I am obsessed with water, the fancy bottled kind with the tiniest bubbles that bite your tongue as if it were the finest champagne.
I blame the luxurious Berkshires resort, Blantyre, Relais & Châteaux, for my decadent taste buds for this clear liquid. During a recent stay, Sommelier Luc Chevalier (formerly of Andre Soltner’s Lutece) indulged me with a “water tasting” to be enjoyed with a sumptuous five course French country dinner.
As a result, I have become a water snob. I find myself asking for the French sparkling water “Badoit” from Saint-Galmier, France when dining out. I get giddy with excitement if a restaurant offers the Missoni label limited edition San Pellegrino bottle, so much so I sneak the bottle home.
Now the Italian water company has created yet another limited edition bottle with Bulgari to mark the luxury jeweler’s 125th anniversary. I might need to start checking flights to Paris. I hear it is only available at Collette but will eventually be available at the finest restaurants worldwide.
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In fact, my husband and I enjoy this country house hotel in the beautiful Berkshires so much we consider it our five season destination for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Mud Season (the affectionate term for Mid-March to early May.)
It’s our second time already this year staying at the exquisite country house hotel, first ringing in the New Year with the lavish black-tie celebration and most recently for their new, indulgent four night Mud Package of spa, cooking classes and gourmet cuisine.
The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts is highly famous as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Ideally located only 2 hours from Boston and 2 ½ hours from New York, you can arrive at this destination with the greatest of travel ease.
Blantyre is our place to slow down, reconnect and “just be.”
I shut off my busy Blackberry. I shun my restless and overheated laptop.
I spend hours reading any of the 3,000 of the carefully hand-selected picture and poetry books or finishing the Leonardo da Vinci puzzle down by the intimate and luxurious Potting Shed Spa.
Although each season is special at Blantyre, we are truly fond of winter where Blantyre becomes a magical wonderland of snow-shoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, cross-country skiing and our favorite activity of them all: ice skating. Blantyre’s very own skating rink is actually their 3 har-tru tennis courts flooded and frozen into the most romantic and glowing setting with music warming the cold air.
We always feel giddy as the Snow Concierge fits us with skates and happily greets us on the ice with Valhrona Hot Chocolate with banana bread and house made marshmallows.
We indulge in a Snow BBQ under the full moon with its Hearty Chicken Stew with Rosemary Biscuits and warming Mulled Wine Fruit Soup by the bonfire. The Christmas tree lights up in the backdrop, each year boasting higher than any tree in Rockefeller Center.
Grand Chef Christopher Brooks and his team dispel the image of snooty gourmet chefs, and his cuisine rivals that of the world’s finest culinary masters.
Sommelier Luc Chevalier, with his 22 years as the maitre d’ at Lutece & Wine Director Christelle Cotar, are as refined as the wines in the cellar they oversee. Blantyre’s cellars house over 19,000 bottles of wine from around the world earning Blantyre the coveted Grand Award Wine Spectator 2009.
All the magic that surrounds Blantyre is the result of the ever-gracious owner Ann Fitzpatrick Brown who lovingly restored Blantyre to its former elegance as an award-winning country house hotel. Her impeccable attention to detail easily graces Blantyre with a Forbes Five Star rating year after year.
Blantyre was the first Relais & Châteaux hotel in North America along with the Point in New York, and recently voted #1 Small Hotel in the U.S.; #66 in the World in Condé Nast Traveler‘s Readers’ Choice Awards 2009; and Conde Nast Johansens’ award as Most Excellent Country House Hotel.
You come to Blantyre to experience the life and impeccable service of a bygone era.
At Blantyre, romance is alive and well!