For its 85th birthday, the charming Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island wrapped up a multi-million dollar makeover in March, breathing a whole new life into this historic sweetheart.
Atop Newport’s Historic Hill neighborhood with breathtaking views that hint at 17th century New England, the 209-room property also looks toward the future with a much more environmentally-friendly vision following the renovation. Today, Hotel Viking rewards hybrid car drivers with free parking, uses Green Seal-certified chemicals and biodegradable detergents with no phosphates, recycles fluorescent light bulbs, and it has eliminated styrofoam throughout the hotel, among other programs.
The hotel’s One Bellevue restaurant shifted gears as well. It now features more meals prepared with locally grown ingredients, some even grown on-property. Executive Chef Kevin Thiele has a garden on the grounds, and his culinary team spent more than a year researching and collecting the best products from local suppliers. Most of the ingredients prepared in their dishes are harvested, grown or caught by Rhode Island farmers and fishermen. Drinks have an organic touch too, like the Mojitos, featuring hotel-grown mint.
This move for sustainability earned the hotel Green certification with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. The hotel is also registered with the Historic Hotels of America.
“There are always new rules, restrictions and issues dealing with fishing, and as responsible chefs, we want to ensure our guests have the freshest of what’s available, protecting the fish populations and following the guidelines and restrictions,” says Chef Thiele. “As a result, a group of chefs and fishermen pulled together and now there’s a program called Trace & Trust. It allows fishermen to communicate directly with chefs and allows the chefs to be able to tell a guest exactly when, where and how the fish was caught.”
This fresh-out-of-the-water approach benefits groups, too. The hotel arranges chartered fishing boats to take groups out to fish with the chef and help serve the day’s catch for dinner.
Also appealing for groups, the hotel renovated all of the Newport Wing’s 136 rooms with all-new flooring, linens, furniture and other amenities.
“It was important for meeting planners to provide a consistent room product to all event attendees, so we made it happen,” says Marlen Scalzi, Director of Sales/Marketing. Hotel Viking features 13,400 sf of meeting space, including two ballrooms, an executive boardroom and four meeting rooms.