Big thanks to Tracy Jonsson of Newport Art House for offering up her perspective on a stay at the dripping-with-historic-charm Sanford Covell Inn & Marina, a great property for a stay anytime of year. You can even book the house for your private events and extra special moments!
Hotels are a growth market in Newport RI, where there’s a push to outlaw AirBnB and pressure to provide accommodations is stronger than the current off of Dumpling Rocks on a rising tide. That is to say if you’re one of the 3.8 million visitors to the city by the sea you might be directed towards the modern cookie cutter franchise hotels and overlook the hidden gems found within the historic neighborhoods of Newport.
The Sanford Covell Villa Marina is one of the best hidden-in-plain-sight bed and breakfasts you’ve never heard of.
Jake and I arrived in the afternoon and were greeted by the hypoallergenic poodle Coquette who, let’s face it, was a most graceful hostess (Kyle too, aka the manager, was amazing).
We were directed to the Covell Room to change and settle down and were instantly taken by the room’s brightness.
When I say Vic-, you say -torian and we’re both thinking dark paneling and stuffiness; that’s not what we found at the Sanford Covell Villa rooms however. A plush king sized bed covered in modern-baby-blue cotton duvets flanked by a light gray marble topped original sink laid below a tasteful Edwardian chandelier suspended from a grid-molded ceiling.
The walls, covered in 18th Century French motifs in delft blue on white and juxtaposed against the dark trim in oak surprised us with its breezy vibes. Jake and I sat by the window and admired our view of the Inn’s pool, Newport Harbor, and the Bridge before getting ready to walk into town for oysters.
The entire inn is an art-historian’s dream: in one sweep of the room one can construct a history involving the opening of Japan (silks, porcelain, tall ship models) the start of impressionism and modernism influenced by the discovery of the wood print aesthetic there, and the popularity of excotisism popular in the mid and late 19th century.
We were talking about how fun it would be to have a kid along, as the game of counting peacocks and poodle motifs would make for a great activity.
Ann, the owner and a direct descendant of the original builder of the 1869 home was friendly and available for questions but read us right in our interest for private enjoyment of the place (I’ve been scarred by the over-attentive inn-keeper and appreciated Ann’s etiquette).
Anticipating guests for pre-dinner cocktails Jake and I changed and walked out to the dock for a glass of wine and snuggles. The inn has a lovely pool harborside but we were content to sit in the dock gazebo where seats and tables were set up. The inn reflects Ann’s interest in travel and history, and if it weren’t for all the activities beckoning downtown the inn could serve as enough of a destination on its own right (we are planning on coming down for Christmas: the inn will be stunning).
A highlight was hosting our friends Sean and Dani for a sunset cocktail on the Inn’s porch. There we enjoyed local wine and french cheeses from the Newport Wine Cellar (13 Memorial Boulevard); our wine boasting a design by local visual artist Chris Wiley. Excitedly anticipating wedding plans in Colombia while the sun sets perfectly between the towers of the Newport Pell Bridge, wine in hand, lover by your side; the Sanford Covell Inn delivered on romantic setting, comfort, style, and accessibility.
See you there for the holidays!
Price Range: Sanford Room
Amenities: Wifi, In-suit Bathroom, English Breakfast in Formal Dining Room, Pool, Dock Access, Guest Parking, Private Entry Key for Late Nights.
Wine: Tipsy Rose wine made by proprietor of Newport Wine Cellar.
Photos edited by: Sean O’Connor
Styled by: Tracy Jonsson