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Castle Hotel & Spa

History: 
    Castle Hotel & Spa
 in Tarrytown

History

Long before the Castle Hotel & Spa gained its impeccable reputation as a world-class destination for relaxing and romantic getaways and award winning cuisine, it served as a popular party hub for New York City’s social elite.

Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, General Howard Carroll, a well-respected newspaperman, playwright, and businessman, purchased the land as a home for his growing family. Born in Albany, N.Y. in 1854, Howard Carroll was educated in Albany, New York City, Germany, and Geneva, Switzerland. His first and longest position was with The New York Times, where he served as the Washington D.C. correspondent, befriending such leaders as Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield. After refusing several official appointments in the Chester Arthur administration, Carroll wrote several plays, including The American Countess, which ran for 200 nights on Broadway. He also authored two books.

Despite choosing a noted New York architect to design the Castle, General Carroll played an active role in bringing his vision to life. His plan was to have a castle in a style reminiscent of Norman fortification in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The medieval architectural structure dubbed “Carrollcliffe” was built in two stages, the first in 1897.

From the beginning, the Oak Room, historic in its own right, served as the family dining room. Legend has it that the room’s wainscoting was brought over to Tarrytown from General Carroll’s house in St. Germain, outside of Paris. Louis XIV had presented this house to James II when he fled to France after having been deposed in England. It was in this room that James’ grandson Prince Charles Edward (“Bonnie Prince Charles”) and Angus MacDonald, representing the Scottish highlanders, plotted the unsuccessful uprising of 1745 in the British Isles to overturn the German king and restore the lineage of James II.

The second building stage, completed in 1910, provided the Great Hall as the new dining room, an adjacent pantry, a formal ballroom, additional servants’ quarters, a garage, and stables. The finished castle boasted 45 rooms.

General and Mrs. Carroll were notable social figures in Westchester County and New York City society. They entertained frequently and on a grand scale resplendent in the tasteful luxuries of the era. During the Hudson-Fulton Tercentennial Celebration of 1909 (commemorating the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the Hudson River and the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s first successful commercial application of the paddle steamer) Carroll, considered a gourmet and connoisseur of rare wines, hosted every officer from the German fleet stationed in the Hudson River region. Included among the invited guests were J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, foreign dignitaries and ambassadors who viewed the great river regattas from the Castle terrace.

After General Carroll’s death in 1916, his widow and children, Caramai, Arthur, and Lauren, continued to occupy the Castle until 1940, when it was rented for a brief period to a local school. Today, the elegant ballroom at the Castle is still known as the Caramai Ballroom.

In 1941, Emerson and Ruth Axe bought the Castle and 64 acres of land for $45,000, and turned it into the headquarters of H.W. Axe & Company, an investment counseling firm. Under their ownership, what became known as Axe Castle also was called “High Finance on the Hudson.” The roof and 75-foot tower were partially enclosed, and served as an observation post by the Tarrytown Civil Defense to monitor air traffic in the area.

In 1981, the town of Tarrytown designated the Castle a historic landmark, protecting the outside structure from any alterations in the future. Between 1994 and 1996 the Castle was transformed into a luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant and meeting and event facilities.

In 2013, Castle Hotel & Spa underwent a thorough renovation and refurbishment to enhance the aura of its bygone elegance and refinement of the historic property. The renovation included the addition of the luxurious THANN Sanctuary Spa (the first of its kind in the United States), known throughout Asia as a retreat of peace and tranquility. Throughout the restoration, every attempt was made to maintain the feeling of being in a cherished family home with a great deal of history and a storied past. The unique architectural elements of the main building were carefully preserved to showcase the cherished collectibles gathered from around the globe.

This captivating historic hotel is now a top choice for heritage travelers seeking a romantic luxury getaway, with refined cuisine and a world class spa. The restoration of the Castle’s original suites, which offer spectacular views inside and out, and the creation of the 24-room addition named “Carrollcliffe” was in honor of its proud heritage.


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