Newport, Rhode Island
Back in the late 19th century, when railroad and mining tycoons first turned tony Newport into the mansion-filled summer resort we know today, luxury looked a little different. They had Vanderbilts and Astors; we have Hiltons and Kardashians. So Gilded, opening in May, dutifully updates the swanky seaport’s approach to high-end properties for the Real Housewives generation. Out: Oriental rugs, Fabergé eggs and crystal chandeliers. In: rococo and beaux arts-inspired furnishings with a contemporary edge, in-room iPads pre-programmed with info on local attractions and a black velvet and white lacquer pool table where guests staying in the 17 rooms and suites can shoot a few rounds. Gilded is tucked on a leafy residential side street only a few steps from the main strip of shops and nearby beaches, and its quiet courtyard lounge—with a cozy fire table and a croquet practice green—offers a grassy hideaway for enjoying a nightcap after a day in the sand. (Your room conveniently comes with a beach bag and chair.) Thanks to a partnership with Vineyard Vines, the hotel will even help you outfit yourself appropriately; guests here get special online discounts with the clothier—still a perennial favorite for the pretty and preppy. Some things never change.
-Restaurants courting old money abound, but we love the new blood behind Thames Street Kitchen, helmed by a pair of young chef/pals and their wives (twin sisters). The formerly NYC-based foursome has brought Newport a tiny farm-to-fork spot that feels straight out of Bushwick. Bonus: BYOB.
-The summer sizzles with live music series. Classical concerts define the Newport Music Festival (July 10-26), the Fiona Apple-affiliated project Watkins Family Hour graces the Newport Folk Festival (July 24-26) and a Cassandra Wilson-led tribute to Billie Holiday is a highlight of the Newport Jazz Festival (July 31-Aug. 2).
-Lest you be left ashore while the blue bloods hit the water, Sail Newport offers lessons that’ll strengthen your sea legs.