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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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Berkshire County Summer Camps Receive Funding Boost

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
BECKET, Mass. — Summer camps took a significant hit during the past year and the Massachusetts delegation has stepped up to support them as they welcome back eager campers.
 
State Senator Adam Hinds visited the Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA Friday with a giant check for $3,000,000 in hand for summer camps across the state - including $700,000 for camps in the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden districts.
 
"This has been a rough year, as we all know. A year and a half with basically camps going more than a year without income, and we know very well that in Western Mass and in the Berkshires, especially, that camps play such a critical role for so many things, our economy, our seasonal economy, for childcare, for the mental health of our students, and, and on and on and on," Hinds said. "And so in talking with Mass camps and talking about specific camps, it was it was very clear that we needed to make sure that the Massachusetts COVID response also focused on our camps."
 
The check was addressed to the Mass Camping Association. The association includes 1,400 camps in the state. It is part of funding Hinds secured through an amendment in the FY20 Supplement Budget.
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