By Lisa Green
They took the private sign down.
“We want the local community to experience Blantyre,
" says Christopher Brooks, the new general manager, who served as its chef for 12 years. After a hospitality stint in Nantucket, he’s back at the exquisite Scottish-inspired country manor. Owner Ann Fitzpatrick Smith and Brooks are making the rarified atmosphere more accessible to those of us who might never have given it a thought. Now it's more likely to be a consideration.
Built in 1902, the majestic Tudor-style estate is elegant and romantic. And they may have taken away the private sign, but there is a hushed mien of privacy inside and outside the property; it's almost as if this exquisitely decorated and outfitted mansion — the first Relais & Chateau property in the United States — is your personal country estate. From the moment you enter — a staff person at the front door waiting to greet you — the Blantyre experience begins.
The holidays are a particularly inviting time to take that in. Lunches and dinners (set up in the dining room, as if you’re in someone’s home) are open to the public, as is a traditional Sunday brunch featuring “Gilded Age cocktails." An afternoon tea served Monday through Saturday is as formal as a traditional tea service should be.
The main house, which was modeled after a Scottish property with towers, turrets and gargoyles, was furnished in the English style, which has been enhanced with the furniture and objects that Blantyre’s owner has collected over the years. During the holidays, the manor is sumptuously decorated (all those fireplace mantels call for garlands) and a host of Santa Claus figures populate the rooms.
You don’t need to book an overnight stay to enjoy any of these services — but you might want to, since one-night stays are now available. It’s a kind of “every wish is your command" place. You want to walk the grounds in the summer? A packet of insect repellant is handed to you. You have compliments for the chef? He’s brought out to meet you. You’d like to listen to pianist Karen Tchougourian tickling the ivories while you eat? A dinner setting is arranged in the music room. Your room is prepared with a cheese tray and champagne, the new James Taylor CD, bath salts specially ordered from elizabethW Artisanal Scents. In the winter, there’s nothing quite like soaking in the hot tub in the Potting Shed spa as you look out onto a pristine white landscape.
Christopher Brooks, general manager at Blantyre.
Blantyre is also open to holiday gatherings. Groups can arrange to have their own wine tastings, conducted by the sommeliers and wine director, with a private tour of the wine cellar, which holds more than 10,000 bottles.
“Our guests are our treasures," says Brown. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, once you’ve entered the Blantyre universe, that becomes imminently clear.
167 Blantyre Road, Lenox, MA