By Madeline Bilis
Updated: June 28, 2019
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For more than a century, Block Island’s Surf Hotel has dazzled guests with its rambling front porch and sweeping ocean views. After lingering on the market for years, the iconic Rhode Island getaway will reopen on July 1 as the Block Island Beach House.

Lark Hotels, a New England-based boutique hotel collection, bought the Surf Hotel earlier this year. The company has since transformed the place into a coastal-chic oasis, complete with a waterfront patio, a restaurant, a bar, a coffee and cocktail counter, and 31 eye-popping rooms.

Originally built in the late 1800s for the island’s resident doctor, the sprawling Victorian home is the only beachfront accommodation on Block Island. It’s steps from New Shoreham’s ferry dock — and the sandy stretches of Crescent Beach. Guests will have access to a slew of nearby surfboard, paddleboard, and bike rentals, as well as free lounge chairs, towels, and umbrellas.

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While Lark’s renovation maintained the building’s iconic “Surf Hotel” sign, plenty of updates strike a stylistic balance between antique and contemporary. Bold wallpaper prints and shiplap accents in each room are juxtaposed with wooden four-poster beds, in-room Polaroid cameras, and vintage area rugs. Meanwhile, surfboards and commissioned art pieces adorn the walls.

On the hotel’s much-loved covered porch is the resort’s anchor restaurant, The Surf. It serves fresh fish and barbecue dishes, not to mention panoramic views of the sea and the sunset. (It’s also where the hotel hosts weekly clambakes.) The outdoor Beach Bar offers cocktails, frosé, and more, while inside, a coffee bar has eat-in and grab-and-go menu items all day.

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If you don’t have a free weekend to catch a ferry to Block Island this year, 2020 promises an even bigger splash. When the resort reopens for the season in May, it will do so with a brand-new pool and two event spaces — one indoor and one outdoor — plus a few oceanside cottages and suites.

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This season’s rooms start at $209 per night. You can book at blockislandbeachhouse.com.

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