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Hotel Viking
One Bellevue Ave.
Newport, RI 02840
401-847-3300, 800-556-7126

The Classic Newport Experience
By Poppy Carew

Decidedly New England façade

At the beginning of the 20th century, the mega-rich industrialists, railroad tycoons, coal magnates and financiers who summered in Newport, Rhode Island, decided they needed a place for their distinguished guests to stay while in town. Although there was certainly plenty of space for said guests in the mansions of the Vanderbilts and their friends, these wealthy residents still invested in shares to build a luxury hostelry... much to the benefit of 21st century travelers. Opened in 1926, the Hotel Viking offers an authentic taste of life during that wealthy, unhurried era.

The landmark hotel was named after the Vikings believed to have landed in Newport in 1,000 A.D., but that is the only thing Scandinavian about it. Austerity has no place here. Instead, the style is warm and inviting, decidedly New England, beginning with the red brick façade that is fitted among the mansions of Bellevue Avenue, high atop the Historic Hill District with great views over the harbor—the waterfront is a ten-minute walk away. A complete restoration at the 75th anniversary revitalized the property’s original character and reinforced its place on the National Register of Historic Place and Historic Hotels of America.


Spacious, contemporary rooms are available, but the real reason to stay here is for the historic experience, which is best enjoyed in the guestrooms and suites in the original building. Keep in mind that some of these accommodations are small, with very small bathrooms. But what they lack in size they make up for in personality, with their Queen Anne and Chippendale-style furnishings and soothing honeyed tones. Offered in all 222 bedrooms and suites are pillow top mattresses, 250-thread count triple sheets, Egyptian cotton duvets and high-speed Internet access. The Bellevue Suite has a step-up four-poster bed and private balcony overlooking Bellevue Avenue, and The Presidential Suite features two bedrooms, an executive boardroom with ten high-back leather chairs, a large-screen TV in the living area, a formal dining area and a private spiral staircase leading to a rooftop deck.

The roof is definitely a highlight at the hotel, with its seasonal Top of Newport bar and lovely views across the harbor. Down below, One Bellevue serves classic and innovative regional dishes focused on local produce, such as poached New England lobster and a seafood platter. Despite the intimate atmosphere of the property, there are numerous large hotel amenities, such as conference space, an indoor pool and the new SpaTerre, offering aromatherapy, body treatments and an array of massages whose influences range from Thailand to Indonesia. While rooted in the past—with its gracious service, leisurely pace and attention to detail—Hotel Viking obviously knows how to tend guests in the present, making it integral to the Newport experience.

One Bellevue

Going to Rhode Island? Check our guide.

(Updated: 06/25/08 HC)

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