Miraval Berkshires looking to hire ahead of Lenox luxury resort's planned May opening
LENOX — The help wanted banner is flying at the Miraval Berkshires resort, set to open this spring following a $130 million transformation of the historic Cranwell Spa & Golf Resort.
Miraval, a Hyatt Hotels Corp. brand, is holding a job fair this week in the Cranwell Mansion ballroom to fill more than 60 positions in the hotel, spa, restaurant, food and beverage, programming, security, purchasing and maintenance departments.
"We are targeting a mid-May opening for Miraval Berkshires, and we'll provide a more specific opening date in the coming weeks," said Vic Cappadona, general manager of Miraval.
The $130 million investment, including the $22 million purchase price of the 380-acre property, represents the largest one-time single hospitality industry financial commitment in Berkshire County history. For the town of Lenox, the benefits are expected to include $1.9 million in tax revenue annually, up from the current $600,000 for Cranwell.
The project, including 26 new or renovated buildings, represents a $110 million contract for EDM, the Pittsfield-based engineering, architectural and design firm, CEO Jeremy Richardson has told The Eagle. His company is responsible for all the engineering and the construction oversight, he said.
Among the new buildings are four new guest cottages, a Great Hall for food and retail, a new spa, Wellness Center and a Mindfulness & Well-Being Center.
Designed to compete with Canyon Ranch for affluent health-oriented guests, the property will increase its room count by 41 to a total of 146, with 689 parking spaces and nearly 400 full-, part-time and seasonal employees.
The job fair is being held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and hiring is available for applicants with or without experience. Details and online applications for the available positions are at careers.hyatt.com.
The new Miraval-branded wellness resort actually involves two side-by-side destinations, according to a detailed preview from Hyatt. On the same Cranwell property, Hyatt will open the Wyndhurst Manor & Club at the original but updated main mansion. Both will offer "a diverse range of year-round programming that will encourage guests to celebrate the changing New England seasons," the company's announcement stated.
"These two properties will offer distinct and memorable travel experiences, and we look forward to inspiring once-in-a-lifetime, transformative experiences for all guests who visit our Miraval and Wyndhurst resorts," said Susan Santiago, senior vice president of Miraval resorts, in a prepared statement.
Aiming to emphasize a wide range of experiences for patrons, the resort includes a ranch for Miraval's equine programming, a Life in Balance Spa, and "a challenge course to take guests out of their comfort zone.
The ranch's "It's Not About the Horse" class "teaches guests that the way a horse reacts is based entirely on how we approach the horse." Based on concepts developed at Miraval's original Tucson, Ariz., site 25 years ago, equine programming will be central to the Miraval Berkshires experience, the company states, including "an expertly developed curriculum of year-round programming that expands upon Miraval Arizona's original programming with new workshops."
Even the property's long-established golf course will offer programming "to explore the mindful side of golf." The Miraval approach to golf "will not be about perfecting swings or improving scores; rather, it will be about overcoming one's own expectations and fears to find greater success on the course," the company's publicity states.
Hyatt also promises "a vast system of indoor passageways to allow guests to travel comfortably between activities and programs even in the coldest of New England winters."
Miraval's 102 upgraded guest rooms and suites are designed as "relaxing havens inspired by country house glamour and idyllic New England comfort," according to the resort's announcement.
The resort, open to guests 18 and older, encourages limited use of electronic devices, and there is a no-gratuity policy since room bookings will require a 23 percent add-on resort fee. Prices for accommodations have not yet been announced, but are available when booking stays by phone with an experience planner.
An additional 46 rooms will be available at the Wyndhurst Manor & Club, including 11 in the Gilded Age mansion with its formal dining room, bar, music room, sunroom and private board room.
The separate facility is part of Hyatt's Destination Hotels brand, offering weddings and event spaces year-round. It includes a new restaurant, 1894 Fireside Bistro and Bar, while Sloane's Tavern will remain a year-round destination for casual dining.
The Lenox site is the third Miraval property — the original in Tucson, opened 25 years ago while its second, in Austin, Texas, was unveiled in February 2019 at the former Travaasa Experiential Resort. Travaasa still has a project pending at the 90-acre Elm Court site on the Lenox-Stockbridge line.
Miraval's Life in Balance Spa includes 28 treatment rooms in its 29,000-square-foot building, entered on a "Path to Wellness," described as "a meditational walk from the gate to the spa door designed to encourage mindfulness and transition guests into a more serene mindset. Inside the spa, a courtyard made of natural elements — wind, water, fire, metal and earth — will evoke a sense of harmony with nature."
Meditation programming includes a class called "Meditation and Your Union" to "help couples find a shared sense of peace and connection through a unique mantra created around a significant date in their relationship. They can take the mantra home with them to keep the practice going in their daily lives."
Miraval Berkshires will feature a Meadowview Challenge Course where guests can participate in activities "incorporating unique elements of problem solving, communication, release of fear-based belief systems, and self-exploration."
The Moonlight Pass, Miraval Berkshire's retail outlet, will offer a hand-curated selection of art, jewelry, clothing and skin-care products sourced from local artisans and craftsman.
Meanwhile, to connect both sides of the property along Route 20, construction of a tunnel is expected to be completed this spring. The west side includes a new maintenance building, parking lot, golf-cart storage "barn," a horse barn and indoor riding ring, a greenhouse, ropes and activities course, gardens and an on-site farm-to-table section.
Miraval acquired the Cranwell property in January 2017 in a $22 million real estate transaction from the previous owners, Camp Group and LD Builders, which had purchased the 380-acre site from the Burack family for $18 million in June 2015.
In December 2016, Hyatt paid $215 million to KSP Capital Partners, the corporate parent of Miraval, for Cranwell, Travaasa Austin, Miraval's own flagship resort in Tucson, and Miraval's Life in Balance Spa at the Monarch Beach Resort in southern California.
Cranwell's Tudor-style, Gilded Age mansion, originally known as Wyndhurst, was constructed for W.D. Sloane beginning in 1894 as a replacement for the original 1870 mansion.
The property was first developed in 1853 as "Blossom Hill," a retreat for novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." In the 1920s, it was used as the Berkshire Hunt and Country Club, then a boys' prep school that closed in 1975. In 1993, Cranwell was renovated into a resort and golf course.
Clarence Fanto can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.
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