Veuve Clicquot, brie cheese flambéed with apple, and Le Creuset cookware: it’s the makings of a French après-ski, right? Well, what if we told you all of that is available on the coast of Rhode Island? Yes, the famous Gondola Village at the iconic Relais & Châteaux Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island is back this year with a French theme and new offerings.
Beginning Dec. 4, visitors and overnight guests can book one of three private gondolas surrounded by two fire pits for dining and drinks. While lunch and dinner will still be available as with previous years, there are two new options to book: Après-Ski and Celebration du Soleil. The first is a late afternoon, pre-dinner cocktail hour in the gondola, complete with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and light bites. The latter includes savory truffle popcorn, warm marinated olives, and salted almonds with a bottle of Champagne fireside.
Meanwhile, lunch and dinner menus will include brie cheese flambéed with apple, French onion soup gratinée with melted gruyere, and bœuf bourguignon. Plus, all culinary items will be served in Le Creuset cookware, bakeware, and dinnerware to add additional French flair.
Ocean House first created the in-gondola dining experience in 2018 with the debut of a Swiss-inspired Fondue Express. Then, based on popular demand, the pop-up dining experience expanded into a “village” of three gondolas and became a private dining alternative during the pandemic. This season, the team decided to change it up again, going from Switzerland to the French Alps.
“The new Gondola Village provides an opportunity for overnight and day guests to have a one-of-a-kind French-inspired experience without the overseas travel in the comfort of Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island,” Dant Hirsch, President of Ocean House Collection, told Travel + Leisure. “The newly curated menu, combined with expanded French-inspired offerings and Veuve Clicquot Champagne, will be a delightful and whimsical experience for first-time and return guests alike.”
Reservations are available now for dining beginning Saturday, Dec. 4. Lunch service is at 2:00 p.m., Celebration du Soleil seatings are at 3:45 p.m., Après-Ski seatings are at 4:00 p.m., and dinner service is at 6:00 p.m. Guests can book the experience online or by calling Destination Services at 855-892-4572.
A portion of proceeds from the Gondola Village will benefit the Ocean House Fund for Charitable Giving, which supports local children and families in need.