“For us, luxury is about authenticity and uniqueness,” said Alan Stenberg, founder and proprietor with partner Daniel DeSimone of the 18-room Glenmere Mansion in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley.

“It’s also a matter of [our guests’] individual tastes and preferences,” he added.

The mansion’s internationally renowned hilltop retreat, an exquisite choice for corporate buyouts, high-level meetings and large-scale outdoor tented events, handsomely exceeds the grade in every way.

Built in 1911 by New York Public Library architects Carrere & Hastings, with gardens by Beatrix Farrand, America’s first female landscape architect, the 35-room Renaissance Revival mansion was far faded from its Gilded Age glory days when DeSimone discovered it by chance in 2006.

Passionate about architectural revival, the partners purchased the 150-acre property. Four years and some $40 million later, they welcomed their first guests. Seemingly airlifted from Tuscany, the Italian villa-style mansion made Relais & Chateaux in its first year—a rare distinction indeed.

A vision in calamine pink, it’s irresistibly luxurious at every turn, including the helicopter pad for CEO and VIP arrivals, stunning gardens and outdoor pool complex.

“We are standard bearers, upholding the well-protected Relais & Chateaux seal of luxury,” Stenberg said. “The uniqueness comes from our soul as innkeepers. We did not invent Glenmere Mansion. Rather, it is a tribute based on our personal experiences of what works best in a hotel.”

Their “ultimate inspiration” is the exquisite seasonal Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli on Italy’s Lake Garda, also offering 18 rooms. Other global five-star references include Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, which inspired Glenmere’s full-service spa.

Claridge’s in London informed the service standards, butlers included. The Wheatleigh in Lenox, Mass., influenced the country-house chic. The robin egg blue window shutters harken from Rome’s Hotel de Russie, while the bar in the hotel’s Frog’s End Tavern pays homage to Hotel Belles-Rives on the French Riviera. And there is more, like the innovative under-bed lighting systems from a luxury hotel in Berlin.

Luxury, ultimately, is in the eye of the beholder.

“Originally, our view of luxury was providing finery, in the form of linens, dining, antiques and more,” Stenberg said. “Those may be common threads, but we’ve since come to understand that each guest decides for themselves what is luxurious—which for many is as simple as downtime or a day off.”