Rhode Trips

A Touch of France in New England

A French-inspired hotel spa in Plymouth offers a transportive experience, close to home.

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A coastal destination like Plymouth, Massachusetts, right in the grey area between the South Shore and Cape Cod, isn’t exactly where you would think of going when it’s still winter coat season. But it turns out that if you can manage to stay inside, and that your primary sources of warmth are a fireplace and a hot tub, you’ll be just fine.

I was recently invited to visit Mirbeau Inn & Spa, a new French-inspired spa hotel at The Pinehills in Plymouth. A staycation in a spa hotel is exactly what the doctor ordered to cure my late winter blues, so my boyfriend and I took off on a sunny, cold Saturday to spend 24 hours in luxurious bliss.

Lucky for me, we were able to book our trip for the day after my birthday. I knew we were in good hands when the concierge greeted me by name before I gave it to him, and then wished me a happy birthday. Even better, when we opened the door to our Executive Suite to be greeted by classical music, a roaring fire, a chilling bottle of Rose with crystal glasses, and a tray of birthday chocolates. C’est bon.

The hotel is split into two buildings: the Manor House, where we were staying, and the main building housing the spa (more on that later) and two restaurants: Henri-Marie, serving fine French cuisine, and The Bistro, which is more casual. There was a wedding in Henri-Marie that night, so we watched the bride and groom float around with their families as we dined in The Bistro. If what we tried was their casual fare, their haute cuisine must be served by unicorns to top it.

We started with a Warm Beet Salad with baby kale and white truffle vinaigrette for me, and Calamari with honey and sweet cherry peppers for my boyfriend. We were enjoying them when our waiter brought out an order of Sacchetti, which he said were a must try: pear and mascarpone tortellini, mostarda fruit, grape must and chive fondue. The combination was unexpected and delicious - even my guy, who isn’t an adventurous eater, loved the sweet, delicate pasta.

For our entrees, I had the Steak au Poivre with cognac and pommes puree, and he had the Steak Frites with truffle fries - and just for the heck of it, a lobster tail with more of that irresistible chive fondue. We they were delicious, but I had to save room for the dessert cart I had been eyeing all night. It’s not often you see a good, old fashioned dessert cart, and this one was laden with cakes (I had a slice of the Chocolate Pistachio), petit fours, macarons and cookies. There was nothing that could save me from all of that food except a soak in a claw-foot tub, which luckily, we had in our room.

The next morning, we headed to the spa, which is an experience I will definitely be back for. We changed into robes in the dressing rooms, and then met up in the resting area - a dimly lit room with a fireplace, where lounge chairs ringed a heated foot massage pool. We drank tea and cucumber water before leaving for our services: mine, a Signature Facial, and his, a Signature Massage.

When we met up again, we felt like different people. Different people who wanted a soak in an outdoor hot tub in the middle of winter. I loved it, but he didn’t, so he went inside to the sauna while I soaked in steamy, frozen bliss. When we left that day, we left totally rejuvenated. We took one final stroll through the Monet gardens, beautiful even in winter, and talked about when we’d be back.

Mirbeau is offering a special Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday May 8, featuring Chef Coe’s preparations of “the best of land and sea,” including coq au vin and truffle-whipped stuffed pasta. On July 16, Mirbeau will celebrate Bastille Day with La Fete du Vin, a celebration of French wine. Louis Roederer Brut Premier, Louis Roeder Rose 2010, Château de Pez Saint-Estèphe 2010, Château de Sales Pomerol 2011, Marc Brédif Vouvray 2014 and LaDoucette Pouilly Fumé 2012 will all be available for tasting, and will be paired with French-inspired delicacies.