As Americans we tend to do everything in extremes, the motto "go big or go home" pretty much sums that up. The same can often be said of how we vacation, as couples and as families. While there's nothing wrong with planning and saving for that trip of a lifetime, sometimes a quick getaway is exactly what's needed to calm the nerves and soothe the soul and Saybrook Point Inn is just the place you're looking for.
I was invited to stay at Saybrook Point Inn's newest property, Tall Tales (Pictured above - pink house to the right) a wonderful guest house with sweeping and picturesque views of the Long Island Sound. Inside, turn of the century antiques evoke a feeling of comfort and familiarity, with the comforts of home and the amenities of a luxury boutique hotel. The guesthouse is steeped in local history and traditions; the decor reflects this and each uniquely designed bedroom has been named after a prominent member of the community. Each bedroom has its own private beautiful bathroom, fireplace, private balcony, fine handwoven linens (Matouk bedding and a Sferra blanket were on my bed) and original artwork by local artists.
A casual living area with a gas fireplace that guests can control and dining space and fully accessorized kitchen offer guests the comforts of a home away from home. There were plenty of wine glasses, bottle openers and room in the generously sized fridge for a bottle of wine and some healthy snacks as we opted to relax in the comfort of the guesthouse one night. Additionally, the there are guest bathrooms off the entertaining areas on the main level as well as upstairs where one can find a game room complete with pool table. An elevator is centrally located off the main living area for those individuals who may have difficulty with the stairs. Every morning a large pitcher filled with ice water, lemons and limes, a bowl of fresh fruit and assorted pastries or muffins is placed on the buffet for guests to enjoy at leisure and help themselves to throughout the day. I noticed that each day I was there, additional lemons and limes were left in the refrigerator in case the pitcher needed refilling. The treats (of course I had to sample!) were delicious and the citrus water was the perfect touch. In the kitchen guests can help themselves to coffee or tea made in a Keurig or go into the lobby for coffee there. I tasted no difference in particular between the lobby and the Keurig coffee.
Next to the Tall Tales Guesthouse is Three Stories which is slightly larger with 8 bedrooms. (The light pink house pictured above.) Both guesthouses serve as perfect meeting places for couples, families and friends to get together and celebrate or simply reconnect. There is plenty of off-street parking in the back behind the two houses. For those who prefer not or are unable to travel by car, the hotel provides transportation to and from the Old Saybrook Train Station nearby.
I loved my room at Tall Tales and wanted to really enjoy it so I made a point to as best as I could. I helped myself to the lemon water left for me that morning which I enjoyed so much more than the standard bottled water most places leave you. For those with a curious spirit there's much to do on foot or on bicycle provided by the inn for your enjoyment. One can peruse the wonderful shops and boutiques in town and visit the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Center. I was amazed by the number of cafes and liquor stores for such a small town! The hotel can provide you with a lengthy list of places to see.
My room was located at the front of the house with a wonderful view of the Long Island Sound. It was conveniently (depending on how you look at it) located next to the kitchen so I could pop in and out for ice, ice water or a glass of wine. (I purchased a bottle in town.) The room's gas fireplace offered the ultimate relaxing touch, especially as I watched the early sun rise over the Atlantic illuminating everything in its path. It's quite possibly the most magnificent sun rise I have ever seen. A large wall-mounted television set sat over the fireplace thus creating what I will call a perfect morning trifecta!
Imagine waking up to this every morning! It's positively incredible and sets the tone for the rest of the day.
I had the pleasure of touring all the rooms in both guest houses. Each was impeccably pristine with newly renovated modern bathrooms. Pictured above is the Katherine Hepburn room at the Three Stories guest house which pays a wonderful tribute to the late star. More beautiful guest rooms are pictured below. You'll notice how incredibly different each one is and how the utmost attention to detail and space is given in each room.
Guests can also choose to stay at one of the Inn's villas or at the Inn itself, a lovely well-appointed boutique hotel. Located within the hotel is a health club complete with a full fitness center, heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools, jaccuzzi, steam showers and saunas and the newly renovated SANNO Spa where guests can enjoy an expanded spa menu offering massage therapy, facials, body wraps, scrubs, manicures and pedicures. The highly acclaimed Fresh Salt restaurant offers guests the best of local and seasonal items.
Saybrook Point Inn is known for their marina which offers convenient access to the Long Island Sound offers world-class amenities and high quality service to yachts of all sizes. Guests can enjoy concierge services as well as all the amenities that hotel has to offer. The marina can accommodate boats from 13 to 200 feet. The marina at Saybrook Point Inn prides itself on customer care and is committed to being environmentally friendly. It is Connecticut's first designated Clean Marina.
Located centrally Saybrook Point Inn between Boston and New York, an hour and a half from most Coastal Westchester County locations, and an hour from Fairfield Connecticut, makes it the ideal weekend (or midweek) destination. It's also a popular port of call for those residing in nearby towns who come for the friendly atmosphere, the breathtaking views and award-winning cuisine.
The restaurant, for those who live within an hour away, is well worth your drive. With wonderful selections that are seasonal, sustainable and local, the cuisine is innovative yet comforting.
I'm fascinated and passionately mad about lighthouses. And even on an overcast, dreary day, she shines bright. Imagine if you could actually stay in a lighthouse... Well, by the time the summer season is here you'll be able to. Currently under renovation, this floating guest house will have the same amenities the others do, including a small but all inclusive kitchen, beautiful decor and a front row view to the most magnificent sun rise you will ever see! To stay here you'll need to get in line... You'll find me at the very front!
I scored myself a little peek inside. It's a wonderful space that feels quite a bit larger than it is... In a few short weeks the interior will be magically transformed. I can hardly wait to see the finish result!
Talk about a room with a view! Even non early risers will want to set their alarms and enjoy their morning coffee or tea in total serenity as they watch the dawn of a new day. (Have I mentioned that I can hardly wait?!)
For those seeking a bit of an adventure there's a great deal to do in the Old Saybrook area. One of the highlights of my brief stay was my little adventure across the causeway over to Fenwick. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it is the bucolic area where Katherine Hepburn had her country house which she talked of often. I wandered across the causeway and all the way out to Lynde Point lighthouse, about 4 miles. I strolled over the river which in itself was magnificent, then took a left and meandered through Fenwick where golfers were enjoying the early spring weather.
Many trees and large branches can be found in the river, along the water's edge and on the beaches. The weathering of the wood from salt, wind and sand create the most marvelous patterns and textures.
Nothing brings you back down to earth and relaxes you as much as being up close with nature, from the beauty of the splintered driftwood to the grace and majestic beauty of the swans fishing for their supper. I paused on the causeway for a few minutes to watch these magnificent creatures at work. I continued on and followed a quiet dirt road where quiet houses awaited their summer guests and grassy marshes awaited young hands looking for tadpoles. Without a plan, without a destination, propelled by the magnificent scenery and the music in my ear buds I kept plodding away, stopping every now and then to capture a moment in time.
The rustic beauty of a weather-beaten barn and dried out sea grass inspired my creative side. Trees were bare and the grass not yet green proved to be quite the contrast to the warm weather. In a matter of just a couple of weeks this would all look so very different. From the dirt road I made my way to a rocky and empty beach and strolled along the water's edge, as my eyes combed the rocks, shells and sand for any hint of sea glass. I found none.
My path would end at the lighthouse and I was admittedly disappointed when I saw it. It wasn't nearly as magnificent as many others I have seen. An ugly wire fence surrounded the house which was much less grand than I had hoped. My adventure would end here but there was more beauty to be caught as I retraced my steps back to the Inn. What's the best way to relax after a long walk? A nice massage of course!
SANNO Spa, located at the Inn, is a highly acclaimed full service Spa. If you are planning a visit to SPI either for the day or a few, you must be sure book a massage. My Swedish massage, relaxing and rejuvenating was perfected by the hot stone finale. When my session was done, I was given a glass of water and told to stay hydrated and then escorted to the lounge area, where there were two rooms to choose from - one bright and sunny, but I opted for the one with the fireplace. I helped myself to some more citrus water and settled down by the fire. (It would behoove me to tell you that bottles of Prosecco are also available, as is tea and fresh fruit... but back to the Prosecco... Next time!)
Shameless selfie that I pushed out through Instagram... As I look at it closely, I'm thinking I should have booked a facial... I wonder if they offer a de-wrinkling version?
The staff couldn't have been more courteous, pleasant or helpful - especially when I forgot the number combination to my locker! When you enter the spa you're taken to the main bathroom and changing area where you're given a plush robe, spa sandals and a locker. The room was clean - so clean it practically sparkled. Hairdryers are available as well as disposable razors and other assorted sundries you may need during your time there. Many stay and have lunch at the award winning Fresh Salt restaurant. I had something else in mind...
A 4 mile long walk, followed by an hour long massage, some R & R in front of the fire, can only possibly be topped by a dip in the hot tub, which according to Livestrong has numerous health benefits... So why not? If only in the name of health! As I lowered myself in it was hard to imagine that not 24 hours earlier I had been in a stress-induced frenzy to meet a deadline with the chaos of my children swirling all around me...
Did someone say children? What children? Did someone say stress? What stress?
My day at Saybrook Point in, from the magnificent view of the sunrise out my window, to the long walk over to Fenwick, to the spa, to the hot tub - could perhaps be compared to a wonderfully decadent hot fudge sundae. If so, then for sure my dinner at Fresh Salt would be the cherry on top.
I had a dear friend meet me for drinks and dinner. We caught up at the bar over as I sipped a deliciously briny Dirty Martini served in a festive coupe, followed by a glass of white wine (I forgot what I ordered) that we carried over to our table. My friend had been eyeing the Tuna Sashimi with Wonton Matchsticks that someone else had been enjoying at the bar. It is best perhaps described as an unrolled sushi roll where Sushi-Grade Yellowfin Tuna, Avocado with an Asian Ginger-Soy Dressing and Mango Salsa sat on a bed of Bamboo Sushi Rice. It was delicious. After devouring this all too quickly the waiter was ready to take our order and announced that the new Spring menu was debuting that evening. We asked him if he might have some ideas us. He did better than that - he sent out the chef, who offered some of his own suggestions. We told him to send out whatever he wanted us to try. And that is what happened. If you've never ordered like that and are quite adventurous in terms of food, I highly recommend it. It's a great way to try things you might not ordinarily order.
We had two appetizers. The first was the Ricotta Gnocchi “Genoese” with wonderful Spring Vegetables, Fava Beans, Sweet Peas, Carrots
and Parmesan-Arugula Pesto. It was a perfect appetizer-sized serving, with a couple of wonderfully pillowy gnocchi accompanied by a very generous serving of vegetables - just enough to please the palate while leaving enough of an appetite for something else. This dish was so wonderful I wouldn't hesitate to see if they might make me a dinner-sized version.
The second appetizer was the Jumbo Shrimp with Basil-Prosciutto Wrap served over Polenta Fries in an Orange Reduction. A pairing I wouldn't have thought of, the prosciutto offered a perfect salty balance to the sweet meat of the shrimp as well as a nice crispiness juxtaposed by the tender. The polenta fries were crispy and rich and a fun alternative to the traditional potato.
The Pan-roasted Salmon with Coconut-Ginger Black Rice, Julienne Vegetables and a Wasabi-Mango Sauce was placed in front of me. Truth be told I am not sure this would have been something I would have selected but I am glad I had it. The salmon was perfectly cooked, the outside had a nice crispy crust while the inside remained flaky. The unexpected flavors of the wasabi and mango paired perfectly with the salmon and the coconut ginger black rice that arrived in the form of a patty. The rice's texture was crisp and nutty but the flavor was soft with just a hint of sweetness from the coconut. The vegetables too were well cooked, tender yet retaining their crispiness.
When my friend Doug bit into the Roasted Pork Tenderloin I could see his eyes roll back in his head! Served with Braised Red Cabbage, a Carrot Spätzle Gratinée (that I mistook for pasta when I bit into it) was a wonderfully fresh twist along with a Marsala-Chestnut Sauce that perfectly complemented the pork which was smooth, mellow and tender to the bite as a slow cooked pork should be. Smoked Hickory Sea Salt was sprinkled over the top. We think chef knocked this one out of the ballpark.
We did not order dessert as we simply had no room... That's a decision I now regret!
A wonderfully renovated guest house evoking the tradition and history of the local community. The rooms are bright, immaculately clean, spacious, well equipped. The bathrooms are all brand new with new showers or bath tubs with shiny chrome accents and bright white wainscotted walls. Not a spec of dust or dirt could be seen in mine. I loved the fireplaces in each room as well as the main sitting areas, all easily operated. The kitchen which is open all day and night boasts a full fridge, dishwasher and ice maker. There were plenty of wine and drinking glasses as well as place settings and plates. I did think the kitchen could use a few sharp knives, a better wine bottle opener, some larger bowls and a colander for those who may want to eat a small snack or a meal in the house. I did send my suggestions to the manager. I can see this being a popular place for small family reunions, bridal and bachelorette parties as well as girl's weekends
As spas go this one is really top notch. Full service, the only thing they don't offer is a hair salon. The staff was kind and helpful. The upscale facility was clean, fresh and current. The small kitchen/bar area was clean and well stocked. The two lounges were immaculate. The bathroom and changing areas were immaculate. My massage therapist, Eleanor was professional and kind and I will ask for her again when I return.
The Health Center:
I didn't use either pool or any of the saunas or steam room. Despite the fact I had wanted to use the gym I never got to it. The small work out area offers all the standard apparatus, each was new and looked to be in excellent condition. The buildings were clean and tidy and the hot tub was divine.
The restaurant that prides itself on local, sustainable and organic didn't disappoint with it's fresh twist on classic fare. The award-wining eatery is named as its location is where freshwater meets the saltwater. I'd say coming from Fairfield, about an hour away, it would be well worth the drive just to come for the food. I would wait until the weather is just a bit warmer so one can truly take advantage of the outdoors.
Overall my experience at Saybrook Point Inn was tremendous and I would not hesitate, and have already started, to recommend any of or all of the facilities there. It is truly a gem on the northern Connecticut shoreline.
For more on Saybrook Point Inn and Spa be sure to visit their website. http://www.saybrook.com/hotel/
Old Saybrook Point Inn
2 Bridge Street Old Saybrook, CT 06475
Disclaimer: I was compensated for my stay, dining and spa services.
The opinions are of my own and not those of Saybrook Point Inn. I am always careful to choose my wording, and it should be noted I do not make recommendations lightly, as I have become a trusted voice and do have a reputation to protect.