The old real estate mantra of “location, location, location” resonates with Sara Humphreys, the executive director of The Club at Briarcliff.
“The Club at Briarcliff Manor is the premier senior living community in Westchester County,” says Humphreys. “Our location is a pretty spectacular spot in the absolutely beautiful village of Briarcliff Manor overlooking the Hudson River, and the views from our apartments and the common areas of our community are really pretty breathtaking. When you’re up in our room called “The View” on the eighth floor, you can see the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline and the Tappan Zee Bridge. Sorry, it’ll always be the Tappan Zee to me.”
While the views from the grounds are clearly a selling point, Humphreys observes that the interior design of the community ensures visual serenity.
“We wanted to have beautiful amenities throughout our apartments, with top-level appliances and countertops,” she continues. “We have large windows, so all of the apartments are really bright with lots and lots of light.”
The 288-unit community is divided into three residential categories — independent living, assisted living and memory-care options. Humphreys notes that while each category represents very different requirements and needs, it was important for The Club at Briarcliff to maintain a sense of connectivity among its residential population.
“Our community is designed to be as integrated as possible,” she says. “The way the building was designed was that if you start at independent living and, at some point, you evolve and need more care, you move over to assisted living. The benefit is that you don’t have to leave the building. You’re just moving apartments and you still have access to the same amenities you did when you were an independent.”
The Club at Briarcliff opened in 2019 on a location that had a colorful history. It was originally the site of the Briarcliff Lodge, an exclusive resort that opened in 1902 as Westchester County’s first hotel. In its heyday, it was among the largest hotels in the world and hosted prominent guests, including Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Mary Pickford, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia and Babe Ruth.
The lodge discontinued its hotel service in 1933 and briefly became a “health-diet sanitarium” until Edgewood Park School for Girls took over the grounds in 1937. In 1955, The King’s College took over the property, which it occupied through 1994.
“We actually have an alumnus of King’s College who lives here,” adds Humphreys.
Nothing of the original lodge remains — the wooden structure was destroyed in a 2003 fire — and the new construction that went into the community was honored by the trade journal Senior Housing News with its Best in Architecture & Design Award.
“It was designed in the image of the original lodge property, so it fits with the architecture of the area,” Humphreys says. “And it’s a bit of an homage to the original property.”
Within The Club at Briarcliff, Humphreys continues, there is always something taking place to keep the residents physically and intellectually active. An in-house cinema offers two screenings a day, with an evening show that is repeated the following afternoon for a matinee presentation.
“You have an opportunity to see every movie twice and you can see two different movies a day,” Humphreys says. “As far as our programming, we have live music typically three to four days a week in our community. We have cooking classes; we have a book club; we have a knitting club; we do trips. We’ve got it all. You name it, we’ve got it.”
The Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented challenge, but Humphreys says the community met the situation head-on.
“In this community, we will never sacrifice resident well-being for the almighty dollar,” she states. “We spared no expense to ensure that we had this community staffed appropriately. And we’re staffing with incredible individuals. We have a pretty low turnover rate for staff, which is great. We’ve been working hard to bring in terrific people to join our team so we can provide the best possible service to our residents and their families. I have to say our community has had incredible growth, even during a global pandemic.”
Looking ahead, Humphreys points out a waiting list for the community’s memory care units, and she is eager to coordinate activities with other independent and assisted living developments in the region.
“The Hudson Valley Alzheimer’s Association will have events here at our property,” she says. “We’re looking forward to engaging more with the community and having more events in-house for our residents and family members.”
The Club at Briarcliff Manor is at 25 Scarborough Road. For more, call 914-373-2545 or visit seniorlifestyle.com/property/new-york/the-club-at-briarcliff-manor/.