenities listed below as well as leveraging the personal relationships that I made with the staff to ensure that your stay will be as special as my own.
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Continental breakfast for two daily, served in restaurant
$100 USD Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay
Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability