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Hampton Terrace Innkeeper Blog: Deals and Things to Do in Lenox and the Berkshires

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Holiday Decorations at a New England inn, Hampton Terrace


Barrow Seeking a December escape to a historic inn? Looking for extensive holiday decorations to get you in the December mood? Look no further than Hampton Terrace in Lenox, MA where Susan, the owner, fills the public spaces with over 30 years of holiday collections. No neon Santas. Hampton Terrace is an 1897 mansion, built to be part of Lenox’s Gilded Age social season, and the decorations are traditional, gilded and elegant.

Rooms are stil available for every December weekend (we are closed the weekend of the 25th & 26th) at our off-season rates. $189 for any room in the Main House and Wynnstay Cottage. $249 for the king suites. All include a $30 gift certificate to Nejaimes, the local wine/gourmet food shop and full breakfast by candlelight. Early check-in and late check-out is fine, subject to availability. 30% off a third night. Rated #1 on Trip Advisor in Lenox.

There will be plenty of activities in the Berkshires, including holiday festivals, Main Street Christmas in Stockbridge, "A Christmas Carol" at Berkshire Theatre Festival, and more. Hampton Terrace features fireplaces in most rooms and authentic atmosphere throughout. Call 800-203-0656 for details.

James Taylor July 4th Weekend at Tanglewood


James Taylor It is a tradition. Not only because James Taylor lives in Lenox and always gives his Tanglewood shows a little something extra. And beyond the fact that he annually leaves the net profit from his multiple shows at the venue to support the Boston Symphony.

But because after more than a decade of annual shows, a James Taylor Tanglewood Nation has been created. In spite of hearing "Sweet Baby James" for the thousandth time, there are so many faithful fans that it does not matter whether there are 36,000 tickets (like this year) or 72,000 tickets (like last year)……..ultimately none will be left.

And it is fun here at Hampton Terrace during the James Taylor period. We host fans from all over the world. Last year, we had people who came in specifically for the shows from Australia, England and Canada. And it is a very genial crowd. So join us on the July 4th weekend, when his special guest is Carole King. A Friday night Boston Pops show featuring Keith Lockhart, and James on Saturday and Sunday.

Hampton Terrace has fourteen rooms, an outdoor heated pool, and we are located one mile from Tanglewood. We are walking distance to all restaurants and shops and are rated #1 on Trip Advisor in Lenox. At this point, we are still wide open for the James Taylor weekend, and until February 20th, we are sticking to the same rates we have charged since 2007. It is not that we HAVE to keep our prices low in this economy….we are up 30% in 2009 compared to a lodging industry nationwide that is down from 25% to 50%. But we want to keep our inn affordable for the hundreds of guests who call us their home away from home. We would like to add you to that list.

National Geographic Traveler: The Berkshires #7 Destination in the World


National Geographic Traveler This area in western Massachusetts "seems to have the right balance"of picturesque towns, arts offerings, and well-protected natural beauty.  Berkshires.  Lenox.  The Berkshires.

Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:

"Important area for cultural tourism in a beautiful environmental setting, the Berkshires have long attracted upscale visitors. From the Gilded Age summer ‘cottages’ to quaint and aesthetically appealing small towns, historical and cultural museums, and summer musical performances, the Berkshires have continuing appeal for the economically well-situated and for many average middle-class families. Outdoor recreation activities, such as hiking in natural surroundings, add to the appeal."

"Still undiscovered enough, and with a tradition of slow-growth tourism to add cultural pizzazz to the lush scenery, the Berkshires seem to have the right balance. The landscape will need to come together around these values to maintain them for the long haul."

"A cultural hideaway. Still favored more by New Yorkers than Bostonians, but never feels overrun even in the height of summer and during the peak of foliage."

"Gentrification is one of the biggest threats. The area is stunning, but the demand for boutiques and Norman Rockwell experiences pushes out the mom-and-pop establishments. A balance must be maintained to preserve the area."

The Berkshires – One of the Top Destinations in the World


National Geographic Traveler I am quoting directly from today’s Berkshire Eagle:

Think of all the destinations treasured by the globe-trotting elite.

Tuscany. The French Riviera. The Great Barrier Reef.

The Berkshires beat them all.

In this month’s edition of National Geographic Traveler magazine, the region tied for 7th out of 133 vacation destinations ranked by a panel of 437 experts in fields such as historic preservation, sustainable tourism, travel writing, food, photography and archaeology.

In the article, one unnamed expert writes that the area "seems to have the right balance of picturesque towns, arts offerings, and well-protected natural beauty."

Lauri Klefos, president of the Berkshire Visitors Bureau, said businesses and cultural venues have been ecstatic about the recognition, which she views as the best free advertising possible.

"This is one of the premiere travel magazines in the world," Klefos said. "People pick up this magazine when they’re looking to find a destination that they never considered before."

Michael Supranowicz, president of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, predicted that the acknowledgment will be used as a "selling point" for the local tourism industry.

"This is a feather in our cap, and we deserve it," he said. "We have a beautiful place here, and a lot of people know it. But what was interesting about this survey is that it wasn’t based in stats and numbers. Their experts had personal knowledge of the places.

"These people had their feet on the ground."

While representatives from the magazine did not return phone calls Friday, the article’s author, Jonathan B. Tourtellot, explained that editors came up with a unique way of ranking the destinations.

They asked the experts to submit anonymous points of view on each place. They reviewed each others’ remarks and then filled in their final scores based on six criteria, which ranged from environmental quality to cultural integrity, condition of historic buildings and quality of tourism management.

It’s a variation of a research tool called the Delphi method that helps groups reach a consensus.

Points were docked for reckless development and commercialization.

The Berkshires earned a score of 76.

Norway’s Fjords topped the list with an 85. Vermont scored a 78, Germany’s Bavarian Alps a 77, and Tuscany a 72.

Cape Cod? 58.

Tourtellot wrote that the annual survey, the magazine’s sixth, "isn’t a popularity contest. It is an assessment of authenticity and stewardship, evaluating the qualities that make a destination unique and measuring its integrity of place."

"When people care about the condition of a place, its score tends to go up … The condition of any destination is a mix of what local governments, residents, and businesses can control — pollution, cultural quality, authenticity."

One expert wrote that the area was "still undiscovered enough, and with a tradition of slow-growth tourism to add cultural pizzazz to the lush scenery."

Another said that "some complain it is becoming too ‘gentrified,’ with boutiques pushing out the mom-and-pop establishments."

One commented that "a balance must be maintained to preserve the area."

Klefos said she valued one of the expert’s compliments above all the others. "Authenticity," she said. "That’s one of the characteristics that we care about most. We’re not fake. We’re not manmade. This is a unique area with a wide variety of venues across the county. Everyone who lives here should feel

Thanksgiving Options in Lenox


Lenox Always take advantage of a 3-day weekend! At Hampton Terrace it is possible to do that with a 30% discount on the 3rd night, and a $30 wine gift certificate to help make it feel like vacation.

Hampton Terrace, the #1 Lenox inn on Trip Advisor, still has rooms available for Thanksgiving weekend. We only serve breakfast here, but we are one block walk from the Village Inn, which serves excellent New England style meals, and which will be featuring a special Thanksgiving Dinner menu. Also, Cranwell Resort is advertising a Thankgsgiving Buffet from noon until 5 on Thanksiving Day.

At Hampton Terrace, all of our rooms have private baths, most with Jacuzzis, unless you prefer to soak in an antique claw-foot tub. I do. Twelve of our fourteen rooms have fireplaces…quite high in a historic inn. We include full breakfast buffet each morning, and we help you plan your 3-day weekend with e-mailed lists of the better restaurants and lists of things to do in the area. The Hancock Shaker Village is a perfect match for a Thanksgiving Weekend in the Berkshires.

Get Away to Lenox and the Berkshires this Weekend!


cat ij We are entering our second week now of our Romantic Weekend Special. So popular that our existing guests will not let it go away. You can take advantage of it every weekend until late June.

A two-night weekend stay includes a $30 Gift Certificate to Nejaimes, the local wine/gourmet food shop, full breakfast buffet by candlelight, early check-in and late check-out subject to availablity, and our help planning your perfect getaway. With your confirmation you will receive several lists: a limited restaurant recommendation list based on the feedback we receive from thousands of guests…and a list called "Planning Your Stay" which covers every subject we could think of, from hikes and spas to museums and nightlfe.

Speaking of Nejaimes, November is their 15% to 30% off month. And all wine bottles over $50 are 30% off! In essence, using this discount, you can get a $50 bottle of wine, almost FREE when you stay here.

Check Availability On-Line or give us a call at 800-203-0656.

Rosen from Hampton Terrace Wins Berkshire Visitors Bureau Award


Stan Rosen Stan Rosen, owner of Hampton Terrace in Lenox, was awarded a Greylock Award at the BVB’s 71st Annual Meeting on Tuesday evening at the Berkshire Museum. The awards are given to "tourism professionals who are nominated by their peers as having reached the highest peak in their profession." Rosen was honored as the "Outstanding Industry Contributor."

The Berkshire Visitors Bureau consists of over 750 member organizations, of which over 100 are lodging properties. The Bureau is the sole county-wide marketing agency for the Berkshires, which attract over 2.5 million visitors per year, with an annual economic impact of over half a billion dollars. Rosen is chairman of the Lodging Committee and a Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee, representing Central County.

Rosen was recognized for his leadership position on the proposed occupancy tax increases offered to each Berkshire town. Reduced state revenues have caused the Governor to slash revenue-sharing with local towns, while at the same time giving each community an opportunity to raise lodging taxes on visitors from 4% to 6%. The state receives an additional 5.7%. Rosen led a consortium of properties, including Canyon Ranch, Red Lion Inn, Cranwell, Yankee Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn in Lee, Devonfield Inn and Topia Inn, to support the tax…as long as a significant percent is annually reinvested in marketing the Berkshires outside of the county.

At the same time that local communities received cuts, the Commonwealth also slashed state-wide tourism marketing budgets by 70%, resulting in an annual loss to the Berkshire Visitors Bureau of $350,000…with more cuts promised by the Governor. Rosen’s "Statement of Position," subsequently affirmed by a larger forum of lodging properties last month, is that the loss in tourism marketing dollars will have a more profound negative impact on tourism than a 2 % rise in taxes…and that if these taxes are going to be collected by the efforts of lodging owners and managers, then they should have a "say" about where some of the money is spent. The group is asking for 7.5% of total taxes collected to be reinvested in out-of-county marketing.

To this point, Lenox and Pittsfield have passed the tax increase, with a promise to make a "significant investment" in marketing. Lee and Great Barrington are considering the tax increase as well. Rosen and his group are working to assure that the tax increases, and their partial commitment to marketing are evenly applied throughout the county.

Mayor James M. Roberto of Pittsfield received the "Extraordinary Leadership Award" for his significant role in the resurgence of Downtown Pittsfield, including the restoration of the Colonial Theater, relocation of Barrington Stage Company to the North Street area, creation of the $23 million Beacon Cinema, upgrades to the Berkshire Museum, and fostering a general sense of optimism that has attracted numerous new businesses to streets that have long been depressed. James Lyon of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood received the "Outstanding Service" Greylock Award.

Nudel Raises the Bar on Uniqueness in Lenox and the Berkshires


Nudel We’ve lived in Lenox since 1996. There are, and have been, many restaurants. Most follow traditional themes….Italian (Northern or "red sauce"), French, Sushi, New England, steaks and burgers. Here comes one that cannot be labeled. Because it reinvents itself every day.

Nudel, the 4-week-old creation of Bjorn Somlo, has already thrilled at least 30 couples from Hampton Terrace, with no dissenting votes. Occupying the old "Dish" space on Church Street, Bjorn has taken out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room so that all can see what he is up to. And what he is up to changes every day. There is no set menu. Choices each day are at the chef’s whim.

Depending on the availability of locally procurred meats, vegetables or fruits, Bjorn devises and publishes a daily menu. If you want to preview what he is offering, the menu is posted live on their Internet site. A quick look at the archived menues demonstrates that this chef does not rest. He reacts to the possibilities offered by his basic ingredients….a la "Iron Chef," and in that tradition, he strives to use every edible part of his bounty, and present it in as many formats as possible. For tomorrow, he is advertising a "Hen of the Woods" tasting menu for $45, which will stretch the theme from appetizers, through salads and soups, entres, pastas and sweet endings. One of our guests told us that they had parsnips in their salad and parsnips in their dessert. We have seen menus that do the same for duck, roosters, whole pigs, rabbit, bluefish, skate, clams…. His prices are quite reasonable a la carte, with soups and appetizers all coming in under $10, and all entres available in a large or small plate option, most in the $11 to $18 range.

Bjorn, 29, has been one of the chefs at John Andrews….. without question the most experimental fine restaurant in the Berkshires. For most of our guests, the 40 minute drive there has been too much to venture, thus our excitement that Nudel is located less than a block from us.

The WAG Features Hampton Terrace in “4 Easy Escapes”


wagonlinecover The Westchester, New York society magazine, WAG, has featured Hampton Terrace in its September issue. The #1 getaway destination is the Berkshires, and Hampton Terrace receives centerpiece attention as the place to stay.

Following a lengthy article about actress Glenn Close’s Bedford home, the article displays two large Hampton Terrace photos and describes our inn as "being full of cottage-y charm." It goes on to paint a diversified and flattering picture of the Berkshires, mentioning Barrington Stage Company, the Colonial Theater, the Ferrin Gallery, the Berkshire Museum, Trattoria Rustica, Alta Restaurant and Wine Bar (walking distance from us), Shakespeare & Company (also walking distance), Mount Greylock and the Clark Art Institute. Finally, ice cream from SoCo Creamery (yes, again, close to us) receives raves.

Hampton Terrace was recently showcased in USA Today, and was also just chosen by the German version of "Discover New England" magazine as the featured lodging property for the Berkshires. As we enter our off-season, look for our Romantic Weekend Special, which includes full breakfast by candlelight, a $30 gift certiticate to Nejaimes Wine Shop, and a comfortable room with a fireplace and Jacuzzi.

USA Today Features Hampton Terrace, Lenox inn


USA Today Last week, Hampton Terrace and Lenox MA were featured by USA Today in a centerpiece story about the bed and breakfast industry.

A stay by Travel Editor Laura Bly was predicated by a Professional Association of Innkeeper’s Survey which indicated that in spite of the current economic environment, inns and b&bs nationally were not only surviving, but bucking trends that were causing the lodging industry in general to be down almost 30% in 2009. Most inns are showing flat to slightly negative trends….and some, including Hampton Terrace, are demonstrating significantly higher revenues as more travelers take vacations within driving distance of their homes.

Ms. Bly contacted, the largest on-line inn directory, to inquire what US destination might best exemplify this trend, and they recommended Lenox, Massachusetts as one of the best concentrations of upscale inns in the country. They went on to single out Hampton Terrace, sharing that our 2009 numbers through June were 60% above comparable 2008 dates. Our summer also continued this trend, with revenue up almost 20%, in spite of the fact that we did not raise our rates, and it is hard to squeeze more room nights in when you are already almost sold out.

To see the actual article, CLICK HERE.

We credit our success at Hampton Terrace to many factors, not the least of which is our loyal base of returning guests…..friends who consider us a "home away from home." As a matter of fact, Sandra Aplin of Boca Raton, Florida said exactly that in the USA Today article. Another factor is our attention to guest reviews, especially on Trip Advisor. Before check-in, we e-mail every guest to let them know that they should alert us of any issues or improvements to their stay WHILE THEY ARE HERE, so that we can address them. Then immediately upon their departure they get another e-mail from us asking how things went. This is important because most negative Trip Advisor reviews result from unaddressed guest issues….and we do not want there to be any at all. So we have spent most of the last two years sitting at the top of the Trip Advisor rankings for Lenox.. With more than two dozen inns, that is an important accomplishment.

Finally, to distinguish ourselves from a plain vanilla hotel stay, we make sure we communicate that staying at Hampton Terrace is an EXPERIENCE. A chance to "Turn Back the Clock to the Gilded Age." And we price our rooms to make people feel they have received a good VALUE. Ms. Bly wanted to know how much we were discounting in order to maintain our revenues this year. Our answer is that we have not had to discount at all….other than our normal price breaks for off-season and mid-week. That is contrary to the deep discounting trends that are haunting the lodging industry in general.

When your hotel room looks the same in Tulsa as San Diego, and when a traveler has the option of getting off Interstate Exit 89 or 90, then price does play a role. An experience at Hampton Terrace? Priceless. Well, not really, but you understand the concept.

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