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When dining igloos first gained popularity, they were like little heated bubbles for a somewhat private — or COVID-minimal — setting.
Now? Restaurant owners have given them a makeover and gone all out with decor: Sparkling chandeliers, working fireplaces, throw pillows and blankets, and even mimosa carts that come around every so often.
Many restaurants around the state offer dining experiences in an igloo. Here’s how to snag a reservation for some of the most interesting-looking ones.
The Reef: Leslie Flaxman, who owns The Reef in Newport with her husband, told me they are adding another two to three igloos simply due to the high demand. In their “Winter Wonderland” igloo, there’s a working fireplace, a silver chandelier dripping with crystals, and feathered pillows. “People are literally fighting over which igloo they want,” she said. I asked how long it took to decorate each igloo and Flaxman said it’s a daily process. They’ve hired Exquisite Events to decorate, maintain, and clean the igloos.
- Good for: Two to eight people
- Pricing: There is a $100 rental fee. Minimums are $25 per person for lunch and $50 per person for dinner. Cancellation fee is $25 per person if the booking is cancelled within seven days.
- How to book: Make a reservation online.
Newport Harbor Island Resort: Newport Harbor Island Resort, which you might better remember as “Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina,” sold for $174 million last summer. Out on Goat Island, the 257-room resort has sweeping views of the water and the coastal city that can also be seen from the warmth of a heated igloo. Groups can cozy up with blankets and pillows while tasting après skate food specials in addition to the regular dining room menus.
- Good for: Groups of four.
- Pricing: Deposits and food and beverage minimums apply for all reservations: $75 for lunch and $150 for dinner. Your deposit will be forfeited if your reservation is cancelled less than 24 hours in advance.
- How to Book: Make a reservation online.
Terrazza: Megan Lasher, the general manager of Terrazza in Smithfield, told me the staff added its first two igloos to help expand their offerings in 2017 -- well before COVID revitalized outdoor dining. With one of the largest outdoor patios in the state, they now have six igloos with carpeted platforms to help battle the most extreme New England winters. Guests can bring their own blankets, and weekend brunches include Bloody Mary and mimosas specials. Each party has a two-hour dining time.
- Good for: Groups up to six.
- Pricing: There’s no igloo fee, but spending minimums are $100 Sundays through Thursdays and $200 on Fridays and Saturdays. For brunch reservations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the minimum is $100.
- How to Book: Reservations are required by calling the host at 401-233-3223.
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