In Watch Hill, R.I., a historic retreat is brought back to life.

By Dominique Browning
July 12, 2010
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.