Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery open for business
Through the rolling hills of Albemarle County, past Monticello and in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, regal Albemarle Estate at Trump Winery offers a gracious refuge to people in search of a luxury boutique hotel.
The property, the former home of John and Patricia Kluge, is now part of the Trump Hotel Collection. Trump purchased the property for $6.5 million in 2012 after the creditor for the property repossessed the 45-room mansion and filed a foreclosure lawsuit after Patricia Kluge defaulted on millions in loans.
The year before Trump purchased Patricia Kluge’s winery, also on the property, for $6 million at a foreclosure auction. It includes hundreds of acres in a private setting with spectacular scenery.
Following a multi-million dollar renovation, Albemarle Estate had a soft opening in May. Trump, who is running for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, and his son, Eric, attended a grand opening last week for the property.
The Neo-Georgian mansion, built in 1985, offers 26,000 square feet of space and a peek into the lifestyle of the rich and famous. It was here that Kluge, a well-known socialite, entertained guests from former presidents to Virginia governors and international royalty. Derek Hunt, director of hospitality, said during a tour of the home with Virginia Business that, “We tried to keep everything that was here before the same as it was.”
The first-floor rooms at what was formerly known as Albemarle House are grandiose with crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and columns embellished with intricate moldings. The dining room still has the wallpaper that Patricia had designed in Paris and hand painted in India. Hunt says guests like to relax in the library, with its billiards table, leather sofas and English wood that Patricia imported from England.
Guests can select from five rooms in the main house or four rooms off the pool house area. All the rooms are named after presidents. There’s also a separate cabin that another tour guide referred to as the late John Kluge’s “thinking room.” It’s set apart from the house in the woods with a screened porch that offers mountain views.
The last person to live in the home was Patricia. She founded the Kluge Estate Vineyards and Winery in 1999, following her divorce from the late John Kluge, a billionaire who made his fortune in the communications industry. After some years of success that produced award-winning wines, she lost the winery in 2011 when Creditor Farm Credit Bank foreclosed on a loan of $34.8 million. By then, she was married to Bill Moses, and the two were active in Virginia’s wine industry.
Originally the house included eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a media room with silver disco ball, a grotto, the pool area with outside pizza kitchen, a wine cellar and a helicopter landing pad.
It sat vacant for a few years, Hunt said, and some repairs were needed during the renovation.
According to the property’s Website, rooms cost more than $400 a night, with the fee including a complimentary breakfast. The property is not offering lunch or dinner at this time, but operating more as a bed and breakfast. However, Hunt said the property plans to add more services later.