Gilded Age Retreat in the Berkshires

There is only a handful of Gilded Age summer “cottages” still in existence in the Berkshires—even fewer operational as luxury accommodations. Wheatleigh is, unquestionably, the first among equals. Every bit as grand and resplendent as its peers, but with its smaller size (just 19 rooms and suites), understated elegance, and, under General Manager Marc Wilhem’s keen stewardship, consistent attention to minute detail, Wheatleigh quietly impresses and beckons its visitors as much as the rolling Berkshire hills that envelop it.

Built as a wedding gift (!) in 1893, Wheatleigh is a Florentine-style palazzo, featuring original Tiffany windows, ensconced in 22 acres of verdant grounds designed by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. Restored to its original grandeur, Wheatleigh smartly blends period antiques with contemporary furnishings. Amenities include a heated outdoor pool, tennis courts, fitness center, massage room, and wine cellar.

Your visit begins with a flute of Champagne to enjoy on the stunning veranda—with more Champagne and freshly baked cookies waiting for you in your room. Wheatleigh’s spacious junior suites are bright and airy, with large windows that open to postcard-perfect vistas. Suites feature king-size beds, separate sitting areas, and private outdoor decks. (Be sure to grab the stargazing guide in your nightstand drawer before retreating to the deck after dark—the Berkshires’ starlit skies are not to be missed.) 

High-tech touches include blazing-fast WiFi, Bluetooth-enabled speaker systems, and Bang & Olufsen 40” LCD TV/DVD players that tilt and turn on command. Fireplaces are outfitted with an array of pillar candles, and a Zippo lighter is placed on your nightstand during turndown service. Bathrooms feature both antique clawfoot soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers with dual showerheads. Upon check-in, a staffer visits your suite and offers your choice from a selection of toiletry sets.

While the estate and the natural beauty surrounding it vie for your attention, Chef Jeffrey Thompson manages to steal the show with his seasonal culinary delights. Dinner guests may choose between a seven-course chef’s tasting menu, each paired with wine, or a four-course prix fixe menu—both complemented by amuse-bouche and other surprises. You can be seated in either the mansion’s stately dining room or the glass-enclosed portico (opposite). A different menu is offered in the adjacent, more casual Library, where lunch is also served. A full breakfast is included with the accommodations and can be served in-room for a service charge.

While Wheatleigh’s graceful decadence will likely motivate you to remain on-property, you are only a few minutes from Stockbridge and Lenox—two of the Berkshires’ most treasured towns—and within walking distance to Tanglewood, the renowned summer home of the Boston Symphony. Upon request, Wheatleigh will provide you with a picnic basket brimming with food and wine and a blanket to enjoy the quintessential Tanglewood experience.

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Rates begin at $1,525 per night for junior suites.                                                                     

www.wheatleigh.com

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