How One Resort Turned a Helicopter into a Cottage


The accommodations of most hotels look more or less the same; one room can easily be confused for the next. But there’s no chance of that happening at the Winvian Resort in Litchfield Hills, Conn. Among the 18 themed cottages on its 113 acres are a treehouse, a log cabin, a lighthouse, a stable—and, awesomely, a structure that incorporates an actual helicopter. When we heard about this one, we had to ask Winvian how it was done.

The gorgeous cottages were designed by architect Malcolm Appleton, who created this especially unconventional accommodation as an homage to the Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

If you’re looking for an aircraft that you can incorporate into the building, it’s probably best to start at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Arizona, home of the world’s largest airplane graveyard, where 4400 aircraft sit collecting dust. There, Appleton found a 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH-3F Coast Guard helicopter. Just 40 of these long-range, amphibious search-and-rescue craft were made for the U.S. Coast Guard; introduced in the late 1960s, the helicopters were in service for decades before they were replaced by newer aircraft (the last went out of service in 1994 [PDF]).

The helo was towed east to Canaan, Conn., where it was refurbished and modified over a period of 12 months. While the pilot and co-pilot seats, switches, and gauges are all original, the interior of the fuselage was turned into the sitting area with a flatscreen T.V. and a minibar.

When the helicopter was finished, it was towed out to Litchfield Hills and wheeled into a hangar-like cottage constructed especially to house it. The rotor blades, which had been cut short, were embedded in the ceiling; once the Pelican was in place, the back wall of the cottage was constructed. Outside of the helicopter, Appleton placed a king-sized bed, a wood-burning stove, and a bathroom. For aeronautical enthusiasts, it will definitely beat staying at the Hilton!  

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