A few days before July 4th, my partner and I thought we’d go visit a lovely hotel and spa that was featured in a recent Instinct Magazine article about places to stay in upstate New York. However, this was no ordinary hotel by any means. This was the Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown, located in West Chester County. It was the perfect, short getaway – just under an hour drive from where I live in Jersey City, New Jersey, which happens to be minutes outside of Manhattan.
Once the private family home of businessman and playwright, General Howard Carroll, the medieval Castle estate “Carrollcliffe,” was built in two stages between 1897 and 1910. It literally looks like something right out of Robin Hood, which was purely intentional. General Carroll contracted famed New York architect Henry Kilburn to build the home and under Carroll’s direction, Kilburn designed a 45-room castle in the Norman fortification style of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
Today, the sprawling property and all its great rooms have been converted into a wedding planner’s dream. It projects a storybook aesthetic, complete with a hotel and spa, massive stone walls, grand fountain and archways, acres of manicured landscapes, a large outdoor swimming pool with a cocktail bar and 5-star restaurant with catering. Deserving of the highest praise is Equus, which is the main restaurant in the Castle. From the impeccable service, lovely dark wooden decor, and ambiance, to the spectacular presentation of flavorful dishes, Equus is a 5-star delight that wows in every aspect.
The guest rooms are all quite spacious and luxurious. Relaxation and comfort were delivered effortlessly as high-thread-count, plush bedding, complimentary bathrobes, and slippers added those extra touches that made me feel at home. There was also a complimentary mini-bar in our suite. It contained no snacks though, just beverages such as soft drinks and water – but upon the first night, it was stocked with 6 miniature bottles of spirits; vodka and tequila.” Gotta love that!
The Castle Hotel & Spa does a terrific job at combining both elegance and modernity with recent additions that include the THANN Sanctuary Spa – a staple of tranquility and peace throughout Asia. The property boasts 3,300 square feet of meeting and event rooms with its 1,500 square-foot Great Hall considered by many to be its most gorgeous space. The unique architectural details of the past have been preserved and maintained, showcasing the property with the warmth of a loving family home, complete with cherished collectibles acquired form all over the world. One of my favorite touches though, is the life-size chess set on the lawn of the back courtyard.
I have no idea how to play chess, but gigantic chess pieces just look so fabulous. I want them in my backyard … as soon as I actually get a backyard.
On the second day of our trip we ventured via Uber into town. Tarrytown – the city, is lovely with a quaint waterfront area, lined with shops, restaurants, and lounges. Though there are no LGBT bars locally, the community overall felt very inclusive as I noticed diverse townies, mixed ethnicities, artists, and skinny-jean-wearing hipsters (man buns) all making their rounds on that sunny summer day.
Tarrytown and the Castle Hotel & Spa definitely charmed me over. I eagerly look forward to returning, even if just to order that incredible blueberry macaroon again at Equus. YUM-EEEEEE!