Due to the global pandemic, everyone is traveling less: no planes, no trains, more movies, more relaxing at home. Of course some are going on planes and trains but not as many as before. I am working with local hotels to highlight the fantastic idea of a staycation! What is a staycation you ask Karen. It is when you stay local, or even at home, but perhaps at a local hotel less than an hour away. It still feels like you are far away but all you have to do is jump in your car, drive for a bit then boom, you are there.
This past weekend I had the honor of staying at The Grand Summit Hotel. The Grand Summit hotel is located in Summit, NJ, shocker there, and is just 35 minutes away from Chester, NJ. I hopped on 206, then 287 for one second then to 78 and the hotel is 10 minutes off exit 44.
As I pulled up to the hotel, I actually had no idea how beautiful it would be in person. The hotel was built in 1868, formally known as The Blackburn House. In 1929, the Summit Suburban Hotel was built where the Blackburn House was, now known as The Grand Summit Hotel. The Suburban Hotel was built just months before the 1929 stock market crash. Many lost their homes in the Summit area and moved into the hotel. Currently, The Grand Summit Hotel is family owned and operated, which makes it that much more inviting.
I drove under the overpass, does that make sense, that is sitting front and center of the hotel. There are flags flowing in the wind and beautiful landscaping making the outside quite a sight to see. I parked to the left of the hotel, plenty of parking for all. As I walked up to the door, I noticed all of the details. Some of the bricks are pushed out so the birds can perch on them, which the original owner wanted. I love this.
Everything looks original. I pulled one of the large double doors open, noticing the beautiful, original brick that lay on the ground. This portion of the hotel, which is the in between from the front doors and indoor doors, is the original brick. There are two portions of the hotel that are inside but outside, almost like sun rooms. You can host small weddings, luncheons, showers, anything! It is beautiful.
When you walk into the hotel through another set of large wooden doors with gold handles, your eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful chandeliers that light up the entire lobby. There is also a great smell that Mr. Chester also noticed when he met me for dinner. It is refreshing but not too strong, I hate when there are intense smells. As I walked up to the front desk, there were plastic protective shields between myself and the person at the front desk.
The hotel is running a staycation special, so when you check in, you are given a list of candies and you choose two boxes! I chose DOTS, my mom’s favorite, and peanut M&M's, for Mr. Chester. You are then given a bag with an entire bag of popcorn, I got kettle corn, and your candies with more information about the hotel. I made my way through the hotel to my room. It is a very big hotel, around 150 rooms in total! There is a large conference room and a ballroom where you can host a large wedding.
As I opened the door to my room, I will say, it smelled a little bit old, as the hotel itself is from the 1800's, so it was not unexpected. A bit out of date with dark brown furniture. The bed had the usual white comforter, which I love, and everything was extremely clean! Some of the rooms, I do not think all, have a door to the outside as well. There is a balcony that runs across the outside of the hotel. My room was overlooking the pool.
The pool is almost a heart shape, with 6 lounge chairs, 3 large tables with umbrellas and a cabana area if you want to sit under to hide from the sun. The towels were already laid out on the lounge chairs. I was really impressed with how many times the staff came out to check in on everyone, check the pool chemicals, skim the pool, etc. We even needed ice and they brought out a large bucket of ice. We were asked if we had glass for safety reasons which is great, and we were asked if we were staying at the hotel. I like that. It was an amazing pool day. The water was the perfect temperature and very clean. I stayed out by the pool with my friends from Chester until about 4:30 pm.
I went up to the room after grabbing a complimentary water bottle from the lobby. They had C.O. Bigelow products that smelled like an orange lime dream. The shower was very clean and the water pressure was amazing, better than what we have at home, which we need to work on. A quick shower, hair in a low bun, got dressed and met Mr. Chester in the lobby for a complimentary dinner and drink at the Hat Tavern, which comes with the staycation package for everyone!! They took our temperatures, names and phone numbers which is great. We were immediately sat outside, under a large, green canopy at a high top table. Mr. Chester had a Corona Light, no Bud Light, and I had a vodka club with a splash of cranberry and lime.
We started with the soft pretzel and cheese and chips and salsa, both delicious. I got the cheeseburger with cheddar cheese and he got the grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, lettuce and sautéed onions. The burger was good, the chicken sandwich was really, really good. We were supposed to split, but I had one bite of the chicken sandwich, thanks Mr. Chester. They both came with fries which were good as well. The Hat Tavern is a pub like scene, so that's what you should expect. It’s open to the public as well!
We then made our way into downtown Summit, just a 10 minute walk from the hotel, or 4 minute drive. Mr. Chester insisted on driving, don't ask me why. As we made our way into town, there were 2 large streets closed off for outdoor dining, it was so cool. There are so many restaurants in Summit so this really helps the local businesses. We went to McCool's Icecream. They had some great flavors. I went with the heavenly hazelnut that had large chunks of hazelnut cookie and Mr. Chester got raspberry ice cream with mint chocolate chip. Yes, he is a weirdo. We walked around town a bit, before Mr. Chester had ice cream all over him due to the dripping of his dessert, aye carumba. I was in bed by 9 pm and asleep by 10 pm, a beautiful thing.
My eyes opened at 6:30 am as they have been for the last few weeks. Of course my first thought, COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE. I love staying in a hotel and drinking some coffee that is already prepared. Everything is better when someone else makes it. I walked to the lobby where there was coffee, to go cups, half and half, packaged muffins, cold cereal and a fridge with juice, milk, water and mini yogurts. I simply grabbed my coffee, which was uber hot, needed a sleeve, and walked outside.
The morning is truly my favorite. Quiet, and a great time to think. I sat on the stairs that are directly in front of the hotel, taking in the beauty of the building. I went back to my room, started writing this blog with the door open to the outside. After a bit, I went back for some more coffee and a yogurt, yum. I checked out around 10 am, but you can stay until 12 pm, and met my SIL at the Summit Farmer's Market. I am not sure if you have ever been, but it is amazing. A few years ago I traveled to about 10 Farmers Markets in the area including Morristown, Somerville, Bernardsville, Summit and more. Summit was definitely the best one with the most vendors and options. See the Duffin below from Brownie Points Bakery!
Overall, I had a very good stay The Grand Summit Hotel. I would recommend it to families with kids to take advantage of the pool, free candy, popcorn and movie at night plus free meals and drinks at the Hat Tavern. PUT A MOVIE ON FOR THE KIDS & GET A COCKTAIL Y‘ALL!! There are also so many places to go in town that are just a 10 minute walk.
I was provided with this stay free of charge. My recommendations are real and I would not tell you something that was not true.