Spicer Mansion, the former summer home of a renowned sea captain, opened in May 2016 as a boutique hotel. In 1853, Elihu Spicer spared no expense when he built the mansion in downtown Mystic, Conn. He installed stained glass windows, fine wood finishings, and wall and ceiling murals painted with real gold. When he died in 1891, the house was shuttered and fell into disrepair during the Great Depression. Now it is restored to its former glory.
It’s an intimate property with only eight guest rooms. Staff members know guests by name and drink preferences. Guests can lounge in grand salons by wood-burning fireplaces. It was the only hotel in the United States this year to be added to the Relais & Châteaux collection of international luxury properties.
The four-story mansion is situated in a quiet, residential neighborhood in downtown Mystic. It’s less than a 10-minute walk, or two-minute drive, to the restaurants, bars and shops surrounding Mystic’s harbor. It’s also a short drive to the famous Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport. A historic library, also built by Mr. Spicer, is across the street from the hotel.
The rooms are inspired by the Victorian era, and are named after vessels captained by Mr. Spicer or family members. In January, we stayed in a high-ceiling room with a king bed, a spacious closet and a balcony overlooking gardens. A little entry way with two armchairs separated the bedroom from the bathroom. There were small touches everywhere to make it feel homey. Waiting for us in the room was a cheese plate, a pillow embroidered with my initial, a 19th-century article about Mr. Spicer, and a personalized welcome letter. It took a few minutes to get the heater working, but once it did, the temperature was comfortable.
It was easily the size of a small Manhattan studio. The space contained a sitting nook and Molton Brown bath products. The towels were kept on a heater, and the bathrobe was perfectly placed to grab after a shower. There was no bathtub. When we first arrived, the shower water temperature was lukewarm at best, but the hotel staff promptly fixed it and discounted our rate.
The hotel keeps refreshments for guests on the landing at the top of the grand staircase with antique banisters. In the morning there were coffee and tea, in the afternoon chocolates and bar snacks, and in the evening, Taylor Fladgate 20-year-old port. “The chauffeur service picked us up from the train station, but we opted to drive the BMW 7 Series House car for the rest of our three-day stay. Guests can use the local gym, Up Fitness.
The Restaurant at Spicer Mansion serves a six-course tasting menu that changes daily, in addition to an all-day menu. Our dinner began with cocktails and canapés in front of the fireplace in one of the sitting rooms. We were then taken to the restaurant where we were served dishes like East Beach Blonde oysters and venison with horseradish, mustard seed, cabbage and apple. I loved the creative cocktails, my favorite combined mezcal and chocolate. Since our stay, the hotel has added a speakeasy named Room No. 9, with mahogany, leather and velvet furnishings and a vintage piano. Lunch and dinner is served there too.
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