It’ll come as no surprise to those who know and love the Ocean State, but the Ocean House in the Watch Hill neighborhood of Westerly, R.I., has been named one of the best hotels and resorts in the world by Conde Nast Traveler, earning the luxury hotel a place on its elite “Gold List” for 2023.
“Since opening its big wooden doors on the remote Watch Hill in 1868, Ocean House has remained resolutely committed to a version of hospitality that simply makes people feel good,” the magazine’s executive editor, Erin Florio, wrote. “For all the resort’s extremely plush surroundings, it is the thoughtful, personal, and easy hospitality that keeps this grande dame top of mind year round.”
The grand resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is in good company on the unranked list: Other names include the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam; Tierra Patagonia in Chile; The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina; Deplar Farm in Iceland; Santa Marina in Mykonos, Greece; NoMad Las Vegas; Jumby Bay Island on Antigua; Halekulani on Waikiki, Hawaii; and Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island, Canada. (You can see the entire list here).
Ocean House is no stranger to the travel world’s “must visit” lists. Conde Nast Traveler gave it a nod in July, calling it one of eight “chic seaside hotels.” Boston Magazine especially likes Room 9. Fodor’s Travel and Town and Country Magazine have included it in their luxury travel guides this year. In 2021 it was named one of the 15 best beach resorts in the US by Travel & Leisure magazine, and in 2019, CNN Travel named the hotel’s restaurant, COAST, one of the best waterfront eateries in the world. In 2018 it was named one of the “Best Wedding Destinations in the US” by Grace Ormonde. And it was included on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” in 2018 as well.
This year’s “Gold List” review raves about the hotel’s exclusivity: “If you move in certain circles on the East Coast, the Ocean House will reliably drift into conversation throughout the year,” Florio gushed. “And when we mustered the will to dress up one night for dinner, a table opened inside the resort’s members club, the maître d’s wink letting us know that we’d somehow made it past an invisible red rope to a place not everyone sees.”
But it’s open to all for various events, including innovative dining experiences, from fondue and French delicacies in refurbished ski gondolas, to movie nights under the stars, to chef Will Rietzel’s elevated takes on classic dishes, like a strip loin served with a béarnaise made with bone marrow and veal stock instead of butter.
But the venue outdoes itself around the holidays. A great pumpkin and piles of smaller pumpkins decorate the entrance as Halloween approaches, and the Christmas decorations are breathtaking, with carolers and a tree-lighting to celebrate the season.
Unfortunately, reservations for overnight stays can be tough to come by. Fortunately, their Instagram offers a lovely look at what it’s like to visit.