Northeast

8 Connecticut Beach Hotels for Coastal Relaxation from New Haven to Greenwich

Local writer Gina Zammit takes you through the top eight Connecticut beach hotels for a little relaxation along the coast.

The scent of sea air, fireflies twinkling in the night, trips to ice cream stands, seemingly endless days, and a bit of sand in your car that you just can’t remove are what make a Connecticut summer. Sleepy towns come alive with locals strolling the sidewalks. Teenagers remove the hard tops from their white Jeeps and blast the latest song of the summer while cruising the town.

Even in this buttoned-up New England state, we collectively take a breather and enjoy the magical months between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The local uniform of button-up suits and brogues are traded in for bathing suits and boat shoes. While seafood is a year-round delight for us, there are a number of summer only shacks that dot the coastline and sell fried or roasted clams and oysters, or my favorite, Connecticut-style lobster rolls that are hot and buttery instead of the chilled, mayo-laden Maine version.

Surprisingly, there are few hotels that have the coveted beachside real estate. Several factors contribute to this, but mainly, the land is either owned by private residents, or the beaches belong to each individual town or city, so everyone can enjoy the sand and sea (for a fee). This means you likely won’t be able to step from your hotel room into the sound, but with low building ordinances, views abound from just about anywhere along the coast.

No matter which area you choose to visit, you’ll have no problem relaxing at one these eight Connecticut beach hotels.

Fairfield

1/3

Fairfield’s beaches are some of the best on the Gold Coast, and the newly renovated Circle Hotel provides its guests with complimentary day passes for Jennings Beach and Pennfield Beach, both just a short drive away.

The guest rooms are on the simple side with a minimalistic vibe and coastal flair, and a truly unique amenity is the hotel’s comedy package. Every weekend, the hotel’s lobby transforms into the Fairfield Comedy Club, which hosts an ever-changing roster of nationally-known stand up comedians such as Joe Gerics, Christian Polanco, Katie Hannigan, and Rich Vos.

Circle Hotel Fairfield

8.2 Very good (831 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
Hotel CTA

Greenwich

1/3

On one side of The Delamar Greenwich Hotel is the Greenwich Metro-North station, which offers direct trains daily into New York City. On the other side, is a sprawling marina and views of the nearby islands that dot the Greenwich harbor. Its accessibility to New York makes it a hotspot for both visitors from the city as well as international travelers.

Many of the rooms have balconies overlooking the water, and Greenwich has no shortage of beaches for visitors to explore, including Greenwich Point Park and Hawthorne Beach. Great Captain’s Island is also nearby, but only accessible via boat, whether by the town run ferry or your own private vessel.

Hotel Delamar Greenwich Harbor

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (617 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Madison

1/4

The Madison Beach Hotel is the crème de la crème of the Connecticut coast. Luxury is at the forefront having gained a coveted AAA Four Diamond rating for excellence. All of its 33 rooms have ocean views and access to a private beach, making it the only hotel on this list directly on the beach.

Popular with couples seeking a romantic getaway, there’s a full-service spa onsite, and the hotel is a frequent host to beachfront weddings. Golfing enthusiasts can take advantage of the Madison Country Club which is just a short walk away from the hotel.

If you’re visiting this area, you’d be remiss not to go to the nearby Hammonasset Beach State Park. This free two-mile stretch of silky sand is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park and attracts around one million visitors annually.

Madison Beach Hotel

Top rated
8.7 Excellent (155 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Mystic

1/3

Spend a night in the stately home of the Elihu Spicer, who was once referred to as “the most prominent man in Mystic” by the local newspaper The Day. Built in 1853, the building underwent a massive renovation before opening as a boutique hotel in 2016.

Made famous by Mystic Pizza, the town is just as nautically driven as depicted in the film. Williams Beach Park is less than a mile away and is a popular swimming spot and local seafood can be found on just about every menu in town (even at the movie’s namesake restaurant).

While the guestrooms are beautiful, spacious, and cozy, the Spicer Mansion prides itself on entertaining, just as Mr Spicer did. That’s why they’ve restored several salons, encouraging guests to sit, relax, read, or even enjoy a bite to eat in the semi-public spaces, such as the magnolia-lined backyard garden.

Spicer Mansion

Mystic, 0.7 miles to Mystic Seaport-The Museum of America and the Sea
8.4 Very good (57 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.8 / 10
Hotel CTA

New Haven

1/3

Situated between beachy Milford and bustling New Haven, The Hyatt Place sits directly on the Indian River and just a few miles away from my personal favorite beach location in Connecticut. Walnut Beach is a popular beach volleyball spot with some of the most spectacular cotton candy pink sunsets. This beach also hosts events throughout the season including outdoor Zumba and Third Thursdays that echo neighborhood block parties, with dancing, yoga, live music, complimentary wine tastings, and pop up food vendors.

Hit the beach

Lighthouse Point Park

One of the quirkiest beaches in the state, Lighthouse Point Park is also a short drive away. This beach houses a towering ivory beacon built in 1847, as well as a gorgeous and fully functional carousel from the 1920s.

The hotel is pet-friendly, offers 24/7 dining as well as has a 24-hour fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. All of the rooms are filled with little luxuries such as the Hyatt’s plush, signature Grand Beds, 42″ HDTVs, and granite countertops.

Hyatt Place Milford / New Haven

Top rated
8.7 Excellent (2412 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Gym
Hotel CTA

Niantic

The quaint Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, as the name suggests, is situated on a popular marina in Niantic. The inn offers guests a complimentary breakfast every morning and refreshments 24 hours a day.

Every room has a private balcony, fireplace, and soaking tubs. Complimentary beach passes as well as beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas are also provided to guests visiting the beach along Niantic Bay Boardwalk.

The boardwalk offers waterfront views, perhaps the best in the state. The boardwalk is split into two parts. First, there’s a simple, paved boardwalk with and the second is simply sand dunes. A public beach is located between the two sections, and locals love it for its white sands unique to the area.

Inn at Harbor Hill Marina

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (98 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.5 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Restaurant
Hotel bar
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

Old Saybrook

1/4

The Saybrook Point Inn & Spa trades the beach for a dock and is host to boats both big and small. Though they are a AAA Four Diamond Hotel, they strike the right balance of elegance and unpretentious service.

In addition to the rooms and suites of the main inn, there are two quaint guesthouses as well as an incredible dockside lighthouse suite that offers unparalleled views of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. The inn also has a heated, outdoor saltwater pool open year-round, an indoor pool, and a cozy day spa.

Complimentary bikes are offered to guests, and I suggest taking the causeway behind the inn over to the former estate of the esteemed Hollywood actress (and Connecticut native), Katherine Hepburn and the nearby lighthouse that’s imprinted on every Connecticut license plate. Though neither are open to the public, you can still get a good view from the road.

Saybrook Point Inn & Spa

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (319 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA

Westbrook

1/4

Water’s Edge Resort & Spa is another beachfront property that’s one of the finest in the state. The main hotel has nearly 100 rooms and offers more private accommodations in a historical colonial house or one of the two beachfront cottages. They offer luxury accommodations as well as unobstructed views of the sound and convenient beach access.

The hotel has weekly entertainment that includes dinner in one of the four on-site restaurants and a show. Fleetwood Mac and the Doobie Brothers tribute bands are the most popular shows, but for but more high brow acts, such as classically trained pianists also round out the selection.

Water's Edge Resort & Spa

8.0 Very good (556 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Parking garage
Pets allowed
Wellness center / Spa
Hotel CTA