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Review: Life House, Berkshires

Lit majors, nature lovers, and art fiends alike will feel more than at home in this stylish lodge located just off Main Street in Lenox, with a design story inspired by a retro writer’s retreat.
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Why book? Lit majors, nature lovers, and art fiends alike will feel more than at home in this stylish lodge located just off Main Street in Lenox, with a design story inspired by a retro writer’s retreat. 

Set the scene Mountains in the background and a manicured lawn and flagstone patio with fire pits welcome guests as they pull up the driveway into the motel-style lodge. Upon entering, there are immediate “cozy reading nook” vibes, with a library lounge on one side, complete with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a glowing fireplace, and a bar and restaurant with a massive hand-painted mural featuring a countryside motif inspired by the surrounding Berkshires landscape on the other. Guests—who are mostly youngish weekenders wearing Blundstones boots, Filson shirts, and Patagonia fleeces who drove up from the surrounding Northeast cities—mingle and chat in these public spaces, which are buzzing and friendly.

The backstory Life House, the venture-backed and vertically integrated hotel brand, management, and software company, recently made an imprint in the Berkshires in a big-ish way, taking over the management of three historic inns and debuting this Life House-branded property, which was a 70s-era Days Inn Motel—although you’d never know it. There is a specific design narrative here, of a writer retreating into inspiring nature to focus on their craft—just as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, and Herman Melville once did in the Berkshires.

The rooms Rooms along the open-air corridors evoke a mountain retreat vibe with subtle literary touches like secretary-style writing desks, lampshades patterned with the marble-style paper backing of old books, and framed poetry produced by an antique typewriter on vintage paper by artist Russell Markus. Although the rooms are a bit dark overall (perhaps another lamp?), the mid-century style wooden furniture is accented with color palettes drawn from the natural hues of the Berkshires, including greens and browns in ’70s-inspired patterns. Luxe touches like plush linens and towels from Revival New York and Le Labo bath products ensure a feeling of being well cared for. Suites have a cozy living area with a daybed, perfect for a kid—or dog, which are both welcome.

Food and drink The on-site bar and restaurant is the Club Room, which features 28-foot ceilings with custom Murano glass chandeliers handmade in Venice that hang above the bar with its marble countertop and leather upholstered panels. Guests can sit at forest green velvet high stools at the bar counter or at plaid banquets along the window-lined back wall. Food is made from locally sourced ingredients, with a list of purveyors on the menu, which has all-day small plates like charcuterie and cheese boards, hummus and other dips, and freshly made salads and sandwiches. An ample cocktail, wine, and beer list complements. Note that there are no reservations and there are few large entrees so if you’re really hungry, it’s probably best to book dinner elsewhere as this is definitely more of a daytime cafe and bar-at-night type of place. 

The neighborhood/area Downtown Lenox is a few minute’s drive away, with its quaint boutiques and cafes. Of course, most people come to the Berkshires for nature, and there are ample hiking areas in the surrounding areas—staff and the Life House app have a list of trails and they offer guided group hikes in season.

The service While they don’t call themselves a motel, service here is generally more hands off—but if you need assistance, staff are super friendly and helpful.

Accessibility Because of its motel-style set up, if your room is on the first floor you’ll have no problem with access and there are several ADA compliant rooms to book. The library lounge and restaurant are also on the ground floor, making them accessible to all.

Anything left to mention? Check the Life House app while you’re there if you’re interested in joining the communal activities on offer like yoga, group hikes, and tours of nearby farms.

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