Aerial view of The Preserve Resort & Spa, Rhode Island

The Preserve: An Unlikely Blend of Luxury & Outdoor Adventure in Rhode Island

Published on May 7, 2024

When travelers consider Rhode Island, it is the historic mansions of Newport or the iconic coastal hotels that immediately come to mind. A 3,500-acre estate reserved for outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding, clay shooting, fly fishing, or off-roading would be more commonly associated with western ranches or English country manors. Yet The Preserve has shattered those stereotypes and offers visitors something unexpected in the tiny Ocean State.

The Preserve Resort and Spa, a member of Preferred Hotels located in Richmond, Rhode Island, offers visitors a chance to escape city chaos and enjoy a taste of the good life, all within a short drive from major cities and international airports. The property caters to a blend of corporate clients, residential and local members, and hotel guests in a setting that is part adventure resort, part luxury hotel, and part nontraditional country club.

Intrigued? So was I. After following the social media accounts of The Preserve, I’ve been curious about this local Rhode Island property for years. Therefore, when they reached out to see if I would be interested in a media stay to review the property, I couldn’t resist getting a peak inside to better understand what The Preserve has to offer both locals and visitors.

The Preserve Rhode Island Review

The Preserve is both a luxury resort and a planned community of residences which include contemporary townhomes, spacious single-family houses, efficient tiny homes, and luxury condominiums. This gated community is located in Southern Rhode Island, on 3,500 acres of private land, surrounded by thousands more protected acres of the Carolina Management Area.

Just minutes off Interstate-95, The Preserve is only 30 minutes from Providence and 30 minutes from popular Rhode Island beaches. Whether you arrive by private helicopter (yes, there is a landing pad on site), car, or arrange a private transfer in a Bentley from the T.F. Green Airport, The Preserve is easily accessible.

Editor’s Note: I received complimentary accommodations, activities, and some meals as part of a media stay in order to review the property. All opinions are my own.

What sets The Preserve apart from Rhode Island’s other luxury hotels, beyond the unique membership and residence club aspect, is the wide range of outdoor activities, but I’ll dig into those more later. First, let’s spill the tea on what staying at The Preserve is really like!

Accommodations at The Preserve

There are currently 75 accommodations at The Preserve, although they are building on a second lodge. These are a mix of multi-bedroom houses, condos, townhouses, and tiny homes, making it a great option for groups, multi-generational family stays, or couples and small families. While some residents live at The Preserve year round, others rent out their properties for short-term stays.

During our visit, we stayed in a one-bedroom condo at the Hilltop Lodge with a woodland view in room 8428. The condo was outfitted with high-end appliances including a full kitchen and a washer and dryer, making it perfect even for longer stays. We were welcomed with a selection of snacks, along with a fridge stocked with sodas, local beer, and water.

The spacious and well-appointed rooms offer the perfect blend of luxury and comfort, making every stay memorable.

The main living space was a living room, dining room, and kitchen combo, which offered a large dining table, with additional seating at the kitchen island, a dream kitchen worthy of an HGTV appearance, and comfortable seating in front of a gas fireplace. In addition, there was a small balcony with seating, ideal for enjoying the crisp evening air.

Down the hall is the spacious bedroom with a King-sized bed adorned with personalized monogrammed pillows (unless everyone gets a “G” pillow, I assume these are customized for each guest) and luxurious linens. I was happy with the two closets, offering more space than we find at home in our shared walk-in.

At the end of the hall is a roomy bathroom, with a fantastic shower. As you would expect from a luxury property, the bathroom was equipped with large Moulton Brown bath products and a set of waffle-knit spa robes and slippers. Hotel robes always make me happy, and these were especially useful to comfortably head down to the OH! Spa, which is located on the bottom floor of the Hilltop Lodge.

The Hilltop Lodge not only houses the Oh! Spa and Oceanside Medical, there is also a pool and the White Birch Cafe (which is currently closed for renovation.) The Hilltop Lodge and the other residences are just a short drive from the main lodge and other facilities, with gated access. One thing to note is that guests are not permitted to wander the grounds without a guide for safety reasons, as clay shooting, archery, or hunting could be taking place.

Dining at The Preserve

While the accommodations may be equipped with gorgeous kitchens, if you don’t feel like cooking there are other options at The Preserve. Certain dining options are seasonal, such as the H2O Cafe by the main pool. Other experiences can be reserved for special occasions, like the five-course dinners at The Preserve’s very own Maker’s Mark Hobbit Houses. But you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at the Double Barrel Steak at The Preserve.

Double Barrel Steak is a rustic yet elegant restaurant located in the Main Lodge, featuring a gorgeous stone fireplace, wood beams, and spacious leather banquettes. The restaurant is open to the public, beyond hotel guests and residents, and offers some terrific mid-week specials including (when we visited) an affordable date night menu on Wednesdays and burger menu on Thursdays.

The menu itself is New American, with strong classic steakhouse vibes featuring dry-aged steaks and hearty cuts of fish, but there are some unexpected surprises. For lunch, we tried the burger, chicken sandwich, and caesar salad and all were great and hearty portions.

Our on-site restaurant offers a selection of fine dining experiences, from rustic steaks to gourmet burgers

On our first night, we split a tomahawk steak for dinner and even then we had plenty to take home. The char was perfect and the dry-aged beef was tender and flavorful, with a dramatic presentation on the bone, surrounded by grilled rosemary. Double Barrel certainly knows how to make an impression! On the second evening, we shared the bacon clothesline appetizer, which features thick-cut bacon hanging from a clothesline and is finished by grilling with a torch at the table.

With such a decadent starter, I finished with the delicate lobster dumplings and my husband had the scallop risotto, and both were truly delicious.

For special occasions or groups, The Preserve can also arrange picnics, safari tent tastings, and meals at the unique Hobbit Houses that seat six to ten people.

OH! Spa at The Preserve

OH! Spa at The Preserve is open to members, guests, and the local public seeking relaxation and services. With 10 treatment rooms, the spa has a full range of services including massage, facials, and body scrubs, as well as offering a salon for hair and nails.

The 12,000 square foot spa includes hot tubs, saunas, and steam showers in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. In addition, there is a co-ed area with hot tubs, relaxation loungers, and a cold shower. In the summer, the spa also has an outdoor pool. Just off this area is the small oasis dubbed the Lily Pad, where you can enjoy lunch from Double Barrel (while the cafe is under construction.)

Indulge in luxury spa treatments and unwind in our relaxing spa environment.

There is also a small relaxation room where you can enjoy water, tea, and snacks before or after your treatment. While you can certainly come to the spa in your robe, they will also supply a robe and slippers, along with an amenity kit to shower or get ready after your treatment.

Guests are welcome to enjoy the facilities if they book a treatment or purchase a day pass. I took full advantage of the options, warming up in the sauna after a rainy horse back ride, soaking in the hot tub, and taking time to relax under a cozy blanket on the comfortable loungers.

I also booked a 50-minute massage, which was one of the best that I’ve had in a very long time! If you are seeking more than relaxation, Oceanside Medical, also in the Hilltop Lodge, offers primary medical care as well as anti-aging treatments, IV vitamin infusions, weight loss programs, and more concierge medical services.

Activities at The Preserve

The Preserve’s luxury bonafides are evident as soon as you pull up to the Main Lodge and spy the line of the resort’s Bentley automobiles out front. Yet what draws guests to The Preserve is its extensive array of outdoor pursuits, earning its name as The Preserve Sporting Club & Residences.

From horseback riding to clay shooting, The Preserve offers a variety of outdoor activities to enhance your stay.

This four-season resort offers fly fishing, sporting clays, pheasant hunting, zip lining, rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, tennis, pickle ball, bocce, shuffleboard, horseback riding, archery, swimming, cross country skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, ice fishing, championship golf, basketball, volleyball, lawn games, yoga, canoeing and kayaking, carriage rides, paddle boarding, axe throwing, ATVing, and even aBentley Off-road Driving Experience. The Preserve also has the largest indoor shooting range in the country and an expanding sports club and shop.

Some of these activities may be included in your stay, but others are available for an additional fee. The resort also offers a range of kids’ programs including fishing clinics, pony rides, “paint the pony”, yoga for kids, hiking, Nerf archery, scavenger hunts, survival skills clinics, crafts, and more.

In addition, the resort offers a robust calendar of daily activities such as horse grooming and bonding, board games and cocoa, farm tours, sunset hikes, fire pit and s’mores, intro to pickle ball, and more.

Since I was visiting in April and only staying for two days, I could only begin to scratch the surface of everything that The Preserve has to offer.

Equestrian Center at The Preserve

The Equestrian Center at The Preserve is located on property, but it is separated from the Main Lodge and primary activities. For my horseback riding excursion, I was picked up at the Hilltop Lodge in one of the hotel’s Bentleys for the 10-minute drive to the Equestrian Center.

The Center abuts public lands and has access to private and public trails for rides. Home to 17 horses, including ponies and draught horses that pull the wagons and carriages for guest rides, the Equestrian Center offers lessons, trail rides, and horse interactions. They offer the ability to arrange special events such as birthday parties, tea parties, and bachelorettes.

For my trail ride, I was paired with Tommy, who must have been the tallest horse I’ve ever ridden, but was also a big sweetie. Despite some light rain, I enjoyed my ride through the trees with Tommy and luckily the barn has some extra rain jackets to borrow. Of course, if I preferred I could have stayed dry in the large indoor aren

Explore scenic trails and bond with majestic horses at our exclusive Equestrian Center surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Rhode Island.

Clay Shooting

Shooting sports are core to The Preserve, with a variety of options depending on your preferences. I’ll admit that I’m not comfortable with guns but my husband was interested in the clay shooting course as he had last tried skeet shooting as a teenager. It was interesting to watch and I gained an appreciation for this activity as a competitive sport.

Enjoy the fun and challenge of clay shooting at our state-of-the-art facilities.

The Preserve has a 19-hole clay shooting course that is accessible to members and guests (for a fee.) You may walk or drive along the mile-and-a-half wooded path to the various shooting pavilions. Each station has both open-air and covered positions, and six clay throwers, creating a competitive sporting environment.

The clay throwers are automated so all someone needs to do is press a button (although yelling “pull” is still encouraged). The throwers, which utilize biodegradable clays, are strategically positioned and regularly moved to ensure shooters a variety of ever-changing experiences.

My husband got the hang of it right away, but luckily if you book a session it includes instruction.

Before you book, I would encourage you to look at the full range of activities and the related costs for guests to plan out what you want to enjoy during your visit.

Be Treated Royally at The Preserve

One thing that really stood out for me throughout my stay was the level of service throughout the resort, with very few exceptions. From the Owner to the General Manager, we were warmly greeted and looked after. Granted, I’m sure the visiting media gets extra attention and we weren’t visiting during high season, but the servers, shop workers, drivers, and more all seemed legitimately friendly and happy in their jobs. In fact, we were told by one employee that it was the only place he has worked where he felt like people really cared for workers. That culture seems to perpetuate throughout the resort.

At The Preserve, every guest experiences the royal treatment with impeccable service and attention to detail.

Want to know more about The Preserve? You might need to book a stay yourself or explore membership.

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SOURCE: We3Travel by Tamara Gruber