It's our next installment of Hello Again, a series about the world's most interesting hotels produced with the . We're checking into Winvian, an elegant Connecticut resort that turns treehouses, novels, and helicopters into five-star hotel rooms.
LITCHFIELD HILLS, Connecticut – , in Litchfield Hills, is a hotel like no other. In a quiet and preppy corner of New England, owner Maggie Smith has created a cozy retreat that includes the kookiest collection of hotel suites in the United States. Opened in 2007, the 113-acre property consists of an historic main house that's a study in tradition and decorum, an excellent restaurant presided over by Daniel Bouloud-trained chef Chris Eddy, a beautiful spa with an extensive menu of treatments and grounds that encourage lazy meandering — forest abuts the northern border, for one.
The real draw, however, are the 18 cottages scattered throughout the compound, each with a quirky theme informing its design. Ranging from 950-1250 square feet in size, each cottage has at least one wood-burning fireplace — but the similarities among them end there. Fifteen different architects worked on the cottages with complete freedom, resulting in a richly varied range of adventurous design.
The design mandate clearly did not call for subtlety. The Golf Suite doesn't merely house golf balls as drawer pulls, but sports a curved floor covered in carpet made to look like a green on which you can actually play. So, putt as you please —at Winvian, the suites are intended to be fully immersive experiences.
Perched atop a cluster of branches 35 feet above the ground, Treehouse Cottage is a Lost Boy's dream rec room, complete with vintage license plates decorating the walls, a pull-out sofa, and a seemingly endless supply of board games. The bi-level suite comprises a bedroom and three-sided fireplace on the first floor, and a living room and an outdoor deck on the second.
CT Yankee, designed by Malcolm Appleton, was inspired by Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Purely whimsical medieval touches throughout include a dark wood, four-poster bed, high-backed wing chairs embroidered with heraldic crests, a herringbone-tiled fireplace, and, in the bathroom, granite slabs evocative of Stonehenge. Plus, flagons of ale are just a room-service call away.
The literary theme continues in the Library Cottage by architect Mac Rood, with two stories of shelves and ladder access to a second-floor reading nook. Books by Connecticut authors are featured prominently, and guests are encouraged to borrow (and lend) their own tomes. The two-sided leather Chesterfield sofa facing the river rock fireplace provides an ideal place to read, and when it comes time to sleep, there's a hidden bedroom behind the living room bookshelves, like something straight out of a storybook.
The spectacular Helicopter Cottage by Malcolm Appleton is the dominating element on property. The restored 1968 Sikorsky HH37 Sea King Pelican helicopter has been transformed into a five-star accommodation sure to enchant aviation geeks with its original switches, co-pilot seat, gaskets, levers and gauges. The interior has been fitted with a bar and an entertainment center, while a barrel fireplace serves as the centerpiece of the adjacent living room.
With elegance and a hint of magic in mind, Winvian has capitalized brilliantly on an unspoken but very clear design motto: There's nothing they can't turn into a five-star hotel room.
155 Alain White Road
Morros, Connecticut 06763
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