The New Wayfinder Hotel Brings a New Level of Cool to Newport

The family- and dog-friendly hotel features a pool worthy of a backyard bash, local art and a terrific restaurant, Nomi Park, by the Mission Group.
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An assortment of dishes at the Wayfinder’s restaurant, Nomi Park, including calamari with nduja butter, fluke crudo and sardines with saffron aioli.

There’s a hip new hotel in the City By the Sea. The Wayfinder is equipped with the latest in contactless check-in technology, a pool worthy of an epic backyard bash, local art and its own restaurant, Nomi Park, run by the Mission Group, which owns Mission burgers, TSK and Winner Winner. The hotel is decorated with more than 1,000 pieces of art from Rhode Island artists and it has a retail area from Bohemian Bias, which runs a storefront in downtown Newport. All of the bath products in the rooms are from Shore Soap Company, also located in Newport.

Owner Phil Hospod explained the thinking behind the hotel’s local focus and family-friendly design, which makes for a good staycation destination thanks to an on-site pool and great dining options. Large rooms are outfitted with multiple beds made up with Matouk linens, plus some have a pull-out couch, too.

The Wayfinder

The Wayfinder. Photo by Read McKendree.

A room at the Wayfinder.

The restaurant also has a kids’ menu (they don’t hide it, it’s right there… on the regular menu!), and if you want to avoid people for social-distancing reasons, you can use remote check-in by unlocking your hotel room door with a code sent through your phone. It’s also dog-friendly with various amenities for the pups, plus green space around the hotel for walking.

Hospod made a concerted effort to support Newport businesses through the hotel launch. “Newport is known for its incredible history of Gilded Age mansions, yachting races, the whole Kennedy crowd, but the part that really got me excited about building a hotel project in Newport and catering to a new demographic is how many creative entrepreneurs call Newport home, and they are really proud of their city,” Hospod says. While Hospod is from Montreal, his wife is from the Bristol and Barrington area, and the couple married in Bristol.

He previously started his career in the ski resort world, then moved into independent lifestyle boutique hotels in urban markets. “Our whole mission at the Wayfinder is to celebrate and collaborate with this community and give them a platform to do their thing,” he says.

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The Wayfinder’s lobby.

The hotel has a terrific restaurant, Nomi Park, with plenty of space in the dining room for distancing. The menu includes local oysters and fluke crudo, fried calamari with njuda butter, sardines served with saffron aioli, a hot buttered lobster roll with trout roe, preserved lemon and fried shallots, steak frites and so much more. The cocktail program is also super fun with plays off the pisco sour with fresh strawberries and egg white and gin and juice made with fresh squeezed juices.

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The lobster roll at Nomi Park at the Wayfinder.

It’s refreshing to see a hotel and restaurant be so welcoming to young families. Hospod knows the feeling as a father of a toddler. “We were like, how do we create a property that works for all, for the young and the young at heart,” he says. “Folks with young children still want a lot of the same things in terms of beautiful design, convenient location and great food and drink, but then you also need a great kiddo menu and a little more space in the guestrooms as well.”

But if you don’t want to bring the kids, the Wayfinder is perfect for a romantic getaway, too. Apparently they serve an epic breakfast in bed. Then you can head to the pool and enjoy the raw bar and music in the patio area.

The hotel and restaurant are opening at a challenging time, but they are following all state and federal rules to keep staff and guests safe. Sanitation stations are sprinkled throughout the property, they are enforcing mask wearing in public areas and pushing social distancing. The remote check-in also helps. “Health and safety for our staff and guests is priority number one, and as we dip our toes back into the water of traveling and gathering, it needs to be done responsibly and carefully,” he says. 

So as Rhode Island begins to enter Phase 3 of reopening, consider a staycation at one of Newport’s newest hotels.

151 Admiral Kalbfus Rd., Newport, 401-849-9880, thewayfinderhotel.com

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