A century ago, financier and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn built OHEKA Castle in the middle of a 443-acre plot on the highest point on Long Island for an estimated cost of $11 million dollars, $158 million in today’s currency. At the time of its construction, the French-style chateau was and today remains, the second-largest private residence ever built in North America. During the Gilded Age of the 1920s, Kahn used the 109,000 square foot, 127- room estate as a summer home, where he hosted lavish parties and regularly entertained royalty, heads of state, and Hollywood stars. Today, OHEKA Castle is a historic, privately-owned mansion surrounded by impeccably manicured grounds on Long Island’s famed Gold Coast between New York City and The Hamptons and famously served as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Inspiration for West and East Egg in The Great Gatsby. The history of this magnificent estate is both rich and diverse. It took on many lives before it was abandoned for over 10 years and left to near destruction, and in 1984, was purchased by its current owner and developer, Gary Melius, who invested over $40 million – the largest in American History – to restore it to its former grandeur.
OHEKA is now 85% restored and remains a symbol within American history and a landmark of Long Island’s Gold Coast. The first major motion picture ever shot at the Castle was the classic movie Citizen Kane with Orson Welles where an aerial shot of the property was featured in the opening montage representing Xanadu. Today OHEKA continues to be a perfect location for film, television, music, and still photography productions. Breathtakingly beautiful, the Castle is highly acclaimed throughout the world as an exclusive and elegant wedding and events venue for the rich and famous. Kevin Jonas was famously married at the location in 2010, among many others both before and after.
And what’s even better, anyone can book a stay and get the royal treatment. Upon arrival at OHEKA Castle, guests discover a world of charming luxury. Each one of the 32 luxuriously designed guest rooms and suites has been uniquely decorated with many enjoying views of the 23-acre private estate. One of the finest hotels in New York, OHEKA is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America. Dine-in authentic European ambiance at America’s grandest Castle and enjoy a unique culinary experience with signature dishes designed to entice the senses, by executive chef, Frank Monahan, and executive pastry chef, Daniel Andreotti. OHEKA’s unique and elegant setting combined with its rich history and modern-day luxuries are the perfect complement to today’s traveler. Take a mansion tour and check out the estate and gardens, or party like it’s 1920 and book the Gatsby Package. Spend the day getting lost in OHEKA’s historic charm, and it’s not hard to see why F. Scott Fitzgerald used it as a major inspiration for his greatest work of all, The Great Gatsby. Especially if he ever got to have lunch next to their indoor pool.
words by Kara Studzinski