Article sponsored by Madison Beach Hotel and the Curio Collection by Hilton
Article by New England Travel Journal Writer Stavros
If you would like to book a stay at the Madison Beach Hotel, please use our link.
The Madison Beach Hotel is a “home away from home” located right on our Connecticut shoreline. This quintessential New England gem has all the amenities you need for relaxing coastal getaway.
Originally built in the early 1800s, the hotel was called the Flower House and served as a rooming house for Madison’s ship builders. It is located just steps away from West Wharf beach and pier and has it’s own semi private beach area. Having been a part of the Madison community for over 200 years, it continues to be a sought-after destination for Connecticut locals and out-of-state visitors alike.
Accommodations include 34 guest rooms, of which 33 feature waterfront balconies. On site is the luxurious Sounds of the Sea Spa and The Wharf Restaurant which serves the traditional New England coastal cuisine. Guests also have access to the 24-hour fitness center, Yoga on the beach, kayaks and cruiser bicycles.
The whole experience at MBH started for us with overwhelming warm greetings from all the hotel staff. From the valets to the concierge, bar tenders, servers, spa staff and even the management, everyone that we interacted with made MBH feel like we were there to visit family and friends.
We stayed in a spacious fourth floor suite with a balcony that overlooked the West Wharf mooring and Tuxis Island. While laying on the bed we had a perfect view of the crashing waves and tree topped island peaking out of the waters. The balcony to our room offered some pretty spectacular sunsets and sounds of crashing waves.
Our stay was accentuated by the delicious food we had at the Wharf Restaurant, our room and balcony. The rejuvenating spa and our exceptional time at the Epicurean Dinner Event where we met many wonderful people and two celebrity Chefs (one of which calls Madison, his home).
The Wharf Restaurant
We started off our visit with lunch at the Wharf Restaurant. The food menu highlights creative seafood dishes, a raw bar, a healthy selection of Land and Sea options, a plentiful variety of handhelds and even a section called Outside the Box.
From the delicious Blackened Salmon sandwich and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sandwich that we tried, to the Laos Fried Rice and Beef Short rib and Sausage Bolognese, there are enough options to please any appetite.
Our new best friend and server Marianne enticed us into a very decadent cheesecake after our meal. An almond honey cheesecake to be exact, with a Toblerone chocolate sauce and candied orange peel. Our lunch was outstanding, made even better by the fact that we sat on the patio overlooking the Sound and hearing the waves crash on the shore not too far from us.
To accompany our lunch, we started our meal off with two very creative cocktails made by the bar manager Mike. We enjoyed an Autumn Mule, made with gunpowder gin, wild moon cranberry liquor (locally sourced from Hartford) and blood orange ginger beer. Alongside that, we had the Think Pink Cosmo (in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month). This drink was crafted with a house-infused pineapple vodka with peach, splash of cranberry and garnished with fresh and vibrant raspberries.
To end our lunch, Mike brought us over to the Crows Next and gave us a mixology lesson on one of his go-to drinks to make; his personal take on An Old Fashioned. The original recipe created in 1895 is made with sugar, water, whiskey, bitters and lemon peel. Mike proffers to make this particular drink with simple syrup, cherry and orange bitters, and Bullet Bourbon. All the ingredients are stirred together, strained into a glass with a single ice cube and garnished with a vibrant orange peel.
While making our drinks, Mike educated us on the three most important parts of making a cocktail. The first is the presentation, the garnish is the crown of the drink. The second is the aroma, to draw people in and enhance the drink experience. If the first and second parts are done correctly the third, which is the taste, “will be a home run”.
Epicurean Dinner Event
Featuring Chef Michel Nischan with Special Guest Jacques Pepin
On Saturday evening we attended the Epicurean Dinner Event curated by four-time James Beard Award winning Chef Michel Nischan. The meal inspiration came from Dressing Room, Chef Nischan’s restaurant in Westport, CT.
The menu was created using Chef Nischan’s four principles: local, organic, sustainable and no processed food. Wine pairings were provided by World Wide Wines focusing on highlighting small batch family owned vineyards.
The event started with a cocktail hour featuring a fall themed charcuterie display full of fresh veggies, fruits, locals cheeses and meats. Hand passed hors d’oeuvres included butter roasted oysters, single bite chicken pot pies, and wild mushroom crostini’s.
The four course dinner featured dishes all with meaningful stories told by Chef Nischan. The first was Paul Newman’s “Use a Spoon” Chop Salad featuring seasonal veggies, and fruits, roasted slivered almonds, coarsely picked herbs, hand torn lettuces, and crumbled goat cheese. Paired with a 2021 Foral Alvarinho from the Vinho Verde region in Portugal.
The second was the Dressing Room Tomato Soup, paired with a perfectly toasted artisan Grilled Cheese. The sandwich featured two cheeses from Cato Corner Farm in Old Lyme, CT. The Aged Bloomsday and the Dairyere cheeses make up the exact blend of cheeses used in the grilled cheese at Chef Nischan’s Dressing Room restaurant. This course paired with a 2021 La Miraja Freisa d’Asti red from Piemonte, Northern Italy.
Course number three featured a mouthwatering dry-cured Beef Short Rib Pot Roast. Slowly braised with medium diced horseradish root, parsnip, carrots, rutabaga, potatoes and shaved fried parsnip chips. This dish as the main course, was absolutely delicious and hearty enough to leave us full and very satisfied. Paired with a 2020 Illahe Bon Sauvage Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon.
After all the non-stop eating and four previous courses it was time for dessert. A massive, pan-fried angel’s food cake aptly named Naughty Angel, drizzled with honey and served with a scoop of the most refreshing vanilla ice cream. The final wine pairing was a sparkling NV Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee from Sonoma, California.
Throughout the dinner Chef Nischan made his rounds to the tables chatting up the guests and taking photos. Guests (ourselves included) were lucky to be in the presence with famed Chef Jacques Pepin. Chef Pepin held a book signing at MBH on the Tuesday night before the Epicurean Dinner Event. Those fortunate enough to attend have a signed copy of Chef Pepin’s Art of the Chicken. The two chefs are great friends and were a highlight to be around during the dinner.
Chef Michel Nischan’s mission is to spread awareness and to fight nutrition insecurity across the US. The target communities lack access to fresh, organic and affordable foods. He partnered the late Gus Schumacher, and the late Michael Batterberry and founded the non-profit Wholesome Wave. We encourage all of our readers to take some time to read into Wholesome Wave and consider supporting the cause.
The Sounds of the Sea Spa
Right on site at MBH is the Sounds of the Sea Spa. The list of offerings includes hot stone and sports therapies, couples’ massages, pregnancy massages, and facials. You can also choose from a range of exfoliating body scrubs and vitamin-packed mud wraps.
On Sunday morning we enjoyed the 60-minute Soothing Waves Massage inspired by the Long Island Sound. It was the perfect treat to fix the soreness and tightness in our bodies after a week of cleaning leaves.
On top of the rejuvenating massages we greatly enjoyed the conversations and laughs were shared with Annie, David and Ella. We left the spa after having made three new friends and having been fully rejuvenated to take on the rest of our adventures that weekend.
The Fall Harvest Festival
At the end of every October the MBH hosts their annual Harvest Festival on the lawn space between the hotel and the tall grass that’s feet away from the ocean. This event features up to 15 vendors and local artisans and it is open to the public with no entry fee. Some of the vendors that we talked to include Matteson’s Maple Manor, Vegetable Ivory, and Wavz Cap. There’s always live music, and plenty of drinks and food available for purchase from MBH. The Fall Harvest Festival is a great event that brings the Madison community together at the end of the fall to celebrate the colder season.
A Special Thank you
The New England Travel Journal wants to extend a special thanks to all the wonderful people we met and worked with at Madison Beach Hotel. This includes Jennifer, John, Lauri, Marianne, Annie, David, Ella, Mike, Bob Rebecca and Barbara. This is just a small collection of all the wonderful people that made our work experience with MBH a great one.
Book Your Stay at MBH
To book a stay at the Madison Beach Hotel, please use our link.
Too see our video reel of our time at MBH follow this link.