Emily Post by Miguel Covarrubias (Vanity Fair, December 1933)
The Country House and Its Hospitality
Having several times mentioned Golden Hall, the palatial country house of the Gildings, suppose we join the guests and see what the last word in luxury and lavish hospitality is.
Golden Hall is not an imaginary place, except in name. It exists within a hundred miles of New York. The house is a palace, the grounds are a park. There is not only a long wing of magnificent guest rooms in the house, occupied by young girls or important older people, but there is also a guest annex, a separate building designed and run like the most luxurious country club. The second floor has nothing but bedrooms, with bath for each. The third floor has bachelor rooms, and rooms for visiting valets. Visiting maids are put in a separate third floor wing.
On the ground floor there is a small breakfast room; a large living-room filled with books, magazines, a billiard and pool table; beyond the living-room is a fully equipped gymnasium; and beyond that a huge, white marble, glass-walled natatorium. The swimming pool is fifty feet by one hundred; on three sides is just a narrow shelf-like walkway, but the fourth is wide and is furnished as a room with lounging chairs upholstered in white oilcloth. Opening out of this are perfectly equipped Turkish and Russian baths in charge of the best Swedish masseur and masseuse procurable.
In the same building are two squash courts, a racquet court, a tennis court, and a bowling alley. But the feature of the guest building is a glass-roofed and enclosed riding ring—not big enough for games of polo, but big enough for practise in winter,—built along one entire side of it.
The stables are full of polo ponies and hunters, the garage full of cars, the boathouse has every sort of boat—sailboats, naphtha launches, a motor boat and even a shell. Every amusement is open-heartedly offered, in fact, especially devised for the guests.
At the main house there is a ballroom with a stage at one end. An orchestra plays every night. New moving pictures are shown and vaudeville talent is imported from New York. This is the extreme of luxury in entertaining.
As Mrs. Toplofty said at the end of a bewilderingly lavish party:
“How are any of us
ever going to amuse any one
I feel like doing
my guest rooms up
in moth balls.”
Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home
New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1922