Web Exclusive: Newport Harbor Island Resort to reopen following renovation

Nestled in Newport, RI on Goat Island is the Newport Harbor Island Resort, a true New England destination. The resort has undergone a renovation and plans to open next month.

“With every hotel, we try to connect with the community, personally engage guests and start conversations,” said Dawson Design Associates (DDA) Lead Designer Andrea Sheehan. “We immediately dive into the history of the place, the story of its people and explore the elements that make it truly unique and distinctive. Deeply tied to the founding of America, Newport and Rhode Island are historically significant for their ingenuity, independent spirit and hardy, practical lifestyle.”

Owned by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and operated by Davidson Resorts, the $50-million renovation takes the former Gurney’s property to new heights with refreshed guestrooms and suites, a modern spa, new culinary experiences and meeting spaces, and a 22-slip marina.

“For this property, instead of focusing on the often-overdone Gilded Era and sailing communities of Newport, we instead chose to focus on the inherent uncomplicated simplicity of coastal life—balanced, natural, comfortable,” Sheehan said. “We utilized natural materials both weathered and worn, tying in the natural beauty of the lush coastline with light-filled spaces set against mounding rows of hydrangeas and sunsets over the Narragansett Sound.”

DDA reimagined the former torpedo factory to offer cohesive spaces and impart New England warmth and comfort throughout the property. Guestrooms and suites offer water views and many include private outdoor spaces. Inside, the rooms feature natural color palettes and organic materials for effortless elegance.

“Surrounded by the ocean on three sides and across the bay from historic downtown Newport, the hotel offers a memorable indoor and outdoor environment that captures the charm of a classic New England Inn complete with white tongue and groove paneling, rustic hardwood plank floors and hand-crafted New England furniture,” Sheehan said. “We captured a simple relaxed lifestyle that is both warm and inviting, with an emphasis on sustainability. Dyes are made from berries, roots, flowers and leaves. Woven textures. Handmade craftsmanship. Minimalist detailing in a modern context.”

The hotel commissioned local artists for the property’s art and softgoods were sourced and hand-crafted by New England weavers’ guilds for the ultimate sense of place.

Guests can use QR codes to learn more about the artists and their creations. Sheehan explained that this provides guests with a forum to share the power of creativity and showcase personal, intimate stories. This allows guests to celebrate and honor the people of New England, while also evolving the Newport landmark.

“Sharing stories about people and their lives is at the core of all great hospitality experiences,” Sheehan said. “We believe personalizing and sharing stories through design connects with the larger community and invites guests to enjoy an intimate journey of discovery. For this property, we chose to emphasize New England’s richly historical weaving community, a vast network of artisans unique to each individual township. Dating back to before the Revolutionary War, the weavers were the keepers of tradition from village to village, passing down generations of technique, artistry and heritage stitch by stitch. To weave was both a necessity of life, an art form, and a historical act of autonomy and independence.”

Photo credit: Newport Harbor Island Resort