Glass reviews Oheka Castle: Gatsby’s Mansion for Everyone

SITUATED in Long Island’s bygone glorious Gold Coast, the lavish, European-style Oheka Castle is almost a century old. Oheka Castle, among other historical mansions in Long Island, were collectively the inspiration for F Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel The Great Gatsby. Once a gathering place for the rich and the famous, Oheka is now a historical home that welcomes all guests. Today, this luxury mansion is not only a prime destination for wedding celebrations and film shootings, but also an excellent choice for anyone to plan an effortless weekend trip or a just romantic dinner.

OHEKA Castle Viewed from GardenGarden at Oheka Castle. Photograph: Elliott Kaufman

Just an hour’s drive from Manhattan, New York, Oheka Castle gradually reveals its grandeur after a long pathway neatly partitioned by two rows of trees leading to the gate. At the height of August, Oheka Castle is basking in the sun. When I open the large, wooden doors of the castle, a breeze of cool air, along with a sense of glamour, welcomes me.

Looking around, I am immediately taken away by its splendid curvy staircases leading up to the reception hall – the staircases are the originals from the 1920s and are inspired by the exterior staircases at Château de Fontainebleau in France. From that moment, I know that I am going to experience something marvelous.

OHEKA StaircasesOheka Staircases. Photograph: Elliott Kaufman.

Library - Oheka CastleLibrary. Photograph: Brett Matthews.

Going up the curvy staircases, I pass the reception hall and encounter the Great Ballroom in which many great parties have been held since the 1920s. Past the Great Ballroom and a hallway of European oil paintings, guests walk into the Library, richly decorated with antique furnitures and old books. The beautiful atmosphere at the Library encourages me to vividly reimagine and relive the history of Oheka Castle. Entering my guest suite, it feels luxurious and elegant — guests at Oheka Castle can enjoy king-size beds, Terry bathrobes, Italian Egyptian Cotton linens, Molton Brown amenities and large freestanding bathtubs. Everything is designed smartly and makes me feel like living in the fairy tale of a French chateau.

Gatsby Room - Oheka CastleGatsby Suite. Photograph: Elliott Kaufman.

Grand Ballroom Oheka CastleGrand Ballroom.

Oheka offers a true castle experience for everyone. In the morning, I sign up for the mansion tour where people, guests at Oheka and the public, are guided through the estate and granted insider knowledge about the hotel’s history and design. Following the tour, participants can indulge in a lunch with a view at the Oheka Bar & Restaurant. The restaurant offers a mix of French and American cuisine; I particularly enjoy the beautifully-plated French Apple Tart by the restaurant’s pastry chef Daniel Andreotti.

OHEKA Bar _ French Apple Tart at Oheka Bar & RestaurantFrench Apple Tart at Oheka Bar & Restaurant. Photograph: Steven Sendor.

The good news is that both the mansion tour and the Bar & Restaurant are open to the public and can be booked in advance. After lunch, if there are no events held at the castle at the moment, guests can wander through the beautifully symmetrical French garden. Walking around to appreciate the beautiful interiors and exteriors of this historical castle is an unforgettable experience in itself.

Oheka Castle Viewed from GardenGarden at Oheka Castle. Photograph: Elliott Kaufman.

From the Roaring Twenties to today, Oheka Castle has been at the center of media’s attention. Built in 1919 by financier and philanthropist Otto Herman, Oheka Castle hosted many parties for famous celebrities and musicians of that time including Charlie Chaplin and Enrico Caruso. It also appeared in the movie Citizen Kane (1941)and several other films as inspiration. After the estate was purchased and restored in 1984 by developer Gary Melius, who appreciated the beauty and historical significance of the castle, Oheka has been frequently used as sets for films, television, photography, commercial and music videos — the hit TV series, Gossip Girl, are one example. It would be of no surprise to see Oheka Castle on screen again in the near future, perhaps with you videobombing in the background.

Oheka Castle Aerial ViewOheka Castle aerial view. Photograph: Stefen Turner.

Architecturally stunning, historically significant and conveniently accessible, Oheka Castle is for everyone who fancies an authentic chateau experience just an hour’s drive from New York City. For me, as a busy New Yorker who endures daily hustling between steaming subways and street crowds, Oheka Castle is just a perfect, peaceful escape that I dream of a glamorous Gatsby Mansion.

by Vanessa Xinyi Mao

 135 W Gate Dr
Huntington, NY 11743

Tel: (613) 659-1400

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