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Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club, Lenox, Massachusetts

At Play in the Berkshires

Takashi and Chieko Senzaki of Tokyo were in the U. S. for a conference and a vacation. While driving around the Berkshires they passed Cranwell and recognized the imposing Tudor structure perched on the hill as one that they had seen on a television travel program in Japan about golf resorts in America. Many Japanese play golf at Cranwell where the tree-lined fairways are set into rolling highlands. The Senzakis, however, came to Lenox, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for the Tanglewood Music Festival. Their accidental sighting of the hotel, they felt, was almost fated and so they checked in. Their impressions of Cranwell: "The accommodations were excellent, the main building and the cottages were quite beautiful and the food, although unfamiliar, was very tasty." On a guest form they noted that, "In Japan we would have received amenities like slippers and toothpaste and were surprised not to find such items in the room."

Cranwell, once a grand home named Wyndhurst, dates from the Gilded Age, a time when castles were called cottages because they were second residences in the country. Built in the late 1800s, it had 30 rooms, greenhouses, stables and a herd of cows on 380 acres. The gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the most noted landscape architect of his day and the man responsible for designing New York City's Central Park.

A 1994 restoration was done in traditional Arts and Crafts style, which was popular in England in the early 19th century and suited to Cranwell's architecture--massive brick arches, leaded windows and an imposing staircase in the Great Hall. The Music Room, which is now the formal Wyndhurst dining room, has a carved ceiling, high wainscoting and a view over the golf course. The Great Hall is furnished with Oriental rugs, overstuffed sofas from London and French wall tapestries. There are 65 guest rooms in the mansion, cottage suites, Beecher's Cottage and the Carriage House. In country inn fashion they are comfortable, rather than luxurious.

The food in the main dining room is imaginative, well prepared and a tad more expensive than most of the other restaurants in the neighborhood. An appetizer of tea-smoked quail was delicious as was sauteed pistachio goat cheese. Steak and rack of lamb were top quality with good sauces and garnishes.

Cranwell Resort & Golf Club, 55 Lee Road, Lenox, MA 01240. Tel. 800-272-6935, 413-637-1364. Rooms start at $79 per night in winter for the Carriage House and Beecher's Cottage and reach $259 in summer for the cottage suites. Several attractively priced packages are available, such as the fall foliage package, which is $99 for two including full breakfast. Cranwell has facilities for conferences and a variety of flexible meeting rooms. www.cranwell.com


Tanglewood Music Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Company, Clark Museum, Williamstown Theater Festival and the Hancock Shaker Village.

Winter 1994-95