Five-star. Gold star. Four diamonds. A+. Glenmere Mansion and Spa, created in the style of an Italian Tuscan Villa, has earned any and every top-notch accolade given out via the hospitality industry. The mansion sits in the southwest corner of the Hudson Valley in New York. About a 90-minute drive from the Big Apple, this home was originally built by real estate mogul Robert Goelet as a family country retreat in 1911.
In 2006, present owners Alan Stenberg and Daniel DeSimone were out for a drive, took a fortuitous wrong turn and came upon the Glenmere mansion, at the time in great disrepair. After millions of dollars, a multitude of hours spent designing and remodeling the mansion, the partners (both business and life) opened the mansion in 2010. Glenmere became the first introduction in Relais & Chateaux‘s 60-year history to make their list of luxury properties in the hotel’s opening year.
Every year my daughter and I embark on a mother/daughter trip to visit a new and exciting destination. We usually go on Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend so we have an extra day to travel further, but this was her birthday weekend so we were looking for something extra special and close. Glenmere Mansion fit the bill.
The new owners were obviously set on creating an experience where interaction by the staff was part of that experience. Dan and Alan either spent a multitude of hours and/or a multitude of dollars training their staff – or they just have a knack to pick the perfect personality to compliment the level of hospitality they strived for. The professional service attitude each staff member exudes is with such genuineness I felt I was in a fairytale. It was an experience I’ve only dreamed of, and rarely experienced – and I’ve tried.
This service experience begins with a complimentary belini served to you on a silver platter in your room. A silver platter saw many appearances throughout our stay. We ordered a DVD, served on a silver platter. We ordered room service dessert, served on a silver platter. We ordered a shaving razor and tooth-brush, served on a silver platter.
The staff has an eerie ability to know who you are, who belongs to who, and what room you are in without you saying a word. Even though it was a bit off-season in terms of taking advantage of a lot of the hotels amenities, the hotel was fairly full. The eating areas are warm and intimate. A hostess meets you at the base of the grand stairway to show you to your table, making it a very personal dining experience from the word go.
The dining experience is on par with the hotel and the staff. The Supper Room serves up an exquisite prix fixe dinner, or so we hear. My daughter was recovering from food poisoning and the staff was gracious enough to accommodate our last-minute change in needs of eating off the more sedate menu at their other restaurant, the Frog’s End, then indulge in the delectable richness in the Supper Room.
We splurged and stayed in one of the larger rooms, aptly named the Vanderbilt Suite – maybe a Vanderbilt actually stayed in the room as the original owners of the mansion were great hosts to an austere list of guests from the wealthy, to the celebrity entertainer or sports figure, to royalty. A fireplace in both the bedroom and the bathroom, brought a warmth to our room on this chilly weekend, snow piled up on the grounds from a recent snowstorm.
The next day brought us to the main reason for our trip to Glenmere Mansion – the Spa! But first we indulged with a complimentary gourmet breakfast chosen off of a full menu in the Supper Room. I had pumpkin pancakes topped with an apple cranberry walnut compote. Then we took a brisk walk around the grounds before embarking on our spa experience.
Met with the calming refreshing fragrance from an Indian citrus candle as we entered the spa, we were led to the ‘quiet room’ – an expansive room with a fireplace, a juice/tea bar and several chaise lounges and other sitting areas. Reading materials surround you – from every magazine you could imagine, to coffee table picture books, to reading books galore.
We arrived at the spa in our robes provided in our room, as was suggested, so no need to deal with a locker room and extra keys. Each spa room has their own bathroom – what a novel idea! And even a soaking tub or shower were provided in each room to create a very personal intimate experience. My daughter and I indulged in their ‘Couture’ 90-minute massage treatment, where an individually chosen fragrance of shea butter was used to moisturize our bodies. The remainder of the 4.5 oz jar of our chosen scent was sent home with us.
After being given an extension to our check-out time, we returned to our room to change and to bid a sad farewell to our luxurious room. We were in no hurry to leave the mansion, so we enjoyed lunch back in the Frog’s End and then retired to the sitting room to read, and sip on a complimentary cup of tea and plate of dried cherry biscottis, until our car service arrived at 4 pm to take us back to the hub-bub of the city.
It is rare that I use my whole blog post to write about one specific destination, but in my estimation Glenmere Mansion so far surpassed my expectations it earned the honor of holding court to a full post.
Taking that one more step – check out a full set of Glenmere Mansion pics in the “Global Gallery” blog link.