Taking a Break in the Berkshires: Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club
by Christina Valhouli
The Berkshires in Massachusetts are home to a handful of luxurious resorts, but if you’re looking for a low-key getaway offering winter sports along with a full-service spa, head to the Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club in Lenox, a member of Historic Hotels of America.
The Cranwell is steeped in history. Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park, was the original landscape architect at the property. The resort’s main building, the Wyndhurst, was built in 1897 and this Gilded Age mansion still retains many of its original features, such as stained glass windows and grand wood work. Today it’s where guests can tuck into an expansive breakfast buffet or dinner. Although the resort has elegant bones, it’s hardly formal; most guests are dressed for a day of outdoor fun.
The 85 guest rooms and 29 suites are spread out around multiple buildings around the resort. At the Tudor Style Wyndhurst, the rooms are decorated in 19th century English Arts & Crafts style. My base was Founders, a more modern building that has a very handy tunnel connecting to the spa – a major plus during this epic Massachusetts winter.
The resort sits on 380 acres, and offers 10 kilometers of groomed trails that are perfect for snow shoeing or cross country skiing. During the winter, the tennis court is converted into a skating rink. All the necessary equipment can be rented from the on-site golf pro shop, and chances are you’ll have the trails to yourself. Kids will also be kept busy as the pro shop stocks pint sized snow shoes and skis, and outdoors near the spa there’s a snowball target area.
At 35,000 square feet, the Cranwell’s spa is one of the largest in the Northeast. The look is modern, with plenty of glass walls to take in the views of the wooded landscape. For unwinding, there’s an indoor pool housed in a double height glass atrium, as well as a sauna and steam room, and relaxation lounge warmed by a fireplace. If you’d rather break a sweat, there’s a well-equipped gym complete with treadmills, ellipticals and free weights, as well as a huge selection of fitness classes, ranging from Zumba to Pilates as well as spinning. For a light lunch, there’s also a small spa menu but meals need to be placed by 10 am the same day – otherwise the resort’s casual Sloane Tavern does offer lighter fare such as kale salads.
I tried the resort’s Doctor Babor facial, which is customized depending on skin type and condition (the spa uses Babor products exclusively). My skin is dry, so my therapist started off with a cleansing oil, which was wiped off with a hot towel and then a chilled one. Next she exfoliated using a fruit enzyme, followed by steaming and extraction. To calm my skin down, my therapist applied a hydrating serum with vitamin C, followed by a mask and more massage. The result? Glowing, refreshed skin which made look like I’d come straight from the slopes- without breaking a sweat.