Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Jailhouse theme and reported ghost sightings
Originally built in 1772, the Jailhouse Inn occupies what used to be the old Newport County Jail. In keeping with the jail theme, the inn features interesting little artifacts and details throughout, such as iron bars over the lobby front desk, framed articles about famous criminals, and signs directing guests to “solitary” and various “cell blocks.”
There isn’t much in terms of a common area, aside from the breakfast room, but being located so close to downtown Newport and nearby shopping means you probably won’t spend much time at the inn anyway. When the weather is nice, you can relax on the front porch and watch over historic Marlborough Street, or walk a block to the Harbor.
Stories abound of ghosts visiting the Jailhouse, so if you keep your eyes open and perhaps you’ll see one too -- especially if you stay on the third floor.
Within a block of Washington Square, walkable to many of the area's legendary haunts
Less than a 10-minute walk from downtown Newport, Jailhouse Inn is located within a block of Washington Square, where you’ll find lots of shopping and dining at famous spots like the White Horse Tavern, one of New England’s oldest taverns.
Newport is famous for the restored, historic New England mansions dotting the coast and its downtown area. Architecture and history buffs will find plenty to explore in the National Historic Landmark District, at the Newport Historical Society, and all along Bellevue Avenue where some of the most impressive homes are located, such as the famous Breakers Mansion. Some of the mansions are open for guided tours, while others you can just stand and gawk at.
Aside from being rich in history and architecture, Newport also plays hosts to a number of music and film festivals each year, including the Newport Jazz Festival (past performers include Miles Davis and Duke Ellington), Newport Folk Festival in Fort Adams State Park, and Newport International Film Festival.
Tennis, yachting, and golf are popular in Newport, as you might be expect of an area teeming with wealthy individuals. The International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Newport Country Club are both in town.
If nature is more your thing, check out Gooseberry Beach located on Ocean Drive or enjoy the extremely popular Cliff Walk. It’s been designated a National Recreation Trail and runs about 3.5 miles along the shore.
Sometimes you just want to shop and eat, however. Downtown Newport is bursting with shops, cute boutiques and galleries. After you’ve exhausted your credit card and feet, pop into one of the many waterfront restaurants serving up fresh seafood and other local cuisine.
Standard guest rooms with interesting history
The rooms at Jailhouse Inn are comfortable, if simply decorated. Dark wood furnishings and padded benches mix with artwork such as speed limit signs (a subtle allusion to the law and order theme). But the overall feel is pretty basic, and a little outdated (there are tube TVs and wall air conditioning units). There are no elevators in the building, so don't book the third floor if you're opposed to stair climbing. Or if you're tall -- top floor rooms have sloped ceilings, which are pretty low. The flip side is that the third floor is the quietest -- guests have complained of noise from upstairs neighbors on the lower floors.
Free parking is key, otherwise not much else offered here
Jailhouse Inn is a no-frills bed and breakfast with free parking located near Washington Square in Newport, a 10-minute walk from downtown. The inn’s history as a former county jail adds character to the decor, with details such as original steel gates and bars on common-area windows. But rates are a little high for such basic rooms.