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by Dale B. Salm
You can offer the moon and the stars, but you’re more likely to end up in a really nice hotel room.
It’s easy to kindle, or rekindle, romance at the lovingly restored Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton, now with 22 guest rooms—four in the original 1889 Victorian house, nine each in the onetime carriage house and two-year-old Comstock House. The latter is evocative of an English country home, with a sweeping double staircase setting just the right gracious-living tone. You’ll settle in comfortably in your well-appointed room (with some furnishings from NYC’s late-great Hotel Pierre), wash your cares away in a luxurious marble bath (“Quaint ends at the bathroom door,” believes innkeeper Ian Phillips), perhaps snuggle up in the cuddly robes provided (in your king-size bed or in your cozy sitting area). An overnight here, coupled with dinner at the inn’s award-winning Brasserie Pip, is a sure Rx for relaxation and romance. Before or after your stay, the low-key charms of the river-valley towns of Essex and Chester await. 860/767-0330; copperbeechinn.com.
Whether or not you met and fell in love at Yale (and some of you no doubt did), the 124-room Study at Yale Hotel is a great place to reconnect with the romance—and energy—of New Haven. The in-town campus-side location comes through in a sleek contemporary lobby/living room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Chapel Street and shelves stocked with books from NYC’s Strand Bookstore. Upstairs, guest rooms invite you to relax in a comfy leather chair (with more books from the Strand), bathe in a steamy shower (with a champagne setting), then dream in a lofty featherbed (dressed in Frette linens). Top views are from rooms overlooking Pierson Quad. Downstairs, Heirloom restaurant awaits, and you’re walking distance from New Haven’s restaurant central (Miya’s, Scoozzi, Ibiza, Union League Café, Zinc, Basta et al) and culture central (Yale Rep, Yale Art Gallery, Yale Center for British Art, Shubert Theatre). 203/503-3900; studyhotels.com
Capturing that elusive balance between luxury and homeyness, the 18-room 10-year-old Inn at Stonington is the antidote to the frenzy of the fast lane. With therapeutic water (Stonington Harbor) views, even in winter, it’s an ideal base of operations for exploring Stonington Borough, the quintessential “away from it all” destination in the off season. After checking out the borough’s eclectic shops (Clad-In and Indigo Blue for women’s clothing, A.K. Dasher for jewelry, Next for just about everything), Velvet Mill Studios (a mill converted into artists’ studios) and restaurants (notably, Noah’s and the Water Street Café), you’ll be ready to head to the inn, commune with your fellow guests over complimentary wine and cheese in the living room and proceed upstairs to your own room. Think “innish by design but with every modern convenience,” with most rooms boasting a bath-cum-Jacuzzi and a gas fireplace for cozying up by. Bliss in the borough. 860/535-2000; innatstonington.com.
Cottage Colony Extraordinaire
The phrase “one-of-a-kind” just begins to describe this AAA five-star (for both lodging and dining) Relais & Chateaux resort in the Litchfield Hills. Extraordinary in every way, Winvian is a community of 18 cottages set on 113 acres, each designed by a different architect, each with a different theme—to wit, the Helicopter cottage (yes, there’s one—a restored 1968 Sikorsky—inside), Golf (you can chip and putt away indoors to your heart’s content), Treehouse (a two-story adult model with full bar), Beaver Lodge (complete with lookout nook), Greenhouse (bird-watching and stargazing encouraged) and Woodlands (forest and then some, i.e., a bedside waterfall and tree-trunk sinks). These are fantasy cottages to the nth power, the counterpoint being the historic Gordon Brown House, the gathering spot (should you wish to gather) and home to the resort’s intimate, candle-lit fireside restaurant. Not to leave any base uncovered, there’s also a lovely on-site spa. 860/567-9600; winvian.com.