After a wonderfully refreshing day in Mystic I awoke with a smile on my face. It was a day I was counting down to. I was going to visit a hotel infamous for its beauty, location, and food. I was headed to Westerly, Rhode Island to the Ocean House.
A few months prior to my visit I had stumbled upon this treasure in my Conde Nast Traveler magazine. The first glance of this magnificently yellow imposing building took my breath away. I was instantly drawn to it. I knew at once I had to go there so I immediately put down my magazine and picked up my phone. First I had to know where it was I was going to travel. When I realized it was in Rhode Island I put it back a ways in the master file bucket list I keep in my mind. But to my surprise it would get bumped up to the top.
My friend who lived in Mystic pointed out how close Ocean House was to her house, about a thirty minute or so drive. She had been there before and suggested when we were planning my trip to visit that we have brunch there. I was only originally focused on just staying at the Hotel but now I was learning that their killer brunch would lure me there sooner than I dreamed. It was a win-win-win. I would get to see my bestie, see Ocean House, and have an unforgettable experience. These are most of my favorite things to do.
On the morning of, I put on my Sunday best and we headed out. The drive was magical as was the weather we were having that day in July 2014. It was warm but the simmering sunshine seemed to show the elated aura around us.
As we pulled up to the valet, the House was everything I imagined and more as I was still standing outside. I wondered further to the front to take in all in. It was standing big, tall, and proud. It was just there batting its eyelashes at me knowing I was there just to admire it. I felt like it was flirting with me, just bursting at the seams for me to see what was inside. While my excitement was reaching its peak I didn’t want it to go too fast. I wanted each step, each sight to wash over me. I wanted to notice every detail. As I did each moment was greater than the next.
When you walk up the stairs the House seems to grow even bigger as you look up at it. Upon entering it does not disappoint. I didn’t know where to look first: at the elegant furnishings, the alluring hard wood floors, or the food I was beginning to smell. But before I could focus on any one area my eyes were immediately drawn out toward the ocean. From the title of this hotel it is no big surprise that it is right on the ocean. But boy what the title can’t do is describe how INCREDIBLY beautiful a site it is. A site for sore eyes I believe the expression is.
As my party was guided into the restaurant the table we were heading for was right by the big window looking out on the water. My God what a view! It couldn’t have been a prettier day or time of year to be there. It was quite serendipitous.
While I calmly sat and soaked it all in I could hardly believe my eyes. Besides choosing your own entrees and one of the many delicious looking cocktails they were serving (including a mini bar just for you to make your own Bloody Mary’s from an assortment of ingredients) you got to look through an entire room of food. It reminded me of being in Harrods in London, except that there weren’t separate rooms divided by food category but close enough.
There were mountains of breads- anything from muffins to croissants to dinner rolls. There were mounds of cheeses from sharp cheddar to rarer breeds. There was soup for those craving lunch, a huge raw oyster bar, array of high quality salads, customable crepes, and a table as long enough to sit the twelve Apostles holding miniature versions of all of the greatest desserts in the world.
Besides these “buffet” items you also got to pick a specific entrée from eight delicate breakfast or lunch choices as they were. I was torn at first but I just went with the first item I read which were two eggs scrambled served with Applewood bacon. It sounded so simple yet so irresistible. By the time it was placed in front of me I was overwhelmed.
I went for the soup even though I wasn’t really in the mood for it. But it was New England clam chowder and I thought it would have to be amazing here, and boy was it! I have only had it one other in time, in Rhode Island oddly enough but it was an excellent part of my birthday dinner (see blogs below).
Next I tried some of a crepe filled with strawberries, had picked on some cheese and bread, and then it was time for my eggs. Lucky the portion was just right and I had time to digest before going up to look at the desserts. I say digest but it was more like taking a few deep breathes you know you won’t have room for in a few minutes.
Since the desserts were all perfected pint sized you were able to get a taste without having to settle on just one. I bit a few from the desserts my group and I had brought back to the table but I was just too stuffed to enjoy any more. I felt like I got full so quickly and it would take a multitude of trips to be able to conquer those food filled rooms. I left knowing in a few short hours or days that I would be craving something I left behind. I hate that.
Once brunch was officially over, we made our way out of the rooms that had catered to my every whim and I began to take some photos of the entry way that I didn’t get to while I was walking in with my mouth on the floor. We were heading towards the pool and ultimately the ocean. I had thought I would walk on the beach or around the town that afternoon but I was way too hot and full. Plus once I got to the pool it was all I could do not to jump in while wearing my sundress.
This pool area, which includes a fountain like spring and shallow wading area, was one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. It was so picture perfect I felt like I was walking onto a Hollywood set. The sun seemed to dance upon the water and I felt the invitation to join in growing stronger and stronger. But alas I controlled myself. But now I know why I could only afford to have brunch here in the summer, and not spend the weekend. Although from everything I saw the price is most definitely worth it. I am definitely starting to save up.
From the pool we walked from the back of the hotel to the front to retrieve our car from the valet. I felt like a Kennedy, you know minus the tragedies.
I felt a surge of sadness creep over me as we piled back in and drove back towards Connecticut. I kept my eyes on Ocean House until we were out of sight. Our glorious adventure was over, for now. From there I was getting in the car and heading back home. My dream had become a reality and then it went back to being a dream. But the memories will certainly last me a lifetime.
If you are interested in having a brand new high end brunch experience and you can’t make it to Rhode Island just yet, not to worry there are many exotic locations you can visit instead. For ideas check out CNN’s top ten list (http://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2014-11-05/four-seasons-sofitel-the-venetian-ultimate-hotel-brunches/10). I know for sure I am going to have brunch at the Four Seasons in New York City at some point this year.
I now know the many wonderful reasons Ocean House was rated as the number five hotel in the WORLD, according to Travel and Leisure magazine in 2014.
I can only imagine and hope to find out soon how much better it feels to stay there.
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