First let me explain that I did not stay overnight at Blantyre, I dined there one evening about a year ago. Blantyre is a gorgeous setting, don't get me wrong. I have traveled all over the world and have been fortunate enough to have dined in some of the finest restaurants in Paris, Vienna, Venice, Rome, London, New York, San Francisco, etc etc etc. A "friend" mentioned to me that Blantyre was an exceptional find, so I took her advice and finally travelled the 2 hour distance with friends to dine there.
My friends and I arrived about 15 minutes before our scheduled reservation. The first problem was that one member of our party was not wearing a tie. Let me explain: he was wearing a cashmere turtleneck with a Brooks blazer, grey flannel slacks (perfectly pressed), and Gucci loafers. Needless to say, he was probably one of the best-dressed clients there. The slightly ditzy receptionist (who appeared to be about 16 years old) very rudely informed us that we could not dine there after all since Blantyre has a very strict "no jacket, no tie, no service" policy. We chuckled and mentioned that while we certainly could understand the policy, they surely weren't going to turn us away after we had driven 2 hours to get there, and our friend who wasn't wearing a tie was certainly dressed more than appropriately for the setting. (Case in point: we dined at the Plaza two months ago, and he wore exactly the same outfit. And need I add that Blantyre is no Plaza Hotel.) After looking at some of the other clientele - a couple were even in wrinkled, unpressed, mismatched outfits (BUT! with jackets and ties! Even if they were wearing sneakers with those jackets and ties! No I am not kidding), we thought that surely the hostess was joking. But to our horror, she not only insisted that we couldn't dine there, but we couldn't even STAND IN THE FOYER since he wasn't wearing a tie. I was horrified.
We finally snagged the attention of a manager, who begrudgingly allowed us to eat there, though we were forbidden to dine in the grand dining room with the other clientele - we were banned to a smaller, cramped room with no view and zero ambience. It was clear that we were the pariahs of Blantyre at this point.
We then were forced to wait over 30 minutes before a waiter graced us with his presence. The wine menu was not as extensive as advertised, though we did find a favorite on the list. Beware the corking fee - it is astronomical, even for Blantyre's "standards". The food was decent, as most of our party found our dinners pleasant enough to finish. One friend was displeased with how her meat was cooked and had it sent back not once but twice. She finally ate a less-than-satisfactory meal as the rest of us were perusing the dessert menu.
As mentioned by another reviewer, we, too, were asked to take our coffee in a different gathering area, since the restaurant needed our table for its next reservation. So we were hurried into the other room, where we were able to sit and relax. We noticed a gorgeous grand piano and, as one of my friends is a concert pianist, we asked one of the servers if he might be able to play for a minute. The server said most definitely, so my friend sat down and played not more than one arpeggio when a manager came into the room and yelled at my friend for playing - and I quote: "This piano is NOT for you to play. Please stop at once." Needless to say, we finished our coffee, paid the bill and left, wishing we had just stayed home.
Blantyre is a gorgeous estate, but its staff certainly does it no justice. The clientele are made to feel as though they have broken into someone's mansion and are nothing more than a major imposition on those who "live" there.
** For a real treat in Lenox, try Wheatleigh - a truly high-class establishment where the management runs like clockwork, the food and accommodations are unparalleled, and, most importantly, they know how to treat their guests.
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