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Posh 30-room Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut
 Facing Foreclosure, Defaults on $21 million Mortgage

By Janice Podsada, The Hartford Courant, Conn.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News <>

May 19, 2010 - The posh Mayflower Inn & Spa, where Ivanka Trump spent part of her honeymoon in November, is facing foreclosure on the inn's three properties after defaulting on a $21.5 million mortgage.

The Litchfield County landmark, in Washington, Conn., is also behind on its local property tax payments, according to court documents filed in Superior Court and town records.

John Trevenen, the Mayflower Inn general manager, said Tuesday the business is not in danger of closing.

"Business has been very good this year. It has improved this year. It's returning to what is should be; 2009 was an awkward year," Trevenen said.

"For us it's very much business as usual at the Mayflower," said Trevenen, who declined further comment.

The inn, which can accommodate 30 guests, lists room rates starting at $500 a night, with higher rates in packages with special amenities and services. It is on 58 acres and employs about 45 people.

Last month, Conde Nast Traveler magazine named the Mayflower, built in 1920, the No. 2 hotel spa in the nation. The Relais & Chateaux, which ranks high-end restaurants, hotels and inns around the world, describes it as one of the most desirable spa destinations.

The mortgage, at a rate of 7.25 percent, is dated Sept. 20, 2007, the same month the current Mayflower owner, New Canaan-based J.H. Whitney & Co., bought it from former Goldman Sachs partner Robert Mnuchin and his wife, Adriana, founder of the Tennis Lady and Cashmere-Cashmere retail chains.

J.H. Whitney is the oldest venture capital firm in the United States. No one at the firm was available to comment Tuesday.

The mortgage is held by MH2009 LLC, according to a claim filed by attorney Jonathan Alter, who represents the Stamford company.

Its principals are brothers Warren and Alan Kanders of Greenwich. "We are both experienced in the hotel industry. We are part-owners of the Isle de France, a hotel in St. Barts," Warren Kanders said Tuesday.

The three properties that make up the Mayflower Inn have an assessed value of about $16 million and annual tax bills of about $172,000, according to the Washington tax collector's office.

In January, the inn's owner requested a move to monthly payments for the first half of this year, rather than a lump sum. According to the town's tax collector, property taxes are paid up on the properties at 35 Wykeham Road and 116 Woodbury Road, but the third -- at 118 Woodbury Road -- is now in arrears by several thousand dollars.

The interior of the 20,000-square-foot spa house, which was added in July 2006 , has been described as "opulently tasteful." It is decorated in muted ivories, with soft swatches of pale blue and celadon, and is adorned with museum-worthy artwork.

Courant staff writer Kenneth R. Gosselin contributed to this story

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Hartford Courant, Conn.

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