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L.I. Escapes: The Mansion at Glen Cove

By: Eric Feil
01/10/2022
Mansion at Glen Cove Front

Courtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

To drive up the road leading to the Mansion at Glen Cove is to journey back in time. An expanse of green envelops you on either side, the road winding back into the Gilded Age. Suddenly it is before you, all Georgian brick and sturdy stone and white columns rising up out of the past.

Originally called the Manor, the Mansion at Glen Cove was designed by architect Charles Adams Platt in 1910 as the home of John Teele Pratt—a lawyer, son of oil magnate Charles Pratt and an executive with Standard Oil—and Ruth Baker Pratt, who in 1929 became the first woman from New York to be elected to Congress. Not long after its construction, it was named one of the Twelve Best Country Houses in America, and clearly the distinction was deserved— the 55-acre estate served as the summer White House for President Herbert Hoover during his time in office.

Mansion at Glen Cove At Dusk

Courtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

Hospitality, it seems, is part of the DNA here. Mrs. Pratt lived in the mansion until her death in 1967, immediately after which guest rooms were built behind the manor house and one of the first conference centers in the United States emerged. Over the decades that followed, it began to welcome events ranging from weddings to the Long Island Auto Classic, as well as vacationing guests looking for an escape on Long Island’s famed Gold Coast.

Gold Coast. The words instantly conjure images of Gatbsy-eque grandeur. While the allure of an earlier time is like a boat borne back ceaselessly into the past, a tide of fascination with the glamour of the Roaring ’20s is rising in the here and now.

“That Gatsby Era has made a real resurgence,” says Helen Whitehead, Assistant Director of Business Development at the Mansion at Glen Cove. “People who are interested in that era are really coming out in full force.”

Many of the luxurious estates that once defined the opulence of Long Island’s north shore are ghosts of a bygone era, but the era is very much alive and tangible here amid the idyllic surroundings of Glen Cove. The Mansion has become an intimate getaway and something of a hidden gem that began to develop a new intrigue during the pandemic.

Mansion at Glen Cove Luxury Suite Living

One of the luxury suites at the MansionCurtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

“A lot of local traffic really spiked. We’ve had an incredible surge in staycations, particularly folks coming out of the city,” Whitehead says. “We were a big beneficiary of folks looking to get out of the city during COVID. There were so many people who had no idea the Mansion existed but were looking for places to go, searched online and found us.”

What they discovered is a classic-meets-modern mix of 185 guest rooms and suites, 27 meeting rooms, an outdoor pool immersed in a beautiful garden setting, and a heated indoor pool in a glass enclosure that creates a surreal sense of being outside even on most wintry of days. The spa embodies the Mansion’s focus on wellness, with renovated sauna and steam rooms, rooms for massage therapy, facial therapy, couples massage and yoga, even a new salt cave. The rolling hills dotted with trees and plantings offer endless space for strolls and reflection on the natural beauty all around.

Mansion at Glen Cove Indoor Pool

The indoor pool is just one of the health & wellness amenities at the Mansion at Glen CoveCourtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

To say it is something out of a movie is not hyperbole. The original Sabrina, starring Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, and North by Northwest with Cary Grant, were both filmed at the Mansion in the 1950s. More recently, shows such as Blue BloodsMadam President and Evil have used it as a location, and it has provided accommodation for such stars as Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake and Arianna Grande.

“In the past year-and-a-half we have been delightfully busy with the film industry,” Whitehead says. “Either they’re filming on property or, if they’re filming locally on Long Island, they’ll use us for overnight stays for the actors, actresses and staff, their meals, getting ready, doing hair and makeup—then shuttled to the film location.

Mansion at Glen Cove Oak Ballroom

The historic Oak BallroomCourtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

While on property, A-Listers and locals alike have access to the epicurean experiences of Executive Chef and Vice President of Food & Beverage Rodrigo Bernal. “I’d like to welcome every guest who walks into The Mansion with fabulous food to reflect on the expansive and beautiful estate The Mansion sits on,” Bernal says.

As the restaurant adapted to COVID-19 challenges, the varied rooms of the manor house became unique settings for a “pop-up restaurant” approach in which Barnal has showcased a bounty of locally sourced ingredients on the menu. He has also created monthly wine-pairing dinners showcasing regions around the world, as well as whiskey pairings, cigar nights and other offerings. The Pub, which runs the length of the Manion’s entire third floor, has not yet reopened for regular dining, but is being utilized for private events that tie together the property’s historic spaces with its current amenities and offerings.

Mansion at Glen Cove Pub

The Pub at the Mansion at Glen Cove Courtesy Mansion at Glen Cove

At the heart of the Mansion is a melding of the past and the modern experience. The current owner has had the property for some six years now, “and he is always looking to continue the elegance and the era, in maintaining the structure and the integrity,” Whitehead says.

The dedication to such preservation is evident walking through the two-story portico entrance, where guests are greeted by the baronial double staircase, imported paneling and antique fixtures all around, and the striking black-and-white marble flooring beneath. “In the main lobby area, there is a room called the Meadow Room, which has a black-and-white marble floor that is original to the Mansion,” Whitehead notes. “So the owner replaced the whole lobby area with marble that matches.”

Mansion at Glen Cove Lobby

Step into the past inside the Mansion’s lobbyCourtesy Mansion at Glen Cove\

Over time, renovations to many of the conference rooms have revealed original hardwood floors beneath aged carpeting, and an ongoing process is underway to bring them back to their former glory. And the guest rooms all received an upgrade that was completed in early autumn. A two-lane bowling alley that the Pratts put in back in the day for their own enjoyment, complete with a vintage ball return mechanism, hides away in the basement.

“It’s not currently up and running, although the ‘Bowling’ sign remains in the lobby for historical reasons. It’s currently a staff-only area for housekeeping and Food and Beverage” Whitehead reveals with a laugh. One day it too will be renovated. Like time itself, the process is perpetual.

“It’s like your own home, you have to continually renovate and do upkeep, especially on a property this large,” Whitehead says, adding that upkeep and keeping the past alive are concurrent efforts. “From an exterior perspective, there really isn’t anything that’s changed. The vision, when you look at an exterior picture of the Mansion from 40 years ago, it really doesn’t look much different and that structural integrity is really important to the owner.”

“There are a number of houses locally that are part of this Gold Coast scenario, and the Pratt siblings had neighboring mansions. Today, all of them are not what they once were,” she continues. “The nice thing is that this is a building that’s still accessible to the general public, and it’s maintained to be that way. Anyone can come and be part of that past.”

The Mansion at Glen Cove, 200 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove. Learn more at themansionatglencove.com.