Just outside of Hartford, Connecticut’s capital city, West Hartford is a charming urban enclave where you can enjoy all the wonderful and luxurious amenities you would find in Boston and New York, without the throngs of people jockeying for every square inch of sidewalk. With an inviting town center supporting locals and visitors, West Hartford has blossomed into a thriving foodie area, peppered with plenty of history, upscale shopping, and topped off with a dose of self-indulgent luxury.
Downtown West Hartford will enchant you with beautiful landscapes, rows of brownstones, and walkable amenities. Muscle melting spa treatments, sink-into-the-chair movie theaters, and a hotel with curated art displays elevate personal pampering getaways to a new level.
Note: Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
1. Relax Into A Massage
For the ultimate in luxurious relaxation, book a massage, facial, reflexology, or other uber pampering treatment session at the DELAMAR Spa. Feel the stress melt away while your sore muscles relish the individualized attention of their Signature massage. Alternatively, consider a Balancing Stone massage for a muscle penetrating heated treatment. Rev up your internal energy with a Reflexology session; there is nothing like a foot massage to treat your achy feet.
Who doesn’t want to look a little younger? No one. A custom facial can rejuvenate, refresh, and restore your skin. With their assortment of facial treatments, you will find the perfect pampering treatment to make your stay invigorating. Consider their Energy of the Glacier anti-aging ritual, it will not only make you feel younger — you will have “visibly restored, younger-looking skin.” Yes, please, I’ll take that one every day.
2. Dinner And A Movie
Now that you look and feel amazing from your spa day treatments, it is time to get out and explore West Hartford. Who takes time to go to the movies and see an action-packed adventure on the big screen? Movies are made to be enjoyed in a theater, and West Hartford has one you will love. The moment you enter Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas, you can feel the vibe is totally different from your average movie-going experience.
You are greeted by a chic, stylish lounge with a full bar and concession area, perfect for grabbing a seat and relaxing before the movie. The theater will blow you away with the soft reclining leather seats; it’s like watching a movie in your own in-home theater. With a push of a button, you are perfectly reclined to enjoy an exciting, new-release film.
In need of a beverage or nosh? Simply push your private call button and a waiter will magically appear to take your order — no need to miss a minute of the film. If you want to enjoy your favorite adult beverage and a large buttered popcorn, to share, of course, while you watch the show, no problem. When you want something more substantial, the menu offers a variety of pub-like choices including pizza, tacos, and salad. The latest flick never tasted so good.
3. Visit Mark Twain’s House
The Mark Twain House and Museum was the beloved home of Samuel Clemens and his family from 1874 to 1891. The 25-room Hartford mansion inspired Twain’s writing including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. It is a delight to enjoy a guided exploration of the Mark Twain house. Any writer or writer-want-to-be can feel the wonderful energy the home imparts.
The warm color palette and rich wood tones of the Entrance Hall combined with the stenciled wainscoting and patterned walls and ceiling crafted by Louis C. Tiffany & Co. Associated Artists, leave guests awestruck. This, of course, was the intent of the elaborately painted design — to show off the wealth and excellent taste of the owner.
The Library and the adjacent Conservatory were the heart of Clemens’ home life. Light from the conservatory and large library window gives the eclectically decorated room a cozy and relaxed, homey feel. You will be tempted to select a classic novel from the shelves, settle in on the divan, and read the day away.
The Victorian home offers guests a step back to the luxurious times of the Gilded Age, a term coined by Twain in a novel of the same name. Mark Twain’s house is a must-visit for anyone staying in the Hartford area.
4. Explore Elizabeth Park
Imagine you are strolling through your own mansion gardens while visiting the Elizabeth Park Conservancy. You will feel like you have been transported into a French Chateau’s jardin. The intricate rows of rose-adorned arbors form spokes around a center gazebo, creating a labyrinth of exquisite beauty.
The outlying gardens provide opportunities for quiet meditation while soaking up the sweet floral aromas and colorful blooms. Planted with seasonal varieties, there is always something blooming in the gardens.
Elizabeth Park provides dozens of spectacular photographic backdrops. You will always find professional and amateur photographers setting up their perfect shots here. Grab your camera and join in the garden fun.
5. Hang Out In Blue Back Square
When you find yourself wandering around Blue Back Square, stop and explore luxe decor shops like LoveSac, Crate & Barrel, and West Elm. Plan to uplift your home’s furniture with one beautiful piece, redecorate the entire room, or collect ideas for your next redecorating project. Forget about online shopping as you meander the isles at a brick-and-mortar bookstore: Get lost in Barnes & Noble. Or simply secure one of the leather recliners at Cinepolis and enjoy a great movie.
6. Shop Westfarms Mall
Get ready for a shopping ninja day at Westfarms Mall. Here you will find all the luxury shopping brands you could desire. Spend an afternoon going in and out of stores like Vans, Nordstrom, L’Occitane, Athleta, Tiffany & Co., Brooks Brothers, Coach, Fabletics, Louis Vuitton, North Face, and so many others. You won’t run out of stores to explore.
When you are ready for a shopping mall pick-me-up, you can rest your feet at P.F. Changs, Gusnova Gelato, Au Bon Pain, or plenty of other yummy restaurants.
7. Cocktails Around The Neighborhood
With a multitude of restaurants and bars around West Hartford Center, it is the perfect spot to sample your favorite adult beverage on a few different bar stools. Take bar hopping to a new level by exploring crafted, bartender-driven cocktails or a new-to-you glass of wine.
Sip on an Espresso Martini at Max’s Oyster Bar. Relax with a local brew at the World of Beer. Enjoy a fine glass of wine at Vinted Wine Bar. Explore the area to find the perfect seat to people watch, chat, sip, and let your workaday cares slip away.
8. Noah Webster House
Noah Webster is known for his American Dictionary of the English Language. Webster brought American English usage away from artificial grammatical rules of the past. He began a linguistic revolution that based the American language more on the spoken word.
A tour of the Noah Webster House, located outside of West Hartford’s center, will take you through four, period furnished rooms. You can enjoy a docent tour (based on availability), or a self-guided tour with a personal tablet to guide you along.
9. Stay At The DELAMAR
Where to stay in West Hartford is an easy question to answer. The epitome of luxury hotels, the DELAMAR West Hartford, is a stunning example of an approachable chic and guest-focused venue. The best way to kick off a luxurious stay: with a complimentary chilled glass of bubbly while you are checking in.
The lobby has a relaxing vibe, stylishly decorated for interest and comfort. As you wander through the lobby you will find multiple seating areas for quiet work or lively conversations. For the ultimate in guest rooms, reserve the Governor’s Suite, a two-room suite with a private balcony and two baths. You can even book the two rooms on either side for a large family gathering; there is a lockout door in the hallway giving the area a large apartment effect.
Artfully decorated pieces by renowned artists decorate the guest rooms and public spaces. Some are part of the DELAMAR’s private collection, but others are listed in the hotel’s gallery catalog and are available for purchase. That would be an amazing souvenir!
A Luxurious West Hartford Center Getaway
Zipping off to West Hartford for an overnight break or long weekend getaway will envelop you in luxurious trappings. You will want to stay and stay and stay. Rejuvenating spa treatments and extravagant shopping during the daytime give way to fabulous foodie and libation finds when the sun sets, making beautiful West Hartford the perfect place to enjoy the high life.
Pro Tip: If you are in search of more east coast luxury, our list of Luxury Cape Cod and the Islands Hotels and Resorts is a great place to start. Another wonderful option is the Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island. Every once in a while, a luxurious getaway will make you feel like a million bucks.