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“Not a great night's sleep”
Review of Briarcliff Motel

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Briarcliff Motel
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Great Barrington
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

It's a cool concept, and certainly better than your average chain, but I *wanted* to like this place more than I actually did.

It's a ways outside of town, halfway between GB and Stockbridge, so you can't walk anywhere and the front yard area -- which has a gas fire pit and picnic tables -- is pitch dark and feels very remote for a city kid. Like a bear, or a serial killer dressed like a bear, may pop out of the woods at any point.

But my bigger gripe is with the tall pillows and firm bed combo. I like a firm bed since I sleep on my back, but the pillows are so huge it hurts your neck to even try it. Your only option is to sleep on your side but the mattress is so firm it's like camping. Anyway I didn't sleep well.

Breakfast was really nice and provided the only chance to meet some other people and approach something like a B&B experience.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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4  Thank Jon G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ClareBriar, Owner at Briarcliff Motel, responded to this reviewResponded September 9, 2013

Sorry you didn't sleep well, Jon. We think a good night's sleep is vital, so we invest in high quality Serta plush top mattresses with medium cushioning. As travellers, we're also particular about pillows and understand how important they are. As innkeepers, though, we hope you won't mind if we review the reviewer. As an unpaid travel writer, which at 27 reviews you are, you have a responsibility to test people like us. When you get into a room, check out the pillows, and if you're not happy with them, request alternatives. Good places will be able to offer a choice, and we include ourselves in that. If we treat your request lightly, or can't deliver, maybe that's the time to be critical.

There's not much we can do about the dark freaking you out. Over the past days we had another guest rhapsodising about the atmosphere created by the starry sky, our fire bowl and the outdoor lights illuminating our new trees. Conclusion: it's all a matter of opinion. You've detailed our location in your review and it has been on the home page of our website for quite some time. So travellers should be in no doubt that we're located about four minutes' drive from the main streets of Great Barrington and Stockbridge. We're not 'in town' (read, 'on a strip'), but then if we were, we wouldn't enjoy the night-time quiet and beautiful up-close view of the mountain.

Richard did once briefly consider dressing in a bear suit, but it was more for the purpose of outdoor advertising rather than to chase guests around the property. The Berkshires has negligible crime compared to urban places, and most of our friends locally don't even lock their houses when they go out. Nor are there reports in the area of loony-killer-bearmen. Phew.

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235 - 241 of 466 reviews

Reviewed September 4, 2013

My husband and I spent two nights at the Briarcliff while in the Berkshires for our 20th wedding anniversary. We adored our visit to Tanglewood, enjoyed the museums, and had a lovely 40 mile bicycle ride. What made our trip outstanding, though, was our lodging at the Briarcliff. This adorable retro motel has been lovingly, and stylishly, remodeled by Clare and Richard. This tireless duo have injected tons of modern charm and convenience in to the place. Our room was large, with a very comfortable King bed and seating. Silly to mention, but we had plenty of clothes hangers in our wardrobe area (the usual two hangers provided at most places is a pet peeve of mine). The room and bath were impeccably clean and bright, with updated fixtures and quality bedding/linens. Breakfast is included, and we both enjoyed our leisurely homemade breakfast (scones, muffins, hard boiled eggs, granola, and local yogurt & coffee) in the "great" room. Clare and Richard, knowing that we enjoy good wine and great food, recommended several terrific, off-the-beaten-path restaurants. As if to provide a grand finale to our trip, they turned on the gas-flame Fire Bowl so that we could spend a perfect fall night under the stars--no bugs, no smoke! We give the Briarcliff our most hearty recommendation and we look forward to visiting with Clare and Richard again soon.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michelle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We only spend a night on a 2 day get away. We wanted to stay in a true B&B but finding one with 2 beds was tricky. The Briarcliff seemed like a perfect compromise.

It is an old time roadside motel that has been redone. While we were there they were redoing the front landscaping, so it wasn't particularly attractive out front.

We liked the beds, they were comfortable and the all white bedding and duvets were very nice. The bathroom was pretty spartan and the towels were really skimpy and thin. Only built in bottles of liquid soap at sink and in shower. I bring my own, so not a problem, just a bit odd

Breakfast was nice, with some good granola and nice yougurt. There were some homemade scones which were more like biscuits and some decent home made muffins.

The rates were ok compared to other area hotels.

The rooms were very clean; the air conditioning worked well.

There was no closet in the room, just a sort of hanging rod [Ikea style].

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Debits2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ClareBriar, Owner at Briarcliff Motel, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2013

Thank you for your helpful, no-nonsense feedback. Lots of points, worth responding to for lots of reasons.

First, the landscaping: we're so sorry about the Giant Hill of Dirt, which has happily now passed into legend. Our guests were, without exception, supportive and generous spirited during our protracted landscaping and we thank you, too, for your understanding. As a reviewer just below has stated, all is now complete. NASA has reported that our concrete firebowl is visible from outer space once it's in full flame, and guests can enjoy it on these cooler evenings. The new river birches and wildflower beds will, we hope, will be well established by next year.

Soap & towels: we're rather proud that in some of our rooms we offer a three-in-one Method product that doesn't involve us littering the planet with half-used pills of soap and tiny shampoo containers. But we accept it's not everyone's squirt of shower creme, so we do have both. Just ask and it shall be. The towels are a work in progress, somewhat lower on our agenda than re-modelling the landscaping, but nonetheless important. We've upgraded a couple of times since taking over but it's something we'd still like to improve further. It would be a lot simpler if we were allowed to do our own laundry, but being on a well system it's a problem. But thanks for jogging our elbow to get on with it!

Motel or B&B: you're right, we are a kind of hybrid. The B&B bit is that we serve a complimentary continental breakfast consisting of homemade and local produce, and deliver a level of service which, by and large, gets a double thumbs-up. We try to be as clear as we can be that we're not a B&B in the style of the building or the decor of the rooms, just in our level of personal attention to guests, and the warmth of the welcome.

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Reviewed August 29, 2013

For the past two years, the Briarcliff has been THE place to stay in the Berkshires. Zippy and clean, with charm, character, and a modernist sensibility, it's a place to relax and a base from which to explore a fascinating area of the country.

Now, owners Richard and Clare Proctor have orchestrated a complete transformation of the property's front, which sports a great fire pit and artfully arranged natural seating from which guests can regard the majesty of Monument Mountain or simply chat over a glass or three of something as the sun slips below the upper ridge. As the evenings grow cooler and the foliage brightens, I can certainly see sitting around the fire pit becoming a touchstone of a Briarcliff stay. It's another stroke of design genius.

Richard and Clare are unfailingly polite, helpful, and welcoming -- to us and to our dog, whom we bring with us regularly. I think the rare guests who complain say more about themselves than about the Briarcliff and its hoteliers. As for us, we will look forward to a fall trip, the fire pit, the lovely environs, and the fine service at the Briarcliff.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rustyjones1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

We needed somewhere to stay in the area for a couple of days and hit upon a goldmine... Tranquill spot, tastefully decorated and furnished rooms. Proprietors were really helpfull generally and especially in advising us of where to go and do.

If only I could have physically moved the location to within walking distance of the bar/restaurants we were recommended I would have enjoyed a second/third perhaps a fourth pint and then immediately regreted loosing the stunning views from our window of the tree covered hills laced with mist in the morning...

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank LondonCSE_London
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2013

1. The spartan, inconvenient room reminded us of camp, with very little space for clothing (something that appeared to be the size of a night table). As a result most of our clothing remained in a suitcase. The bathroom was very small with one small shelf which was not properly attached to the wall. The shower had no place for shampoo or conditioner. Very pricey for what was provided.

2. The owners did something reprehensible. Our daughter had reserved a pet friendly room for herself and her family. Richard had told her about it. He checked to make sure one was available and two were, so there was no problem. But then Richard and Clare reversed themselves regarding a pet friendly room and sent an email to me since I originally handled the booking. I did not receive the email. It might have landed in junk. We knew nothing about it. This came right before the wedding we were in the area for. They never called, never got in touch with us to discuss what they were doing. Our daughter and her family had to drive a 200 mile round trip with her 2 year old toddler. The owners never even bothered to apologize. They lied to her saying they no longer had the pet friendly policy, which wasn't true. They told me that they didn't get back to me because I never answered their emails. Whenever they emailed me I always called them as opposed to emailing. When they showed me a copy of their email sure enough it said they would be in touch. Not! We found them uncooperative and unprofessional. They should not be in a field dealing with the public. They might be OK if there is no problem but there was a problem, which they created. Beware!

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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Puzzled524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ClareBriar, Owner at Briarcliff Motel, responded to this reviewResponded September 1, 2013

Really? Liars? Dodgy rooms? Shouldn't be in the service sector? This kind of jars with our 200+ glowing reviews, don't you think?

No one wants to read a long, boring rebuttal, and we don't want to have to write one, but in this case we'll make an exception. To protect their anonymity, because we're nice and because TA says we should, let's call this family the Flakes. Mrs Flake booked three rooms with us in April for an August wedding, for herself and her two adult children. At no point was a dog mentioned. After all, why would you want to bring your dog to a wedding? In subsequent weeks, several members of the Flake clan called us to add nights, subtract nights, add nights again. We emailed Mrs Flake each time with a new confirmation.

Then in mid-May, the daughter of the family called and said she wanted to change her booking again, and bring her dog. Richard spoke to her and he remembers the conversation quite distinctly, because frankly by now they had become a talking point. He told her that he had reservations about it because our policy is designed to offer a couple of rooms to guests who would like to enjoy the Berkshires WITH their dog, as opposed to leaving the dog in the room for hours on end to get bored and insecure, and loudly express its feelings to our other guests. But he said he would discuss it with me and would let Mrs Flake - as the person who had made the booking - know by email, when he sent the latest revised confirmation. This we did, on 23 May.

Ms Flake did not 'reserve a room', nor did Richard say there would be 'no problem'. Nor did our email say we would follow it up, in fact we asked Mrs Flake to send us a quick reply. We rent 2,500 rooms a year and there's not enough time to call everyone to ask if they read their emails. I mean, come on.

A few days before their stay another family member called and tried to make yet another change. And talked about bringing their dog, which they could then store in the dog room with the other ones. Apparently. How relieved were we to have turned down the request last May, because we and our other guests would have spent the weekend listening to a pack of baying hounds while their owners ate cake and danced the night away several miles down the road. At this point it transpired that Mrs Flake had not let her daughter know that she couldn't bring her dog: Ms Flake then said she didn't want to stay without it.

The room had been reserved for her for four months and we were within our rights to make a cancellation charge. But by this point we just decided to cut our losses, resold the room pretty quickly and told Mrs Flake that we would not charge her card. We also spent a couple of hours calling around some of our other guests so Mrs Flake's other kids could be in a room with two beds, instead of one with one bed which was what she told us they needed. Which I think was pretty nice of us.

Seriously, we understand that modern consumers are savvy – you'll form your own conclusions about what is real and what is not. In our two-year adventure, we have been fortunate enough to meet so many great people, who helped our little independent motel be selected in the Top 25 hotels on Tripadvisor in the US for service, and value. We try very hard to keep all those great people in mind when we run up against the odd person who expects to stumble and rant through life getting their own way, despite a total lack of clarity, and then when people stand up for themselves get their own back by posting a vindictive review on this website. Maybe this review will have the intended effect of sending us back to Blighty, broken and broke, our tails between our legs like this family's hapless dogs. Maybe it won't...

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Reviewed August 9, 2013

We loved it here and loved Richard and Clare. They are gracious and wonderful hosts. It almost felt like we were visiting friends. The motel has lots of style, kind of a modern/retro chic. Yes, the rooms are bare bones, but they are clean and just what we needed for a weekend getaway. And let's be honest, when in the Berkshires, you're not there to sit in the room. The location is great too. Down the road from Great Barrington, walking distance to hiking trails and a short drive to Lenox. We had our 11-month-old son with us and they were so accommodating (they let us use the fridge in the main kitchen for his food/milk etc), and the high-chair was waiting each morning so he could sit at the breakfast table with everyone. They also had great suggestions on places to visit, restaurants to check out and more.

The breakfast, while not a full breakfast with eggs etc, is divine: homemade scones fresh out of the oven with unique and fun flavors each morning (maple walnut, cheddar etc), homemade granola served with yogurt from a nearby farm, and good coffee. They care about quality and using fresh, local ingredients. I recently stayed at a much more expensive golf club in the Berkshires (with my in-laws so we didn't pick the place) and their pricey buffet breakfast did not even compare. We couldn't believe that the yogurt was generic. We were so looking forward to the farm fresh food we had taken for granted on our last visit. Bottom line, we were at a fancy hotel, but we missed Richard and Clare and the Briarcliff. Every time we drove by it, we wanted to stop in and get a reservation there instead (or maybe just steal a scone for the road). Oh, the scones.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Andrea B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Briarcliff Motel

Address: 506 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230-1296
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Massachusetts > Berkshires > Great Barrington
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Great Barrington
#2 Business Hotel in Great Barrington
#3 Family Hotel in Great Barrington
Price Range: $83 - $170 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Briarcliff Motel 2*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
English owners Clare & Richard Proctor have turned this classic 1960 motor lodge, with its spectacular view of Monument Mountain, into a cool 21st-century b&b. We offer great value, clean comfortable rooms with a stylish edge, free wifi, a home-made breakfast of scones, muffins and granola with locally-roasted coffee, and a warm welcome. Chill out on the deck in summer, or by the stove in our guest lounge in winter. We are five minutes from Great Barrington and Stockbridge, and under 15 from Tanglewood. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Briarcliff Hotel Great Barrington

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