‘Tis the season to be jolly at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, where the annual Christmas tree lighting, brunch with Santa and children’s Christmas teas are just a few of the ways the Ocean House— Rhode Island’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star hotel—celebrates the holiday season.
Teas for Tots
Little ones can partake in some grown-up fun at the hotel’s popular Children’s Teas. On Nov. 24, a VIP, or very important princess (Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), will mingle with guests while they nibble on tea cakes, snacks and desserts. 3 to 5 p.m.; $48 per adult, $35 per child ages four to 12. Children age three and younger are free.
Tuxedoed guests are not an uncommon sight in the Ocean House Ballroom, unless, of course, they’re penguins from the Mystic Aquarium, the guests of honor at the Children’s Christmas Tea on Dec. 10. 3 to 5 p.m. $60 per person, $40 per child ages four to 12, children three and younger are free.
Father Christmas himself checks into the hotel a few Saturdays in December to rest up for the big day. Children can stop by his room to take photos and receive a special gift. Saturdays, Dec. 9, 16 and 23, 5 to 8 p.m., $40 per reservation
Ocean House guests can arrange for a special bedtime visit from Santa. Santa will stop by their room, read a bedtime story and deliver a special gift. Reservations are available 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. $75 per visit.
The 8th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Christmas Village is the official kick-off to the holiday season, with Santa Claus making his first official visit to Watch Hill, gliding into town aboard a red fire truck no less, and children lighting the 30-foot, star-topped tree. Later, with the tree aglow, carolers will serenade the crowd as families visit with Santa and warm up with apple cider, hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies. Revelers can also get a head start on holiday shopping at the Christmas Village, where dozens of vendors, many of them from Rhode Island, will be selling their wares. Guests are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for the Ocean House’s annual toy drive benefiting the Jonnycake Center of Westerly. Sat., Nov. 25, 4:55 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., complimentary.
Following the ceremony, hungry merrymakers are invited to join Santa for a buffet dinner in the Ballroom and Drawing Room. While dinner will surely be a treat, we’ve got our eyes on the dessert menu: apple crumble tarts, eggnog panna cotta and cinnamon chocolate truffle pops, oh my! 6 to 9 p.m.; $48 per adult, $35 per child, children three and younger are free.
Find out if Santa is a French toast or eggs Benedict kind of guy at Brunch with Santa on Sundays throughout December. The man of the hour will visit the decadent affair, which features local artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, a raw bar befitting the hotel’s seaside locale, house-made pastries and sweet treats and made-to-order crepes. Toast to the season with beverages from the Bloody Mary Bar and unlimited sparkling wine. 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $62 per person, $25 per child ages six to 12, children five and younger are free. Reservations required.
On the Menu: Thanksgiving
Chew on this: According to the National Turkey Federation, 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Ensure that your guests are among them by mastering the preparation of an elegant Thanksgiving meal—turkey and all—at the Thanksgiving Dinner for Dummies Culinary Class led by the Ocean House Food Forager and Center for Wine & Culinary Arts. Sat., Nov. 18 from 1 to 3 p.m., Center for Wine & Culinary Arts. $75 per person plus tax and gratuity.
If your idea of making dinner is making reservations, then Ocean House has you covered: At the Thanksgiving Buffet, guests can expect elevated versions of their favorite comfort foods: whole roasted heritage turkey, rum and pineapple glazed ham, goat cheese whipped potatoes, sweet potato soufflé with maple syrup and marshmallows, a raw bar with oysters and little neck clams, Ocean House cured salmon gravlax and more. Thurs., Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; $78 per adult, $45 children ages four to 12, children ages three and under are complimentary.
Or reserve your seat at COAST for Chef Jennifer Backman’s elegant, four-course, farm-to-table Thanksgiving dinner. Nov. 23, 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Reservations required, $125 per person.
The 12 Days of Christmas
With less than two weeks to the big day, the Ocean House pulls out all the stops with parties, feasts and a last-minute visit from Saint Nick.
What’s made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Gingerbread, of course. During the Gingerbread Village Competition and Reception on Dec. 12, local culinary students vying for best in show will create elaborate gingerbread villages that encompass the theme, “Christmas in Rhode Island.” 6 to 8 p.m.; complimentary.
Make like Mary Berry and build a candy-covered gingerbread house under the tutelage of the Ocean House pastry chef at the Gingerbread House Workshop on Dec. 13. 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., $50 per person.
On Dec. 14, put your hostess-with-the-mostest skills to the test during the cocktail and hors d’oeuvres class with the Ocean House Food Forager and Sommelier. 3 to 4:30 p.m., $30 per person.
The following evening, relax by the fire with a cocktail in the hotel’s Living Room while enjoying the sounds of traditional holiday carols. Dec. 15, 6 to 9 p.m.
See the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes at the Children’s Christmas Party on Dec. 16, where little ones will enjoy storytelling, holiday crafts, visits with Mr. Claus and plenty of sweets, including chocolate whoopee pies, peppermint Rice Krispie treats and s’mores tarts. 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m.; $15 per adult, one unwrapped toy per child for the toy drive.
Hearts will melt at the Frozen-themed Children’s Christmas Tea on Dec. 17 as Arendelle’s favorite princesses entertain the crowd. Little Elsas, Annas and Olafs are invited to dress up as their favorite characters. 3 to 5 p.m.; $48 per person, $35 per child ages four to 12, children under the age of three are free.
On Dec. 18, let the OH! Spa team show you how to make luxurious hand creams and more spa-inspired stocking stuffers. 3 to 5 p.m.; $25.
During the Cookie and Cupcake Decorating Workshop on Dec. 19, the Ocean House pastry chef will help bakers prepare sweet-tooth-satiating holiday cookies and cupcakes. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.; $25 per person. At the Feast of the Fishes Workshop on Dec. 20, guests will learn to prepare the traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.; $75 per person. And on Dec. 21, aspiring mixologists will tinker with such holiday tipples as eggnog, rum punch and mulled cider at the Holiday Beverage Workshop. 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., $25 per person.
Hundreds of community members and visitors fill the Watch Hill Chapel on Dec. 22 for the Christmas in Song event, a musical evening of carolers, Christmas bells and storytellers. 5 p.m.; complimentary.
Grafton Village Cheese, an award-wining cheesemaker out of Vermont, partners with the Ocean House Food Forager and Sommelier for a wine-and-cheese tasting on Dec. 23. 5 to 7 p.m.; $25 per person.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Ocean House, the chefs were a-stirring, busily preparing Christmas Eve dinner in COAST, a four-course gastronomic celebration by Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Backman. Dec. 24, 5:30 to 8 p.m.; $125 per person.
The calendar says Dec. 25—Christmas Day has arrived! After you’ve worked up an appetite opening presents, make your way to Ocean House’s Christmas Brunch. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $62 per person, $25 per child ages six to 12, children five and under are free.
Later, let Ocean House chefs do the cooking at Christmas Dinner in the Bistro featuring an à la carte menu of the chef’s favorite holiday dishes. 6 to 9 p.m.
A New Year’s Eve party inspired by the brazen charm, international intrigue and sex appeal of James Bond? Such is the vision behind the resort-wide, 007-themed black-tie fête on Dec. 31, featuring live entertainment, passed hors d’oeuvres and complimentary cocktails inspired by the international man of mystery himself. 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; $185 per person.
Kick off the New Year in style at a ritzy New Year’s Day Brunch in the Bistro. Toast to 2018 with sparkling wine, mimosas or Bloody Marys as you help yourself to a feast-for-the-senses brunch buffet created by the Ocean House culinary team. 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; $62 per person, $25 per child ages six to 12, children five and under are free.
The Ocean House is located at 1 Bluff Ave., Watch Hill, RI. Call 855-678-0364 or visit oceanhouseri.com.