Newport Belle B&B: One of the Best Places to Stay in Newport, OR

Written by Lori Tobias

August 18, 2023
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For a truly unique overnight experience, we recommend staying onboard the Newport Belle B&B. Sitting on Yaquina Bay along Oregon’s Central Coast, Newport Belle B&B is one of the best places to stay in Newport.

I’ve stayed in hotels worldwide—jungle, beachfront, mountaintop, desert. But the one that stands out as purely one-of-a-kind is one I’ve visited for more than 20 years. I have written about it for numerous publications, but I’d never logged one night on it. Until now. The Newport Belle B&B floats on Yaquina Bay, making it one of the best places to stay in Newport, on Oregon’s central coast. Read on for my experience onboard the Newport Belle.

The Belle of Newport’s Yaquina Bay

The 97-foot Newport Belle B&B floats on Yaquina Bay, a scant six miles from my house. As much as I’d have loved to spend a night, that nearness made it challenging to justify the expense of booking a room and hiring a dog sitter. But I had shared it with many visiting writers looking for a fine place to stay. Then, over time, guilty of the blind eye that develops after living in a place so long, I lost track of it. In truth, I wasn’t sure the place still existed. As it turned out, it almost didn’t. Then, I saw a post on a social media site welcoming locals for breakfast. I made my reservation and met new owners, Paige and Randy Sanders. Turns out, they were just in time. 

Best Places to Stay in Newport - Newport Belle B & B

The spacious main salon on the Newport Belle B & B. Photo by Lori Tobias

The Newport Belle was built in 1993 in Bandon, Oregon, and brought to Newport sometime in the 1990s. The details of its arrival in Newport are a bit sketchy. Paige believes the riverboat was likely brought by barge since it was built for river tours but is not seaworthy. The couple first discovered the Belle in the early 2000s. They considered buying it then. But with four kids still living at home, the logistics didn’t make sense.  

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Best Places to Stay in Newport - Newport Belle B & B

The sunroom on the Newport Belle B & B is a favorite for Happy Hour. Photo courtesy Newport Belle B & B

Reimagining the Newport Belle as One of the Best Places to Stay in Newport

Fast forward another 15 years, and the Sanders again found the Newport Belle for sale. This time, under a different owner. It wasn’t the Belle they remembered. “Fifteen years ago, it was so immaculately kept,” Paige recalled. “Then we got here, and we went from having this pristine image in mind to finding this boat that needed an incredible amount of work. I think a couple more years, and it would have had to go to scrap.”  

Luckily, Randy once owned a property maintenance company in Las Vegas. He knows his way around a toolbox. So, in December 2020, the pair signed the papers and bought themselves a paddle-wheeler. It took six months of replacing damaged wood, tearing out walls, reinsulating, resealing, and repairing before the first guestroom was ready for guests. It would be another six months before the other four were finished.   

Best Places to Stay in Newport Newport Belle B & B

Paige and Randy Sanders welcome guests to the Newport Belle B & B. Photo by Lori Tobias

Hello, My Old Friend, Belle

When I boarded the Newport Belle for breakfast, it had been nearly 20 years since I’d been aboard. Just climbing those wooden stairs to the main salon was a delight. The Sanders have missed nothing. Guests are welcomed with a personal hello on the main salon blackboard. Art and fun knickknacks color walls, table tops, and unexpected nooks. Rocking chairs beckon to sit a spell. Exterior decks come with comfy chairs and tables just right for books and drinks. Every space has a personal touch.  

Breakfast, offered in the main salon and sunroom, was spectacular, starting with a buffet of pastries, cereals, fruit, and toast. Afterward, guests chose roasted pears with raspberry sauce or homemade coffee cake. And for the main course, options included homemade corned beef hash or ricotta/blueberry waffles. Combined with the décor and the front seat views of the Bayfront, it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Afterward, whenever I had a special occasion or wanted to treat a friend, I made reservations for breakfast on the Belle. Each time, Paige and Randy invited me to spend a night, and I responded with a perfectly justifiable reason why it didn’t make sense.  And following, always the look from my husband, Chan, implying, “But why not?” 

Best Places to Stay in Newport Newport Belle B & B

Breakfast on the Newport Belle B & B starts with a buffet of pastries, fruit, and cereals. Photo by Lori Tobias

Timing is Everything

And then, one day after a visit for breakfast, Paige and Randy said, “You know, Lori, you really should spend the night so you get the full experience.”  Finally, I said yes. But it would be a secret, a birthday surprise for Chan, and one I would have to keep from him for a month. That’s no small feat. I am lousy at surprises—always so excited by the idea I give it away. 

In the days leading up to our stay, I snuck around, packing the suitcase while he was out, then stashing it out of sight. I secretly arranged for the dogsitter and crafted a tale for Chan of bogus plans to celebrate his day, including one bit of the truth. As we drove away the afternoon of his birthday, I explained that we’d have happy hour on the Belle before dinner. He loved the idea. Chan is always happy to board the boat.  

Best Places to Stay in Newport - Newport Belle B & B

Welcome aboard the Newport Belle B & B Photo by Lori Tobias

Staying on the Newport Belle

Instructions on where to park and the code to access our stateroom arrived by email a few days before our stay. I parked in the marina parking lot and led Chan down the gangway. Then, instead of going to the entrance door leading to the main salon, I tapped in my code on Stateroom 2. I tend to have a lousy sense of direction, and Chan seemed to think I was confused. Even when I opened the door and we stepped inside, he looked at me, puzzled, “Lori, we’re not supposed to be in here.”

I smiled, “Happy Birthday!” He still didn’t get it.

Then, the grin. “Really?” he asked. 

“Really,” I replied. “We’re spending the night.” Until then, I had no idea how badly he’d wanted to overnight on the Belle.  

Best Places to Stay in Newport - Newport Belle B & B

The queen-sized bed in Stateroom 2. Photo by Lori Tobias

We retrieved the bags I’d hidden in the back of my RAV, then got familiar with Stateroom 2. Located at water level, it comes with a queen-sized bed, views of the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge and Newport marina, a private bath (as all staterooms do), and the artful details that are everywhere on the Belle—plus two gourmet birthday cupcakes.  

Because we live here and know the local attractions, my only plan (besides one more surprise) was to enjoy the boat, but for guests coming from out of town, there are all kinds of attractions nearby. The Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium are no more than five minutes away, likewise the Rogue Brewery. A drive over the Yaquina Bridge will lead you to the Bayfront’s numerous art and souvenir shops and several restaurants. All are casual—that’s the Oregon Coast vibe—but menus range from family comfort food to fine dining.   

Happy Hour at One of the Best Places to Stay in Newport

I did have one more treat to mark the date.   

Happy Hour on the Belle starts at 5 pm, and guests are invited to enjoy it from the sunroom or in the main salon, warmed in winter by a wood stove and refreshed by the sea breeze in summer. A message on the chalkboard at the top of the entry greeted the other guests and us aboard, and next to it, a table held an abundant spread of meats, nuts, and cheeses, along with complimentary beer and wine.  I had invited a couple to join us—which the Sanders graciously okayed. We gathered around the sunroom table, raising glasses and enjoying the fantastic views.  

Best Places to Stay in Newport -- Newpor Belle B & B

The Newport Belle B & B is moored permanently on the Yaquina Bay. Photo courtesy Newport Belle B & B

After Happy Hour, I thought we might hail a taxi into town for dinner, but back in our room, we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave. Instead, we ordered pizza, enjoying the views as the sun set over Yaquina Bay. As the sky darkened, lights on the Newport Belle’s exterior came on, casting the paddle wheeler in a soothing shade of teal. We indulged in the birthday cupcakes and a glass of prosecco, then later, let the bay waters lull us to sleep. Not only had I managed to pull off the surprise, I’d given Chan a birthday he has described as the best ever.

Articles Related to Visiting Oregon

Staying on the Newport Belle B&B

Living as close as I do, I may find it hard to justify another night on one of Newport’s best places to stay. Then again, I might go ahead and indulge. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide when planning your trip to Oregon or elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest

For a truly unique overnight experience, we recommend staying onboard the Newport Belle B&B. Newport Belle B&B, floating in Yaquina Bay along Oregon's Central Coast is one of the best places to stay in Newport.


Newport Belle B&B: One of the Best Places to Stay in Newport, OR

Written by Lori Tobias

Lori Tobias is the author of the memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast,” published by Oregon State University in 2020, and the novel “Wander,” published by Red Hen Press and the 2017 winner of the Nancy Pearl Literary Award. A journalist of many years, Lori covered the Oregon coast for The Oregonian for more than a decade and was a features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. She freelances for numerous publications and is a columnist for Oregon Arts Watch. Lori lives on the Oregon coast with her husband Chan and rescue pups, Luna and Gus.

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1 Comment

  1. Theresa Wisner

    Great article on a beautiful place to stay. I’ve spent years eating and sleeping on boats and ships of all kinds, and the Belle is the most unique of them all.

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