Arriving at Natirar
The anticipation continued to build as I made my way to Natirar in Somerset County, New Jersey, formerly owned by the King of Morocco. Brimming with excitement I drove past the stone pillars and finally arrived at what will soon be Miraval at Natirar by early 2015.
Growing up in New Jersey I never ventured out to this lush and beautiful 500-acre park and it was such a pleasure to explore what Bob Wojtowicz, Founder of Natirar and Kim Wojtowicz, have created. It was evident from first meeting both of them that it’s a labor of love and the passion for their vision was evident. Knowing Miraval as well as I do, it was clear to me that both visions are aligned for wellness and life changing experiences.
A few days prior to visiting Natirar in Peapack-Gladstone, I had the pleasure of meeting with Michael Tompkins, Chief Executive Officer of Miraval Resort & Spa and he shared his excitement for the New Jersey expansion. “With so many of the Miraval Tucson guests residing in the Northeast, Natirar’s proximity to New York City and the surrounding region coupled with the extraordinary physical setting made it a natural choice for Miraval,” said Tompkins. “Although the new property will offer the same level of luxury and authenticity as the Tucson property, each location within the Miraval brand is unique to its setting and will offer its own authentic experience. We’re excited to be poised for growth, and are actively evaluating additional select locations across the U.S. at this time.”
Plans for Natirar
Plans include an 86-room luxury hotel, including restoration of the mansion suites as well as the addition of villas. As my tour with Bob Wojtowicz began and as we approached the mansion I felt transported to another place and time and the protected view of the vibrant green rolling hills from the mansion was spectacular. Plans for restoring the mansion to its former grandeur will soon be underway. The mansion is rich in history as it was originally completed back in 1912 by architect Guy Lowell, known for his many designs including the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
The hills will soon be alive with a new 20,000 square foot spa with plans for a grass roof, a unique feature (in my opinion) to integrate nature even more as well as an infinity pool/water feature as you enter the spa. Continuing our tour we visited the expansive swimming pool and activity area and Miraval at Natirar will also include a yoga center. One of the other features with Miraval at Natirar is the river that is about two-miles and meanders below the property, great for fly-fishing and winter-sports are possible too, like cross-country skiing. Miraval at Natirar will also offer activities that Miraval is known for including nutritional counseling, wellness classes, the Miraval Equine Experience and other signature activities.
After touring the property with Bob Wojtowicz, I met with Kim Wojtowicz who runs the farm and what a farm! The 12-acre farm supplies Ninety Acres Culinary Center. They also offer a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetable box for members (offered from June to November).
Kim shared that the chefs like different kinds of herbs and vegetables from German striped tomatoes, to Adirondack blue potatoes to anise hyssop, which I tasted (big anise fan). Natirar’s farm also raises sheep, pigs and chickens in a stress-free environment. Organic berries and an abundance of herbs and beautiful flowers make up other areas of this 12-acre sustainable farm that will provide ingredients for both Miraval’s spa restaurant and Ninety Acres, their farm-to-table restaurant.
And, if you’re wondering about the name “Natirar,” it is an anagram for the Raritan River.
Update: This project didn’t work out and Miraval did not move forward. However, Natirar is beautiful. Check it out!
Photo credit: © Donna Adinolfi