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“An enjoyable step back in time...”
Review of Griswold Inn

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Griswold Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Essex B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 2, 2009

I just spent the Halloween weekend at the Griswold Inn and it was awesome. For starters, if you haven't been to Essex, it is well worth a stop. A super quaint town on the banks of the Connecticut River. Great historic sea captains' home to peer into, nice little shops and of course, "The Gris"....perhaps the heart of this little hamlet.

The Griswold Inn has been there since 1776 and as most others have noted, their pub room and dining room really resemble an era long past. Warm rooms with antique guns and nautical Currier & Ives prints. The pub is anchored by an old pot-belly stove. The pub comes alive at night with live piano and/or banjo music. Thankfully, there is no TV in sight...perhaps allowing you to imagine pub-life of the 18th century. (Ok, the popcorn machine wasn't there 200 years ago but I'm glad it is now because it was awesome!)

As for the accommodations, the inn is by no means a luxury destination. And it doesn't try to be nor does it bill itself as such. Our room was basic but super clean and comfortable. A huge 4 posted Queen bed was very comfortable and the other furnishing were fine. There was no TV (again totally fine by me), no Bose radio, no robes, no luxury bath products, etc. But again, all the basics you would need for a comfortable stay. My only suggestion would be to ask exactly where your room is located. We were the very front room on the second floor which offered a nice view of Main Street. However, during the afternoon/early evening when there is a lot of lobby traffic below, it was quite loud. Also, since it is a very old building, the floors do creak and we could hear every foot-step of the room above us. Oh and I would ask the management to consider a little brighter of lighting in the bathroom.

We ate at the inn's wine bar which serves small plates. Nice atmosphere and the food was rather tasty. But I would suggest to the owners that they consider getting rid of the small plates. That's a trend that's already old. And since there are only a couple dining options in town, a more inventive regular menu would be more appropriate.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. Next to the inn was their annex that had a nice common room with a tv, newspapers, magazines and fireplaces. The free, morning continental breakfast was enjoyable. Just the usual muffins, bagels, fruit and coffee...but perfect for us.

I highly recommend the inn and would love to stay again around the holidays or on a cold winter's night. But again, if you are looking for high thread-count sheets, room service and a high-end attitude...do NOT stay here. But, if you want to step back in time a bit...The Gris is the place for you!

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Greg187
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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310 - 316 of 347 reviews

Reviewed August 17, 2009

We stayed at "The Gris" compliments of the management after an unfortunate experience in July 2008. We were completely satified this time with the warm welcome, the spacious, comfortable accommodations, the friendly staff, and the complimentary continental breakfast (fresh fruit, muffins, bagels, a variety of cereals, juice, coffee, teas) served in one of the inn's cozy, rustic dining areas. Essex, a stone's throw from the shoreline, is a wonderful town for strolling and photography. We would not hesitate to recommend The Griswold Inn for a weekend stay or a longer break in this picturesque area of Connecticut.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank traveler06032
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2009

We stopped here for one night and we were looking for a reasonable place to stay and this was it. It is very bare bones, no television in the room-we watched it in the common area. The shower pressure is unbelievable! The room was very clean but bed a little hard. The greatest asset is the bar, it comes alive with music and is very quaint.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank shame510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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.
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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 - $227 (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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