A Romantic Villa Rich in History
The Italian Renaissance architecture of Villa Lancellotti in Frascati, Italy dating from 1592 was the inspiration for the Nester Villa, built in 1910 in Geneva, New York.
THE NESTER ESTATE – Original Architects (1910-14)
Lewis Colt Albro
Harrie T. Lindeberg
The original NESTER ESTATE is architecturally significant as the work of two important early twentieth century architects of country residences. Both architect’s early training was with McKim, Mead and White; Albro from 1895 to 1904, Lindeberg until 1906 when they established a firm of their own which gained a reputation for the design of fine homes such as the Nester Villa. The use of marble fireplaces which appear to have been removed from Italian buildings as well as the coffered ceilings and handsomely paneled formal rooms reflect the influence of Stanford White on both architects. The design of the symmetrical gardens on an axis with the villa was the work of the Rochester firm of Pitkin and Weinrichter and shows a close collaboration between the architects and landscape designers.
Nester Estate built 1910
future home of Geneva On The Lake
View of the original Nester Estate gardens with Seneca Lake in the background.
circa late 1930’s
The Monastery Years 1949 – 1974
The Franciscan Capuchins acquired the estate. In 1949 the monks added the South wing as a chapel and classrooms and the north wing as a dormitory and dining room.
Monastery Construction in Progress
The Chapel During the Monastery Days
Capuchin Monk in Doorway Overlooking Formal Garden and Seneca Lake
Tony Bennett’s visit to the monastery
The Vacant Years 1974 – 1979
After the monks left, the estate’s buildings and grounds fell into disrepair.
The Renovation Years 1979 – 1981
In 1979 and 1981 two brothers, developer and builder, Norbert Schickel and artist designer, William Schickel founded Geneva On The Lake and completely renovated the property. Geneva on the Lake opened to guests on Thanksgiving Day 1981 as an elegant small resort, a place of hospitality.
There were two major aims in the conception of the 1980 renovation. First to preserve in every way possible the finest in the architectural form and decorative elements of the original villa. And second, to use these old forms in a new design to create the most modern, comfortable and attractive resort for today’s guest.
Geneva On The Lake – Designers of the Renovation 1979 – 80
Schickel Design & Devel. Co., Loveland Oh. & Ithaca, N.Y.
Peacock, Garn & Partners, Cincinnati, Ohio
Bentley, Meisner Associates, Cincinnati, Ohio
The design conception for the renovation of GENEVA ON THE LAKE is the work of William Schickel, the principal designer of SCHICKEL. Mr. Schickel is a nationally recognized designer, responsible for a body of important work throughout the U.S., including: residences, commercial buildings, churches, renovation designs for noted historic structures, major commissions of stained glass works, urban design and condominium developments, paintings, sculptures, artifacts, furniture designs and interiors.
He has received a Gold Medal and National Honor Award for the renovation of the 100 year old Trappist Abbey at Gethsemani, Kentucky, the National Design Review Award for five years, has exhibited stained glass & designed objects in major museums, including The Smithsonian and Brooklyn Museums, and is published in Architectural Forum, Architectural Record and The New York Times Magazine. The architects were Peacock, Garn and Partners; and the landscape architects, Bentley, Meisner Associates.
Elegant Small Resort Opens 1981
With renovation complete Geneva On The Lake opens to guests on Thanksgiving Day 1981.
The New Owners 1995 – Present
Alfred and Aminy Audi and Family, who also own L. & J.G. Stickley Inc., purchased the resort in 1995. Since then the guest suites and common spaces have been redecorated and updated continuously. The 29 guest accommodations are each furnished with Stickley and appointed for the peace and comfort, rest and relaxation of each guest.
The following is a letter from the Audi family to the staff at Geneva On The Lake
Geneva On The Lake Today
“…stunning four-diamond Geneva On The Lake, has a garden reminiscent of Versailles.”
“The food is extraordinarily good”
“One of the world’s most beautiful inns.”
“Offering exceptional comfort and service”
“A near miracle of grace and hospitality”
“One of the 10 most romantic inns in the United States.”
“Among other aesthetic pleasures at Geneva On The Lake are the symmetrical and manicured flower gardens and hedgerows at the back of the inn, a felicitous setting for walking, communing with nature and reading.”
“Geneva On The Lake is a charming inn, with beautiful grounds, a 70-foot pool and an excellent view of Seneca Lake… the suites are luxurious… and are furnished with Stickley furniture.”
“We stayed at the majestic Geneva On The lake hotel…Classical sculptures give an air of antiquity, but the solicitous service is as American as a Cortland apple.”
“Tranquility and good taste characterize the intellectual fare found at Geneva On The Lake, a smallish inn tucked away on the outskirts of Geneva, New York and facing the pellucid Seneca Lake.”
“ Towering pines shade the grounds, creating inviting walkways for thoughtful ambles and intimate conversations. A glider swing beckons from one stretch of lawn; a classical colonnade from another.”
“Our comfortable suite looked out on to formal gardens that unfurl almost to the water’s edge, where huge cottonwoods rustle in the breeze like wind chimes. The terra cotta tile roof, Palladian windows,Ionic columns, and classical sculptures give Geneva On The Lake an air of antiquity, but the solicitous service is as American as a Cortland apple.”
“The restaurant as charming and romantic as it is, takes second billing to the food, which is exceptional-all dishes are prepared and served with perfection…the service at Lancellotti is smooth and thoughtful…At Geneva On The Lake, you will be royally spoiled.”
“This is a resort that echoes with the tranquility of a different place and time, of a leisurely European lifestyle that revels in and showcases the finer things of life…The resort is ideal for a romantic getaway, whether winter or summer.”
“Thirty suites of refined luxury.”
“Good food and service make it a great executive retreat”
“Located just a few hours from New York City, this luxurious European-style vacation resort welcomes weary urban dwellers with more than just a quiet place to unwind. The property, situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes district, also has spectacular views of Seneca Lake. The scenery is especially lovely from the Lancellotti Dining Room, and the food is especially delicious.”
“No question that my favorite, The Loft, with its lovely cherry mission furniture, is at the top end. It has a cathedral ceiling, a loft furnished with chairs, rockers, and big floor cushions, all positioned to look out at the lake…the formal gardens, and the pool.”