Now, more than ever, summer’s arrival is spurring on the need to get away--even if it’s only for a weekend. If you’re yearning for a waterfront view, a sense of maritime history, and an inspiring perspective of architecture from generations past, you may want to check out Newport, Rhode Island and The Chanler.
Step back in time to this gracious 19th-century mansion, which was the first of its kind on the city’s famed Cliff Walk. The hotel is surrounded by some of the most famous estates in New England, including Vanderbilt’s The Breakers.
The Chanler was completed in 1873 at the jaw-dropping price of $300,000 by New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler. He built the retreat to enjoy with his wife Margaret Astor Ward, great-granddaughter of businessman and millionaire John Jacob Astor.
It remained a summertime home for the family for over 50 years, hosting prominent visitors, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and President Theodore Roosevelt.
After leaving ownership of the Chanler family, the building was generally referred to as “Cliff Lawn,” and through the years functioned as a school for girls, a bishop’s summer home, and as an apartment building for naval officers. For a time, it was also used as a museum. Some of the artifacts from the museum era have been integrated into the current décor. Following a damaging fire and restoration in 1944, the building opened as a hotel following World War II and has operated as such ever since, subsequently named The Cliff Walk Manor.
In June of 2000, it was sold to Detroit businessman John Shufelt, who embarked on an extensive three-year renovation and refurbishment to restore the original elegance of the mansion while creating a luxury hotel and restaurant experience unlike any other in New England. The Chanler at Cliff Walk represents the quintessential choice among luxury Newport hotels.
Lani Shufelt, the current proprietress of the Chanler, says, “What sets the hotel apart for me is the feeling of home that so many of our guests and employees tell me and feel when staying with us. Beyond the 20 rooms uniquely designed as a period in history, there is the natural landscape and grounds that overlook the Cliff Walk and Atlantic Ocean that captivate the minds and creative souls that enter. You almost feel as though you are staying in a private mansion served by a most gracious and genuine staff that awaits you on your own floating island.”
Twenty unique rooms are lavishly decorated in period styles along with a full range of indulgent amenities. The property’s fine dining restaurant, Cara, offers an intimate formal dining room complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, complemented by a stunning view of the Atlantic.
All guest rooms feature gas fireplaces, complimentary wi-fi, flat-screen TV’s, wet bar, and aromatherapy bath service and amenities. The resort has also unveiled three luxury yurts that tastefully blend Scandinavian decor with Rhode Island chicness. Available for private use, the Yurts can seat groups of 2 to 5 people for an incredible dining experience.
“We are fortunate to be a small and intimate establishment so that we may bring a high sense of personalization to every guest stay,” says Lani. “As often as the light changes over the ocean, we strive to make each day for our guests as meaningful in beauty and substance.”