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Honeymooning at Whimsical Winvian

How often have we heard that often, the best things in life come in small packages? Winvian, one of Connecticut’s newest resort-spa developments to land on the map proves the point while providing an excellent honeymoon destination. Located in the Litchfield Hills, the name was coined by combining the name of Winthrop Smith Sr. co-founder of Merrill Lynch and his wife Vivian when he bought the property in 1948.

The original site included the 113-acre estate with a 1775 farmhouse, which has been refurbished and dubbed the Seth Bird House and the Smith Ell and acts as the heart of the resort.

Artifacts, Smith family mementoes and portraits lend a homey feel to the farmhouse which houses a games room and cozy dining rooms with stone walls, wood beams and fireplaces scattered throughout.

Outside, however, is where the real fun begins in the 18 eclectic cottages, designed by 15 different architects, each with a definite feeling and flavor of its own. The architects were given only two parameters: Each cottage had to accommodate a king bed, large bathroom and a desk and each had to reference Connecticut.

The result is “whimsical” with cottage choices ranging from a suspended tree house to a 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican helicopter to a beaver lodge…complete with an actual beaver dam over the bed.

Dining becomes a main event, thanks to the culinary expertise of Chef Chris Eddy, former sous chef for both Alain Ducasse and Daniel Bouloud.

Winvian’s spa offers a menu that’s short but sweet but certainly fills the bill with a choice of facials (including one for men), massages (including one for couples in a private room with fireplace), a relaxing rose bath and a salt scrub.

The rose bath uses a combination of rose oils, rose petals and a special “chakra” treatment via a series of soft colored lights which purportedly soothes the body’s energy centers. Pedicures and manicures are given in a special room, complete with fireplace.

For a special treat, the “Forty Winks Suite” for couples offers treatments for both of you, complete with fireplace and private sitting area. What could be more romantic?

The spa’s location, once the site of the farm’s pig pens, is a short, pleasant walk from the main resort and promises an oasis of tranquility.

If you long for a rustic New England experience, this may not be the place for you but if you crave a very unusual, albeit pricey stay, head for these Litchfield Hills. Rates run $1,450 - $1,950 plus taxes, per night based on double occupancy. Meals, drinks and carte blanche at all of the resort’s bars are included.

For more information, call (860) 567-9600 or visit www.winvian.com.


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