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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Newport, The Pride of Rhode Island

For a great Northeastern meeting location, Newport, Rhode Island, stands out.

Along with appealing coastal scenery and waterfront attractions, Newport offers a distinctive combination of historic and contemporary architecture, not to mention diverse meeting venues. The downtown area has more than 900 hotel rooms in several convention properties with 70,000 square feet of meeting space.

Newport offers an unusual combination of features, said Andrea McHugh, marketing communications manager of Discover Newport.

“It’s a historic seaport city that’s also forward thinking,” she said. “Visitors enjoy great hotel and meeting experiences, and many conference participants also add pre- and post- activities.”

Newport has been called the Charleston of the North. The city’s heritage goes back to Colonial times, and today it holds the reputation as the sailing capital of the world. Founded in 1639, it has maintained its small-town appeal over the years, with a current population of less than 25,000. As a vacation spot the city has attracted famous figures including Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. It’s also home to the U.S. Naval War College.

“It’s a very cool Norman Rockwell kind of place,” McHugh said. “The city has changed with the times while keeping its historic footprint.”

She added that Newport’s location, three hours north of New York and 90 minutes south of Boston, is a plus and that getting there can mean a convenient train ride or car ride.

Once there, visitors find it easy to get around town.

“A number of attractions are within easy walking distance,” McHugh said. “It’s a very walkable city,”

Locals tout Newport as a year-round destination. Though summer is the most visited season, visitors also find the other seasons appealing. Popular activities include exploring the city’s historic mansions, taking a trolley ride or a walking tour through the downtown area, or checking out the multifaceted boating scene.  Frequently visited attractions include the scenic Ocean Drive, the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the nation’s largest coastal fortification, Fort Adams. Also attractive is the well-known Cliff Walk, a three-and-a-half-mile path along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean with views of the city’s most interesting architecture.

Hotel Options

Hotels include the Newport Marriott, with 319 guest rooms and 16 meeting rooms totaling 24,500 square feet. The largest event facility, a grand ballroom, offers 7,686 square feet of space with a capacity of 1,100. The Hotel Viking has 10 meeting rooms and 14,400 square feet of event space. Two ballrooms cover 5,880 and 4,032 square feet, respectively, and a total of 208 guest rooms are available.  Along with its 133 sleeping rooms, the Harbor Hotel and Marina Newport offers 6,500 square feet of meeting space. The seven meeting rooms include a ballroom and a smaller room with an adjacent deck.