Great White: A garden room at Mayflower Grace. (Courtesy: Grace Hotels)
By Meg Nolan Van Reesema
What: Mayflower Grace is a classic, Connecticut shingled estate complete with wraparound porch, landscaped gardens and over 57 acres of pond and woodland, best viewed from its 30 guest rooms and lauded spa complex.
Where: Hillside in rural Washington, Conn., posh boarding school territory and country-home hamlet of media barons such as Barry Diller and Graydon Carter. Neighboring town, Woodbury, offers prime antiquing while the local parkland is good for hiking and kayaking.
When: The time is now thanks to recent hotel-wide upgrades, courtesy of new owners, the London-based Grace Hotels — best known for their sumptuous Greek resorts.
Why: The storied Relais & Châteaux hideaway, just two hours from New York, has long drawn weary urbanites to its brand of pampered respite. Now, with revamped dining, including a casual grill and bar menu, a full weekend spent on property is feasible.
The hotel’s indoor pool. (Courtesy: Mayflower Grace)
Working well: The property’s 20,000-square-foot Spa House remains a bastion of serenity, offering perhaps the most elegant relaxation room with cream walls, flowering orchids and the most heavenly down-filled, chenille-covered chaise lounges that look out over the manicured lawn onto the pond.
Needs work: Earmarked for light refurbishment, according to the general manager, the guest rooms are in desperate need of some sprucing up. The traditional four-poster beds are charming, but the carpets and furnishings could use an update.
Must-try: The fine dining experience at Muse is quite pleasant despite feedback from its loyal base that its mod décor contrasts with the hotel’s original character. However, the service is on point and the foie gras starter parallels that of any of New York’s fine restaurants.
(Courtesy: Mayflower Grace)
Don’t miss: The specially curated Mayflower gift shop, hand-selected by the dashing store-manager, Abdo Ballester, who got his start at the Plaza Hotel. His offerings range from vintage Chanel handbags to Loro Piana raincoats for the spring while his conversation is as sparkling as his wares.
Related: Dreamy Hotels Worth a Detour
Competitive edge: The Mayflower remains the destination spa for those looking for a quick escape from New York. Its robust spa package menu caters to everything from romantic getaways to bridal parties to each trimester of pre-motherhood — the hotel clearly has the discerning female audience safely tucked in its pocket.
Details: From $675, gracehotels.com/mayflower
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