America's Best Country Inns and Hotels

What: Wheatleigh
Where: Lenox, Massachusetts

The pitch: To quote J.P. Morgan, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." But if you don't have to ask, and you like your lodging a little bit country—that country being Italy or France—then you belong at Wheatleigh. Built in 1893 as a wedding present for the daughter of a wealthy financier (who was apparently willing to spend anything to get her married off), it is perhaps the most imposing Florentine-style palazzo in all of the Berkshires, and is staffed largely by impeccably mannered Europeans who seem only vaguely aware that they're no longer in Provence. The rooms are designed to soothe with understated luxury and no hint of clutter, fussiness, or chintz. And the rooms are big, although not all 19 could accommodate the piano Leonard Bernstein once carted into the two-story Aviary Suite. The four-course tasting menu in the legendarily fine dining room is a must. And the view of Wheatleigh's 22 landscaped acres, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, of New York's Central Park fame—that's totally free.

The details: The color of money, it turns out, is the shades of beige and brown that predominate in a decor meant to say, "Relax, Wall Street is two-and-a-half hours away."

The killer app: You are close enough to Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Pops, to walk over for a Sunday concert on the lawn—as long as you don't mind carrying your silver-plated Champagne bucket.
–Bob Payne

Tel: 413 637 0610
Doubles from $650

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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