A chain of consecutive stays in big hotels was soon about to break during a business trip to Storrs. The accommodation choices around UCONN are famously limited, so we left the arrangement to local friends, all of which praised the Tolland Inn.
Arriving in the heart of Northeastern US winter translated into subzero Fahrenheit readings in the thermometer, but stepping in immediately felt like entering a shelter of cosiness and warmth. It quickly became apparent that our stay would be special. The room was oozing with character, as was anything in this multi-hundred-year building, which was refurbished from scratch by the current owners.
Ten mornings later, I was waiting for my colleague to load the packed luggage and leave. And while looking out the window, a feeling of sweet melancholy captivated me. This feeling was the epitome of the hoteliers' efforts. It was something that neither homemade furniture nor excellent decoration alone could ignite. It took numerous morning analyses with Susan. Stephen preparing delicious waffles and commenting from the kitchen. It required making your guests feeling like they've visited family. It's been a couple of decades since I last felt that way and I believed it was a hotelier art that was lost along the way. Thankfully, the Beechings have been secretly preserving it as carefully as the building itself.
Thank you for everything, Stephen & Susan.