This more modest masterpiece built in 1876, sits just above the famous walk way, the Cliff Walk, that circles the ocean and the sea-facing mansions of towering delight.
The inn satisfies the senses at every turn and stair tread, with, as owner and innkeeper Bill and Nancy Bagwill said, a contemporary interpretation of a Second Empire Victorian masterpiece. Lest you think there’s anything stogy about inn-keeping Bill and Nancy keep their motorcycles parked prominently out front.
This once and future premier inn of Newport does away with the cloying wallpaper, dollies, laces of typical Victorian inns but keeps the “feel” with rich self portraits (period oil paintings of the inns quirky original family), cut flowers strategically placed and fireside teas and wines served to chatty guests, who range from the 30 somethings on up.
With a whopping 90% occupancy, something is working at Cliffside.
Of course, Newport is a world-class destination with its festivals and picturesque harbor and boutique shops. So Cliffside has that going for it.
But what makes it unique, given the many cool, stately Newport inns?
Christina, a guest, and an executive in the food business, said that she could live here all the time.
Leslie from Massachusetts said, “It’s grand…super clean and best of all, I can see the ocean from my window!”
And that could be it.
Or it could be the history.
Like all good inns, Cliffside has its own mysteries, and this one revolves around the “hauntingly beautiful and wealthy” Beatrice Turner (1888-1948) who painted 3000 works of art, including 1000 self-portraits, and rarely left the house or stopped wearing Victorian clothes.
The inn offers guests a book called Beatrice: The Untold Story of a Legendary Woman of Mystery, by Sheldon Bart, and mentioned by the New York Times.
Most rooms look out partially at the ocean, and all the rooms I saw (there are 12 now; 16 planned) are very attractive with window nooks, working fireplaces, and antique-feeling furniture that doesn’t make a heavy statement.
The bathrooms are actually fun. Glass-walled showers, black and white checkered floors, contemporary fixtures and Aveda creams and shampoos
The dining room with its big fireplace has some quirky touches like a tower of tea cups and of course those tastefully placed cut flowers.
Cliffside serves a sit-down, home-made and very ample breakfast including the usual assortment of breakfast sweets(we loved the cardamom muffins), juices and then cooked to order specials from egg wraps to terrific pancakes and their own maple syrup, a definite treat.
Of course the biggest ‘aww’ factor is Cody, Cliffside’s beautiful little Sheltie
who spends a good part of his day waiting patiently for pats and treats by the welcome desk. (note: a few of the Inn’s accommodations are dog friendly)
For an inn that really just reopened in August 2011, the Cliffside Inn’s present speaks of a very promising future .
Please watch our fun, one-minute Cliffside Travel Video PostCard