|By George Krimsky, Waterbury
Republican-American, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 31, 2007 -- WASHINGTON, Conn. -- The Mayflower Inn, a town landmark converted into one of the country's premier watering holes for the rich and famous, has been sold.
Robert and Adriana Mnuchin of Washington said Monday they had reached agreement with a hotel company based in San Diego to buy the five-star resort and spa for an undisclosed amount, and will stay on to run the operation.
They had planned to announce the transaction after the formal closing, expected sometime next month, but confirmed it when contacted by the Republican-American.
The American Property Management Corp., which owns 45 midrange hotels and resorts throughout the United States and Mexico, bought the Mayflower as part of its new push into the luxury market, the Mnuchins said.
APMC president and CEO Michael Gallegos wants the Mayflower "to be the jewel in his crown," said Caroline Klemm, a Washington real estate broker who didn't handle the sale but was privy to it.
Gallegos could not be reached for comment by telephone, but was reported in the Mayflower statement as being "very proud" to build on what the Mnuchins have created. "The vision will continue under their watchful eyes," he was quoted as saying.
John Trevenen will also remain as general manager, working with a newly appointed executive chef, Steven Mannino, the announcement said.
The Mayflower, originally built in 1894 as a private boys' school, is the third largest taxpayer in Washington. With 47 acres and six buildings, the property is currently assessed at $9.3 million, representing 70 percent of its estimated market value.
Although the purchase price is not expected to be revealed until the deed is recorded in Town Hall, industry experts said such properties usually sell for at least three times their estimated market value. That would place the price in the $36 million-plus range, making it the largest sale of its kind in Litchfield County, already known for multi-million-dollar home prices.
The Mnuchins bought the rustic inn just off the Washington Green in 1990 for $1.38 million, and invested almost 10 times that amount into converting it into a lavish destination for the upscale New York market.
Robert had been a legendary partner in the Goldman Sachs investment firm and Adriana had been a highly successful clothes retailer when they moved to Washington in the early 1980s.
The inn, which a succession of owners had trouble keeping solvent since the 1970s, had fallen into general disrepair before the couple targeted it for their dream project. The main building had taken a particular beating from the Rolling Stones, who used it as their base while rehearsing for their 1989 stateside tour.
In their quest to make it the final word in country living, the Mnuchins traveled the world researching luxury destinations and buying expensive furniture and art, with an English and early American motif. They nearly doubled the main building's size, but retained the American Shingle style used by the famed architect Ehrick Rossiter.
When the refurbished inn opened in 1992, it attracted intense attention from the national travel and leisure media, and helped draw a glittering international clientele to this sedate community.
The Mayflower has since earned five-star, five-diamond and Relais & Chateux status, making it Connecticut's most prominent high-end resort. Guests today pay up to $1,400 a night at the inn, and $6,700 for five days at the lavish spa which was completed just last year on an adjoining 15-acre parcel.
Although the inn's 24 rooms and suites are booked for weekends months in advance, the 20,000-square-foot spa, under daughter Lisa Hedley's direction, started bringing an out-of-season, midweek clientele that, along with the public restaurant, helped offset the enormous upkeep.
Rumors had circulated for more than a year the Mnuchins were looking for a buyer to alleviate their investment load.
When asked why they had decided to sell, Adriana Mnuchin said Monday: "It provides a wonderful opportunity for expansion of the Mayflower."
She did not elaborate.
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Copyright (c) 2007, Waterbury Republican-American, Conn.
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