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The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa
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Reviewed February 24, 2013

Our trip was planned after finding a great rate with Groupon. $249 for 2 nights at a comfortable Vermont Inn. Included in out stay was a $25 credit to the Spa and another $25 credit to a Cooking class. Also, a $25 certificate towards dinner at Amuse, the high end restaurant at the resort. The rooms were spacious and clean. I found every staff member we encountered to be extremely helpful and friendly. We were about 20 minutes away from Bolton Valley Ski Resort and took advantage of that. Others in our group traveled to Smugglers Notch, 40 minutes away. There is a nice shopping outlet across the street. The Under Armour outlet as the favorite of our group of 5 families. The Essex is also about 20 minutes away from Church Street in Burlington. The only complaint my husband and I noticed was that, for a culinary resort, there were not a lot of dining options. Amuse, were we had the $25 credit, was booked both nights. The Tavern (self explanatory) was tight for a fully booked resort. I think they should do more to keep guests in the resort. We did find breakfast a little pricey. Other than that, it was great!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank SueP413
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 24, 2013

stayed here for one night while visiting burlington with family. our hotel room was very clean and spacious with a nice view. we loved the outdoor hot tub, which was even more brilliant since it was snowing when we were there. for breakfast we had the breakfast buffet at the amuse restaurant which is highly recommended. would come back again, it should be even more enjoyable in the summer!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank cherry_streets
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We stayed here with a TravelZoo voucher, as it sounds like many others have, over Valentines/Presidents weekend (big plus as many special deals like this seem to have blackout dates around holidays). Overall, a very positive experience, with a few negatives.

Positives:
-The room was quite nice, perfect size, comfortable, etc. No complaints here at all.
-We LOVED the Saturday night bonfire. This was perfect for a cold winter night, and was just such a nice human touch that I've never seen before at other hotels.
-Amuse restaurant (I'll provide more detail under a separate restaurant review for anyone who is interested, but we really loved this restaurant)
-Lobby food - both the complimentary treats (apple cider, coffee, cookies) as well as the paid ones from the pastry case. Felt like you were indeed at a culinary resort right from arrival
-Outdoor hot tub. Really neat in 15 degree weather, and only 2 steps from the indoors so you don't freeze on the way to or from it.

Neutral:
-The location. It was a bit far to get to anything of interest in the area - felt like we were constantly getting on the highway. On the other hand, this does add to the "escape" aspect of it, which certainly was a big part of what we were looking for.

Negatives:
-The Tavern restaurant (I'll again post a separate restaurant review, but overall we did not like the menu or the service at this restaurant. Stark contrast from Amuse)
-"Hidden" fees. Hotel charged a resort fee. While they claimed this was in the small print on the TravelZoo deal (I do believe them, just don't remember seeing it myself) and this is common for resorts, here is my complaint: they did not mention it at check-in, and it only came up when I saw unexpected charges on our check-out. When I've stayed at hotels before that have resort fees, they are always upfront about it at check-in. This felt a bit deceptive
-Cooking classes overpriced, not enough supply (most were sold out when we arrived), and should have a vegetarian option (affects my wife, not me, and probably also other guests) for meat dishes being prepared unless it is a specifically meat-themed subject. We ended up not doing a cooking class, for these 3 reasons.

Also would've appreciated the indoor pool being heated, but it was still nice.

Overall, I do recommend this place.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank jays165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2013

We stayed here as a reult of a Groupon deal that we purchased & I'm glad that we did not pay the traditional room rates... The rooms were cute - felt like a B&B rather than a hotel, but the colors of the rooms were outrageous. Ours was red/orange & some of the others that we saw were aqua, purple, etc... It looked like some could be migraine inducing...

As a 'resort' overall I expected more on-site amenities & activities. Due to timing we did not take any of the cooking classes, but aside from this there was really nothing much to offer the guests. I also expected the property to be a bit more secluded & away from the highway. I would not call this a resort.

The spa was amazing. This was the best part of the trip. The facilities are top notch & the staff were phenominal. They were able to provide a very satisfying pre-natal massage for myself & a deep tissue one for my husband. I was surprised actually at how they were able to accomodate me for the prenatal massage with special tables/contraptions that made it a very enjoyable experience. The spa also has sauna/steam room etc.so I would recommend taking advantage of the facilities & making a day out of the experience. We also went to the indoor pool, which was a bit colder than I would have expected.

The food situation was horrendous. Apparantly it is completely normal for the wait for dinner to be at least 2 hours long. They did not take reservations for dinner & the hotel lobby area was full of guests/diners moping around, waiting hours for their table. When staying at a resort, I like the convenience of not having to leave the property, especially when the only decent food is 25 mins away in Burlington, but the hotel made this nearly impossible. There were sooo many tired, hungry people waiting around that it really yielded an air of negativity. It seems that they ecan not adequately manage the number of diners. The hostesses were happy to give us restaurant recommendtaions and watch people turn away from the 2 hour wait. It seems that the resort is losing out big time on this & I have to say really annoyed us that we had to leave to go find someplace else to eat dinner. On the 2nd night we waitied until about 9:00 & ate dinner at Tavern. The food was better than I expected & the service was very good.
We had breakfast at Amuse on Sunday morning which was not excellent. I am reading reviews now that there is a buffet at Tavern for brunch? This we had no idea about & we were not informed that there were any choices. We were immediately taken to a table at Amuse, but would have appreciated being given the option of an alternative & were actually anticipating a buffet type brunch in the first place.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TPalm22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2013

I stayed at the resort this past weekend with my boyfriend after I bought a Travelzoo voucher. I had never been to Burlington so I thought why not take a road trip! And one of my boyfriend's friends lives up that way so we met for a drink while there. I booked a soak and couples massage for us at the spa and it was really wonderful. Great service, except a slight mixup where they mixed up my boyfriend and another guy, it was a little awkward but funny so no big deal! The spa was very relaxing and cozy, you could sip some tea or juice and sit by the fire, read a magazine or book. We used the pool and outdoor hottub which was also nice. Everyone was very friendly everywhere we went. The heat was on in the room we stayed in, looked like it was at 70, way too hot, I turned it off. Also, it was a bit noisy as the walls seemed thin, but did not really bother us, just thought I would mention if you are a light sleeper :) We did not eat at Amuse even though we had a dining credit, but did have a cocktail and appetizer at the Tavern which was really good. I would go back, definitely go to the spa again and try one of the culinary classes!

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank andrealynnm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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