It’s chic, soigne, and it offers stellar, silken service.
It was love at first sight when I walked into the stunning Delamar Hotel in West Hartford, Conn., for a brief media visit. The property exudes elegance from every corner, and is a first-class choice if you are traveling in the Hartford area. There is plenty do there!
Indeed, Travel+Leisure magazine dubbed West Hartford one of America’s “coolest suburbs” and it is ideally located exactly midway between Boston and New York. With close proximity to both West Hartford Center, and Blue Back Square – and Hartford itself – the Delamar is an ideal vantage point from which to explore all that Connecticut’s Capital Region has to offer.
For starters, there is an enticing aroma in the air from the moment you step into the spacious greige-and-silver lobby filled with light. (It also features marble accents, an impressive staircase and a wow-worthy glass-and-chrome Bluthner grand piano once played by Billy Joel.) Curated works of art on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art rotate quarterly and enhance the décor.
What you’re sniffing is s a clove fragrance that is the house scent and it’s piped in for your enjoyment. Just that alone makes the Delamar swoon-worthy and comparable to some of the finest first-class hotels I have ever written about in my 30-year travel career. “The scent is of aloe and cloves, and it comes through the vents,” Jackie Kosiba, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, told me in an interview. Curated works of art on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art rotate quarterly and complement the décor.
The Delamar is privately held and there are only four locations in the country, in West Hartford, Greenwich, Conn., Southport, Conn., and Travers City, Michigan.
Besides offering you complimentary champagne the moment you arrive – and yes, there is also complimentary valet parking – you’re greeted with other goodies including a full European hot breakfast buffet included in your room rate; a hotel Tesla courtesy car within a five-mile radius; an electric vehicle charging station; turndown service with chocolates; high-thread-count Frette bed linens; Bulgari bath amenities; and a 24-hour fitness center with great equipment including treadmills, stair steppers, and even a Peloton machine and Bosu balls. The hallways to the guest rooms feature large black-and-white murals of objects that define the Hartford area, including Mark Twain’s quill pen (in 1871, writer Mark Twain moved to Hartford to be closer to his publisher) and a large light bulb signifying the early history of the Hartford Electric Light Company.
And it’s a good thing the hotel has a fitness center, because its Artisan farm-to-table restaurant offers love at every bite. First of all, try to sit outside under the pergola. There you are surrounded by a stunning garden filled with herbs, tomatoes and lettuces – which of course, find their way to your plate. It will remind you of being outside in Provence – which is a wonderful addition, as the Chef, Michael, hails from that part of France. Coming soon are more fire pits where you can enjoy hot mulled cider and s’mores as you cuddle in a blanketed cocoon of comfort outside.
Artisan is a real palate-pleaser. Everything we tried on the menu was a winner, including the superfood chopped salad with quinoa, kale, and house-made roasted shallot dressing, and the Scottish salmon on Mediterranean (chick-pea) socca with pesto. (I told you it would remind you of Nice!) It was fantastic and so was the distinctive swordfish “a la pancha” with organic vegetables. And for dessert – well, the last course was made for chocolate lava cake and apple upside-down cake featuring caramel ice cream. Artisan is one of the best hotel restaurants I’ve ever dined in – and a great destination even if you’re not staying at the hotel and are a local.
Locals also make up a huge following at the lovely and intimate Delamar spa decorated in gray and silver. “We are West Hartford’s best-kept secret,” Regional Director of Spa Operations, Julia Petrini, told me. Indeed, during Covid the spa made a point to gift spa guests with generous samples of its luxury European Valmont and Biologique Recherche products, and it proved to offer “phenomenal results,” she told me. “We offer widespread sampling because the products offer great results. Clients took them home, and returned to the spa because of them.” The sunny spa is a sanctuary with four treatment rooms offering manicures, pedicures, facials and massages. As Ms. Petrini told me, the spa’s goal is to be untypical – that is why they play upbeat music (no Enya to be found here) and it serves complimentary chocolate instead of herbal tea.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 60-minute Biologique Recherche signature facial ($155) given to me by aesthetician Debbie Riccio, who expertly sent me into spa wonderland with her magic fingers and serums. Following a special consultation, the facial includes a cleansing; application of an enzyme mask (it smells like chocolate and is made with yeast); Dermopore serum to tighten pores; and a protecting oxygen mask to protect the skin from free radicals. She also administered iced cryosticks (they looked like palm-sized mini golf clubs) that are placed on the face to halt inflammation. “I absolutely love this line,” she told me. If glowing skin is on your agenda, the Delamar spa is the place for you.
The spa also features special heated biomats filled with amethysts that cradle you in comfort and help to alleviate muscle and joint pain. Unlike a regular electric blanket that uses coils to create heat, the biomat uses a combination of fabrics and amethyst stones to generate far-infrared rays that are then transferred to the body through friction. Translation: You will be exquisitely comfortable.
You can also take advantage of treatment rooms with two massage beds in them – isn’t it about time you booked that mother-daughter, or couples, facial?
While you’re in the area, there is nearby great golf and skiing, in addition to shopping in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square, and live theatrical and musical performances at local venues.
As you can tell, I love, love, love the Delamar and I’m so glad I learned of it. You can certainly enjoy many local attractions but in my humble opinion, the hotel is a divine destination in and of itself.
Rates start at $279 per night in peak season.
For more about my Wanderlust Travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @Debbikickham.