In Watch Hill, R.I., a historic retreat is brought back to life.
Credit: Buff Strickland

There are certain buildings that loom as large in memory as they do in real life, and the Ocean House is one of them. Built in 1868 on a windswept hillside with views of the Atlantic, the Victorian hotel once catered to moneyed aristocrats but was torn down after years of neglect. Redone to the tune of $146 million, the property is as grand as ever: expansive decks and manicured croquet lawns are a nod to old-world glamour, while the light-filled 49 guest rooms and 22 private villas have modern bathrooms (oversize soaking tubs; marble tiles) and custom-made dark wood furnishings. On the ground floor there’s the farm-to-table Seasons restaurant, with a veranda overlooking a private white-sand beach—the perfect spot to idle away an afternoon, cocktail in hand. What more could you want for a summer getaway? 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, R.I.; 401/584-7000;; doubles from $685.