A very good reason to hop in the car when you are local this summer is a brand new retreat that’s coming to the Berkshires. A former Days Inn motel, it’s true that it’s had humble beginnings. No matter. There’s nothing like $10 million+ in renovations to make things right. Here’s a preview of the newest destination in the Berkshires.
What’s the story?
There’s nothing more New England than a writers retreat in the Berkshires. Where else could Herman Melville have written Moby Dick than in a cottage amidst grand mountains and soul-soothing lakes? Although it’s been many years since artists like Melville and Norman Rockwell produced their most famous works here, the environment is still bursting with natural beauty…and inspiration.
The Life House hotel group has been focusing on what it means for guests to reconnect with nature and creativity. Opening in August, the Berkshires hotel is part of a collection in Western Massachusetts that aims for curated experiences, rather than humdrum vacations. The team crafts the hotels to be home to a historical person or character, then builds an atmosphere / environment that evokes him (or her). In the Berkshires Life House, guests are made to feel as if Herman Melville could be staying in the room next door, or having coffee in the lounge.
Despite that back-in-time ethos, the hotel group embraces new technology. Guests can check themselves in using contactless kiosks at the front desk. Additionally, an easy-to-use app functions as the room key, relays guests’ housekeeping requests, and more. The third-millennium tech is designed not to interfere with the overall atmosphere of the hotel. Cell phones are welcome — in fact, you may need yours to get into your room! — but you’re encouraged to otherwise go easy on their use. It’ll help preserve the lovely illusion that you’re in a late-19th-century lodge.
What’s different about this hotel?
The Life House hotel group is a hotel management company born from a tech startup cum lifestyle brand. Its six new hotels, most of which are on the East Coast, are designed to create a distinct experience for adventurers. For instance, the inn in Nantucket is based around an old innkeeper’s lifestyle. The historic mansion orients guests towards the native botany and general reverence for nature that might characterize such a man.
Meanwhile, the retreat in the Berkshires is all about channeling people’s inner creative. The library lounge is a place to get real work done (maybe you’re writing your own Great American novel!). But you can also just cozy up with a book from the well-stocked shelves. Splendid isolation — should you want it — is built right into the concept. Because services are so seriously automated, guests have fewer interactions with middlemen who may make a mistake regarding the room rate or a guest’s itinerary. And while Life House Berkshires has thankfully held on to the funky parquet floorboards, the place dresses its beds in Revival linens…and stocks the bathrooms with Le Labo products that look and smell like, well, nostalgia.
What’s the stay like?
For a road trip destination, the inn is relatively upscale. If you want to indulge in life in the Berkshires — which means you’re prepared to hike at sunrise, make friends over coffee, and ditch your phone for a while — this is the place to be.
We’re told that Guests of Life House properties tend to return. Perhaps they come back because they can leave their busy lives for a bit, and slide comfortably into a simpler, less stressful world.
The nature of a road trip is that you undertake it for the sake of traveling. At roughly $300 a night per room, Life House Berkshires makes the destination as worthwhile as the journey itself.
Q: What can guests do in Lenox during their stay?
A: The area has exciting nature trails, parks, museums, theaters, shopping, seasonal dining, and more for guests to enjoy.
Q: Do the rooms have Wi-Fi?
A: Yes, Wi-Fi is included. Rooms also have writing desks for those working from their trip!
Q: When are the check-in and check-out times at Life House Berkshires?
A: Check-in is at 3p.m., and check-out is at 11a.m.
Life House Information
Address: 194 Pittsfield Rd, Lenox, MA 01240