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Gateways Inn in Lenox Gets a Design Makeover

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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LENOX, Mass. — The Gateways Inn has received a design refresh over the last couple months from its new owners Mill Town Capital.  
The century-old Berkshire "cottage" closed to guests in mid-November so the private investment group could get busy on a full aesthetic refresh of all guest spaces, update internet connectivity, add technology amenities, implement several contactless features that are aimed to accommodate increased demand in public health concerns during the novel COVID-19 pandemic and provide integrated services for modern travelers.
Managing Director of Mill Town Carrie Holland said the interior redesign is about 97 percent complete with finishing touches left. The inn and guest house reopened for February and is taking reservations.
Mill Town purchased the property in July 2020 from Michele and Eiran Gazit, who had run the inn since 2012. The Gazits had been in the hospitality industry for a long time and sold the inn to reportedly move on to another project.
"[The Gazits] were with The Gateways for a long time," Holland said. "I get the impression they had built some really great relationships with the guests and put the Gateways into a good place with the community, dining, lodging, and the special events and the music."
The Gateways has a rich past. Harley Procter of Procter & Gamble built the mansion in 1912 for vacationing and entertaining. Its rectangular shape done in white to resemble Procter & Gamble's popular Ivory soap bar and it was based on designs by New York architects McKim, Mead & White.
The Procters sold mansion in 1919 and, following the sale, it went through several owners including the country's first Michelin-starred chef in the 1970s. Over the years, the original architecture has been preserved and the interior boasts a mix of neo-classical elements including a hallmark staircase feature and Tiffany-style windows. The rooms are named for female characters from Shakespeare's plays, except for the smallest suite called "Puck."
A majority of the design's implementation was lead by Mill Town's Design Director Emily Gabriel, who is the former head of product development at Annie Selke Co. She said the goal was to use a "less is more" design approach to keep things simple and less crowded, resulting in an airy and inviting vibe.
"My first impression of the inn was that each and every room needed light both literally and figuratively. Choosing subtle and brighter colors to fill the space immediately transformed the feel of each room," said Gabriel.
The Gateways' foyer received special attention from Gabriel because it is the hallmark interior feature, serving as an entrance to the other commons spaces.  She said the subtle blue hue of paint chosen is sophisticated, clean, crisp, and feels like a breath of fresh air.
Gabriel wants guests to feel invited, refreshed, and have their mood lifted when entering the space.
"For me, it's always light and bright," she said. "There are times to make darker, bolder, more colorful decision but with the inn, with a variety of kind of subtle hues I think that was the best choice."  
A lot of the inn's original furniture was repurposed in the new design with the main focus being on the walls, window treatments, and floors.
"It was really keeping everything that was there," Holland said. "Because it's such a beautiful structure and there is so much amazing artisanship that's in the wood details and the windows are amazing, so all of that was kept."
The stand-alone cottage that resides behind the main inn is seen as the "little sister" to the main structure and was included in Mill Town's overhaul. The guest house has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and is tucked in a private tree-lined corner of the property.
This space is reportedly popular for families, young couples, and small groups because it has a full kitchen, storage areas, private outdoor seating areas, and other private amenities. Over the past few months, it has been booked steadily despite the pandemic.
Because the cottage is not contemporary with the inn, the space allowed Mill Town's team to introduce a more modern aesthetic to the design including bolder colors, modern furnishings, and unexpected design elements that are more of a departure from the tones found in the main inn.
Gabriel said they especially enjoyed themselves with the design of the cottage.
To incorporate a nod to local products and artisans, the inn is exclusively dressed with Annie Selkie's Pine Cone Hill bedding in the guest rooms. Gabriel feels that the textile selection is extremely important for the inn, and considering her former role with the company she felt that using Pine Cone Hill products was an obvious choice.
Works from local landscape painters will be displayed in the common areas and in guest rooms to give guests a taste of Berkshires artists. Mill Town also has plans to conduct community programming during the summer season from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Jazz, and other musicians and culinary talents.
Holland explained that they want visitors and residents to see the property as a special place to celebrate private events while feeling equally comfortable enjoying music on the lawn and a casual drink at the bar.
Several years ago, Holland held her own wedding at the inn.  She said that it felt formal and sophisticated for the event, but still enjoys coming back to the property for much more casual moments.
The restaurant and bar are expected to reopen in early May with expanded indoor and outdoor dining options and featuring live music throughout the summer and fall. About a month after purchasing the property, Walker Street Grill was opened and had a successful season serving residents and travelers on the grounds of the inn.
Around the holiday season, restaurant had a weekend outdoor pop-up during which it served out of a food truck. At the pop-up, visitors were able to enjoy the cuisine and the scenery of the inn's lawn while sitting by a fire pit.
"We're cautiously optimistic about having a good summer," Holland said, hoping that the state of the pandemic permits to travel and hospitality. "We're just excited to be able to open again."
In honor of the Gateways' grand re-opening, all guests staying at the inn during the month of February will receive a treat from local Lenox chocolatier, Chocolate Springs.

Tags: business changes,   motels, hotels,   

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Lenox Cultural Council Awards Local Grants

LENOX, Mass. — State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Arlene D. Schiff, chair of the Lenox Cultural Council, announced the award of 26 grants totaling $12,600, for cultural programs in Berkshire County.
"It's the local volunteers who really make this system work," said Smitty Pignatelli. "They make limited resources go as far as possible, and they make the tough decisions about which projects should be supported. Thanks to them, the arts, sciences, and humanities are part of people's everyday lives in every community across the state."
Grants have been awarded to the following programs: Arts in Recovery for Youth; Berkshire Bach Society; Berkshire Children's Chorus Take the Lead! Program; Berkshire Music School 2021 Lenox Loves Music Series; Berkshire Opera Festival' Much Ado About Shakespeare; Berkshire Pulse Dance Outdoors Festival; Berkshire South Regional Community Center's Berkshire Ukulele Band and Sings!; Berkshire Theater Group BTG Plays!; Cantilena Chamber Choir's Outdoor concert series and Talking Choral Music Youtube Channel; Chester Theater Company's 2021 Season; Rob Zammarchi's "Elijah T. Grasshopper & Friends"; Lenox Library's Virtual Winter Children's Concerts; Express Yourself in Pastel and Sketch Your Berkshire Neighborhood; Mass Audubon Berkshire Sanctuaries' Bringing Nature to You;  Music in Common's Berkshires Worldwide; New Stage Performing Arts Center Inc's Rights of Passage: 20/20 Vision; Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park 2021 Free Summer Production; SculptureNow IceFire 2022; Sara Campbell's "To Indian Territory and Back Again"; Shakespeare & Company's 2021 Fall Festival of Shakespeare; The Stockbridge Sinfonia 2021 Concert Series; Three of Nine Reading & Discussion of J.D. Salinger Stories;  Trio Candela; WAM Theater and WildFire Sculpture.
The Lenox Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. The Town of Lenox also provided funding to the Lenox Cultural Council for this grant cycle.
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