My husband and I went to the Essex for 3 nights with a Travelzoo voucher. I'm not sure what I expected, but I know it was more than what we found.
The room was standard -- perhaps a step up from a chain -- until you got to the bathroom. The wallpaper was either stained or scrubbed so hard the pattern was disappearing. The woodwork was scratched and almost without paint. I appreciated the drawers and medicine cabinet since they provided places to stow my cosmetics, etc., but there was no space whatsoever on the sink top.
The bed was quite comfortable but the only way we could get the room cool enough was to shut off the heat completely and open a window. We asked (in a note) if there were down or feather pillows available but got no response. I should have called to verify that request because the pillows (foam) were very hard and uncomfortable.
We had a studio which included a full-size refrigerator that was incredibly noisy. The maid left extra regular coffee for the Keurig, as requested, which was very nice.
Travelzoo and the Essex also provided $25 vouchers for Amuse restaurant, a cooking class and the spa. We could not use the cooking class voucher, because it would have meant that either both of us take a class or one of us eat dinner solo. The dinner and classes for two of us would have been in excess of $300 -- not on a senior citizen's budget.
We also decided not to use the Amuse vouchers for similar reasons.
My husband used the pool and the workout area, and we both used the hot tub. I was surprised that the women's locker room had only one shower and provided no amenities (Q-tips, feminine products, etc.) outside of a single hair dryer. Neither of us used the spa vouchers.
The Essex offers cookies and hot cider in the afternoon. The first day they had two types of cookies; the second and third days there were only chocolate chip, and I am forced to avoid chocolate so that was rather annoying.
I can't say anything about the grounds since we were visiting between seasons (or what is locally known as mud season). Apparently there is some sort of climbing/obstacle course in one area, but at this time of the year, it just looked like a couple of abandoned buildings that were in great disrepair.
The hotel is a good distance from the city of Burlington but relatively close to the outlets. And from all the 'excellent' reviews, I assume it's terrific if you don't have a budget.