Saturday, June 26, 2004

Mirbeau, the Auberge du Soleil of central New York

Skaneateles, New York is a destination for me several times a year. Mirbeau is at the primo end of the spectrum, with the Microtel and Holiday Inn of Auburn serving the dubious role of counterpoint. Mirbeau is a high-end spa and small hotel with 34 rooms.

Set half way up a hill, Mirbeau has a French provincial architecture. There is a pond surrounded by the hotel lobby and restaurant and two wings of rooms, one made up of 4 room cottages, the other rooms in a wing off the hotel lobby. The koi pond combined with the architecture brings to mind Monet’s Giverny. The sounds of about a half dozen bull frogs and some tree frogs punctuate the night.

I’ve only stayed in cottage rooms. They are quite and quite large. Each room has a gas fireplace, king size bed, and desk with 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection. Oh, there’s a TV too. Compared to the upper floor, the ground floor rooms have a patio and an additional window. The bathrooms are good sized with two sinks, a shower for two and a large claw footed old fashioned bathtub. The Mirbeau is quite generous with their water; the show has an old fashioned shower head that produces prodigious amounts of water. (None of those tiny air/water mixing shower heads here.) The bath is bisected by a diagonal wall unit with the sinks on one side and the toilet on the other, separating it from the rest of the bathroom. I only have two gripes about the rooms, the wall switch for the toilet area is hard to find (and its dark back there), and the desk chair is unpadded and thus poorly suited for more than an hour or two of work. Oh ya, and each room as a Boise Wave clock radio with remote. Usually they have the radio on playing classical music when you check in. The alarm clock is too complicated for me, I use my cell phone.

The main hotel building has two levels; the upper is the lobby with a small bar and seating area that overlooks the pond. The lower level houses the spa where they offer typical spa stuff; studies for aerobics and yoga, a weight room, etc. As I’ve never partaken in the spa services I won’t say any more other than they seem to have a very complete offering.

The restaurant appears to be very very good – quite the “fine dinning” experience. Dinner prices are very expensive but probably worth it. I’ve attended a dinner reception there that was catered by the restaurant and it was quite good. Yesterday I had lunch there and ordered off their Tasting Menu.

Quite good.

Breakfast is well done but typical breakfast fare. They do have a breakfast waitress who has the most striking blue eyes.

Their best desert, and quite popular, is bread pudding. A warm rich creamy sauce (sort of a custard with some areas firmly cooked and others runny) with chunks of 70% cocoa chocolate, and cut slices of croissant. Wow. Sadly they’ve taken their signature desert off the menu and replaced it with this chocolate thing about the size of a double high biscuit. The top half is chocolate mousse, the bottom is this greasy peanut butter/chocolate fudge with something like Rice Crispies mixed in it. This and crème brulie were offered as their replacements to the bread pudding.

You can also walk across the parking lot to get to Rosalie’s, a very nice Italian place that’s only a notch or two below the Mirbeau. Rosalie’s is considerably less expensive than Mirbeau as well.

Overall, Mirbeau is a great place to stay – beautiful and comfortable.


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