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“One of the world's greatest private art museums.”
Review of Kykuit

Kykuit
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Grand home and grounds of this former Rockefeller estate offer a marvelous collection of modern sculptures, Chinese and European ceramics, fine furnishings and beautifully landscaped terraces and gardens. KYKUIT IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED UNTIL MAY 3. Please continue to check this listing or go to our website for updates.
Reviewed November 20, 2012

A "must" stop for art lovers. Kykuit, the home John D. Rockefeller built for his family, is festooned with the modern paintings and sculptures that Nelson Rockefeller spent a lifetime collecting. This is one of the great private art museums of the world. Admission to the museum and grounds also entitles you to visit the Union Church of Pocantico Hills featuring stained glass windows by Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall. It is a MUST for modern art lovers.

1  Thank CaptOlaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"grand tour"
in 94 reviews
"classic tour"
in 125 reviews
"art collection"
in 56 reviews
"rockefeller estate"
in 74 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 80 reviews
"rockefeller family"
in 72 reviews
"visitor center"
in 50 reviews
"carriage house"
in 47 reviews
"first floor"
in 33 reviews
"hour tour"
in 45 reviews
"hudson valley"
in 48 reviews
"shuttle bus"
in 27 reviews
"great tour"
in 27 reviews
"main floor"
in 12 reviews
"philipsburg manor"
in 29 reviews
"garden tour"
in 7 reviews
"the lower level"
in 8 reviews
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Reviewed November 12, 2012

This was a tour of the beautiful home and grounds which had belonged to the Roosevelt family. It took 3-4 hours long to see and lead by a guide who was vary knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. This was a great value. The admission was worth every penny!

Thank Phil916
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2012

We took the 3 hour Grand Tour of Kykuit and loved every minute. The house, grounds, gardens, furnishings, and modern art were extraordinary. But the whole experience was highlighted by our wonderful guide who knew the history, the personalities, the art, and how to handle a group by providing attention to each individual. I did not get her name, but she's a former teacher from NJ. One piece of advice and request: Please leave your children at home; this is a long tour for adults who want to enjoy it all.

1  Thank X-NYr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2012

This was a wonderful tour and we had a wonderful tour guide. She told us that she was a substitute, but no one could have been better! The whole tour was awesome and the house was so beautiful! Please do not miss this house! Tour is so professional!

Thank chgreen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 28, 2012

Went here yesterday on a beautiful Saturday fall afternoon with a couple of friends. We booked our tickets on line a couple of weeks prior, and were surprised to see that the tour was full. Must have had something to do with the weather -- fall activities, foilage, the town of Sleepy Hollow and being close to Halloween.

GETTING HERE: Directions given on the ticket bring you to the visitor's center in the town of Sleepy Hollow, and a small shuttle brings you to the actual Kykuit site. We found the parking lot to be full when we got there, but there is overflow parking around the corner (follow the signs).

HOUSE & GROUNDS: We found the house to be really just okay, the gardens pretty, but the site spectacular. It became clear really early why the Rockefellers chose this site -- the AMAZING VIEWS of the Hudson River. Because it was fall and near peak foilage, the view was spectacular! The house itself was of little architectural significance to us (3 of the 4 in our group are architects) -- we've all seen much grander, nicer, better detailed homes. The exterior gardens were very pretty, but not in keeping with the character of the house, or even with each other -- a formal French garden here, an Oriental Tea House there. Very hodge-podgey if you ask me. Not a great compositional whole; even the floor plan and building organization was choppy. Worth a visit because of the views and the site, but PLEASE don't take any design cues from this house - it's not well done. The art in the downstairs gallery is worth a look at (many, many Picaso tapestries), as is the beautiful Guastavino tiles on the ceiling.

THE TOUR: Our tour guide, who never even introduced herself to the group, was mediocre at best. She was a senior-aged woman, who seemingly knew very little about the house and its origins. Some on the tour asked her questions, and she often responded, "I don't know, but I'm sure you can read about that somewhere." Really? Now, I would never expect someone to know all of the intimate details about the site they are showing you around, but she, frankly, seemed clueless. She clearly was given a sheet to memorize -- this piece of art is by so-and-so, this was purchased by the family in such-and-such a date -- but she certainly did not make the house come alive for the group. Also, because the group was so full, we often found ourselves stuffed like sardines into the corner of the room that was roped off for you to stand in, and couldn't even see the the items of interest that she was pointing out. In the outdoor spaces -- tea house, rose garden, exterior balcony, coach barn, etc. -- she didn't even offer any explanations as to what we were looking at. We just meanered on our own through the spaces without narration. A really, really poor job - probably the worst tour guide that I've ever encountered.

VALUE: We paid $28 per ticket, and, because of the poor tour, and little information provied, I feel like I was ripped off. I know that the proceeds go to help upkeep the house and grounds (which I am sure is an expensive proposition), so I at least feel better when I put it in that persepective. But when comparing to similar sites that I've been to, this one falls far short of being a good value.

MISCELLANEOUS: Although we booked our tour for 2:30 pm, there was a couple on our tour with stickers for the 2:15 group. Not sure if they made an exception or not, but it seems that this wasn't a huge deal -- great to keep in mind if you're running late unexpectedly. The garden spaces are terraced, with steps between the different levels - not sure if there is an alternate option for those with disabilities.

Overall, I wouldn't dismiss this as being not worthwhile. The site and grounds do a good enough job of showcasing their inherent beauty without further explanation. I just hope that you are lucky enough to be paired with a tour guide who is interested in his/her job, and in making the visit a pleasant experience for the guests.

6  Thank Amush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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