Saybrook Point Inn, a luxury hotel on the Connecticut shoreline, shines as a weekend destination for New Yorkers or Bostonians year round.Enjoy a first class spa, farm (and sea) to table restaurants and free bikes to explore the historic town.
November is typically a sad, gray month in Northeast when the weather turns cold, the leaves are past peak and the days are short. My husband and I decided to defy the depression and head to Old Saybrook, Connecticut, where the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa could ease the gloom.
But Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate. There we were, on the second weekend of November, wearing short sleeves in the 60 degree weather. This was a glorious time to visit, and we were able to take advantage of some of Saybrook Point’s more summery attractions, like free bike rentals and outdoor cafes.
Actually, those cafes were in town, just a mile from the hotel; there are a few antique shops and boutiques as
But the Saybrook Point Inn has so much going on that you can just stay put.
Our first order of business was a couples massage. We had anticipated a long, shoulder clenching drive to the hotel, but again where disappointed (not!) by the smooth sailing to the Connecticut shore. Part of this was also seasonal; when we camped nearby last summer, the traffic on I-95 was so horrendous that we nearly gave up. This time, we drove up first to Northampton, Massachusetts, to visit our oldest daughter at grad school, and took the little-trafficked Route 9 to Connecticut. A dream drive!
Even without the shoulder tension, the massage was wonderful, The Inn’s Sanno spa has a relaxation room with snacks and tea, fluffy robes and treatment rooms. My vegetarian husband is a meat and potatoes guy when it comes to spas; he doesn’t want frilly extras or floral scents, just lots of kneading and pressure.
The hotel had arranged for us to eat at its seasonal restaurant, Fresh Salt, which was a good thing since we could barely get ourselves back into clothes after that massage. We were so relaxed we slid back across the street to our room.
We stayed at the Inn’s newest addition, the Three Stories Guest House. Our top floor (um, the third…) room had a gas fireplace, huge bathroom with glass tower and soaking tub and sitting area with a couch and easy chairs. Oh, and a comfy king-sized bed and balcony overlooking the water. The guest house has coffee and tea available all day long, along with fruit and granola bars. In the morning, there were also freshly baked muffins and freshly brewed coffee (instead of the Keurig).
The guesthouse has a large dining room, a parlor where newspapers and a jigsaw puzzle were left out, a roof deck with a fire pit, and a lower level rec room with a huge unused bar and billiards table. The ‘house mom’ chatted with us about our day and offered suggestions about what to see.
We had a full breakfast at the Fresh Salt, a gargantuan bowl of Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and an omelet with kale. So many restaurants have a kale salad on their menu, but this was the first time I’ve seen it in an omelet and it was great.
At dinner, Fresh Salt emphasizes local produce and seafood, and all the fish is fresh. The restaurant has an herb garden planted by a local farmer and a huge colorful fish tank of fish for viewing, not eating. There is a schedule of feeding times so kids can watch. There are plenty of gluten free options, but vegetarian are more limited; all the soups and the mushroom risotto are made with chicken stock. But I had a delicious pear salad with greens and smoked blue cheese, and perfectly cooked scallops minus the pork belly lardons. There is also roasted vegetable lasagna for those who don’t eat fish.
The local emphasis shows in the cocktail list, with Connecticut beer and wine options, and Foggy Harbor Vodka and Hickory Farms Apple Pie Moonshine, both made in Connecticut. I tried a margarita with tequila smoked in house and a Black Hawaiian sea salt rim.
We rode the beach cruisers over the Old Saybrook Causeway, a flat path that took us to a neighborhood filled with huge historic beachfront houses and Katharine Hepburn’s last home. The free bikes are first come, first served, and they are very basic, one speed bikes, ideal for rides under 10 miles.
We explored the park across the street, with a boardwalk and bird sanctuary. Plaques tell about the history of Saybrook Colony, founded in 1635. If you are a history buff, check to the historic photos of the different hotels that have been where the Saybrook stands today. I loved the old menus, with astronomically low prices and cuisine rarely seen today.
The Inn uses solar panels to heat the outdoor saltwater pool, with natural salt, not chlorine in the pool. The restaurant focuses on seasonal, local cuisine, minimizing what is shipped in.
The historic town of Essex is a few minutes away, with the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, a place my kids loved when they were younger. We walked around town, which has a beautiful waterfront park, antique shops and cafes.
- Fitness center
- Free bikes
We stayed in the Katharine Hepburn suite, with books about the film star and photos decorating the room. The Inn has many different types of rooms, including a lighthouse room. Available only in the summer, the lighthouse room sits above the marina shop and includes stunning Connecticut River and Long Island Sound views, a full kitchen and a pull out couch, along with a separate bedroom.
What Works for Families
- Adjoining rooms
- Family rooms with kitchens
- Indoor AND outdoor (seasonal) pools
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- The Three Stories guesthouse is adult only
Note: I was a guest of Saybrook Point Inn, which covered our room, massage and dinner at Fresh Salt. Relaxation bliss and opinions are all my own.