The Briarcliff Motel
What We Love
- Modern, budget-friendly alternative to the region’s chain motels and inns
- Welcoming British owners who will direct you to the best restaurants, towns and outdoor adventures in the region
- Tasty breakfast spread of homemade granola, scones, cake, boiled eggs and good coffee
What To Know
- Contemporary, convenient base for exploring the region’s great outdoors and charming towns — not for holing up on a romantic getaway
- Clever retro-modern makeover is surface-deep; guestrooms still have the thin walls and petite plastic bathrooms of a classic motel
- A car is essential for exploring the area
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
In the shadow of Monument Mountain off Route 7, the Briarcliff Motel is a 1960s roadside lodge given a retro-hip makeover and a wholly modern personality. Brit owners Clare Weatherall and Richard Proctor repainted the single-story exterior duck-egg blue, installed a centerpiece firepit in the newly landscaped garden, and transformed a bleak, pine-clad motel lobby into a lodgelike living room overlooking the grounds and mountain.
Bed and Bath
All 16 guestrooms echo the lobby’s retro-modern design, from vintage-style posters and randomly pinned black-and-white photographs, to the rounded headboards painted in glossy primary colors and graphic print bedding. Zippy WiFi is free, and there are flat-screen TVs loaded with cable channels, smartphone-friendly speakers and unstocked refrigerators. The single-rail wardrobes could do with a cover, and the synthetic duvets are a too thin for the winter months, but all rooms are supremely clean and comfy — best for a good night’s sleep rather than holing up or lying in. The bathrooms retain their original porcelain sinks and have simple plastic shower units with pull curtains and a mismatch of travel-size toiletries (better to bring your own).
The open-plan lobby/living room provides a handsome central hub that’s absent from traditional motels. Done up with a communal raw wood dining table, a bright Smeg fridge, a coffee station, an upright stove and cozy seating nooks in earthy green and purple felt, it’s a welcoming space to chat with other guests and the friendly staff. The breakfast spread of homemade scones, granola, hard-boiled eggs, local yogurt, cake and more is served there each morning.
In the Area
This small corner of Massachusetts has a raft of excellent restaurants; ask owner Richard Proctor to recommend his favorites, but don’t miss the Prairie Whale in nearby Great Barrington. A true farm-to-table tavern from Mark Firth, the restaurateur behind cultish Brooklyn favorites Diner and Marlow & Sons, it dishes up local, seasonal produce (much from Firth’s farm) and hosts a lively jazz night on Sundays. For more champions of local produce and creative seasonal menus, check out the modern American bistro fare at Allium, endlessly inventive small plate dishes at Nudel, or John Andrews, an award-winning farmhouse restaurant with a great bar. For a culture dose, check out nearby Tanglewood Music Center or the Norman Rockwell Museum, or venture an hour farther north to Mass MOCA. Active types can get a winter ski fix at Butternut, Catamount or Jiminy Peak or, in the warmer months, hike up Monument Mountain — the trail starts across the road from the Briarcliff.
How to Get There
I stay here a few times per year when I visit to assist aging parents. It’s always great! Clean, bright, comfy, yummy breakfast. But: do something about those key code doors! We were stuck outside in the cold for almost an hour waiting for someone to drive down from the Red Lion to help us with a malfunctioning lock. And no, I don’t want a drink ticket at the Red Lion, thanks.
I had forgotten how nice it is to park right outside your room. Staying in a hotel it is always such a hike to your room. Beds were great, comfortable IKEA chairs in the room, everything looked updated. The only thing I had not realized was that someone was there to check you in only until 6. I’m sure they have a work around if you arrive later it just didn’t cross my mind.
Had a great stay at Briarcliff. I think it’s brilliant to take an old motor lodge and remodel to make every room different with its own character. Room was clean and very spacious. The staff was so friendly and helpful.
The location is great. Quick drive to downtown Great Barrington and downtown Stockbridge.
The continental breakfast is delicious.