The Kennedys frequented this historic four-star hotel, which offers an award-winning restaurant and a spa near the seashore
Hotel at a Glance: Hotel Viking
The Hotel Viking has attracted a star-studded guest list since it opened in 1926. The Kennedys rubbed shoulders with the Vanderbilts here, and entertainer Will Rogers stayed at the hotel on more than one occasion. The four-star hotel’s Old-World glamour remains intact to this day, thanks to a recent $6.8 million restoration.
- Local lobster is served at the hotel’s One Bellevue restaurant. You can also enjoy afternoon tea with scones, tea sandwiches, and truffles.
- Daily resort fees, included in this deal, cover everything from in-room coffee and WiFi to welcome beverages in the lobby to access to the fitness center with pool and jetted tub.
- Soothe your skin with a volcanic-clay body mask, dead sea salt scrub, or milk-and-honey body wrap at the onsite SpaFjör.
- Sleep like royalty in a charming guest room with gilded age appointments, headboards, and luxurious linens.
- Getting around: The hotel offers shuttle service within a 2-mile radius of the property.
Newport, Rhode Island: Harbor Town with World-Famous Mansions
Newport sits on Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Island, just 30 miles south of Providence and 70 miles south of Boston. With its picturesque cliffs running along the rocky coast, Newport understandably attracted America’s upper class at the turn of the 20th century. The prestigious Astor and Vanderbilt families joined other captains of industry in building their summer “cottages” here—sprawling estates that epitomized the Gilded Age’s glitz and glamour. You can sign up for mansion tours at the historic The Elms, Marble House, and The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance–style palazzo commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in 1893 and inspired by the palaces of Genoa and Turin.
Year-round, the Cliff Walk is one of the most popular activities in town. From sunrise to sunset you’ll find visitors strolling the 3.5-mile path, ensconced between the beautiful Newport shoreline and the spectacular mansions. If the conditions are ripe, you might see surfers catching waves on the ocean breakers.
The city slows its pace in winter; find time to shop on Thames and Spring Streets or visit the city’s many museums. The town is home to the National Museum of American Illustration, which features works by Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell, as well as the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
The ocean is easily accessible from Newport’s western, eastern, and southern coastlines. It’s often referred to as “the Sailing Capital of the World,” and in the summertime, fishing boats fill its harbors and beachgoers flock to its shores. Easton’s Beach (or 1st Beach if you’re a local), the largest public beach, sits catty-cornered to the Cliff Walk’s stunning homes. Back on land, the city hosts a variety of festivals, including the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Kite Festival, held in the ocean-facing Brenton Point State Park.