Ritz-Carlton Westchester offers pampered luxury for an overnight, a staycation or an extended stay.
We had lived in the same house in Chappaqua, New York for more than 23 years. Like other empty nesters in similar circumstances, of course, we had a hard time saying goodbye.
In fact, it felt gut-wrenching to leave the community where we were rooted and to sell the dwelling where we raised our son. But it was time—time to snag the wonderful memories and leave leaky faucets behind. And when the house sale was finally consummated, we breathed a sigh of relief accompanied by a tinge of excitement.
The months of pruning and packing were far more demanding, both physically and emotionally, than we could have ever imagined. But our moving day was approaching and we were poised to seamlessly pivot into a new home in nearby Pleasantville (just a few miles away). Then we received an unexpected phone call from the builder.
He told us we wouldn’t be able to close on the new property for several more weeks: Bathroom tiles ordered months before weren’t available; Con Edison was behind schedule in connecting the gas lines; and the timing of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy from the local village was uncertain.
Months of planning and anticipation went topsy-turvy. We had no choice but to move all our earthly belongings into a mausoleum-like self-storage facility and find a place to stay. When we surveyed the range of last-minute, short-term housing options available in our area, we decided to splurge on a five-star luxury hotel. We rationalized that we needed a bit of pampering!
Turning lemons into lemonade
The Ritz-Carlton Westchester is centrally located in White Plains (the county seat of Westchester), close to a mix of shops and ethnic restaurants. Housed in a glass skyscraper, the luxury hotel forms an impressive silhouette on the skyline, flanked by two 47-floor Ritz-Carlton residences.
Only a half hour from midtown Manhattan by car or Metro North, the property offers easy access to major north-south and east-west highways. After pulling into the circular driveway, a bellman whisked our bags into the tasteful lobby where Austin, a Ritz-Carlton associate, welcomed us at the front desk.
A room with plenty of room to spare
Our Premier Deluxe King guestroom at the Ritz-Carlton Westchester couldn’t have been more spacious or comfortable, measuring about 615-square-feet (twice the size of the average hotel room in the U.S.). The classic décor was timeless: Stately lacquered walnut burl armoires with Hollywood-Regency style accent pieces (loved the oversize round mirror!).
But when you’re achy and sleep deprived it’s all about the bed. This king-size one had a fluffy white duvet with piles of pillows and 400-thread count linens. The furnishings had plenty of drawers, closet and horizontal spaces surrounding the 50” flat-screen TV—necessary to stow all the belongings we had in tow. The two-sided desk/workstation allowed us to take care of paperwork attendant to the purchase of our new home.
With a minibar, mini-fridge and coffee bar with mugs, we didn’t have to rush out for breakfast in the morning although we enjoyed trying a few of the local spots.
The spa-like bathroom was swathed in rose quartz marble with a separate commode, soaking tub, stall rainforest shower, double-sink, and make up table. This palatial setting was an easy place to “move-in,” conveying the feel of an apartment in one of the residences beside us rather than a stark hotel room.
We appreciated the security of an in-room safe to keep our valuables (not available in many mainstream hotels) while we spent the days checking on the progress of our new house and ordering some new furniture.
What we didn’t get to do
The week turned out to be very busy so we actually bemoaned what we didn’t get to do:
1) The Ritz-Carlton is a perfect perch for checking out some of the spectacular historical sites along the Hudson River. There is so much to see and do if you have the time.
2) The property has a 10,000 square foot spa with a range of treatments that complement the seasons.
3) We also never made it to the rooftop indoor pool.
4) We’ve vowed to return to dine at the elegant BLT Steakhouse on the ground level of the hotel.
However, we did get to enjoy a nightcap in the lovely lobby Lounge and appreciated the convenience of valet parking each and every time we had to go in and out of the hotel by car.
A staycation destination
The best news: Compared to Ritz-Carlton branded properties in large cities, the ones in outlying areas (like this one in Westchester) are a relative bargain in terms of price—while offering many of the same luxury amenities and high standards of service.
Staying in any hotel for seven days can feel confining but that wasn’t the case in our deluxe apartment in the sky. Having a large living space in a luxury property made all the difference. The week after our stay at the hotel, we moved on to the home of friends whose summer vacation coincided with our second week of “houselessness.”
The bottom line: Not only is the Ritz-Carlton Westchester ideal for a weekend jaunt in the Hudson Valley but it’s also an uber-comfortable respite for anyone in the throes of an unexpected transition.
IF YOU GO
Ritz-Carlton Westchester Hotel Website
3 Renaissance Square, White Plains, NY
White Plains Trivia:
Never heard of White Plains?
It was the site of a battle in the . More recent history: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was born in White Plains.
Suzanne FluhrSeptember 10, 2017 at 4:51 am
Congratulations for making lemonade out of lemons. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have handled the call from the builder as gracefully. We did that downsizing move in 2010. Fortunately, we had 6 months after we signed the agreement of sale to winnow our belongings. Best wishes for happy and healthy years in your new home.
Irene S. LevineSeptember 10, 2017 at 9:04 am
Thanks for your kind wishes, Suzanne. Much better to have downsizing behind us than looming in the future.
Lauren MSeptember 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Your former residence is a beautiful home, and the photograph is excellent. You could frame it and hang it in your new home as a memento. Your choice of the Ritz-Carlton Westchester sounds like a great place to visit and just the thing for your interim stay. Wishing you and your husband all the best of good health and happiness in your new home.
Irene S. LevineSeptember 10, 2017 at 7:59 pm
Thanks for your kind wishes, Lauren. And always for your support!
Sand In My SuitcaseSeptember 12, 2017 at 1:43 am
You’ve had a rough time of it! At least staying here probably gave you a bit of breathing space between move out and moving into your new place. And the bed, yes, the most important part of a great hotel :-). Hopefully by now you’re feeling somewhat settled in your new place…
Irene S. LevineSeptember 12, 2017 at 10:12 am
Thanks, Janice! So appreciative too of you picking up the slack on our online magazine, GettingOnTravel.
Sheryl KraftSeptember 14, 2017 at 9:11 pm
How did you ever leave? It sounds like the ultimate in luxury. But, I’m quite sure that you will thoroughly enjoy your new place!
Irene S. LevineSeptember 15, 2017 at 8:36 am
Yes, I’m real crazy about luxury hotels but there’s no place like home!—especially after an arduous move!
LauraSeptember 24, 2017 at 11:36 pm
If you have to be homeless, that’s the way to do it!
Irene S. LevineSeptember 25, 2017 at 9:13 am
Our life was a far cry from “homelessness” because we have social capital to fall back upon but disruptive nevertheless! We were so fortunate to find welcoming places to stay.