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Ocean House > About > History


At the turn of the century, hotels dotted the coastline, inviting guests to escape the heat of the cities and spend their summers by the sea.

Famously known for its warm yellow façade and stunning views of the Atlantic, Ocean House opened in 1868 just after the Civil War. The hotel gained prominence among the historic New England hotels built during this era.

For those who could afford the luxury of travel, Ocean House became the quintessential summer home attracting many distinguished guests in the early 1900s. The grand Victorian hotel was a genteel beach resort where generations of families and guests from across America came “to summer.” In fact, in 1916 Ocean House was immortalized in the silent movie American Aristocracy, starring Douglas Fairbanks.

Ocean House welcomed guests for 135 years, but as with many historic hotels, over time, neglect took its toll. The Ocean House was closed in 2003 when it was deemed beyond feasible repair. In 2004 a new structure replicating the original exterior design was conceived. Today, this much-loved beach hotel has been recreated to convey the romance of its storied past and the rich character of Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

The new resort features 49 rooms and 18 Signature Suites, providing more spacious accommodations than the original structure, which offered 159 rooms. Viewed from the outside, all of the resort’s 247 windows remain in their original positions. More than 5,000 salvageable artifacts and furnishing elements were lovingly harvested from the original structure’s historic interiors.