Natirar is an estate spanning 491 acres (1.99 km2) in Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster, New Jersey. Its name is a reverse spelling of Raritan. The complex was built between 1910 and 1912. In 2003 it was sold by the estate of His Majesty, Hassan II, late King of Morocco, to Somerset County, New Jersey, and is now administered by the Somerset County Park Commission. Approximately 90 acres (360,000 m2) of the estate have been leased to develop that portion of the estate (which includes the mansion, stable/carriage barn and most of the other outbuildings) into an exclusive hotel, spa, restaurant complex.
At the end of a 1.25-mile (2.01 km) driveway within a 491-acre (1.99 km2) estate that occupies portions of three municipalities. (The main buildings and 327 acres (1.32 km2) are in the Borough of Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey; 124 acres (0.50 km2) are in the Borough of Far Hills; 40 acres (160,000 m2) are in the Bedminster Township, New Jersey) The core buildings are south of Highland Avenue, east of Main Street/Peapack Road, north of the North Branch of the Raritan River and west of Lake Road. The main entrance, once at the Far Hills train station, is now just over the town line, nearly at the spot where Main Street (Peapack Road) crosses the North Branch of the Raritan River and New Jersey Transit's Gladstone Branch.
This was originally an estate for Kate Macy Ladd (1863–1945), heiress to a Massachusetts whaling, shipping and oil fortune, and her husband, Walter Graeme Ladd (1857–1933). After Mrs. Ladd's death, a convalescent home for women that she had started at Natirar in 1908 assumed control of the property. Under the terms of her husband's will, that home, run by an entity he had started called the Kate Macy Ladd Fund, was to be sold 50 years after his death. True to form, in 1983 the facility was disbanded, its assets distributed in equal parts to five educational institutions. The property was sold for $7.5 million to Hassan II, the King of Morocco, who visited the property infrequently due to its use as a permanent residence for his children as they attended Princeton University. After the king's death, ownership passed to his son, King Mohammed VI, who sold the property in 2003 to Somerset County, New Jersey (the county government is known as the Board of Chosen Freeholders) for $22 million.
The county leased 90 acres (360,000 m2) of the property, including all of the core buildings pictured here, to Sir Richard Branson, the British billionaire who owns Virgin Atlantic airways. He began plans to renovate the buildings and add a new one to create a resort called the Virgin Spa at Natirar. The carriage house on the property was converted into a Restaurant, Known as 90 Acres. It opened in late November 2009. Virgin's branding ended when Miraval Resorts became a partner with Bob Wojtowicz and the resort will reopen in 2015 under the Miraval brand.
Somerset County operates 404 acres as Natirar, a county park with 247 acres located in Peapack-Gladstone, 124 acres in Far Hills, and 40 acres in Bedminster. The parks features include areas of lawn and woodland, and river access to North Branch Raritan River. Peapack Brook also flows through the property. The park also includes historic farm buildings and other residential structures and out-buildings dating from the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries which are not open to the public.
- "Natirar developer gains powerful new partner". New JerseyHills. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- http://www.somersetcountyparks.org/parksFacilities/natirar/Natirar.html Natirar