Duchess of Cambridge

love-opera-victoria-bakerOnce upon a time in London, there was a young girl of ordinary birth who married a prince and went on to live in a palace.

That girl is Kate Middleton who married Prince William and is now one of the most sought after Royals in the world. Ladies, we all dream of being a princess but sometimes the daily grind of life interferes with these beautiful fantasies.

I find that the only way to escape the tedium of the quotidian routine is to physically remove myself from it by going somewhere different. And this time, ladies and gentlemen, I found the most perfect escape. Worthy of a Royal Warrant, this is the place to play Duchess of Cambridge for a day.

Blantyre, a gilded age mansion in the Berkshires now turned Relais & Chateaux hotel extraordinaire, is without doubt the most perfect place in the US. Find out more at www.blantyre.com

This hotel really took things to a whole new level for me. Firstly, it feels wrong to call it a hotel. It’s more like a gilded age country manor in Lenox, MA with your own Maître D’hôtel and dedicated staff.

The owner, Ann Fitzpatrick Brown, is the mastermind behind this exceptional estate. First built by Robert Paterson in 1901, the country manor was modeled after his mother’s ancestral home in Blantyre, Scotland. In its heyday, there were garden parties, musicians imported from New York and grand dinner-dances befitting the Gilded Age.

In 1980, Ann Fitzpatrick Brown, became the eighth owner. After an extensive restoration Blantyre opened in 1981 and was quickly singled out as one of the finest hotels in the world. Perhaps one of the only where guests can enjoy the life and service of a bygone era.

The highlight of my stay was dinner: this was no ordinary restaurant. I’ve never experienced such a display of sterling silver, antique pieces, incredibly rare and precious china and fine French dining and service. Of particular note was the Maître d’hôtel and Sommelier: Luc Chevalier, he was gracious, charming, the consummate professional.

I’m not easily impressed and I was bowled over. The food was divine; French Chef Arnaud Cotar is a magician of culinary arts!

I’ll never forget the glow of dozens of candles against the gilded age gravitas of the dining room, the intoxicating scent of roses everywhere, the clanking of exquisite china and the old world decorum of an evening Edith Wharton herself might have imagined. It was a dinner to remember. I’m amazed such a place even exists in today’s fast paced society: it’s a treasure. If you’ve always wanted to be Queen for a night, this is the place.

For one brief moment I was Queen Victoria…eat your heart out Kate Middleton.

 Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]


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