Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Warm and welcoming, with beautiful period details
In the early 1920s, the beginning of Newport’s Gilded Age, locals began to feel that their city should have a grand hotel -- one that would reflect Newport’s wealth and attract elite guests from around the country. In 1926, the Hotel Viking, a stately, red-brick Georgian colonial opened to the public. Standing five stories high with a commanding presence on Bellevue Avenue, the hotel was given the name Viking -- an allusion to the power and prestige of the ancient Nordic conquerers. The splendor and grandeur that was felt in 1926 is still alive at the Viking today. The hotel’s exterior is still a stately, red-brick Colonial whose large front porch sports white rocking chairs and large planters. Inside, the lobby is bustling. Families check in at the front desk, while valets scurry to retrieve cars. There are people working on laptops and others casually sipping coffee. It’s quiet, but the buzz of activity makes the place feel lively.
The lobby decor is traditional, with creamy taupe colored walls, blue accents, and white wood moldings. Plush area rugs sit atop shiny wood floors and denote different seating areas where guests can lounge on tufted sofas and velvety high back chairs. The lobby has two historical features that are worth noting: The first is the clock hanging above the check-in desk that features ancient Nordic runes in place of numbers (a casual nod to the hotel’s Nordic-inspired name). The second is the original 1926 brass letter box right next to the elevator.
On Bellevue Avenue, close to mansions and Thames Street
Situated on Bellevue Avenue, the Hotel Viking is ideally located for visitors who are looking to “do it all” in Newport. The famed Newport mansions are also on Bellevue Avenue, about a five-minute drive from the hotel. The beginning of the Cliff Walk, a lovely three and a half mile cliffside path that meanders along the coast, is within a three-minute drive. Thames Street, a lively boulevard along the harbor with tons of great shopping and dining, is about a 10-minute walk or five-minute drive. Driving to Easton’s Beach will take about three minutes, and Second Beach will take about seven. T.F. Green Airport is 40 minutes by car, while the city of Providence is 50 minutes.
Gorgeous decor, tiny bathrooms
There are three types of guest rooms at the Viking Hotel: Manor Rooms, Newport Rooms, and Estate Rooms. All are luxuriously appointed and richly decorated, have fully stocked minibars, Keurig coffeemakers, and LCD flat-screen TVs.
Manor Rooms: The smallest of all room types at the Viking, Manor Rooms are typically between 150 to 200 square feet. They feature decor inspired by Newport’s historic manor houses, with charming features like built-in cherry wardrobes and beveled glass doors. Bathrooms are small, but larger than those found in the Newport Rooms, and have large, marble, rain-head showers.
Newport Rooms: Located in a wing of the hotel that was added in the 1960s, Newport Rooms are significantly larger than Manor Rooms at 310 square feet. Arguably the most plush of all the guest rooms, Newport Rooms have thick, soft carpeting, gorgeous satin duvets, and wallpaper with bold patterns in neutral tones (think gray stripes, and silvery diamond accents). Interestingly, the decor in the Newport Rooms pays homage to the Progressive Era, a time in American history that saw rapid development and the start of social activism. This can be most clearly seen in the rooms’ artwork, which features black and white photographs of anything from men riding in cars to a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. There are also framed colored posters of women donning new fashions (like the bathing suit!) and taking part in new activist groups like the Suffragettes. The one drawback to the Newport Rooms is their painfully small, and oddly configured bathrooms. Shower/tub combos and a toilet are found in one itsy-bitsy room, while one sink and a closet can be found across the hall. After seeing the large size and swanky finishes in the Newport Rooms, the tiny, boring bathrooms are woefully disappointing.
Estate Rooms: At 300 square feet, the Estate Rooms are slightly smaller than the Newport Rooms, but still fairly large, considering they are located in the original wings of the hotel. Decor in the Estate Rooms is a bit more toned down than that of the Newport Rooms, but still features luxe finishes. Estate Rooms are inspired by Newport’s Gilded Age, and have Queen-Anne style furniture, satin duvets, and built-in cherry wardrobes. Bathrooms are large, with beautiful custom cabinetry and huge marble showers.
Indoor pool, spa, fitness center, and a well regarded bar and restaurant on-site
The Hotel Viking is loaded with features. Although there is a nightly resort fee, there are many perks for guests staying at this hotel, including free Wi-Fi and free rides to anywhere within a two-mile radius. Though after the daily resort fee, these extras aren't exactly free. Parking at the hotel is expensive, so it might be worth it for some guests to take advantage of the hotel’s free rides -- considering most of Newport’s sights are within a two mile radius anyway. Because the Viking has over 13,000 square feet of event space, it’s a popular spot for local high school proms and business conferences, so potential guests might want to inquire whether or not there will be an event taking place at the time of their stay. The indoor pool at the Viking is large, with lots of comfortable outdoor furniture and lounge chairs surrounding it. There's a small whirlpool, and free towel service for hotel guests. Adjacent to the pool area is the fitness center. Though small, it is bright, with lots of windows and nearly a dozen machines (treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals). There are also free weights, a few mats, a water cooler, and towel service.
A gorgeous spa with a long list of treatment options
The luxurious Spa Terre is a highlight at the Hotel Viking. With it’s white walls and light blue accents, polished wood floors, and white wainscoting, the spa has a calming, beach-y New England sort of feeling about it. There are multiple treatment rooms and a seemingly endless list of treatment options, all of which can be adjusted to accommodate couples. Spa goers can enjoy treatments like Balinese massages, "Transformations Facials," and "Global Rituals" like the "Javanese Royal Treatment" or "Mai Pai Thai Ritual." It should be noted that Spa Terre will be coming under new ownership in the near future, so its name and treatment options are subject to change.
Signature restaurant, One Bellevue, is well regarded throughout Newport
One Bellevue, the hotel’s on-site bar and restaurant, is a highly regarded dining establishment in Newport. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant’s menu focuses on Newport’s fresh seafood, but also features sandwiches and salads during lunch, and entrees ranging from filet mignon and rack of lamb to seasonal pasta dishes at dinnertime. The main dining room is elegant, with dark wood tones and white tablecloths, but it’s the Garden Room, with its exposed brick walls, wood beam ceilings, and large windows, that is most sought after by diners, especially in the warmer months. Unfortunately breakfast is not included in the nightly room rate.
Opened in 1926 and most recently renovated in 2007, the Hotel Viking is a historic Newport property with charming period details and subtle Nordic accents. Located on Bellevue Avenue, the upscale Hotel Viking is close to Newport’s famed mansions, the lively shops and restaurants on Thames Street, and the gorgeous Cliff Walk. With a large indoor pool, beautiful spa, and over 13,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel is ideal for any type of traveler, including families, couples, and those on business. Rooms are large with rich decor inspired by Newport’s Gilded Age, but bathrooms in the Newport wing are incredibly small. Though nightly rates tend to skyrocket in the summer months and there is a pesky nightly resort fee, staying at the Viking tends to be significantly cheaper than at other comparable options like the Castle Hill Inn or The Chanler at Cliff Walk, both of which are located on the water.