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“Bare Bones Basic”
Review of Griswold Inn

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Griswold Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Essex B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 29, 2009

Very clean room, but very basic. We stayed in the annex. Given that the building it old, the floor is not level and our bed tilted backwards. No TVs in the rooms, no hair dryer, no bathtub (shower only), basicaly, no frills. The blanket on the bed needed to be thrown out, it was all pilly and looked to be as old as the building itself. Bedding was poor qualities. The mattress and pillow were bad, definitely bring your own pillow if you go. Plus, the walls were very thin and we heard every noise both inside and outside. There was a sing along going on in the tavern next door and it was very loud in our room until after midnight when it stopped. Overall, yes it was clean and quaint, but not comfortable. The food at the restaurant was good, and the atmostphere in the tavern was cozy, we would have dinner there again.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NewEnglandTraveler09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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305 - 311 of 339 reviews

Reviewed December 17, 2008

For several years we enjoyed dining with friends at the Griswold Inn during the Christmas season because their holiday food and ambience was always so enjoyable. Our visit this past weekend was anything but. The holiday singers were infrequently singing in our dining room and only came to our table one time. Instead we had to listen to a band in the bar that played too loudly for the building size and not even holiday music.

When it was time to be seated we were brought to the worst located table in the dining room next to the prep station when there were many other empty tables in the same room away from the congestion. All the empty tables should have been a clue to us that something was wrong. In past years every table was always filled. We asked to be seated elswhere.

Both men ordered a B & B drink to be told the inn no longer carries B & B! We never encountered a bar that did not carry B & B. They also no longer serve the pre-dinner relish tray. The candle on our table was unlit yet all the other tables' candles were lit. We had to exchange candles ourselves with an empty table. Fortunately the meal was very good although we did not order as many courses because the inn had increased their prices considerably and, as we found out, reduced their serving portions. Our server was pleasant and attentive. The coffee was only luke warm. Our bill for 4 people with tip came to $220 for 2 drinks, 1appetizer, 2 soups, 4 entrees & 4 coffees. When we left, one person in our party mentioned to the man at the front desk that there certainly were many changes in the restaurant to which the man replied "Yeah" and then continued with his Google search on the PC. He could not even take the time to talk with us.

Our group decided that the restaurant had gone down hill significantly and we will not be returning.

Stayed: December 2008
Thank Hazenwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2008

Nice, old, characterful building, rooms vary in quality and size. Ours was on the small size, but clean and with a fairly basic bathroom.

The restaurant and bar again is full of character and very quaint with a good atmosphere.

The Griswold is a great place to stay for a night or two if your passing through.

  • Stayed: May 2008
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Thank OnTheWalkOfLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Griswold for a long Columbus day weekend. We live in NYC, and needed to get away for some relaxation. Essex is a lovely town, albeit a little too small/quiet for our taste (I don't think we could stay for longer than a day or two -there's not much to do). The Griswold was a little run down, e.g. water stains on the wall, peeling wallpaper, chipping paint. We stayed in a cheaper room, it was tiny and had a little bit of a funky smell. Though I don't think it should matter how much we paid, the hotel didn't live up to its reviews.
The newly renovated wine bar is very nice, it had a good selection of wines and yummy food. The main restaurant was very expensive, we ate at the Black Seal down the street (it had okay food but was the only other restaurant in town). We came back to the Griswold to listen to the live music. That was a very weird experience, the band was pretty bad, and played a really weird mix of music ( Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now" and Western yee-haw music). When we asked about the lounge for the hotels guests to watch TV or read, the man at the front desk told us that it had been "taken over" by other people.
All in all the experience was a little strange, we felt like we were the youngest people in the town (besides the teenagers). My husband is 28 and I'm 25, we we were constantly surrounded by older couples.
I don't think I would stay at the hotel again, I would try to find a town with more things to do and a wider selection of hotels and restaurants.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank nyu05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2008

We were helping my sister in law move from NYC to Boston and needed somewhere to stay overnight in between with a 14 foot bright yellow truck.

We hadn't booked and luckily we could all be accommodated in a two-storey free-standing suite across the road from the main inn. The room was beautiful and a bargain at $150 for the night with breakfast. We ate at the Inn, although the food wasn't very exciting (especially after dinner at Nobu the night before!).

Essex is a beautiful town to wander around. The Inn is undergoing exterior rennovations at the moment (quite a lot of exterior scafolding) and workmen started before 8am on Monday - this may impact your enjoyment staying in the main building.

P.S. I can't stand before reviewing properties when they haven't stayed there recently. I find the idea of a pet-friendly hotel repulsive anyway.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank DoctorRock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the Griswold Inn in the beautiful village of Essex, CT back in 1993. It was a lovely place, albeit somewhat noisy. The great part was that you could have your cat or dog stay with you. It was "pet-friendly" long before that issue was recognized as an important part of country-inn/bed and breakfeast amenities.

I was so disappointed when I called the Griswold this evening and asked about reservations for a week long stay there, with our wonderful cat, Rocky. The young man who answered declared: "We do NOT accept pets of ANY kind." I told him that I remembered a time not so long ago when they did, and he said, "That was before, this is now." And then he hung up the phone.

If this is what the Griswold is all about now, my husband and I, and Rocky the Cat, will certainly not be visiting the Griswold for so much as a cocktail.

I feel that the soul of the place has been lost. The food was never very good, but we stayed there because of the village itself. I'm sure there's another inn where we can take our business---and Rocky, who is now 17 years old, and a perfect gentleman.

  • Stayed: April 2003, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gracieupstateNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2008

Desperate for some R & R, I booked two nights at this historic inn. It is located in Essex, "The Best Small Town in America".

To get there, simply take Amtrak from Penn Station to Old Saybrook, CT. Weekdays and Saturday, there is a public bus from the Amtrak Station in Old Saybrook to Essex. It costs $1.25. However, the buses are infrequent and unreliable.

A better choice is Car-Mac, a private car service (860/388-2842). For $20 (not including tip), it takes you directly to the Griswold Inn.

Once you check in, the beautiful Connecticut River is only a block or two away. You can sit on a bench and simply "watch the river flow". You can visit the Connecticut River Museum or ride the river aboard RiverQuest.

The Essex Steam Train was a 20-30 minute walk from the Griswold Inn. I felt safe and enjoyed seeing the many historic homes along the way.

I love the Griswold Inn, but find it hard to characterize. It provides an abundance of the simple pleasures--comfortable reading chairs, a book lined diningroom, complimentary coffee, and a shared refrigerator for guests.

The inn is quiet, but there is live music every night. You can drink or simply listen to the music. The crowd is friendly without being rowdy.

I recommend the Griswold Inn to boat lovers of all ages, to solo travelers seeking serenity, to couples looking for romance, and to families in search of a safe, wholesome setting. Oh, yeah. The food is good.

  • Stayed: May 2008
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1  Thank Cassandra26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Griswold Inn

Address: 36 Main St, Essex, CT 06426-1132
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Connecticut > Essex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Essex
Price Range: $182 - $231 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Griswold Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 33
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the picturesque and historic village of Essex, Connecticut, The Griswold Inn is a destination experience. With 33 guest rooms, unique shopping, historic dining, a stunning wine bar featuring a tapas-style culinary experience, and an award-winning taproom voted "Best Bar" over and over by Esquire Magazine and countless others, the 'Gris' offers visitors an authentic and spirited adventure. Come make your own history here. The oldest continually operated inn in America. Fine Food, Spirits and Lodging....Since 1776! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Griswold Hotel Essex

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