Cigar Aficionado

You visit the Mayflower Inn in autumn because it's perfectly positioned to display all the glory of New England's most colorful season. You keep coming back all year because the grandeur and tradition of England's greatest country estates exist in this 24-room hotel, only two hours from Manhattan.

Yes, the Mayflower is set amongst the wooded glory of the Berkshire Mountain foothills with its own stunning gardens and the 2,000-acre Steep Rock nature reserve minutes away, but it earns its rave reviews for the pampering that each guest gets from the 110 employees. Guests can expect complete attention to all their needs—even having their bags unpacked.

Don't even try to stump the staff. They have heard every question and request you can imagine—and they have the answers because of intense training that general manager John Trevenen and owner Adriana Mnuchin constantly dish out through role playing as guests. Trevenen proudly states that the staff loathes his relentless questioning, adding, "We make them respond to changing circumstances and think about how to satisfy the guest."

Before they bought, renovated and reopened the Inn in 1992, Mnuchin and her husband, Robert, had traveled the great country homes of Europe, developing their interest in antiques—with which they now furnish the accommodations ($400 to $600 a room, $650 to $1,300 for suites)—and literature (they designed the garden after the Globe Theatre and books fill the rooms as well as the poetry library). Private showings with local antiques dealers over a glass of Champagne are available for the asking.

In the winter, the many fireplaces are kept roaring and the screened-in porch is enclosed and heated. In spring, summer and fall, the inn offers tennis courts, a swimming pool, guided bicycle rides and privileges for local golf. The fitness club, with spa services, is open year-round.

The restaurant menu features New England recipes and ingredients, as well as house-smoked salmon, game sausage, and homemade pastas, breads and pastries. Produce is from local gardens. The Wine Spectator Award of Excellence cellar includes 250 offerings—20 available by the glass. Service is on Limoges china, with silver flatware and crystal glasses.

While the proprietors do their best to accommodate everyone, some rules they will not bend. After lunching there, the actor Hugh Jackman asked to book a suite with his wife and four-year-old son. Adriana Mnuchin turned him down as guests must be 12 or older. Jackman allowed that they'd return soon—sans child.

Visit or call 860-868-7839.