In need of some R&R? We’ve uncovered a dream destination that boasts both style and substance: Connecticut’s The Mayflower Inn & Spa. Chief creative officer Kemper Hyers fills us in on the chic country escape’s many programing highlights. See you there!
What’s the backstory of the 100-year-old property?
The original 28-acre site was built in 1894 and occupied by the Ridge School, a private school for boys. It closed its doors in 1919 and the following year, a former student, Harry Van Sinderen, converted the school into the Mayflower Inn. In 1990, the property was acquired by residents in the area, Adriana and Robert Mnuchin, who restored it back to life and reopened it in 1992. In 2004, they acquired an additional 30 acres of land and two years later, completed the 20,000-square-foot spa house and additional guest accommodations. In October 2018, Auberge Resorts Collection took over the management with a focus on transforming and elevating the historic property.
Tell us about the vibe! What do people come for?
The Inn has transformed into a cultural hub attracting a stylish set looking for a quick but special retreat from the city and a modern escape.
What type of crowd are we likely to see there?
Design lovers, culinary enthusiasts, and locals looking for a respite. We’ve seen new generations of well-heeled travelers embrace the inn, including notable editors, tastemakers, fashion designers, and other creatives.
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Celerie Kemble recently carried out a redesign. What are some highlights?
Celerie is an incredibly irreverent and brilliant designer and was the perfect talent to reimagine the historic inn. Her redesign infuses the property with a fresh new spirit, injecting color and eclecticism, while still paying homage to the property’s deep history. Guest rooms have an intricate lacy ceiling molding and bright pink wing chairs; a hand-blocked vine now climbs the wall in the lobby.
What are some menu must-trys at the Garden Room restaurant?
The menu celebrates the elegant rusticity inspired in part by the surrounding gardens on the property, as well as the incredible farms and local purveyors in Litchfield. Our year-long partnership with James Beard Foundation award winner April Bloomfield allowed us to solidify the inn as a culinary destination, oftentimes seeing guests travel from New York City just for the day to experience the food! Our four-course Garden Gastronomy menu is popular among guests, with kohlrabi-rosemary velouté and New England “oyster salt” burnt leek being popular dishes. This experience is in partnership with La Grande Dame Champagne by Veuve Clicquot. We also plan to announce a new partnership in early 2022 with an incredible culinary talent that will reimagine the experience.
What are some experiences on offer that are proving popular?
In the new year, THE WELL at Mayflower will be hosting The Key to Longevity Wellness Retreat with functional medicine pioneer and author Frank Lipman, MD. The experience will include a dinner with Dr. Lipman, curated lectures, thoughtful meals at the Chef ’s Table, one-on-one health coaching sessions, mindful movement fitness classes, forest bathing among nature, and meditation classes.
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What does the Friends of Mayflower program involve?
It’s a curated series of residences, events, and experiences with tastemakers in the arts designed to enrich the lives of our guests and community. The Friends of Mayflower extends beyond culinary with on-property trunk shows with fashion brands, designer experiences, and monthly conversations. We’re especially looking forward to hosting La Ligne in April for a custom embroidery trunk show.
Tell us about some of your other brand partners!
One is The Huntress, our unique furnishings and lifestyle store curated by interior designer Jenny Wolf. The shop is filled with one-of-a-kind and wonderful treasures.
Lastly, what should we pack for our next trip?
Brisk and crisp nights are finally upon us, so I would certainly recommend packing warm, cozy clothing, as well as a camera to capture everything!