Three Stories – Refined Comfort Awaits at the Saybrook Point Inn
By Charmagne Eckert / photos by Jeffery Lilly
Stepping into Three Stories through the massive wood and glass entry door, visitors find themselves transported into an era of welcoming refinement. The warmly elegant foyer is open, presenting a graceful contemporary flow while honoring the building’s Victorian architecture. A large dining table awaits, gleaming beneath an iron chandelier from which large natural quartz crystals dangle. Comfortable chairs and sofas beg to be curled up in with a good book and a cup of coffee or tea. A fully appointed kitchen with gleaming stainless steel appliances is half visible behind a paneled pass-through and adds to the feeling of being a welcomed visitor in a private home. There is the sensation of having arrived at a cherished destination.
This year as the Saybrook Point Inn celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary the Three Stories guest house makes its debut as the newest addition to the collection of distinctive lodging the Inn offers. The guest house, located across the street from the main hotel building, is a lovingly restored Italianate mansion built in 1892. Here, the concept was to create a more independent setting for guests to enjoy the feeling of being in their own space. Lodgers may experience the sense of privacy that the wonderful old home engenders and at the same time partake of the many services and activities available just across the street. While any of the eight guest rooms may be booked individually, it is also possible to reserve the entire property for occasions where the atmosphere of a sumptuous private residence would be especially meaningful. While the guest house is situated apart from the main Inn, it is a full service property and the two swimming pools, casually sophisticated Fresh Salt restaurant, fitness and spa facilities and other amenities are available to guests as part of their Saybrook Point experience.
The care taken with the restoration of the regal Victorian era residence is immediately evident, as are the innovative touches that transform it into first class accommodations. Wherever possible original features have been maintained and where that was not practical, careful research assured the authentic quality of replicas. The layout is still that of a grand home but with the added conveniences of an elevator, en suite bathrooms, and on site parking.
On the lower level is the Billiard Room with its weighty felt-topped table and relaxing library atmosphere. In another example of practicality blended with ambiance, the table may be fitted with a top to form a conference table to accommodate meetings. Though situated below the main house, the room is fresh and airy with doors opening out of one end onto an intimate brick terrace. The area is set apart and has its own bathroom facilities making it ideal for private social or business gatherings.
On every floor cozy nooks and crannies abound, with armchairs or a petite writing desk tucked into a gabled upper hall or vestibule and many of these small, homey areas offer stunning views. On the third floor, an outdoor living room offers another area for informal or organized gatherings. The comfortable seating surrounding the fire pit is protected from sea breezes by higher architectural features of the building while remaining open to the sky and picturesque vistas.
Every one of the eight invitingly elegant guestrooms is named for an individual prominent to local history and is thoughtfully decorated to reflect something of the character of the famous area resident whose name it bears. Two Saybrook luminaries of especial note are Katherine Houghton Hepburn, mother of the famous actress and noted suffragette who founded Planned Parenthood, and Anna Louise James, daughter of a slave, who was the first woman pharmacist in Connecticut. All guest rooms feature fireplaces and a private balcony, most of which afford views of the Connecticut River, Long Island Sound and adjoining inlets. Whatever the tone of the décor, all have European bedding, flat screen televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi and small thoughtful touches to welcome guests. The bathrooms are a pleasing hybrid of Victorian charm and modern luxury with 19th century inspired floor tiles warmed from beneath, multi headed showers, and in two, jacuzzi soaking tubs. Regardless of the particular ambiance created by their individual style, all rooms are beautifully appointed and essentially vary only in bed configuration, size and the type of view they afforded.
The attention to detail and an appreciation for the history and the natural setting where the Saybrook Point Inn is situated are evident throughout the Inn’s buildings and property, but perhaps especially so in Three Stories. The artwork that may be seen gracing the walls of the guest rooms and common areas alike is that of area artists. The main Inn as well has many works by Connecticut artists; notably the bronze Osprey in the gardens by Old Saybrook sculptor Louise Willey who is creating a new piece representing a life sized Blue Heron in honor of the Inn’s 25th anniversary celebration. The affable staff is well versed in local lore and is happy to point visitors to the sites of historical interest, cultural events, and the many nature trails and waterways that may be explored during a stay at the Inn.
There is an active awareness that Saybrook Point Inn occupies a rare and ecologically valuable location and care has been taken to ensure that the Inn is in harmony with its environment. This estuary, where the Connecticut River empties into the Long Island Sound, is one of the few non-industrialized river mouths in the nation making it a genuine scenic treasure and haven for birds and wildlife. In1998, it was selected as one of fourteen American Heritage Rivers by President Bill Clinton.
Environmental custodianship is important at the Saybrook Point Inn and their work to continually improve and innovate has earned them the distinction of being named a Certified Energy Hotel in 2007 – the first Inn in Connecticut to receive the designation. Environmentally conscious measures have included conversion of all lawn areas to garden spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and appropriate to the coastal setting while requiring lower water consumption and less chemical treatment than grass. Energy is reutilized wherever possible, and is one of the reasons the Inn is able to offer year round usage of their outdoor heated pool. And for guests who drive electric vehicles, a charging station is located in the main parking lot – connected to the Inn’s solar panels.
While there is a genuine emphasis upon sound environmental practices, the consideration of their guests’ experience remains the priority. The vision of the Saybrook Point Inn is to provide a comfortably elegant setting where guests can feel both pampered and fully at home, whether they are attending a special event or stopping through on a casual visit. Now, with the addition of Three Stories, the possibilities are even greater for anyone seeking a truly memorable visit to Old Saybrook.
For reservations and information on the Saybrook Point Inn and Spa and the Three Stories guest house, visit:
21 Bridge Street
Old Saybrook, Connecticut 06475