I’m lying on an oversize chaise, as a woman hovers over me, her fingers circling the rim of a Tibetan singing bowl. The sound reverberates through my body. Pushing away a corner of the throw wrapped around me, I crack open an eye: The woman is flying the bowl over my limbs like a UFO. Eventually she lands it beside my right ear, its music burrowing into my brain with the frequency of a high-pitched tuning fork. I feel electrified.
It’s just one way the Mayflower Inn and Spa, tucked in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, sets itself apart. In the short time it has been open, Mayflower has soared to the summit of the platinum spa list: Last year, it was rated the nation’s No. 1 destination spa in a Condé Nast Traveler readers poll.
In 1992, Adriana Mnuchin and her husband, Robert, bought and restored the inn. The 20,000-square-foot spa was a 2006 addition, a creation of Adriana and her daughter, Lisa Hedley. It features a stunning great room (the heart of the spa), a mosaic-domed whirlpool, an indoor pool with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a seasonally scented thermal sanctuary. Elegant Carl Weese black-and-white photographs of the Shepaug River and nearby Steep Rock Reserve line the spa entrance. Separate buildings — containing treatment rooms furnished with marble bathrooms and four-poster beds — were erected on the other side of the property from the inn, and the cumulative effect is more five-star boutique hotel than spa.
Classes here range from the meditative (music therapy, knitting circles, flower arranging) to the active (fly-fishing, canoeing, cycling and hiking) with plenty of pure indulgence thrown in. Eyeballing the spa menu, Santosha Flow Ritual ... Thermal Sanctuary ... I see one that sounds irresistible: Japan — A Red Flower Treatment Ritual ($250). As I wait, I sit and munch a pippin apple in the Garden Room, taking a moment to fully absorb my surroundings. Eggshell-white walls envelop me, sending me into a kind of mental vacancy. I focus what remains of my attention on windows unveiling an impossibly picturesque view of Blue Heron Pond.
Yoga is another Mayflower passion, thanks to Lisa, now the spa’s creative director and president. New on the menu: the Rhythm of Life yoga workshop, highlighting a practice that matches the energy of particular days of the week.
On my final evening at Mayflower, I find myself strolling toward the Shakespeare Garden beside the main inn. I pass underneath a wisteria-strewn arbor, the bust of the Bard beckoning, and as I zigzag between different rose varietals I think how there has indeed been much ado about Mayflower — only in this case, it’s very much about something.
Hike through Steep Rock Reserve, up to a peak overlooking Litchfield County — it’s one of the more difficult climbs, so often guests work up to it over the course of a few days.
Nourish your skin with Japan — A Red Flower Treatment Ritual ($250). Following a yuzu mimosa sea algae purification, a body scrub with ohana ginger grass and a cherry-blossom rice polish, you’ll experience a shiatsu-inspired massage with kinmoxei wild lime silk oil.
118 Woodbury Road
Washington, CT 06793