Aerial view of The Chanler at Cliff Walk with Fall Foliage and the Newport Pell Bridge in the background

The Chanler

A Place of Belonging

A Person Posing For A Picture

After a long and storied history, The Chanler was purchased by the Shufelt family in 2000. They embarked on an ambitious, intensive, and complete three-year renovation to preserve not only what had nearly been lost but also to reimagine and reintegrate the handmade Victorian artistry and craftsmanship of classic “Gilded Age” Newport with the contemporary amenities of convenience and standards of seamless service required today. The result is a new and exciting destination experience that meets and exceeds the expectations of our guests. 

For our owner and proprietress, Lani Shufelt, creating this sanctuary of expected and unexpected excellence and quality is a matter of personal fulfillment and professional realization that informs every decision made and action taken. “Everything I’ve done has led up to this,” she reflects. Through bold vision, thoughtful care, constant attention, and creative imaginings for the future, our team, under Lani’s leadership, strives to maintain a space that is alive and inviting—a place of intimate belonging.

“There is an undeniable resonance in being present in the moment, free from worries about the future, simply relishing the time spent with us.” All this in the elegant and established surroundings of a legendary bluff-top property overlooking the sweeping beaches and waters of the Atlantic. The Chanler, an oasis of hospitality amid Newport's remarkable and historic ethos, symbolizes a place where timelessness and “the now” converge to make one feel welcomed, like a long-lost friend … invited home.

CalendarA Large House With A Lawn In Front Of It

A Home—Steeped in History

The “Chanler” Hotel was named after the family that had built and owned it for three generations. Completed in 1873 by New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler, it soon became a beloved summer home for his wife and their ten children. Originally named Cliff Lawn, it was the first-of-its-kind “cottage” of the post-Civil War era to be built on the premier location at the Northern end of the famed Cliff Walk, overlooking Easton’s Beach and the expansive Atlantic Ocean. 

Cliff Lawn was very similar in size and design to their Astor ancestral residence, Rokeby, in Barrytown, New York. Mrs. Chanler was the granddaughter of William Backhouse Astor and the niece of writer, abolitionist, and suffragist Julia Ward Howe, author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic". What began as a quiet summer retreat for the large Chanler family quickly became a hospitable center for culture and high society as Newport’s and America’s fortunes exponentially increased during the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century. 

In August of 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, a close friend of the family, sailed to Newport on the Presidential yacht, USS Mayflower, for the sole purpose of christening his Godson, a grandchild of the Chanlers. Interestingly, because the priest of Trinity Church was ill that Sunday morning, the rite of baptism and the naming of the child, “Theodore", in honor of the president, was officiated by another clergyman and took place in the foyer of the house itself. 

This was only one in a series of visits and events frequented by a wide array of dignitaries, writers, and society figures through the years. In its many iterations, the property has survived a serious attic fire, served as a private girls' school, inspired Longfellow's poetry, provided quarters for naval officers, and hosted the summer stays of an ambassador, a bishop, and the cast and crew of the 1974 film production of The Great Gatsby.

Today, we strive to welcome guests from around the world with the same warmth, charm, and quiet elegance in the tradition of a bygone era—a legacy we prize and celebrate.