Driving between the massive stone pillars of the approach road to Blantyre, a 1902 Tudor estate turned country hotel in Lenox, feels like entering a more gracious time and place. The road winds up past open fields, with dense forest in the distance, finally revealing the brick and stone mansion—a commanding presence at the top of the hill.
The air is crisp and clean as I grab my bag and step onto the pea stone car court and walk toward the portico. I pass through the arched doorway into a hall lined with floor-to-ceiling windows, which leads to the Great Hall. With a massive stone fireplace, decorative plaster ceilings, mahogany paneling, and leaded stained-glass windows featuring the coat of arms of the original owner, millionaire businessman Robert Warden Paterson, the estate I am visiting could very well be an ancient castle in Scotland.
And this was exactly the Patersons’ intent. Robert and Louise Paterson fell in love with the quiet natural beauty of Lenox in 1900 and hired architect Robert Henderson Robertson to design a home befitting Scottish royalty. Robert Paterson’s concept was to build a castle complete with towers, turrets, and gargoyles as his country estate. Robertson modeled the home after Paterson’s mother’s ancestral home in Blantyre, Scotland—hence the name. This elegant destination is set amid 110 acres of lush lawns and woodlands.
Today Blantyre, a member of Relais & Châteaux, is an award-winning luxury resort featuring elegant guest rooms and the pop-up Café Boulud, which is open through February, as well as myriad winter activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.
The relaxing retreat is elegantly appointed with traditional furnishings, fireplaces, and sumptuous fabrics. Stacks of design books rest on every table, and bouquets of fresh flowers are placed throughout the common areas. The main parlor has comfortable seating arrangements positioned around two opposing fireplaces for intimate gatherings. In the evening, the manor is washed in the glow of embers and soft candlelight.
Before I head to my room, general manager Stephen Benson offers a tour of the house, including its extensive wine cellar, which contains more than 7,000 bottles and the soon-to-be speakeasy-inspired lounge on the lower level.
Benson explains that the house has run as a country hotel for decades, and its most recent owner, Linda Law, a real estate investor, has been giving the beloved manor a 21st-century upgrade. With a bow to the old and a nod to the new, Law is bringing this Berkshires getaway resort into a new age of gilded grandeur. Plans are under way to add luxurious private townhouses and additional cottages to the 110-acre property, with the main focus still on the original manor house. Law also plans to recreate the original gallery that once housed the Patersons’ extensive art collection.
After my tour, I climb the majestic staircase leading up to my room—a soothing space painted a light gray-blue complemented by a mix of English antiques and stylish furnishings, including a writing desk, sofa, and dreamy down bedding. The Carrara marble bath is just as regal as the other spaces, and is complete with a deep marble soaking tub. Views extend over green lawns toward the woodlands from the casement windows—a breathtaking bucolic scene.
I pen a few postcards and then dress for dinner at Café Boulud at Blantyre, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s inaugural Berkshires restaurant. I enter the main dining room, with its mahogany bar and candlelit tables and roaring fireplace. (All groups of diners are separated by clear glass partitions for social distancing.)
French-inspired dishes showcase the region’s local ingredients through offerings like homemade potato gnocchi and garlic-roasted chicken with kale. This is decidedly one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had in New England—the cuisine is exquisite and the service impeccable.
After dinner I order a hot cocoa and Baileys and retire to the parlor to sit by the fire and take in the Gilded Age glamour of this country house estate in the Berkshires. This experience is otherworldly and I feel like I have found the best-kept secret in Massachusetts.
For more information, visit blantyre.com.