Blantyre is a dream of a resort nestled on 110-acres in Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. Built in 1902, owner Ann Fitzpatrick Brown has lovingly transformed the Gilded Age mansion once a private residence, into a luxury country house hotel with an excellent restaurant, The Dining Room at Blantyre featuring Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Christopher Brooks, an award winning wine cellar, and an inviting Spa, called The Potting Shed Spa.
To celebrate a very special anniversary, Edward and I wanted elegance, privacy, a luxurious setting, and the ability to do as much, or as little, as we wanted. Having discovered, and fallen in love with the Berkshires in late autumn 2009, we returned in late June 2010 to celebrate at Blantyre.
Driving up the long, sweeping drive lined with tall trees we passed great expanses of pristine lawns graced with sculptures, stunning landscape gardens, croquet and tennis courts that conjured up images of players wearing white, and a hammock suspended between two immense trees inspired restful relaxation; all this before we even stepped foot inside Blantyre.
Blantyre, large, imposing, impressive, and covered with ivy, with its turrets and towers, resembles a Scottish castle, which was Robert Warden Patterson's intent, as he modeled his Gilded Age mansion after his mother's ancestral home in Scotland. In a word, it is stunning.
Blantyre, Lenox, Massachusetts
The hotel strives and succeeds at making dreams come true from its luxury accommodations of 19 rooms and suites where every detail has been thoughtfully planned out to ensure guest comfort, to its gourmet restaurant with cuisine by Relais & Chateaux Master Chef Christopher Brooks and an award-winning wine cellar, to The Potting Shed Spa where pampering is de-rigueur.
The architecture, the 1955 silver grey Bentley, a gift to Ann Fitzpatrick Brown's parents, Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick parked in front, and exquisite furnishings at Blantyre are a feast for the senses. Aromatic potpourri gently perfumes the air, everywhere there are gorgeous floral arrangements on the tables all made in-house by Blantyre's talented team, and there is a always a friendly smile and a warm welcome from the professional and attentive staff.
Debra and the 1955 Silver Grey Bentley
Over the course of a weekend, we experienced wonderful dinners at The Dining Room at Blantyre, beginning with the evening tradition of a pre-dinner glass of champagne, wine, or a cocktail, accompanied by canapés served in the Main Hall, Music Room, or in warmer months, on the Covered Terrace.
Cocktails before Dinner
We began our evenings in the attractive, light-filled Music Room with its soaring ceiling, windows framed with pink fabric, marble fireplaces at either end of the room, and intimate seating areas to listen to the concert pianist on the Steinway in the corner of the room. The details of the room are stunning with its ornate moldings, paintings, Tiffany lamp, antiques, gold harp placed near a window, and potted palms in cachepots.
Canapés before Dinner
Dinner in the antique filled wood-paneled dining room was gracious, the room softly illuminated by a chandelier and candlelight, with pink linens and attractive floral arrangements on the tables. Service was exceptional, as one would expect.
The Dining Room at Blantyre
In addition to the à la carte menu there is a three, four, or five-course tasting menu nightly. A few of the inspired courses that we enjoyed from Chef Christopher Brooks' tasting menu included sautéed cape diver scallop presented with quinoa, lemon, radish blini, cucumber coulis, and cucumber foam; Spanish mackerel with fennel, pepper, eggplant, crispy socca, and roasted tomatoes; and duck confit with seared foie gras, fresh black Mission fig, fig jam, verjus and port reduction.
Cape Diver Scallop
Breakfasts are served in the conservatory or the garden, and as the weather was beautiful, we took breakfast outdoors to partake of the fresh mountain air, and enjoy the beauty of the flower gardens, where round metal tables dressed with pink linens and matching napkins were accessorized with attractive flowers in terra cotta pots.
Breakfast in the Garden
Breakfast began with coffee, a selection of juices, a fruit salad, and a basket of blueberry muffins, pain chocolate, and croissants accompanied by Chef Christopher Brooks' housemade marmalade and berry jam, and continued with Pancakes with Berry Compote, and Eggs Benedict.
Pancakes and Eggs Benedict
The Potting Shed Spa has a diverse treatment menu consisting of massages, facials, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures. We celebrated with indulgent therapeutic massage treatments during our stay, and experienced the steam room, sauna, and the hot tub, tried out the state-of-the art fitness equipment, and relaxed by the outdoor swimming pool.
The Potting Shed Spa Swimming Pool and Treatment Room
In addition to guestrooms and suites in the Main House, Blantyre also has guestrooms rooms in the Carriage House, River View cottage, and The Old Bath House cottage. We stayed in The Old Bath House, which provided us with a private retreat with stunning views of the pristine lawn and mountains from its large deck with chairs and a chaise that beckoned invitingly.
The Old Bath House
The light and airy 2-room suite consisted of a large sitting room and a spacious bedroom. The sitting room had views from the French doors on opposite sides of the room, and an overstuffed floral sofa with hand-painted rooster decorative pillows, which was also a pullout Queen bed. Comfortable plaid wingback chairs and an ottoman flanked a hand-painted antique wood chest piled high with interesting books. A wrought iron chandelier and an oriental carpet added focal points that defined the sitting area.
The Old Bath House Sitting Room
Ann Fitzpatrick Brown has had family in the New England state of Vermont since the 1600s, and she grew up with folk art, which she liberally sprinkled throughout The Old Bath House décor. A colorful patchwork quilt graced a small round table, a Sharp plasma television rested on a wood jelly cabinet, and a small wood burning stove added charm in the summer and would be delightful to sit beside on a cold and snowy winter night.
Meticulous detail has gone into thoughtful amenities, a table held a Bose radio/CD player as well as a nice assortment of CDs including music by artist James Taylor, bossa nova, classical, and jazz CDs.
In the corner of the room, there was a small, but well-equipped kitchen, with a stove, full-size refrigerator stocked with complimentary bottled waters and sodas, a coffeemaker, teakettle, microwave, plates and cutlery, glassware, and pots and pans.
The Old Bath House Kitchen
By the French doors, hand-painted chairs with whimsical roosters flanked an oval wood spindle leg table with marble top. The table was laden with a blue and white sponge painted ceramic pitcher and a dozen gorgeous red roses, a bottle of champagne chilling in a silver ice bucket, a tray with fresh cherries, dried apricots, a wedge of cheese, and an assortment of crackers to celebrate our anniversary.
The Old Bath House Dining Table
The bedroom featured a high four-poster king bed with pineapple finials, the symbol of hospitality, dressed with an ivory matelasse cover, pale lemon botanical print duvet, and pale yellow bedskirt, with a large hand-painted blanket chest at the foot of the bed.
A mirror hung over the chest of drawers dressed with an antique lace runner, with a telephone, whimsical cast iron rabbit in a boat that was perfect to hold jewelry or coins, and a hand-painted lamp with a cream pleated shade on the right side of the bed, and a night table on the left.
A delightful cushioned window seat with four attractive pillows in the large bay window framed with cream velvet draperies invited one to admire the pretty view or to curl up and read one of the many books on the bookshelves.
The Old Bath House Window Seat
A wicker basket filled with a selection of magazines next to a rattan chair with ottoman and comfortable green cushions provided another place to rest or read. In the corner of the room, there was a desk and a hand-painted chair provided the perfect place to use the complimentary hi-speed Internet access.
Thoughtful details on the desk included a large bowl of aromatic Agraria Potpourri made with bitter orange, cinnamon, and roses to lightly fragrance the room, Blantyre's 150-page Wine Cellar book to stimulate your appetite as you did pre-dinner wine "research," and pre-stamped Blantyre postcards for guests to commemorate special memories of their stay.
Above the desk, there was a Sharp plasma television and a DVD player, and shelves held a large selection of DVDs as well as books on a variety of topics. Folk art graced the pansy and fern wallpaper, a blanket stand, and needlepoint covered wood stool added visual appeal.
The windowed bathroom had a pedestal sink with strip lighting on either side of the arched mirror, a walk-in shower, and a romantic claw foot tub with metal bath tray laden with Kiehl amenities. Lovely details included a silver dolphin towel holder, a silver maple leaf night light, a painted metal stand held a hairdryer, an assortment of amenities, and a yellow antique metal stand placed near the bathtub held a wood ice bucket filled with aromatic bath salts.
Along with the usual items in the walk-in closet, safe, robes, and slippers, there was a flashlight, a Scrabble game, which is a game close to my family's heart, along with a Scrabble Official Players Dictionary.
Strolling the immaculate grounds, we discovered a few of Blantyre's hidden "secrets," including three Adirondack chairs perfect for gazing at the mountains or watching a game of croquet; a hammock hung between two immense trees, wood swings hanging from a large branch showed Blantyre's playfulness as well as my own as I took a swing out for a "test drive." For those looking for longer walks there are three trails; sports include tennis and croquet in the warmer months, and cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and snowshoeing in the winter months.
Inviting Adirondack Chairs
What I especially loved about Blantyre besides the luxurious accommodations, attentive service, gourmet dining with Chef Christopher Brooks, and lovely Spa, was that it had lovely surprises in store just waiting to be discovered.
Debra being Debra
Read more about Blantyre in the Destinations, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, and Luxury Products - Gifts sections.
16 Blantyre Road
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240
Read other articles on the Berkshires in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, and Arts sections.
For more information on the Berkshires, please visit the Berkshire Visitors Bureau website: www.Berkshires.org.
For more information on Massachusetts, please visit the website: www.MassVacation.com.
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