As a lover of historic architecture, imagine my delight at being invited to stay at Saybrook Point Inn’s new guesthouse, the recently opened Tall Tales. My husband and I made the short trip to Old Saybrook on a Friday afternoon, ready to relax and enjoy this quiet seaside resort and spa.
Tall Tales is a detailed recreation of an Italianate historic home, complete with mansard roof in the Second Empire style. It’s a grand looking building, with a wraparound porch and upper level balconies extending from the third floor. It’s the neighbor to the Inn’s original guesthouse Three Stories, a renovated 1892 home originally owned by William Vars, a railroad engineer.
Tall Tales has six guest room suites, each decorated colorfully and comfortably for a relaxed yet luxurious feel. Consistent with Three Stories, every room is named after someone relevant to the town’s history, in our case Barbara Maynard, First Selectwoman of Old Saybrook for many years and considered the “Town Mother”.
Our suite was sublime, from the coral walls to the comfortable, crisp white bedding to the spacious, bright bathroom with the rain fall shower head. The entire room, and every other part of the Inn that we visited, was immaculate. I loved the attention to detail, too, that we found in every space.
Tall Tales has two major common areas, one being a joint dining and sitting area on the first floor and the other being a game room on the second floor. The guesthouse would be the perfect place to stay for a family reunion, or for a bridal party, with no shortage of spots for groups to congregate, eat, play games or just chat.
Unless one party books the entire house, it is a designated kid-free zone, so be assured of peace and quiet whatever the reason for your visit.
Though it would have been nice to just relax in our room all night, there was much more to be seen across the way at the main inn. General Manager John Lombardo gave me a tour of the property along with two fellow Connecticut bloggers, Julie from Happy Strong Home and Bonnie from The Home Place Blog.
Starting in the lobby, John described the 82 room main inn as the labor of love of the Tagliatela family. Couple Louis and Mary Tagliatela purchased the property over 25 years ago and built the Inn after tearing down the former Terra Mar Hotel & Yacht Basin, frequented by Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack. Their son Stephen currently manages the day-to-day operations of the resort.
Amenities abound and include a full-service spa, indoor and outdoor pools (heated), and a marina. The Inn even boasts its own lighthouse, with a renovated second floor suite currently under construction. Imagine waking up to that sunrise? Not surprisingly the Inn is a favorite venue for weddings, and if I were a bride I would be sure to book that suite for my wedding night!
The Inn is well-known for its focus on being green, becoming the first Green Certified Hotel in Connecticut for initiatives such as xeriscaping (landscaping to cut down/eliminate need for water), use of solar, use of sustainable local resources and countless others.
After our tour I enjoyed a massage at Sanno Spa, followed by cocktails on the patio and then dinner at the Inn’s restaurant, Fresh Salt. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a big foodie (meaning, I’m a plain old meat and potatoes girl), but I can confirm that I had a delicious steak and the most delightful warm brownie with creamy Belgian chocolate gelato for dessert.
My husband also thoroughly enjoyed his meals during our stay, including a salmon omelet for breakfast that he raved about for days.
Named Fresh Salt since the Inn is located where Long Island Sound (salt) meets the Connecticut River (fresh), the restaurant includes a clubby bar that was hopping on Friday night and an airy dining space with a vaulted ceiling and water views.
As we roamed the Inn, one thing that stood out to me very clearly was how the owners value the history of the property and of the town where it resides. Most notably, there is a room in the Inn dedicated to what came before the current resort.
Old photos and memorabilia are handsomely framed for the interested viewer, including history about Terra Mar and the Pease House, a small country hotel that began operations in 1870. The exhibit speaks to many visitors who come to the Old Saybrook area not just for the views, but for the local history and historic architecture.
For those who decide to leave the comforts of the Inn to explore the area, a leisurely drive on scenic Route 154 is the perfect way to get a sense of the landscape. Circling through Saybrook Point’s historic district and then through Katharine Hepburn’s old stomping grounds in Fenwick, the road takes you from one scenic vista to another.
Stop and stroll on the town’s charming Main Street, visiting the eclectic group of shops and enjoying a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream. Take in a show at The Kate, a historic local theater renamed for Ms. Hepburn after her death in 2003.
When you have had your fill, come back to the comforts of the Inn. Whether you choose to stay at the main Inn, Three Stories or their newest guesthouse Tall Tales, you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing, restful stay.
You get a sense that the Tagliatela family knows that their stewardship of the property on Saybrook Point is for the long-term. Others came before them, and others will come after them, and they are doing what they can to respect the past and preserve for the future. It’s up to us to enjoy it.