by Michael Blanding
The National is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Block Island — it’s hard not to draw your attention to the big Second-Empire style resort hotel overlooking the ferry landing with flags fluttering from its turrets when you pull up into the harbor. The location in the center of Old Harbor is one of its major selling points; situated only a two-minute walk from the boat, it’s a breeze to check-in and find yourself sitting on the front verandah with a cocktail watching the sunset only a few minutes later. The hotel also happens to be the closest big hotel to the beach, with “Baby Beach” only a five-minute walk away. Rooms themselves are about what you’d expect from an aging dame — though recently renovated, there is only so much a fresh coat of paint can do for a 100-plus year-old seaside hotel, and some of the rooms are a bit worn and musty. If you plan on spending most of your vacation outside anyway, however, it’s a good choice for the convenience and closeness to the action.
Our Editor Loves
- Seaside hotel
- Five-minute walk to beach
- Overlooking the ferry landing in Old Harbor
by kathleen w
First, positives - great staff. They were all friendly, helpful and seemed happy to be working there. We were there for a wedding the wkend before Columbus Day. The bar was closed, breakfast was a cold continental deal. Free, but just ok.
Rooms were super small, bathroom minuscule. I know that’s how people vacationed when the hotel was built but it is not 1904. It was clean but very dated and tired. And, it wasn’t cheap. Really needs some updates. Not charming, imo, just tired and overpriced.
After riding bikes all day, settling in a for a nice lunch and cocktails waiting for the ferry back. Last day open this season. Worth a stop. Have been coming here since the 80’s. Prefer it in shoulder seasons to avoid the crowds.