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This spring, Blantyre, a Gilded Age mansion in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation. And even though the property's exterior looks astonishingly similar to the original vine-wrapped, Tudor-style structure built in 1902, the result inside is the best of both worlds: the accommodations, amenities, and food have been re-elevated to a level one would expect of the first U.S. hotel to become a Relais & Châteaux member, while the careful changes and improvements echo the property’s glamorous past.
The Main House, which includes grand public spaces downstairs and eight guest rooms upstairs, has been updated to include elegant, modern furnishings that pair beautifully with hand-picked antique pieces, glass-blown Murano chandeliers, and immense fireplaces, all of which maintain their original, ornate plasterwork mantels. The house has reinstated some Gilded Age traditions with a cocktail and canapé hour in the Music Room, accompanied by a classically-trained pianist; bespoke picnics made available on the lush lawns once used for Gatsby-esque parties (and now available for weddings); and two destination restaurants (The Bistro, which serves classic dishes like steak frites and Parisian gnocchi sourced from local ingredients, and The Conservatory, a fine dining room with a five-course prix fixe menu by chef Scott Cummings, which will officially open in mid-June).. Additionally, for no extra fee, guests can request to dine in one of two private windowed alcoves, away from the din of the crowd.
For a slightly more secluded stay, opt for the Carriage House, which is located a four-minute walk down a manicured gravel road. (It's also the location of Blantyre’s spa, fitness room, and outdoor swimming pool.) Each of the 11 rooms comes with its own outdoor terrace or patio, perfect for reading a book in the springtime sun. For even more privacy, the 110-acre property also features four standalone cottages located near the Har-tru clay tennis courts. These rooms are ideal for families, groups, or for someone wanting more space.
As far as things to do, the weekend can be as active or as relaxing as you like. There are more than a dozen hiking trails located between five-55 minutes from Blantyre’s front door, including favorites like Great Barrington’s Monument Mountain (where Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville first met on a hike in 1850) and the Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams, which contains the only natural white marble bridge in North America, carved out of the quarry by the flow of water.
Numerous arts institutions are also a short drive away, from the internationally acclaimed Jacob’s Pillow dance center to MASS MoCA and the Clark Art Institute to the Tanglewood Music Festival (though both Jacob’s Pillow and Tanglewood don’t begin their summer seasons until mid-June). If you’re a history buff, be sure to request tea with Arlene Kiesler, Blantyre’s knowledgeable on-site curator, who will gladly share more about the area’s rich history over cucumber sandwiches and afternoon Darjeeling tea.
Additionally, champagne cocktails and light bites will be served both in The Cloister, the secluded outdoor garden patio overlooking the lawn, and downstairs in LaCave, Blantyre’s underground speakeasy (which was a disco in the ’70s). From here, you can also take a peek at the wine cellar: Blantyre goes on record as having 8,000-9,000 bottles. The collection includes some of the most highly allocated wines in the world, including many from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC).