By Shana Liebman–
Tarrytown’s majestic castle, now called Spa at the Castle, which closed during the pandemic, has just reopened and is off to a promising start.
In May 2023, the Castle was acquired by management company Hay Creek Hotels and Restaurants, which runs 33 boutique properties worldwide. Since then, according to General Manager Gilbert Baeriswi, “The Castle Hotel and Spa has made great improvements to the grounds and landscaping to create a welcoming environment.”
This includes restoring the natural patina of the Castle, which was built in 1897 by General Howard Carroll, who borrowed from the Norman fortification in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. In 1941, Emerson and Ruth Axe bought the Castle for $45,000 and turned it into the headquarters for their investment counseling firm. Between 1994 and 1996 the Castle was transformed into a luxury hotel, and in 2013, the property was renovated to include a spa — however, the unique architectural elements were carefully preserved.
Hay Creek’s Greg Mount intends to “continue the tradition of this magnificent and historic treasure of Westchester County,” but there are some immediate improvements on the horizon. They plan to replace carpets, beds and linens in all 31 guest rooms; install 55” HD TVs with firesticks and stock the bathrooms with Molton Brown products.
Hotel prices will be relaxed, at least for the short term. There’s a new “welcome back” room rate (starting at $169, which includes breakfast) based on occupancy, weekday/weekend and season.
The Spa at the Castle has reopened with a new “forest bathing body treatment” ($185), which includes a dry brush exfoliation, face mask and a full-body wrap with Prevai phyto detox clay. The award-winning Equus restaurant (open Wed-Saturday and Sunday brunch) is under the leadership of a new chef — Jared Secor, from Apropos Restaurant at The Abbey Inn in Peekskill. He has replaced the restaurant’s French-focused menu with farm-to-table, family-style dining ($95 per person). The General’s Bar will become more of a pre-Prohibition-era speakeasy with drinks like “The Last Word,” (gin, maraschino, green chartreuse and lime) and “Ward Eight,” (rye, lemon, orange and grenadine).
This summer, the Castle is hosting celebratory events to re-engage the public’s attention, including weekly tastings of high-end craft liquors and happy hours by the pool. In July, local liquor distributors offer free samples of a specific spirit or wine: July 13 (Riesling); July 20 (Spritz! Cynar, Limoncello, Aperol, Campari); July 20 (Rose party).
Andres Soler, the Castle’s new food and beverage manager, who worked at Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare and the Equinox Hotel in Hudson Yards, is excited to foster a new vibe, including replacing the poolside Grotto’s resort-like drink menu (rum punch, strawberry daiquiri, etc.) with craft cocktails using fresh ginger and passionfruit juice. In early July, the Castle Hotel & Spa, which once hosted J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and foreign dignitaries, launched its first drag queen brunch with bottomless mimosas and a live DJ.