Hotel Viking Newport Rhode Island
Hotel History
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Hotel History

As a member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, the hotel holds a special place in history.  From the clock above the Front Desk depicting ancient Nordic Runes to the original 1926 brass letter box in the Lobby, our Newport hotel offers a wonderful combination of style, comfort and modern amenities. Brimming with stories of famous dignitaries and celebrities, the Hotel Viking has offered gracious hospitality for over 80 years. The employees and associates of the Hotel Viking are very proud to share more of the Hotel Viking's heritage and character with the public.  The "city by the sea" is as beautiful today as it was many years ago.  We hope that by sharing these special memories with you, you will understand why the Hotel Viking is indeed so very special to us.

Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline:

  • 1924 - Locals saw need for a grand hotel to keep pace with the economic growth in Newport.  Fundraising began.  Shares of common stock sold out in one day.
  • 1926 - Hotel opened to an awestruck public on May 25, 1926.  Two lavish parties  were held.  One for the workers and one for the general public.  Tickets to the event sold for $5 and both events sold out.  The American Hotels Corporation was the opening Management Company and ran the Hotel until the late 1960’s.
  • 1962 - The first motel unit was opened, an outdoor pool and patio built in a beautiful landscaped setting.  The name of the hotel changed to The Viking Hotel and Motor Inn and guests could drive up to a two way camera in the parking lot to check-in.
  • 1964 - The second motel unit was added in the 1970’s.  The hotel added a 30 thousand square foot convention center on the lower level, replacing the outdoor pool and surrounding area.  This former convention center is now the Viking Ballroom, SpaFjor and back of the house areas.
  • 1980’s - The new ownership of the Hotel Viking connected the two freestanding motel units to the main building, making one large complex.
  • 1999 - LaSalle Hotels purchased the property and appointed Noble House Hotels and Resorts as the new Management Company.  Under their direction, an initial 3 million dollar renovation began to bring the hotel back to its original splendor.
  • 2003 -  An additional 5 million dollars created beautiful public space, the Viking Ballroom, SpaFjor and much needed back of the house space.
  • 2007 -  The original Viking guest rooms undergo a 6.8 million dollar renovation to restore them to their Gilded Age splendor.
  • 2014 - The hotel was purchased by an investment company and Pyramid hotels out of Boston was hired as the new management company. This is their first Rhode Island Hotel and are proud to be involved with such a prestigious historic hotel.

The People's Hotel on the Hill

Article As Seen In Newport Life Magazine 2004
The venerable Hotel Viking, a shining five story brick testimony to the faith that people had in their city in the 1920's, was initiated by community leaders and built with community investment. It became known as the peoples hotel because local investors bought the common stock that furnished the half million dollars needed to erect the magnet that would attract tourists to Newport at the dawn of the automobile age. And did the city ever embrace the Viking… imagine modern Newport welcoming a new hotel with a parade fireworks a community inspection a gala dinner with music an dancing. They did all that and more in May of 1926 when the Viking opened. This stately Georgian colonial with brick façade remains reminiscent of a bygone era when hotels were not just a place to lay your head for the night but an experience to be savored. Listed on the national register of historic places the hotel Viking represented hope for the future in 1926, not nostalgia for the past despite its architectural nod to Newport’s colonial history.

The vision of community leaders prominent businessmen such as dry goods merchant, William M Leys, and contractor, James T O’Connell, helped shape Newport’s tourism economy in the manner that allowed it to survive the depression and the war and to position it for a future that brought the Newport bridge in the 1960's and the charge of summer tourist brigades that have been the staple of the city’s economy since the mid 1970's. They along with dozens of other leaders including familiar Newport names such as William H Vanderbilt, Packer Braman, William Sheffield and Edward A Sherman formed the community hotel corporation. The chairman of the hotel campaign executive committee, Harry A Titus, typified the men who proposed this bold step.

He and the others who proposed the new hotel realized that Newport’s to call their own. Its infamous Skoal Room was the place to meet naval officers and a rash of visiting celebrities from Vanderbilt and Astors to movie stars and political figures not the least of whom was John F Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, who stayed at Hammersmith farm in Newport. Americas favorite humorist, Will Rogers, reportedly rejected an offer to stay at a friends mansion preferring Vikings comfortable confines on his visits to Newport.

During the Great Depression weekend conventions enable the hotel to hold its own. In 1933 at the height of the depression the hotel still returned a dividend for stockholders and was one of only 13 hotels in the American hotels corporation chain to show a profit in 1930 the first year of the depression according to Eileen Warburton in her book, in living memory.