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Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center 2.5

Newport, Rhode Island, United States

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Review Summary

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  • One of the most consistently inexpensive hotel options in Newport 
  • Spacious rooms and bathrooms 
  • On-site restaurant, North End Steak House, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner 
  • Restaurant bar is open late
  • Free parking and Wi-Fi
  • Seasonal outdoor pool and small fitness center 
  • Several meeting/banquet rooms 
  • Close to U.S. Naval War College 
  • Smoking and non-smoking rooms available (a con for some) 


  • Not in downtown Newport 
  • Breakfast not included in nightly room rate 
  • Most rooms and hallways smell like smoke, even if they are deemed “non-smoking”
  • Entire hotel feels very dark and could use an update
  • Not the most scenic area

Bottom Line

In a town with notoriously expensive hotel prices, the Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center offers guests room rates that are consistently budget-friendly, even during the summer months. Formerly a Best Western, the Mainstay still retains a chain-like feel. Guest rooms, while fairly spacious, have traditional, cheap furnishings, boring white walls and bedspreads, and bland bathrooms in need of a major update -- and most smell like smoke, even if deemed “non-smoking.” Parking and Wi-Fi are free, and there is a restaurant on-site, but the hotel is not within walking distance of all the action in downtown Newport. However, it is just a few minutes down the road from the U.S. Naval War College, and there is a nondescript casino called SLOTS, across the street.  

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A dull hotel with a chain-like feel 

Formerly owned by Best Western, the Mainstay Hotel & Conference still looks and feels pretty much like a Best Western -- and one in need of a major update. With its glass enclosed toiletry display, postcard stand, rack of sunglasses, randomly placed ATM, and a soda machine, the gold wallpapered lobby looks more like a tacky gift shop than a welcoming hotel entrance. There’s hardly any seating, except for a few chairs in two dark corners, but there is some interesting Naval memorabilia hanging on the walls -- a tribute to the nearby U.S. Naval War College no doubt. The atmosphere is laid-back and casual, and guests include everyone from families with kids, to retirees on fishing trips, to business people using the hotel’s meeting facilities. 


Close to U.S. Naval War College 

Though it is technically located in Newport, the Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center is not within walking distance of downtown or any major Newport attractions. It’s actually not within walking distance of anything, considering its placement just off the highway, where there aren’t really any sidewalks or pedestrian thoroughfares. The hotel sits across the street from a slots-only casino that seems to be busy no matter the time of day. The U.S. Naval War College is about a five-minute drive down the road. The shops and restaurants of Thames Street are about 10 minutes by car, as is the entrance to the Cliff Walk, a lovely three and a half mile cliff-side path that meanders along the coast. Newport’s famous mansions are about a 15-minute drive from the hotel, while it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to reach Easton’s Beach and Second Beach. T.F. Green Airport is 35 minutes by car, while the city of Providence is 45 minutes.  


Boring and dark with bathrooms that need upgrading 

With boring white walls, plain white bedspreads, and cheap, traditional furniture, there’s nothing really memorable about the rooms at the Mainstay. Though they are fairly spacious and equipped with nice amenities like flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers, Standard Rooms still look a little barren. There’s no artwork on the walls, or lamps on the nightstands; there are even entire corners of the room left completely empty. The “closet” is just a space carved out of the wall with a single rod for hangers. Meanwhile, bathrooms are bleak, with hideous gray tile floors, shower/tub combos, and one tiny sink. On the plus side, there is plenty of counter space, a wall-mounted hairdryer, numerous towels, and Pantene shampoo and conditioner (hey, it’s the little things, right?). And though we didn’t come across any on our visit, previous guests have complained of mold problems in some of the bathrooms. 

Guests looking to upgrade their rooms might want to re-consider before paying the extra money. “Upgraded” Deluxe Rooms are significantly darker than Standard Rooms thanks to their gold wallpaper and darker carpeting. And though the upgraded King Room does have a small separate living area with a tiny love seat and a desk, all other amenities remain the same, including the dire bathrooms. The Deluxe Double Rooms looks exactly the same as the Standard Double, except the empty corner is set with an armchair...not really an upgrade in our book.     


Small seasonal pool, fitness center, ample meeting space, an on-site restaurant, and a few freebies 

Considering the full name of the hotel is the Mainstay Hotel & Conference Center, it makes sense that its nicest features are its meeting spaces. There are several meeting rooms scattered throughout the hotel, including a beautiful banquet room that was refurbished in 2015. All of the meeting spaces are spacious and well-lit, but seem to be oddly located. One meeting room is on the second floor and shares a hallway with guest rooms, while the banquet room is adjacent to the restaurant. Potential guests who will be doing business at the hotel should be aware that the hotel’s “business center” is little more than a computer, printer, and fax machine that is practically part of the lobby. However, the hotel does offer free Wi-Fi, which is fast and reliable. There is a small, seasonal outdoor pool and a small fitness center, but neither were open during our visit. The on-site restaurant and bar, North End Steak House serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but breakfast is not included in the price of the room. Though the website bills North End Steak House as “one of Newport’s most delicious restaurants,” it has the ambiance of an IHOP with food that is mediocre at best. The bar however, is open late, a nice perk considering there is zero nightlife in the immediate area (except for the slots across the street). There is also a large, well-lit parking lot in front of the hotel where guests can park for free.  

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151 Admiral Kalbfus Rd, Newport, Rhode Island 02840, United States

Also Known As

  • BEST WESTERN The Mainstay Inn