FAIRFIELD -- After 16 years of business, The Inn at Fairfield Beach has not lost its desire for providing guests with a personal touch.
With her transition from managing the neighboring Seagrape Cafe, Candace Levine, owner of the inn, has more time to focus on the needs of the shoreline hotel. "It was hectic popping in and out of there," Levine said. "Managing the bar was so consuming, but it is nicer now."
Opening in June 1995, Levine and her husband, Steven, worked to manage both the Seagrape and the inn, formerly known as the Seagrape Inn at Fairfield Beach.
Levine said running the bar was a different climate to manage. While she still retains ownership of the cafe building -- long a favorite of Fairfield University students -- Levine said she can dedicate her full attention to the hotel.
Levine has turned her focus to renovations, which she has done yearly since the business started. "We try to target so many rooms per year for maintenance," she said.
The inn offers 14 suites and studios decorated with themes ranging from Bermuda, lighthouses, Cape Cod, Greek and safari.
According to the inn's website, average prices range from $125 a night for a studio to $250 a night for the Harborview Suite. The site describes the suite as having "soaring cathedral ceilings with skylights and a fireplace, offering a unique and inviting atmosphere. The nautical decor and seafaring artwork remind you that the beach is just steps away."
"I have been at the inn for six years and there has been a lot of changes since I came," said Mary Merkle, overseer of marketing and reservations for the business.
Merkle said that accommodating guests has included launching a website for the inn.
"I started with a pencil-sketched brochure and we spent a lot of time on the phone with guests describing rooms," Levine said.
The website was started when the inn's name was changed, which helped its marketing and advertising. Located away from the Post Road, the hotel has had to work hard to get people to know their location.
Despite these challenges, Levine has kept her prices fair. "We are not Cape Cod, but we feel the same way," Levine said. Rather than capitalizing on summer business, Levine keeps her prices reasonable during those months and doesn't charge much more than the winter months.
"We make it work for our guests," Levine said. "That personal touch is important."
The Inn at Fairfield Beach is located at 1160 Reef Road in Fairfield. For information, call 203-255-6808 or visit www.innatfairfieldbeach.com.