For a taste of France without leaving New England, head to the new Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Although Plymouth is best known as the site of the first Thanksgiving, visitors won’t find Pilgrims or austerity here. Instead, like its sister property in New York's Finger Lakes region, this resort is built in the style of a French château, and draws inspiration from the light and colors of Claude Monet’s paintings. The gardens resemble Monet’s in Giverny, complete with a wooden bridge spanning a pond filled with lily pads. The design is meant to evoke a fairy-tale version of a country estate, rather than a French-themed experience. Although the building may look like a mini château, the atmosphere is anything but formal. The overall vibe is laid-back and friendly; guests are free to wear their spa bathrobes at breakfast. Mirbeau’s lobby-level lounges feature deep couches and fireplaces, making it a cozy spot to warm up on a chilly autumn day.
Mirbeau Inn is located about 10 minutes from downtown Plymouth in The Pinehills, a planned community that includes a golf course, clubhouse, and traditional homes. It makes an ideal base for exploring Plymouth’s biggest attractions, such as Plimoth Plantation, and is best suited for couples or a girlfriends' getaway, as the emphasis here is on eating and drinking, as well as enjoying the 14,000-square-foot spa.
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Rates: For the fall season, midweek starts at $199 and weekend rates start at $249.
Rooms: The 50 guest rooms continue the French country theme, with plenty of toile and rich hues, as well as copies of Monet paintings. Each room has a gas fireplace, and the color palette ranges from sunflower yellow to crimson and purple; pops of color are provided by the curtains and upholstered headboards. Ceilings are painted in the room’s signature color, and some have exposed beams. The bathrooms have a slightly odd, angular configuration but they are large, with claw-foot soaking tubs, separate shower with outstanding water pressure, and vanities with double sinks. Many rooms have a patio or balcony, so you should ask for a room overlooking the gardens or the outdoor pool.
Drinks & Dining: There are two restaurants to choose from on the property, both helmed by chef Stephen Coe, who has a farm nearby; his own honey and produce often ends up on the restaurant’s menus. The more formal option is Henri-Marie, housed in a vast space with a vaulted ceiling and exposed wooden arches. Reservations are essential here, as it has quickly become a local hot spot. The menu features traditional French dishes with a New England twist, such as Burgundy escargot and local cod served with purple sweet potatoes.
At the more casual Bistro & Wine Bar, which serves breakfast, try the crêpes with seasonal fruit compote; or a decadent mushroom, asparagus, goat cheese, and truffle omelette. Those shunning carbs and butter can order the “power breakfast,” which includes egg whites and spinach in a wheatgrass pesto. Dinner at the Bistro kicks off with honeyed butter and fresh popovers, and the menu features everything from local oysters to a traditional bouillabaisse. There’s an extensive wine selection, and the hotel’s signature cocktail is the Mirbeau Spa Punch, a blend of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, Square One cucumber vodka, lime, and soda water.
Health & Fitness: The centerpiece of the resort, and one of the main reasons for coming here, is the 14,000 square-foot spa, which offers a full range of treatments, from facials to massages to wraps. The 14 treatment rooms all have fireplaces as well as private sound systems. Guests will be tempted to take a nap in the relaxation room, thanks to the cushy day beds. The highlight of the spa is a circular foot bath with a rock in the middle—dubbed “Plymouth Rock,” of course. There’s also a wide selection of fitness classes, including spin and Pilates, as well a blow dry bar. Outside at the Aqua Terrace, visitors can unwind in a Jacuzzi or enjoy a light meal during warmer months. Guests also have access to The Pinehills’ two championship 18-hole golf courses and 10 miles of wooded walking trails.
Pros: The resort is an ideal destination for a sybaritic getaway, thanks to its spa and restaurants, and makes a peaceful base for exploring Plymouth and Cape Cod, or as a side trip from Boston or Newport, Rhode Island.
Cons: The French-country theme may not appeal to everyone, and purists may not appreciate some of the “faux” aspects of the resort, such as copies of Monet paintings.
Christina Valhouli writes about travel, beauty and lifestyle trends. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post and Departures.com. Follow her on Twitter: @cvalhouli.