It was my husband’s birthday on Monday. We had planned a trip to Fort Lauderdale for the weekend, but due to Hurricane Irma, we thought we’d better cancel it. So we had to change our plans for the weekend and think about how to do something special on Saturday and Sunday – since Monday is a complicated day to celebratet, right? On Saturday, we watched a Broadway play and on Sunday we went to see a place that was already on my list, the Castle Hotel & Spa, which is in Tarrytown, upstate New York.
Only thirty minutes north of Manhattan, Castle Hotel & Spa sits majestically atop one of the highest points in Westchester County overlooking the Hudson River amid sprawling acres of manicured gardens and grounds. With over 100 years of history, begins shortly before the turn of the 20th century, when General Howard Carroll, a well-respected newspaperman, playwright and businessman, purchased the land as a home for his growing family. The Castle was built in two stages between 1897 and 1910, in a style reminiscent of Norman fortification in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The finished castle boasted 45 rooms. General and Mrs. Carroll were notable social figures in Westchester County and New York City society. Following General Carroll’s death in 1916, his widow and children, Caramai, Arthur and Lauren, occupied the Castle until 1940, when it was rented for a brief period to a local school. In 1941, Emerson and Ruth Axe bought the Castle and 64 acres of land for $45,000, and turned it into the headquarters of H.W. Axe & Company, an investment counseling firm. In 1981, the town of Tarrytown designated The Castle a historic landmark, protecting the outside structure from any alterations in the future. Between 1994 and 1996 the Castle was transformed into a luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant and meeting and event facilities. In early 2013, a new renovation included the introduction of the luxurious THANN Sanctuary Spa, known throughout Asia as an oasis of peace and tranquility.
By now, you should be imagining that the price for staying and spa services is not what we might call affordable. Maybe someday we can check out, but now we were more than happy with an experience at Eqqus restaurant, which is inside the hotel and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch. We researched about it before and found that brunch has a fixed price menu. We liked the idea and we booked a table. Although OpenTable showed that there were no more tables available, we called the restaurant and were able to reserve a spot.
The restaurant atmosphere and decor is beautiful and, in the place where we were, there was a wonderful view of the garden – where a wedding was happening. Brunch costs $42 (plus fees and tips) and includes a first course, main course, and dessert, plus a glass of Mimosa or Sparkling wine. To start, Thiago chose the Chicken Liver Mousse – served with toast. I chose the Sweet Corn Risotto, in a great size if we considered it was like an appetizer. For main course, we decided to choose a sweet option and another savory one, to share. We ordered a burger, with egg and fries and the pancakes with blueberry. Guys, seriously, I died for those pancakes. I’m water mouthing thinking about it! Our desserts were the Crème Brulee Espresso and the Opera Cake. All delicious, we could not stand to eat anymore!
After lunch, we walked around to explore the castle surroundings and take some photos. It’s all so beautiful and peaceful. I wonder how magical the landscape must be in the fall season! Remember that there are special packages that include spa + brunch services. You can check everything on the website.
How to get there? By Metro-North trains. Trains depart from Grand Central and also from 125th St, Harlem. You can buy your ticket on the machines and you choose Round trip, destination Tarrytown. Prices may vary depends peak and off peak. In our case, it was a Sunday and we spent $20 per person, round trip. Check the screens with information about the train to know the track of your train. Keep your ticket. We departed from Harlem at 10:54 and we arrived 11:250pm. Fast! The path goes by the edge of Hudson River – and the view is amazing. Once you arrive in Tarrytown, there are several taxis already waiting in the area. From the train station to the Castle is about 5 minutes and the ride costs from $ 8 to $ 10. Download MetroNorth apps: Train Time and eTix.
If you are planning to visit the Castle, consider to spend a day in Tarrytown and check out Kykuit – The Rockefeller Estate in upstate NY. Check out my post about it.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.