The Nassau Inn is rich in history, and is the oldest hotel in Princeton. It’s centrally located at Palmer Square, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and the Green, which is where a number of events are held, and during warmer weather you can sit out there and relax. Additionally, Princeton University is conveniently just on the other side of Nassau Street.
Many see the original wing of this hotel, and think it’s a small bed and breakfast. This is the furthest thing from the truth, since it has only 28% fewer rooms than the massive Marriott at Forrestal, which is a blander, cookie cutter choice. In fact, there are two additions, and the larger wing may not be as obvious to passersby.
Nassau Inn’s recent renovation made a statement by decreasing the number of rooms and suites from 203 to 188, opting to increase the square footage of some rooms and update them. The accessories and linens have been replaced, and every room is different finishings. This makes it sort of a fusion hotel, taking the charm of a B&B and mixing it with some modern and high-end elements of a boutique hotel, and the conveniences and facilities of a chain hotel, making it quite a unique property.
The many faces of this facility include the guest rooms, a venue for private events like weddings and Sweet 16 parties, home to the famous Yankee Doodle Tap Room bar and restaurant, which has 19 craft beers on tap (read more here), and a popular spot for corporate events. These four components makes this a full-service hotel, but what makes it unique in this area is its independent operation despite its size.
I must’ve been greeted by at least 25 staff members while walking through the hotel. The many faces of those working behind the scenes smiled with sincerity. These are the people guests tend to ignore in hotels. They make themselves visible, acknowledging to guests that they are there to anticipate theirs needs, and make their stay optimal. This is pretty much on par with four and five-star hotels. My new moniker for the Nassau Inn is “Land of a Thousand Smiles”.
The Nassau Inn has a beautiful stone, brick, and cedar exterior with an iconic red door centering the façade. It sits on prime real estate in Princeton, and is front and center for a number of Princeton events. Girls’ Night Out, Communiversity, the Christmas tree lighting, the Menorah lighting, the JazzFeast, and the Memorial Day Parade, are just a few events taking place right in front of the hotel on the Green, or just moments away.
If you arrive by train, you could walk to the hotel from the Princeton Station, check in, then walk to any other location in the central business district, and beyond, i.e. to the Community Park Pool. Princeton University is less than two blocks away, and you can get to McCarter Theatre, Richardson Auditorium, the Garden Theatre, Princeton University Art Museum, the Princeton Public Library, shops, restaurants, and offices all in minutes without the need of a car. If you do arrive by car, you can park at one of the two garages conveniently located at Palmer Square.
Besides having a friendly staff, this hotel is clean and cozy, and well equipped with up-to-date technology. There are a number of public spaces inside and out that offer quiet moments. You can snuggle up in front of one of their fireplaces, sit outside next to the red door, or find some other nook where you can read, have a drink, or enjoy a wonderful conversation.
Nassau Inn also offers a number of specials and packages, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. If you use their facilities for a wedding, the bride and groom get a suite for one night. There’s a business special that offers parking, internet, domestic calls and one continental breakfast, plus a number of other specials and packages.
Their banquet facilities are impressive, and the renovations included improvements to them as well, i.e. an access ramp to the Ballroom, and touchscreen control panels in the banquet rooms controlling screens, window shades, lighting, etc. This 18th century hotel retains its charm from yesteryear with the modern conveniences we certainly crave today. Here’s a breakdown of the Nassau Inn’s many faces.
- Hotel – Overnight guests can stay in one of 188 rooms and suites. The guest rooms are spacious, especially considering you’re downtown. The suites are a good size, and are great for road warriors who’d like the space for small meetings or interviewing, or parents who’d like a separate space for the kids. Rooms and suites are quiet, offer nice bath products, have a coffee machine, flat screen TVs, turn down service, and a newspaper delivered to your door – amenities of a four-star hotel. The specialty suites also offer robes, valet clothes stand, compact CD stereo, and more.
Rest Traveller, Rest, and Banish Thoughts of Care; Drink to Thy Friends and Recommend Them Here. ~ Seen above the fireplace in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, originally from a pub in Cambridge, England.
- Restaurant – The legendary Yankee Doodle Tap Room has so much to offer. Executive Chef Michael LaCorte has returned, and has a new menu items for spring. I recommend the lumpmeat crab cakes, wild mushroom risotto, and fried goat cheese salad. The new burger recipe is amazing, with a special blend of ground short rib, brisket, and chuck, topped with Applewood-smoked bacon on a sourdough bun, and the slider version was my foodie friend’s absolute favorite appetizer. There’s a fireplace inside; Norman Rockwell’s 13 foot Yankee Doodle mural hangs behind the bar; the Princeton University Wall of Fame greets you as you enter; Einstein, amongst others, has carved his name on one of the tables, and there’s a fabulous blue slate patio with space heaters for outdoor dining next to The Green.
- Personal Events – They can handle weddings, Sweet 16s, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañeras, family reunions, or whatever your special event is. It can be small or large, with or without a DJ team or band. There are 14 banquet rooms of various sizes to choose from, plus they have a variety of food and beverage options. I personally enjoyed a Sweet 16 bash I was invited to at the Nassau Inn. The kids dominated the Palmer Room, while some adults sat by the roaring fireplace or at the bar sipping on cocktails. I was inspired to have one there for my daughter one day.
- Professional Use – The banquet rooms can accommodate companies and small businesses who need space for interviews, meetings, seminars, parties, conferences, and more. The rooms have projectors, screens, sound systems, wireless internet access, and all the things necessary for professional presentations. A total space of 10,000 square feet is available. There’s a catering staff, plus a technology manager on hand to assist you with your requests to make sure your event runs smoothly.