Natirar, the metropolitan area’s world-class epicurean retreat, is evolving into an all-encompassing residential community offering an exclusive opportunity for residents to immerse themselves in a revitalizing lifestyle.
Concealed in the rolling hills of Somerset County lies an entranceway marked with two large brick pillars with Natirar etched in each, hinting at a secret unbeknownst to many New Jersey residents. The land, undisturbed by the strains of everyday life, instantly evokes a sense of serenity to anyone who visits. Winding pathways surrounded by ever-changing treetops and the unfiltered sounds of free-flowing rivers add to the enchanting allure of this elegant property. Breathtaking views captivate you until the curving driveway reaches its endpoint, where you are met with magnificent dwellings and a mirrored glimpse into an opulent past. This perfectly preserved land is Natirar, a timeless 500-acre historic estate that truly embodies rustic refinement.
Built by Walter and Kate Macy Ladd, an affluent couple who thrived during the Gilded Age, and then owned by the late King Hassan II of Morocco, Natirar has never lost its lavish grandeur since it was completed in 1912. While the majority of the estate belongs to Somerset County, a public-private partnership with Bob Wojtowicz has allowed him to transform 90 acres of the property into what is now an evolving world-class retreat. Today, Natirar has left an impressive mark on the community with its unparalleled dining experience; and within the next couple of years there will be an evolution that will transform Natirar into something even greater than what clientele are used to.
Under Wojtowicz’s leadership, the carriage house and garage, two of the original estate’s buildings, have been restored and are now home to the all-encompassing Ninety Acres Culinary Center. First opened in 2009, Ninety Acres is outfitted with the original brick, ambient lighting and integrated designs that exemplify the restaurant’s elegant atmosphere. The highly acclaimed restaurant redefines the popular “farm-to-table” concept: Ninety Acres is conceived as a “table-at-the-farm” due to the vast farmland and gardens located only steps outside its main doors. All dishes are cultivated with the finest ingredients pulled from the estate’s own gardens or sourced from nearby farms to provide guests with an incomparable gourmet experience.
Ninety Acres offers three types of sophisticated dining experiences. Diners who prefer a traditional open-floor setting can be seated in the Main Dining Room. Featuring a variety of delectable items including seared king salmon and wood-fired sourdough pizza, food is prepared a la carte or seasonal prix fixe. For an unorthodox experience, guests can choose to experience Ninety Acres’ BMF (Bring Me Food) option. This restaurant within the restaurant seats diners adjacent to the open kitchen to see the action that normally takes place behind closed doors. Instead of choosing from set menus, guests are presented with a list of savory ingredients the chef will use to prepare a variety of smaller courses, including combinations such as the Natirar egg, smoked bacon, red kuri squash, sage and maple vinegar, or the lamb loin, fingerling potatoes, black olives, medjool dates and arugula. The BMF option allows you to pair each dish with wine or beer to further enhance your experience. For more casual nights, diners can sit in the Bar & Cognac Lounge, where they can grab a quick bite off the bar or the a la carte menu while sipping on hand-crafted cocktails. During warmer weather, Ninety Acres offers outdoor seating with the remarkable farm and garden serving as your backdrop.
In addition to sophisticated dining experiences, Natirar maintains an exceptional wine cellar filled with more than 1,200 types of premium and rare wines. Boasting more than 10,000 bottles in the collection, Ninety Acres offers biodynamic, organic and sustainable brands including Sercial 1910 by D’Oliveiras, a deeply complex and rich Madeira matured for more than 100 years, and Langhe Nebbiolo Ninety Acres Selection by Oddero, of which only four barrels are imported annually to the U.S. exclusively for Ninety Acres. Additionally, the culinary center is equipped with a top-of-the-line cooking school outfitted with Sub-Zero Wolf appliances, in partnership with Ninety Acres. Located just off the Main Dining Room, daily cooking classes are offered ranging from smaller sessions for 12 to larger lectures for 20 or more. Classes include private lessons, wine and food pairing, couples surf and turf and more, and are taught by some of the greatest culinary masters.
Within the next few years, other parts of Natirar’s esteemed estate, including the opulent manor house, will undergo restoration to offer guests not only a premier culinary center, but also an all-encompassing luxury resort that will rival some of the country’s top estate destinations. As Natirar’s next chapter begins, there’s significant enthusiasm for the Residences at Natirar, an imminent aspect of the property’s expansion, with interested parties already accounting for 25 percent of the units.
The Residences at Natirar will enable 24 families the exclusive opportunity to live and experience the Natirar lifestyle on a permanent basis in an exclusive enclave within Natirar. Owners of the Residences at Natirar will have around-the-clock access to all the property’s amenities, including close walking access to Ninety Acres and in-house dining, exclusive access to premier on-site events such as walk-around wine tastings or sunrise yoga classes, and year-round property maintenance.Perhaps the greatest luxury of living on the premises is the perk of waking up to a breathtaking view every morning or having everything at the tip of your fingers or a combination of both.
Natirar residents will also gain Residential Membership to The Club at Natirar, which is currently being offered to local residents. The Club provides unique access to the Natirar estate and its amenities. This includes Har-Tru tennis courts and three on-site pools: a main pool, an 1,800-square-foot family pool and the spa pool equipped with an infinity edge overlooking the Somerset Hills. As Natirar grows, so will the amenities offered.
Natirar will be creating an expansion of the Social Pavilion, an exclusive haven for members. The Social Pavilion will include access to a variety of different offerings such as a high-end fitness center and specialty rooms for spin classes and yoga, to name a few. A health-focused cafe, which will serve food with ingredients pulled directly from the farm, will be incorporated into the restoration, as well as a luxurious spa cave that will offer a variety of treatments, shower rooms and a relaxation area, guaranteed to be any member’s ideal getaway.
Other benefits Natirar residents may choose to relish are 24-hour concierge services, appointed butler services, exclusive spa reservations, farm and garden classes, purified water and air systems, nanny and childcare services and laundry services.
Natirar believes that by completely immersing yourself in the Natirar Experience, you are entering a healthy and more balanced lifestyle. This all-encompassing oasis is truly rare for the metropolitan area. The amenities and serenity of Natirar could be yours. Make it your lifestyle.
THE HISTORY OF NATIRAR
Erected in 1912, Natirar was built at the height of the Gilded Age, a time in American history filled with economic prosperity and abundant wealth. Opulent homes were being built all over the country, especially in the New York metropolitan area, with a focus on Somerset County and the north shore of Long Island.
The Natirar estate was originally designed and built for Walter and Kate Macy Ladd, an affluent couple from New York. They thrived during this period due to inherited money from her father, who sold his oil company to John D. Rockefeller. At the time, Somerset County was the ideal location to live for many upper-class families because of the extensive amount of land that could be acquired and the Peapack-Gladstone railroad line (often referred to as the Millionaire’s Express), which made New York City easily accessible.
The Ladds contracted two premium architects to develop their highly coveted home and estate: Guy Lowell, known for building the Manhattan Courthouse and Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Henry Hardenberg, famous for the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The final outcome was nothing less than lavish.
Natirar was comprised of many different buildings including the main manor house, cottages, carriage house and garage. The manor house, the estate’s prime focus, sits atop one of the property’s many hills and was designed with oak paneling, teak floors, limestone trim, slate roofs and detailed molded ceilings, all adding to the home’s grandeur.
During the Ladds’ reign at Natirar, Mrs. Ladd utilized her affluence to create the Kate Macy Ladd Fund and used parts of the premises to house convalescent women. After the Ladds’ death, Natirar continued to serve as home to these women until it was sold in 1983 to King Hassan II of Morocco. Natirar remained in the king’s ownership until his death in 1999, and eventually his son Mohammed VI sold the lavish estate to Somerset County for over $20 million.
STEPHEN PERKINS, ARCHITECT FOR THE RESIDENCES AT NATIRAR
For the Residences, Natirar has slated Stephen Perkins and his firm, 3north Architects, where he serves as a principal. The company specializes in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and branding, and has offices in Washington, D.C., Richmond and San Francisco. Virginia Living magazine recently voted 3north as the “2015 Best Architecture Firm.”
Perkins and 3north have deep experience in luxury hotels and resorts, spas and luxury leisure. Their portfolio of properties includes the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Virginia, the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C., La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California, the Ritz-Carlton Residences in San Francisco and many other luxury domestic and international projects. Perkins and 3north bring unparalleled experience to planning and designing the Residences at Natirar.
Perkins’ much-lauded luxury architecture and interior design skills have earned him the hospitality and design industry’s highest honor: induction into the Platinum Circle, in 2004. Platinum Circle’s other recent inductees include Nobu Matsuhisa, David Rockwell, Michael Graves and many other global hospitality leaders.