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Vanderbilt Grace Review
Built in 1909 by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt for his mistress, Agnes O'Brien Ruiz, this Grace Hotel property aims to impress, and does. More than 70 early-20th-century paintings, including magazine cover illustrations for Vogue and the The New Yorker, hang in common areas on permanent loan from the hotel's prior owner. The rooftop deck has cocktail service and a spectacular view of Newport Harbor. Enormous rooms have separate sitting areas and flat-screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docks and high-quality mattresses. You'll be asked to choose your pillows and room scent before arrival. Informal dining is available in the Conservatory and formal dining in Muse, serving the contemporary cuisine of chef Jonathan Cartwright of Maine's renowned White Barn Inn.
The blue-blooded enclave of Newport, Rhode Island has several natty hotels facing its yacht-filled harbor, but this recently reopened (and rebranded) grand redbrick mansion a couple of blocks up the hill feels a bit more like one of the classic "summer cottages" of the city's Gilded Age. You half expect to see Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt supping on butter-poached lobster amid the model ships in the hotel's glass-enclosed Conservatory. Beyond the slightly formal salons, elegant Muse restaurant, and luxuriant spa and indoor pool, the hotel's 33 spacious suites reflect an unfussy, contemporary aesthetic, with muted colors, mod lighting, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks. Up on the roof, a widow's walk with 360-degree city and sea views is the place to be at sunset.
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