Famous for its historic mansions and rich sailing history, Newport, RI, is an East Coast locale known for its charming atmosphere. The Wayfinder, which opened this summer, is a boutique hotel developed by Dovetail + Co. founder Phil Hospod that aims to redefine what travelers think when it comes to Newport. Where the city evokes images of gilded, stately homes, The Wayfinder seeks to offer a contemporary stay, steeped in the city’s free-spirited energy.
Designed in collaboration with New York-based interior architecture and design firm Reunion Goods & Services, The Wayfinder ditched a traditional take on coastal style—there are no anchors in sight—in favor of cool tones, antique finds, custom furnishings and contemporary local art. All public spaces and guestrooms feature a collection of local art, totaling more than 1,000 pieces of artwork all sourced or commissioned from Rhode Island artists.
Carrie Dessertine was in charge of interior architecture of public spaces. Dana Jaasund was in charge of interior architecture of guestrooms. And Laura Flam was in charge of interior decoration. All three are principals at Reunion Goods & Services.
The five-acre property offers 197 guestrooms, each individually furnished with vintage trunks repurposed as nightstands from Rhode Island antique markets. Referring to guestrooms as “a fresh and moody interlude,” the design team noted that the guestrooms offer a “tranquil and homey respite for guests.” The colors are both airy and moody. Since the goal of the project was to freshen the spaces and bring as much light into the rooms as possible, the intent was always for the rooms to feel as if you were staying with friends or at a summer house.
The lobby is anchored around a central, bold mustard fireplace, meant as a gathering place for passersby. Modern art and the rich texture of the lime washed lower wall breaks up the space.
The design team said it has “a modern residential feel with adventurous accents.” For instance, the lobby’s neutral terrazzo floor is contrasted with the bold, saturated plane of the ceiling. The darkness of the ceiling adds intimacy to the space by compressing it to feel comfortable and residential in its proportions, the team said. The neutrals were designed to stand back and let the saturated colors pop and remind you that you are in the shared space.
The Wayfinder partnered up with Newport’s family-run Mission Group to lead the hotel’s culinary program. The hotel signature restaurant, Nomi Park, serves familiar New England classics with a crave-able twist. A solarium just beyond the restaurant offers lounge seating surrounded by greenery, with a menu of light bites and cocktails from the Nomi Park bar.
According to the design team, Nomi Park offers “a fresh mix of coastal colors with youthful touches.”
The teal bar face and the burnt orange leather of the banquettes punctuate the otherwise airy pale space. The light floor and ceiling represent larger mass of the pale sand and sky retreating, while the contrast of the dark trim and the deep blue O&G chairs give the contrast of the shoreline you find in the rocky New England coast. The pink leopard upholstery adds a fresh pop of youthful spirit.
Meanwhile, the solarium was designed to be “a mix of colors inspired by the Atlantic coast with pops of unexpected color.” Intended to feel homey and residential, thepalette shifts slightly between the spaces, where the restaurant has some brighter energy to reflect the Mission Restaurant vision. Leading the eye into the space, the stained blue library chairs on the color-blocked orange/black/white flat weave rug introduce the restaurant experience.
The pool, hand-painted by Rhode Island resident Sean Spellman, features the artist’s signature rolling sea motif, which is also reflected in the outdoor mural facing the pool area.