LENOX — The trajectory of the Berkshires keeps going in one clear direction: toward the upscale.
The latest evidence is Blantyre, one of 12 Gilded Age mansions scattered across rolling hills reminiscent of the English countryside around Lenox and Stockbridge. The complex of red-brick Tudor mansion, carriage house, and cottages, arrayed on 110 acres of manicured grounds, re-opened Memorial Day Weekend under new ownership.
The renewed emphasis on luxury goes well beyond high thread counts, obligatory spa, farm-to-table dining, and croquet lawn. The new Blantyre has an exquisite 10,000-bottle wine cellar and tasting room, where guests will be enveloped in a fantasy world of sipping Dom Perignon. That alone just speaks magnums.
Like many of today’s great resorts, the property is a re-imagination and restoration. The story of Blantyre goes back to 1902, when wealthy merchant Robert Paterson and his heiress wife, Marie Louis Fahys, got inspired by a friend’s construction of Wyndhurst — now Cranwell Resort and Spa — next door. The resulting estate, in the tradition of Newport summer “cottages,” was named for an ancestral hometown in Scotland.
In the years that followed, Blantyre went through multiple owners, as an inn first in 1946, according to The Berkshire Eagle, then envisioned as an East Coast film studio and a college campus that also never materialized. The place was abandoned when purchased by the Fitzpatrick family, who restored the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, in 1980. A daughter, Jo Ann Fitzpatrick Brown, ran a successful resort until recently, when Linda S. Law, a Silicon Valley real estate developer and investor, bought the property and launched the face lift.
Blantyre has long been grouped together with the Red Lion Inn, Cranwell, and nearby Canyon Ranch, but it’s clear that Law seeks to stand out. Under Ocean House Management, whose collection includes the Ocean House, Weekapaug Inn, and Watch Hill Inn in Rhode Island, Blantyre has already vaulted to the top of the pampering leaderboard. The rooms are bright with timeless fabric prints and pops of color from shades of blues to grays, moss green, and lavender, with espresso machines all around. In the closet was a cane-size shoehorn topped with a silver dog’s head, Tom Wolfe-style.
Walking around the grounds, discovering strategically placed hammocks, sculpture, and nature trails, one can imagine what it was like to be an invited summertime guest 100 years ago. There’s a soothing vista at every turn. The spa, the Retreat at Blantyre, is a tranquil retreat with bespoke touches, a water suite with deep soaking tub, sauna and Eucalyptus steam room, relaxation lounge with Vitality Bar, fitness center, meditation garden, and of course an outdoor pool.
Food and drink is well covered with a clubby bistro, and the fine dining restaurant, The Conservatory, so named for the original owners’ tradition of gathering people together in a tea-house setting. A great room served its purpose one recent evening, furnished with game boards and a grand piano, with an adjoining grand terrace for sipping cocktails outdoors.
Those seeking a romantic getaway two hours down the Mass. Pike seems to be the target demographic here, though children over age 16 are welcome. Carriage House and cottage guests can bring their dogs as long as they weigh less than 35 pounds. Starting rates begin at $435 per room and up to $3,200 for a cottage, and Blantyre is available for estate takeovers for celebrations, weddings, and meetings.
The concierge does a great job teeing up “country pursuits” including tennis, croquet, golf, and hiking; and the many attractions and activities in Berkshire County, including Tanglewood, The Mount, Hancock Shaker Village, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Clark Museum, and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. The bike-able town of Lenox is worth a visit, as is SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington.
And if things start to seem too indulgent, post-industrial Pittsfield is right up Route 7. I was going to suggest getting a Genesee cream ale and pickled egg at Del Gallo’s, hard by the old GE transformer plant, but I see that establishment has closed: The liquor license is being transferred to a big chain restaurant. The champagne salon at Blantyre will have to do.Anthony Flint can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.