This graceful Colonial mansion in the heart of luxuriantly wooded countryside in Washington, Connecticut just two hours from New York is one of our top US boutique hotels in New England. Formerly the Mayflower Inn and Spa, the luxury boutique hotel was acquired and updated by the Grace Group in 2006 and is now known as The Mayflower Grace. The result is country house style with a contemporary twist; think acres of white sofas and modern art in airy sitting rooms, alongside four-poster beds and button-back chairs in well-padded bedrooms. Mayflower Grace is set in 58-acre estate, with glorious mature gardens planted in the English style; the spa, a favourite with picky New Yorkers, offers personalised programmes with the emphasis on mental as much as physical rejuvenation.
The Mayflower spa, as you’d expect from a top-of-the-range US operation, is 20,000 square feet containing some of the latest gadgetry and treatments for an optimal workout, including Technogym and Kinesis fitness equipment. Naturally, an extensive programme of exercise classes and beauty treatments is also available. With a view to more holistic wellbeing, however, an outdoor yoga and meditation garden has been created on the estate, and the spa ‘elemental wellness’ experience offers a personalised approach to each guest’s biochemical make-up. Fans of sportier activities will find an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a putting green and the opportunity to kayak, snowshoe, cross-country ski, bicycle and hike. Further afield, try golf, a visit to the stunningly beautiful Steep Rock Reserve, or a browse through the numerous antique shops of Litchfield Hills.
Originally from Sheffield, chef Jonathan Cartwright runs the show at the Mayflower’s fine dining offering Muse. With a pedigree gained at Relais & Châteaux, Cartwright’s menu puts the emphasis on the very best local ingredients, prepared exquisitely, but without unnecessary fuss. Sample dishes include steamed Maine lobster with spinach, leeks, Cognac paprika butter sauce and corn beignet; and Angus beef tenderloin, shallot and Parmesan glazed, with tomato coulis, bacon boulangère potatoes and Pinot Noir basil sauce. Local oysters and jumbo shrimps are also favourites. The Tap Room sources its ingredients just as discriminatingly, but the atmosphere is more informal and there’s space for some traditional American treats, including beef sliders, lobster rolls, hand-cut fries, banana bread and brownie squares.