Best Fall Getaways
Been there, done that. Or have you? Discover 23 weekend getaway properties so transformed, you’ll never believe you’d set foot in them before (and why fall is the perfect time to visit them).
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Hyatt Regency Newport
1 Goat Island /// Newport, RI (401) 851-1234
From White Plains: 3 hours
A $34 million renovation opened up the Hyatt Regency Newport to the water.
Patrons of the old Hilton then Sheraton then Doubletree now Hyatt Regency on Goat Island are pleasantly shocked by the bright, nearly all-glass entrance of the improved (to the tune of $34 million) resort. Once dark, dreary, and closed off to surrounding Newport Harbor, the reception area, newly realigned, segues seamlessly into an open lobby and Bar Five33 (homage to the circumference of torpedoes formerly built and stored on this property; structural columns cloaked in chrome actually look like torpedo tubes), and features unobstructed water and bridge views. The old parking lot was jack hammered out and replaced by a “great lawn” where games and events—and weddings—take place.
Rooms: Shipshape chambers sport a nautical motif in sea foams, teals, and teak. Bathrooms equipped with dark slate and marble-tiled showers as large as some New York City apartments are illuminated in part by sunlight streaming through rectangular cuts of frosted glass embedded in the interior wall. And, of course, you can watch, from floor-to-ceiling windows, all the maritime action in the harbor made famous by the America’s Cup Race.
Board: There’s no shortage of decent dining in Newport—Salvation Café (140 Broadway) wins accolades from every quarter. But in-house restaurant Windward has fashioned a surprisingly yummy assortment of shareable tapas. A perfect meal for two or three should include the crab cake Benedict (topped with Pinot Noir-soaked poached egg), marinated jumbo shrimp skewers, and lobster flatbread pizza on foccocia bread. For dessert, fight it out for the fried cheesecake ravioli.
Only Here: Book a 50-minute De-Aging Crème Fraiche Body Wrap at the hotel's Stillwater Spa, which incorporates a vichy shower—a 10-shower-head contraption that swings over your treatment bed so you don’t have to move a muscle after being exfoliated and creamed back to youth.
While Here: Fall brings the Newport Mansion Wine and Food Fest and the International Boat Show, but if you’ve been there and done that with the wharfs, mansions, and Cliff Walk, sample wines at up-and-coming Newport Vineyards (newportvineyards.com) and the gorgeous, inlet-set Greenvale Vineyards (greenvale.com). According to oenophiles, Newport Vineyard’s Ice Wine is “the best in the world.”
Facts: Rooms are $169 to $450, but check the website for dozens of great packages that might include spa services, wine tastings, schooner sails, cocktails, mansion tours, and breakfasts for much less than you’d pay à la carte.
Woods Hole Inn
28 Water St /// Woods Hole, MA (508) 495-0248
From White Plains: 4 hours
The Woods Hole Inn is located just steps from the Martha's Vineyard ferry.
Beth Colt and P.K. Simonds (producer of Ghost Whisperer) purchased a dilapidated hotel/boarding house, originally built in 1878, and turned it into a nautical chic, “vintage-restored” inn. With walls of turquoise and seafoam pastels, white wainscoting, distressed wood floors, and knickknacks cleverly displayed, the Inn is on the funky side of adorable. Across the street from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), it’s just a fishing rod cast away from the Martha’s Vineyard ferry. Woods Hole (which Colt nicknames WoHo), draws both island hoppers and brainy scientists to its almost-too-perfect-to-be-true fishing village environs.
Room: Nine rooms are witty studies in white with walls and pillows in emeralds, jades, and blues for punch. White furniture is topped with trinkets that can be found in Home Goods or local gift shops—and small white extremely clean bathrooms are stocked with handmade green starfish soaps. Ask for room #4 ($150-$280), which has a direct view of the Ferry and the WHOI Research Vessel (of Titanic discovery fame). Beyond the boats you view the serene harbor and at the end of the day a rapturous sunset over the harbor islands.
Board: Until late 2009, the inn did not have a resident breakfast chef, so reviews were, let's just say, unkind. Enter Sara Dillon, foodie extraordinaire, hired to put the B in the B&B. Her soaked steel-cut oats granola and asparagus/caramelized onion tart are revelations. She happily bakes breakfast from scratch every day and, says the divorced Sara, “I’m the happiest housewife on the planet.” For lunch and dinner, try soup or salad at Pie in the Sky (10 Water St) or, if you want to feel like a pirate, have a beer at the 100-plus-year-old Captain Kidd (77 Water St). Discerning diners won’t have to go far at all. The pier-side Fishmonger Café (56 Water St) next door has an inventive chef who can purée cauliflower, cook fish, and sauté mushrooms to perfection.
Only Here: Colt is so sure that you’ll be enamored of the drawbridges, lighthouses, boat-filled harbors, and secret beaches in Woods Hole, she’s got a weekend photography package, which allows you to tag along with an award-winning photographer to make your own memories ($495 includes two nights’ lodging, a two-hour “photo walking tour,” and a copy of Walking Woods Hole, a guide to walking around Woods Hole, as a keepsake. After October 31, the price is $400).
While Here: Skip on over to the Martha’s Vineyard Ferry (steamshipauthority.com; $15 roundtrip) and spend the day on the island that celebs and presidents love—only 30 minutes away.
Facts: Room rates ($99-$325) include afternoon tea and coffee, chef-prepared gourmet breakfast, and free parking.
80 W Broadway /// Long Beach, NY (516) 889-1300/888 662-3224
From White Plains: 1 hour
At the Allegria Hotel's Atlantic restaurant, glass jellyfish change colors while you dine.
Who would blame the spirits of former residents in this nursing-home-turned-boutique hotel if they decided to stick around? Redone in ultra-modern whites and glass, sandblasted dried-starfish-studded walls, and abutting the two-and-a-half-mile Long Beach boardwalk, Allegria Hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is heaven as conceived by its intrepid owner, real-estate developer Allen Rosenberg. Only 20 minutes from JFK airport, Allegria has become a big hit with international airline pilots.
Room: Imbued with sunlight, bleached wood floors, and streamlined shore-house décor, modern rooms have a beachy vibe. Compact glossy white bathrooms contain Joseph Christopher toiletries. Ask for a room ending in an even number 2-10 from which you can watch the jaw-dropping show of both the sunrise and sunset over the Atlantic Ocean horizon. Later in the inky darkness of night, lights from freighters at anchor shimmer offshore.
Board: If thumping techno-music in a splashy bar setting is your thing, by all means remain in the Londa-Lounge with its mirrated double-sided fireplace, trendy 24-person communal table, and white leather womb chairs. But don’t miss a good meal in the got-to-be-seen fantastical Atlantica Restaurant, where even guests facing the wall can spy the boardwalk, beach, and ocean through the magic of geometric mirrors. Overhead, massive glass-blown jellyfish turn from one neon color to another gradually, giving the room a hallucinatory glow.
Only Here: Take a brisk stroll along the two-and-a-half-mile boardwalk, which you can access from the lounge. You’d have to travel to the Hamptons or Montauk for another oceanfront hotel in New York.
While Here: Bring your surfboard or rent one at a local surf shop. Fall is the best time to catch big waves on Long Beach’s National Boulevard, a world-famous surfing beach.
Facts and Figures: Rooms and suites from $275-$700; WiFi, $12.95 per day.
Oyster Point Hotel
146 Bodman Pl /// Red Bank, NJ (732) 530-8200/(800) 345-3484
From White Plains: 1½ hours
The Oyster Point Hotel occupies the perfect spot on the Navesink River.
Set within an unfortunately ugly box of a building on the Navesink River, Oyster Point Hotel was fading until a $3.8 million top-to-bottom makeover put it back into play. With a new vitality, its 58 rooms on five floors are state-of-the-art and the contemporary lounge and deck areas now are deserving of the stunning views.
Room: Textured charcoal-hued carpeting in the hallways extends into newly funky, urban rooms. Stay in one of the redone suites, which feature Dux beds, large gray flannel tufted couches, white leather chairs, soft Sferra linens, black-out shades, and dramatic water views. Baths are too-cool-for-school black. Suite #308 is fully handicapped accessible, with roll-in deluxe marble shower, light gray tufted chairs and leather ottoman. Watch activity on the Navesink River from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Board: Red Bank is replete with dining options. For top-notch elegance, try Nicholas (160 Rte 35 S), which has won rave reviews from patrons.
Only Here: Take a drink out to the deck, lounge on all-weather cushion couches, and watch the eking-the-last-of-the-fall-season yachts arrive at Oyster Point’s private dock. If the weather is inclement, expert “mixologists” in the hip earth-toned communal-seating Pearl Lounge create the coolest concoctions for you in front of a striking contemporary “linear” fireplace.
While Here: Join a Ghost Tour (Dublin House at 30 Monmouth St), an entertaining way to learn the spooky history of this rivertown, Friday and Saturday nights through October. Red Bank is known for its performing and fine arts, and fall abounds with festivals and shows.
Facts and Figures: Rooms, $139-$229; suites, $269-$300