The new Spicer Mansion in Mystic, Connecticut, is an eight-room jewel box of an inn, filled with historic charm, high-touch service and food so elegant you’d swear you were dining at a star-rated restaurant. There’s no wonder why. This is the fourth property in the esteemed Ocean House Collection, a grouping of hotels that includes coastal Rhode Island’s Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ocean House, the Four-Star Weekapaug Inn and Watch Hill Inn.
This new property may be a 30-minute drive from that terrific trio but it offers much of the same charm we’ve come to love at these other New England escapes. Here are five other things you need to know before making a reservation:
Once the summer home of renowned ship’s captain Elihu Spicer, the 19th-century mansion was in the Spicer family for more than 70 years before changing ownership. It eventually fell into disrepair after being used as an apartment complex. Purchased by the Gates family of Stonington, Connecticut, in 2013, the former neighborhood eyesore was lovingly restored to its former glory, including uncovering and refurbishing original wood floors and frescoed ceilings.
Each of the Mansion’s eight rooms is decorated in Victorian-meets-contemporary style, with cool blue and white tones with occasional pops of yellow and grey. For true luxury, book the Spicer Suite, which looks down on Mystic and features a king-sized Duxiana bed, writing desk, separate glassed-in seating area and an oversized bathroom with marble shower and deep clawfoot soaking tub. All guests receive a monogrammed pillow with their initials announcing their arrival, plus perks like twice-daily housekeeping and a turndown amenity.
Guests familiar with the Ocean House Collection know that the amenities at the resort go far beyond the standard — think La Fresh tech wipes left on your devices each night and a generous no-tipping policy.
Spicer Mansion visitors receive the same treatment while, at the same time, receiving access to amenities of the other properties, including Ocean House’s Five-Star spa, Five-Star restaurant, Seasons, beach and pool. You’ll also have complimentary coffee and tea each morning, afternoon snacks (malted milk balls!) and evening port left on a small console near the guest rooms.
The Mansion’s tasting-menu style eatery has a special twist — it’s only open to guests of the Mansion, other Ocean House properties and invited guests. Helmed by Jennifer Backman, formerly of Weekapaug Inn, the six-course presentation is offered Wednesday through Saturday.
Meals start much as they would at a friend’s home, with cocktails and canapés in the inn’s sitting room. After that, you are invited to start the dining experience by selecting a vegetarian or traditional menu, with optional wine pairing.
At the conclusion of the meal, don’t miss the cheese course, with many of the pairings sourced from nearby farms. There’s also a final mignardise of house-made confections presented in a jewelry box.
If that weren’t enough, the hotel will open a basement speakeasy bar in late summer.
It’s a short walk — or ride in the hotel’s BMW house car — into downtown Mystic, an area boasting quaint storefronts and restaurants along the waterfront. Don’t miss a stroll through the historic seaport and the aquarium.
Shops are plentiful, too. Enjoy preppy clothing at Island Pursuit, purses made from recycled sails at Sea Bags, cute accessories at Francesca’s and fine linens at Linen Press. We also love nearby Sift Bake Shop, which supplies the pastries for breakfast every morning at the Mansion. Owners Adam and Ebbie Young met while working at Ocean House. And don’t forget to save room for a slice at Mystic Pizza, either.