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Old Saybrook - The ribbon cutting Thursday for a pink-and-white mansion next to Saybrook Inn & Spa marked the end of a five-year renovation for the newly named Three Stories guesthouse as well as the beginning of something new for Saybrook Point Inn & Spa.
Originally the single-family home of prominent engineer William Vars, the guesthouse has been restored into a seven-room lodging facility, with each quarters featuring a private balcony, fireplace, original artworks and waterviews. Each room is set up to tell the story of residents prominent in local history, including Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn, a leader of the women's suffrage movement and mother of the late actress Katharine Hepburn.
The guesthouse also has common areas including billiards and books, as well as two meeting spaces. Wrap-around porches and private gardens add to the property's allure.
"It's been a labor of love, and we're thrilled to finally make our dreams a reality and open the doors to this historic property for all of our travelers to enjoy," said Stephen Tagliatela, co-owner of Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, in a statement.
The home, originally built in 1892 in the Victorian Italianate style, overlooks the mouth of the Connecticut River flowing into Long Island Sound. But by the time the Tagliatela family purchased the home in 2009 it was in rough shape.
"We wanted to save the house, and that came from liking our neighborhood," Tagliatela said. "Every place has its own history and feeling, and we thought people would like to come here, and be able to feel a bit of our history when they stay at the guesthouse."
East Wharf Architects of Madison researched the architectural history of the house, while Silver Contract Interiors of Stamford looked into replicating the home's original interior design. Franklin Construction of New Haven took the lead in the construction work.
Saybrook Point has had a long history as a place for guests to enjoy the shore. In 1870, the Pease House occupied the parcel of land where Saybrook Point Inn now sits, and later the Terra Mar Hotel and Yacht Basin replaced it.
In 1979, the Tagliatelas won in bidding for the Terra Mar at a foreclosure auction and, nine years later, opened a renovated property. Originally purchased by Louis and Mary Tagliatela, the property is now run by their sons Stephen and Louis Jr. as well as daughter Tricia.
The Tagliatelas' innkeeping experience goes back generations, with Stephen's grandparents having operated Old Saybrook's Castle Inn during the 1950s, hosting guests ranging from Charlie Chaplin to Howard Hughes.
"We're an innkeeping family, and Three Stories benefits from all those innkeeping years," said Tagliatela.
What: Three Stories guesthouse at Saybrook Point Inn & Space
Available: Seven rooms, for vacation rentals, business retreats, room rentals
Rates: Start at $349 a day