Wheatleigh Hotel Luxury Hotel in The Berkshires, Luxury hotels of the world


Gilded Luxury at The Wheatleigh

An Exclusive Berkshires Getaway

By Emme Martin | Photography courtesy of Luxury Hotels of the World

The picturesque two-hour road trip from Boston to the Berkshires is anything but dull, filled with winding hills and lush foliage of western Massachusetts along the way. As we head west, New England’s natural beauty unfolds, with mountains gracefully coming into view, signifying our approach to The Wheatleigh, our weekend residence. Passing by the tennis courts and exquisite landscaping, it becomes clear we are arriving at an exceptional destination.

Upon entering, it feels like we’ve stepped back in time, enveloped by an elegance reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. Born in 1893 as a lavish wedding gift from a father to his daughter, the estate exudes a rich history. It starkly contrasts today’s more modest wedding gifts, prompting lighthearted comparisons within our group.

The Wheatleigh symbolizes the Berkshires’ Gilded Age, reflecting the luxurious lifestyle of the era’s well-heeled families. It’s a reminder of a time rich with extraordinary wealth, arts, and culture. The estate, reminiscent of a sixteenth-century Florentine Palazzo, seems to bear the echoes of lavish parties and gatherings that once filled its halls.

Surrounded by an aura of exclusivity at The Wheatleigh, it feels as though we are its sole inhabitants. Preserved elegance is evident in every detail, from the grand fireplace to meticulous crown moldings and the exquisite Tiffany and Co. stained glass windows.

Forgoing the typical check-in formalities, our group met with a relaxed elegance. We sip glasses of Champagne on the back patio against a backdrop of the estate’s plush lawns and rolling hills. Our tour takes us through immaculate courtyards and hidden pathways filled with verdant blooms, showcasing the thoughtful designs of Frederick Law Olmsted. Further into the estate lies a serene oval swimming pool, surrounded by lush grass and flanked by tall trees, adding to the property’s luxurious amenities.

After the tour, I am escorted up the grand staircase to my suite. The space is calm and inviting, bathed in natural light. My luggage has been unpacked, and gourmet chocolates and a complimentary bottle of wine await, surrounded by fine appointments at every turn. The suite also features unique aspects, such as an antique bathtub and decorative fireplace, adding a sense of historical charm. Before dinner, I unwind on my private balcony, taking in the breathtaking views of the rolling landscape, before heading to the main room for the cocktail hour.

In the cozy living area of the estate, I enjoy my Bellini as our group transitions into the dining room. Plush seating and soft, warm lighting furnish the room, creating an intimate setting that accommodates only fourteen guests each evening. The restaurant, now rejuvenated under the guidance of the innovative James Beard Award-winning Chef RJ Cooper, presents Sage & Sparrow as a distinguished fine dining destination, along with Hawthorne, which offers a more relaxed dining experience.

Chef Cooper has curated an exceptional dining experience, prioritizing local ingredients. The rotating ten-to-fourteen-course tasting menu is a showcase of his culinary expertise, featuring creative dishes such as fermented pumpkin seed risotto paired with black truffle and one-hundred-month Parmigiano Reggiano, and the luxurious bluefin tuna belly, accentuated by juniper, horseradish, and wild shiso. This culinary delight is closely matched by an extraordinary wine menu, with recommendations readily available to ensure the perfect pairing.

The restaurant frequently organizes unique dining concepts and events to enhance the property’s country home ambiance. These special occasions typically unfold in picturesque settings such as the inviting patio. This particular summer weekend hinted at the possibility of a savory patio barbecue. Unfortunately, due to unpredictable weather, it was not meant to be. Nevertheless, such an experience is highly recommended when the opportunity presents itself to guests.

The following day, we enjoyed a well-balanced breakfast in the dining room, perfectly preparing us for the day ahead exploring Lenox. This area of the Berkshires is stunning, filled with quaint towns, vibrant cultural venues, and picturesque natural scenes that epitomize New England’s charm.

Upon entering, it feels like we’ve stepped back in time, enveloped by an elegance reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance.

Our day unfolds with part of our group visiting The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate. Its striking, symmetrical facade dominates my initial impression of the expansive property. Unlike the typical colonial-style homes, its stark white stucco, contrasted with black shutters, speaks volumes of Wharton’s sophisticated taste and meticulous dedication to precision and design. Here, we learn about Wharton’s intricate world, exploring her profound contributions to literature and getting glimpses into her personal life and the passions that fueled her writing.

Meanwhile, another faction of our group visits the Norman Rockwell Museum, immersing themselves in the vivid portrayals of American life created by one of the most beloved artists of the twentieth century.

We regroup and take a thoughtful drive through Lenox, navigating through the quaint town center and tranquil neighborhoods. It’s a refreshing escape from the modern world, a chance to appreciate the simpler aspects of life and the genuine beauty of our surroundings without the usual distractions. At this point, I am grateful for the experience of being in an area steeped in such history, culture, and overwhelming natural beauty. It’s as if the air here is easier to breathe.

This sense of ease carries me into our final night, which begins with cocktail hour on the patio, followed by the joyful recounting of stories from the day over a delightful barbecue dinner accompanied by red wine—staying true to our initial plan, but this time within the confines of the formal dining room. The night is elevated by Chef Cooper’s expertly chosen dessert wines and delectable specialty desserts that leave a lasting impression. We retire to our rooms, feeling thoroughly content and ready for a restful night’s sleep, made even more pleasurable by the hotel’s impeccable turndown service, which leaves my bed perfectly prepared.

Wheatleigh Hotel Luxury Hotel in The Berkshires, Luxury hotels of the world

This sense of contentment and meticulous attention to detail defines a stay at a Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) member. The Wheatleigh certainly embodies the experience. LHW recognizes and embraces the unique cultural allure of each location, dedicating itself to enhancing these already breathtaking properties into a realm of unparalleled luxury. Beyond its commitment to luxury and cultural authenticity, LHW also strongly emphasizes sustainability and responsible travel practices, ensuring its member properties contribute positively to the local communities and environments they inhabit.

On my final day, I savor every moment, exploring the picturesque yards, meandering down the nearby nature trail, and admiring the small garden before bidding adieu to The Wheatleigh and venturing back to Boston. My stay was short but memorable, as the sheer uniqueness of the property is in a category of its own within the Berkshires. As I depart, I can’t help but reflect on the memorable moments—soaking in the historical clawfoot tub, lounging in my plush luxury robe, gazing from my private balcony at the breathtaking views, and strolling through the meticulously manicured gardens, occasionally spotting graceful deer on the lush lawn. These moments defined my stay, leaving a lasting sense of being a cherished guest at my own private estate—an experience at The Wheatleigh that genuinely transcends any price tag.

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For more information about exclusive LHW properties, please visit LHW.com. To explore more or book your stay at The Wheatleigh, visit Wheatleigh.com.

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