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Hotel Review: Hyatt Regency Newport, Rhode Island
Thanks to the recent renovation that replaced a parking lot with green space and opened up the views to Newport Harbor, nearly all the rooms at the Hyatt are 'waterfront' rooms, which means no matter what your location you're bound to have a great view. Each room is designed with a nautical theme, apparent by the white sheets, blue blankets and tan throw pillows. Each room comes with T-Mobile wireless Internet hook-up ($9.95/day), a separate work area, Portico bath products, HBO, HBO family, on-demand programming and delivery of a daily newspaper. My room 3314 was in the Captain's Quarters of the hotel - a section of the hotel set aside from the main lobby area, and perfect for travelers like me who appreciate the sound of silence. The added bonus to these rooms are the private balconies, which provide perfect views of The Pell Bridge.
One of the best parts of the hotel caters to families: on the same floor as the indoor pool (the perfect place for kids on a rainy day) and the fitness center are rooms big enough to be called suites, but priced as regular hotel rooms due to foot traffic they acquire. I wouldn't recommend these rooms for a couple wanting some alone-time or a solo traveler needing some privacy, but for a family of four needing a great value and options to cure mid-afternoon boredom, these rooms are a great fit.
The bathrooms are a decent size and rooms are a tub/shower combo. Each bathroom features Portico bath products and free toothpaste (a fun bonus from the hotel). As part of the hotel's eco-friendly initiatives, room service will only supply fresh towels if you ask.
The hotel has four different dining options for guests: The Windward Restaurant, Pineapples on the Bay, Five33 Lounge and The Galley - a Coffee Bar. Windward Restaurant is the hotel's main dining option, offering seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant hosts a buffet breakfast, complete with omelet station, as well as lunch and dinner options that range from specialty pastas to seafood favorites. Tip: try the clam chowder. It's packed with clams, onions and potatoes and served with grilled bread that's great for dipping. A New England favorite!
Pineapples on the Bay is the hotel's poolside dining and bar option. It wasn't open on my visit, but I did get a look at the gigantic s'mores pit that is opening at Pineapples Memorial Day weekend, just in time for the summer season. The hotel's bar, Five33, was recently redone and adds a classic twist on typical bar flare. The dark wood bar and tables are offset by muted red and gold chairs, and a steel-encased fireplace separates the bar from the rest of the hotel. You can order appetizers, dinners and desserts here, and if you're lucky, you might even be treated to a little live music, thanks to the grand piano that graces the bar area.
The Galley - a Coffee Shop - serves Starbucks coffee and hotel-made pastries for guests on the go. The venti coffee and fresh-baked croissant was a perfect wake-up call before my morning walk to the hotel's on-site lighthouse (keep reading).
Room service is available and the hotel makes every effort to deliver within 30 minutes of your call (that's what they tell you when you order).
Stillwater Spa is one of Rhode Island's award-winning spas and offers a suite of options for guests. There were a few weddings happening the weekend I was there, which meant plenty of up-dos and last-minute makeup touches, but the spa was big enough that it didn't seem chaotic. On a summer day, the spa's private deck would be open for guests to lounge and order lunch and cocktails for groups. During the off-season, the spa's relaxation room plays host to parties and individuals just before their treatments.
The spa prices are comparable to any high-end spa. Manicures and pedicures range from $40-$65; massages range from $75-$300; hair and makeup is based on private consultation but start at $18 for a basic haircut.
The Pool/Outdoors Area
In the summertime, this place is hopping. While the hotel's indoor pool is a great option for rainy days, the outdoor saltwater pool is a great way to spend a summer day. Located directly outside from the spa and adjacent to Pineapples, the outdoor pool also features great water views. In a few weeks, the outdoor s'mores pit will be complete, which means a lot of late-night sugar snacks.
The Hyatt books a lot of weddings, which means a lot of party space is made available for guests. During my stay at the Hyatt, there were two weddings and one Army Ball. One of the more unique aspects of the hotel was the clambake section, available for private parties adjacent to the hotel's outdoor wooden-tent space. Note to travelers: If you're booking this area be advised that the backdrop is the water, and on the water are boats (oftentimes cruise ships). While the staff at the Hyatt do everything they can to make your wedding wonderful, they cannot move the cruise boats from the water in an effort to keep the boats out of your pictures (as requested by one blushing bride).
While the Hyatt hasn't bought into the free WiFi pledge we're pushing, there is a business center with free Internet for those guests not wanting to pay the $9.95/day charge.
If you're driving, you can valet the car for $15.00/day or self park for $10/day. Both options come with 24-hour in-and-out privileges.
No worries if you don't want to drive - the hotel has a free shuttle van that drops guests off in town, and picks back up, every 30 minutes. It's a great way to familiarize with yourself with the boutiques, restaurants and bars in downtown Newport without the hassle of finding parking.
The Bottom Line
Newport, Rhode Island is full of things to do and see any time of year. If you want something in the middle of town that's within walking distance to the boutiques and restaurants, try a B&B (and prepare to pay for it during the high season). If you want something a little more private, a stay at the Hyatt is a good choice. It's a big enough hotel that caters to just about every traveler's taste, but tucked away so you'll avoid the raucous Newport evening crowd.