Checking In and Checking Out

The Gilded Age Fantasy Is Alive and Thriving at Blantyre

by Pavia Rosati
The The Music Room. All photos courtesy of Blantyre.

Special Covid-19 travel considerations: The hotel is following all Covid-19 guidelines for safety and cleanliness, and is open to guests from Wednesday though Saturday night. Cafe Boulud at Blantyre is serving dinner from Wednesday through Sunday and brunch on weekends. Breakfasts are all in-room; lunches are boxed and served poolside or picnic-style on the grounds. Pianist Karèn Tchougourian is not performing this summer. As for area attractions, Tanglewood took its music program online this summer, and while the museums are reopening, it's a smart idea to call ahead before you venture out.

Blantyre
Lenox, Massachusetts
Opulent, $$$$ (from $645)

At the turn of the 20th century, when the well-heeled needed a place to rest their heads as they shuttled between seasons in New York, Palm Beach, and Newport, they settled on a wooded area of the Berkshires where the spring and fall temperatures were just right. (You know how the well-heeled are...)

Today, only a dozen of these Gilded Age "cottages" remain, including Blantyre, a country resort and estate just outside Lenox, Massachusetts, which is now under new ownership. You're welcome to come for a visit and pretend that time is standing gloriously still.

I spent a weekend here in June with my husband and friends, imagining this beautiful Tudor House, with its perfectly appointed decor — crystal carafes set for wine, elaborate chandeliers, and overstuffed sofas — was all mine. I totally indulged my fantasy of living in an Edith Wharton novel.

The Main Hall.
The Terrace.

Days began with long breakfasts on the Terrace overlooking the gardens and surrounding countryside; afternoons were whiled away reading, sunbathing, and swimming in the pool; dinner was a tasting menu in the Conservatory. I had a terrific facial at the Blantryre spa. We took a lazy trip into Lenox to stroll around town. On a tour of the estate, in-house historian David Pupo regaled me with stories of former owners (including filmmaker D.W. Griffith) and the antics the house has seen. With more time we would have gone to a concert under the stars at Tanglewood: It's another reason to come back.

After dinner came my favorite part of the day, sitting in the Music Room, listening to Karèn Tchougourian, the long-haired Vampire Lestat-looking pianist, playing across the room as I help myself to glass after glass of the port left out for guests to help themselves. (I'm told he is an empath who can intuit what you want to hear. I'm ready to call bullshit when he starts playing the Cole Porter tune I had just been thinking. I do my best not to start singing along, but I can't help myself. I blame the port.)

About that new owner: Linda Law is a San Francisco-based real estate developer who first saw Blantyre when she was a graduate student in Boston. One day, she thought to herself, I will own this place. If you see her around the house, stop for a chat. She's lively and lovely, and under her care, Blantyre's illustrious past will continue into a bright future.

Book It

Rates change seasonally and start at $645. Click here for reservations. Or get in touch with the Fathom Travel Concierge and we can plan your trip for you.

The Music Room.
A rear view of the Manor House.

Checking In

Location
Blantyre is located on a beautiful, wooded 110-acre estate in the part of the Berkshires Mountains that's all green rolling hills and genteel countryside. The cute town of Lenox is an easy ten-minute drive away.

Hotel Style
Gilded Age glory. This is the place to unleash your inner robber baron and pretend you've earned a spot on Mrs. Astor's list of 400.

This Place Is Perfect For
Couples, especially from the northeast, who want a romantic getaway for a few days.

But Not So Perfect For
Families. This is an adults-only operation. No children under 16 are allowed.

The Bistro.
The Conservatory.
The Wine Cellar.

What’s on Site
The ground floor of the main building, the Tudor-style Manor House, has the opulent lobby, outdoor Terrace, Music Room, Bistro, and Conservatory restaurant. The second floor has eight bedrooms; the basement is home to a massive wine cellar with more than 7,000 bottles, which is available for special events. (Once upon a time, the basement was also home to a speakeasy and a nightclub. If those brick-lined walls could talk...) Books — shelves and stacks of them — are everywhere, lining the upstairs hallways and neatly arranged in the Music Room. The pool and spa are located a leisurely walk or bike ride slightly downhill, past the Carriage House and Cottages. Also on the property are a tennis court, a croquet pitch, and Tesla charging station. Look for the statue of the bear in the woods on the drive up from the main entrance. It's really too cute.

Food + Drink
Food is very important to Blantyre's DNA: The hotel was the first Relais & Château property in North America. New for summer 2020 is Cafe Boulud at Blantyre, which will be serving a $78 prix-fixe dinner and two- or three-course prix fixe weekend brunch in the gorgeous Conservatory from Wednesday through Sunday until mid-October. Chef Daniel Boulud and his team have crafted a local, seasonal menu with a French accent: garlic roasted chicken with summer bean fricassee; a Frenchie Burger with confit pork belly, Morbier cheese, and tomato-onion jam; and heirloom tomato salad with basil-sunflower pesto. Breakfasts will be delivered in-room; lunch will be served poolside or picnic-style throughout the property. The bar attached to the Conservatory, deemed The Most Beautifully Designed Bar in Massachusetts by Architectural Digest, serves Gilded Age-inspired cocktails.

The Laurel Suite.
The Blue Room.
The Crimson Suite.
Cottage by the Path.
The Loft Suite in the Carriage House.
A Loft Suite in the Carriage House.

Number of Rooms
24 rooms in all. The eight in the Manor House are decorated in classic, Gilded Age style, in keeping with the decor on the ground floor: four-poster beds, period paintings, patterned textiles in the curtains and fluffy pillows. The rooms in the Carriage House are more contemporary. The stand-alone Cottages are primarily traditional in style and a great option for families.

Standout Detail
The ground floor of the Manor House, and especially the Music Room. And if you're curious, and you should be, see if you can get an estate tour from David Pupo, the director of membership and concierge services who does double duty as the in-house historian. He's been coming to the estate since he was a local kid swimming in the pool.

The pool and spa.
Outside Riverview cottage.
The entrance.

Checking Out

What to Do Nearby
The nearby town of Lenox is cute and preppy, as expected for this part of the world, with everything concentrated into a few walkable blocs: a great local bookstore, The Bookstore and Get Lit Wine Bar, a bar with an outdoor patio (The Olde Heritage Tavern), and a tapas restaurant (Brava). The clothes and housewares in most of the shops were nothing to get excited about, with two extremely stylish exceptions: Design Menagerie and MacKimmie Co.

The surrounding Berkshires are rich with cultural offerings. Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, has an extensive and accessible program through August (translation: tickets are easy to get); the new Tanglewood Learning Institute offers year-round programming of lectures, films, and performances. Also nearby: MASS MoCA, The Clark, Jacob's Pillow, and the Norman Rockwell Museum. I've saved the best for last: The Mount, Edith Wharton's former house and gardens, which is a few miles down the road.

Plan Your Trip

How to Get There: Albany International Airport is one hour away; Boston's Logan Airport is just over two hours away.

Getting Around: You'll want a car to explore the area. The surroundings make for a really lovely drive.