As you come around the bend on Westerly Road heading southwest toward the quaint seaside town of Watch Hill, RI (once known as the Queen of Atlantic Resorts), you’re bound to stop dead in your tracks (or slam on the brakes!) as the magnificent Ocean House hotel comes into view.
At least, that’s what we did last week as we arrived with our car full of flowers for the “Show Your Cause – Designer Showhouse Benefit” which took place at the hotel to celebrate its grand reopening.
While we had read a number of articles on the new Ocean House and how Chuck Royce, the owner, had invested a certain sum to restore the 1868 hotel to its classic Victorian-era grandeur, nothing prepared us for the quiet elegance and beauty that enveloped us as soon as we walked through the majestic front doors.
Describing this renovation as a labor of love is an understatement. After decades of structural damage, the hotel had to be entirely demolished before it could be built again. Fortunately, the Royces, intent on preserving the hotel’s historical features, salvaged over 5,000 artifacts from the original building which were then restored or replicated in the new resort. These include original fixtures such as windows and doors, a reception desk, an elevator, a phone booth and even a fireplace.
The golden age of hospitality is captured in every detail – from the serene decor (thanks to devine designer Peter Niemitz, who understands that history is to be honored, especially by the sea), to the kind and accomodating staff, to the little touches such as cashmere throws draped over the rocking chairs on the porch and the bigger gestures, like having a croquet pro on hand to help guests with their game.
We even loved the use of the Ocean House logo “OH” on many the architectural details – since everywhere we went, we said “OH, how lovely!” and “OH, how charming!” and “OH, how beautiful.”
Needless to say, we were enchanted by the Ocean House and can’t wait to return as guests instead of trunk show participants. Stay tuned for more on the Designer Showhouse Benefit and the new store, Ocean House Home!
Photos by yours truly