Imagine spending the night in a luxuriously appointed lighthouse. You can do so at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, set on a scenic stretch of land, where the Long Island Sound meets the Connecticut River in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.
The expansive property has a rich history, beginning in 1870 when it housed a simple country hotel called the Pease House. The hotel was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the Terra Mar, a swish, Mad Men-meets-old-Hollywood resort frequented by guests and celebrities, including Frank Sinatra. In 1980, the Tagliatela family purchased Terra Mar and transformed it into a retreat they called Saybrook Point Inn & Spa.
Today, with a total of 100 guest-rooms, Saybrook Point Inn has expanded considerably. You can stay in the cheery, yellow clapboard main building (the inn) or at one of two historic guesthouses—Three Stories guesthouse, which has eight, elegantly appointed rooms, or Tall Tales guesthouse, with six smart-casual rooms. Additionally, the inn has 24 Marina Point Villas, some unfurnished for longer stays and others with full kitchens, sitting rooms, and more. Of course, the most dazzling option is the unique Lighthouse Suite, situated in the former wharf house where the dock master would have stayed.
Resembling a miniature lighthouse, the 900-square-foot suite sits on the main dock inside the inn’s marina, which rents slips for short- and long-terms stays. To reach your room, you climb the curved staircase to the entrance door, which opens into an airy sitting room with wicker furniture and soothing wall colors of seafoam, ivory, and ocean blue. The addition of a small refrigerator, sink, and two-burner electric stove means you can prepare a romantic dinner for two to savor in the privacy of your own waterfront oasis. A snug modern bathroom lies off the cozy bedroom, where you can drift off to sleep to the soothing sound of water flowing under the dock and the faraway glow of four other working lighthouses on the horizon.
To serve its corporate clients and accommodate wedding parties, the inn has myriad function rooms. It also has the Health Club, complete with cardio and resistance-training equipment, yoga and fitness classes, and indoor and outdoor pools. At Sanno Spa, several marine-oriented therapies are on tap, along with massages, facials, and nail and make-up services. A festive fillip to the spa is the fridge full of mini bottles of chilled wine and prosecco that you can charge to your room and enjoy after your treatments in the cloud-white relaxing room.
For dining at the inn, Fresh Salt offers breakfast, lunch, and casual, as well as white-cloth, dining for dinner. Plenty of freshly just-caught New England seafood fills the menu (the swordfish chop is outstanding), along with seasonal soups, salads, pastas, and meat dishes. Cocktails and wine can be enjoyed in the bar or dining room, or on the patio in fair weather.
While it’s easy to spend all your time at the resort, consider borrowing one of the inn’s bikes to pedal into town. On Main Street, you’ll see The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, which has a small exhibit devoted to the movie star’s life growing up in Old Saybrook. The center also hosts a variety of performances that range from dance and comedy to music and theater. For curio hunters, antique stores abound, particularly in nearby Essex, where you also can ride a real steam train via The Valley Railroad Company. Then, there is nearby Mystic, home to the famous Mystic Pizza parlor featured in the 1988 film of the same name starring Julia Roberts. Order a pie and imagine yourself on set.
Back at the resort, it’s hard to find a better way to close the day than by watching the sun slip down over the horizon. And from the privacy of your lighthouse perch, you’ll feel miles out at sea, despite being only steps away from the inn.
Saybrook Point Inn & Spa
2 Bridge Street, Old Saybrook, Connecticut