This property is part of our Historic Hotels series, which features Harper hotels and resorts that began as private homes to the world’s famous—industry pioneers, authors, real estate magnates and, yes, even a dictator.
Reposed on a bluff overlooking Narragansett Bay, Castle Hill Inn was built in 1874 as the summer home of the great Harvard marine biologist and naturalist Alexander Agassiz, who relished the property’s private cove for safe storage of his boat collection. Today, with its evocative turret and striking panoramic views of the bay, the inn seems a fitting refuge for a man that devoted his life to the sea and the wonders within. As well as being a leading scientist, Agassiz also was a connoisseur of Asian art, and parts of his collection of Chinese and Japanese bronzes and porcelain still decorate the inn today.
Over the years the inn has been a favorite of many notable guests, including novelist Thornton Wilder and actress Grace Kelly, who called the quiet enclave and sandy shoreline home while filming "High Society" in 1956. The solitude that Kelly sought — and that others seek out to this day — can be attributed in large part to the great hurricane of 1938, which cut off the peninsula from the mainland.