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Black Tie International Travel  1
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Black Tie International Magazine - Travel - BLANTYRE


BLANTYRE in the Berkshires
The Pursuit of Perfection Achieved

By Bill Boggs

Bill with Ann Fitzpatrick Brown - OWNER  Blantyre

Bill with Ann Fitzpatrick Brown - OWNER


Blantyre is a Relais and Chateaux hotel that offers guests the clubby elegance of a bygone era. It's located in Lenox, Mass., a beautiful three hour drive from Manhattan.  In Gaelic, Blantyre means "warm retreat," and a recent visit on a frosty New England weekend proved the truth within the property's name. Blantyre was constructed between 1901 and 1903 with the concept being to erect a castle with "feudal architectural features." It was built in the style of an Elizabethan manor--towers, turrets and gargoyles galore.  No expense was spared in those long-gone days before income tax. Not many great castles for summer retreats were built in America after that pesky tax law.
So today when you drive up to the main house you feel as if you are approaching an otherworldly castle. And you are.

The woman who is queen in the castle is Ann Fitzpatrick Brown. In 1980, Ann undertook to restore the abandoned Blantyre to its original elegance, and she succeeded in creating a hotel experience that offers perfection. At Blantyre you will see perfection in the details.
Chef Christopher Brooks Hot Chocolate w/marshmellows

Chef Christopher Brooks

Hot Chocolate w/marshmellows

On our visit, my wife Carol and I--ever the voracious eaters-- enjoyed the bounty of Chef Christopher Brooks cooking, described by Zagat's as "Superb in every way--exquisite New American French Cuisine." Among the highlights were a Maine Lobster and Avocado Salad, Hand cut Angel Hair Pasta with broccoli puree, lemon and parmesan and an outstanding Chateaubriand for two. Carol also claims that the Bloody Mary was "the best I ever had." Considering her experience with bloodys at the Creek Club on Long Island--that's a high compliment.
Spa Pool Table inside warming shed


Pool Table inside warming shed

Let's focus on a few  details--you are drinking from William Yeoward crystal, and your wine is chilling in silver wine buckets that look like they should be on "Antique Road Show" with values in the thousands of dollars, flowers are everywhere, there's a hot chocolate tasting menu with home made marshmallows to float in your mug, a Warming Hut with first class pool table, an ice skating rink frozen over the tennis court with tables and chairs to rest after your twirls, spins (and falls), an open sleigh and mighty white horse for a jaunty ride around the property. In the morning, there's the splendor of light streaming through the leaded windows of the wonderful breakfast room.

I was particularly impressed by the music room and the appearance of a pianist who played from 6:30 until 11 PM, filling the first floor of Blantyre with the melodious warmth of songs from the great American Song Book streaming from a particularly vibrant Steinway Grand piano. Combine that melodious scene with wonderful food and drink and good conversation before and after dinner with other guests and
you can't fail to have a memorable evening.

Warming Shed

Silver Wine Bucket

Warming Shed

Silver Wine Bucket

Blantyre accommodates its guests in just twenty-three rooms and suites. I learned that the property is sometimes taken over for family reunions and weddings. What a place for a party! Strike up the band! Our suite, the Paterson Suite included two bathrooms, a sitting room and a grand high ceiling with windows that commanded  stunning views.

Recently opened at Blantyre is the Potting Shed Spa, where just about any kind of spa treatment you'd want is available, or
you could simply relax in the hot tub which is flanked by huge Oriental urns. In warmer weather Blantyre opens a large and
long swimming pool that is adjacent to the spa.

I recommend Blantyre as kind of a "time traveling destination." Once you step inside its grand hall, all of life is somehow not the same.
It's hard to imagine spending a few days there and not being renewed in mind, body and spirit. It conveys the secure feeling of an exclusive private club--and it compares favorably to the fabled and very private Skibo Castle in Scotland. This Relais and Chateaux property proves again that the Relais and Chateaux designation is one you can trust to deliver the highest quality  accommodations, food and matchless service. The Berkshires, where the property is located, have been called the "Switzerland of America," 
and Blantyre is the brightest jewel in the crown of that gorgeous setting.


Blantyre - 16 Blantyre Road - Lenox, Mass -  413 637 3556

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