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“Disappointed in the room”

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The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed October 10, 2013 via mobile

We just arrived today for a three-night stay. Receptionist was friendly and cheerful, and there were cookies and cider in the lobby. All excitement about our stay vanished, however, upon seeing our room. Instead of a king-size bed, there are two awful looking Murphy beds. The structures look bizarre and make it feel like we're in a dorm room or institution. Overall, the decor is dated, but the real problem is that the massive frames of the Murphy beds attached to the walls make it impossible for this room to feel at all like a nice hotel, never mind a resort. Plus, the comforter on one of the beds is not clean, and there is a dirty grate in direct view from the other bed. The receptionist tried to switch our rooms, but the hotel is booked. Another person at the front desk confirmed that the hotel normally avoids using this room because guests find it off-putting. We would have appreciated being advised at the time of making this reservation that the only room the hotel had available was this strange one. The feel of the room is making it hard to enjoy our stay here.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Jeminnewyork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EssexResort-VT, Manager at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 11, 2013

Dear jeminnewyork,

Thank you for your positive comments regarding the cheerful and friendly associate at the Front Desk. The cider and cookies are treats that many of our guests enjoy. The cookies are made in house daily by our talented bakers. It is unfortunate that your room did not meet your expectations. The Essex Resort & Spa has 120 unique guest rooms each one with its own personality, style & amenities and some are more poular than others. Hopefully you may consider a return visit with us sometime in the future as I am certain we can find the room that is perfect for you. If so, please contact me directly so I may be personally involved with ensuring this occurs.

Nazba Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
nazj@vtculinaryresort.com

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737 - 743 of 1,433 reviews

Reviewed October 7, 2013

get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and allow the Essex to remind you what a vacation is designed to do..........help you decompress. Great food, drink, staff and especially the spa....all designed to clear your mind and relax your body.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank ritciewilliam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2013

We stayed two nights after finding a deal on Groupon. The property was as described....no surprises. Very inviting, clean, nice building and grounds. Our spacious room had a king bed, d the electric stove was a nice touch, but a more powerful bathroom fan would have been better. From the front desk personnel to the restaurant employees, to the valets, everyone was polite and professional. The "resort fees/taxes" that are assessed at booking is not a policy I like, but we were informed upfront and considering everything, the assessment was fair. Free coffee/tea or cider and cookies were near the front desk throughout the day. NOTE: Even though this property is only 9 or 10 miles from downtown Burlington, it will take you anywhere from 20-30 minutes to get there depending on traffic.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Sandylaneguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

Stayed for a business meeting, so while I did not get to use the spa or culinary facilities, I did get to experience the lodging, fitness center and dining. I stayed in a "junior suite" which was quite spacious and very nice appointed. The walls were a rich burgundy, not the usual hotel to be sure and quite a refreshing change. The staff were all very friendly and the food was outstanding - creative dishes perfectly seasoned and right-sized. I would like to visit again, but this time with my wife!

Room Tip: I was in room 112, junior suite, first floor, but at end of building - nice and quiet. Gas stove cr...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Brian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

Along with a group of friends, my wife and I recently spent an extended autumn weekend at The Essex. Following are my rather lengthy observations, and I strongly recommend you consider all of them before making a decision regarding a stay there.

The good:
1. Check in was easy and efficient, and the suite we reserved was ready when we arrived. Front desk staff were friendly and accommodating. And there were no surprises regarding the rates we had expected to pay.
2. Our suite, in the Manor building, had a full kitchen, including a full-sized refrigerator, a microwave, and most of the dishes, utensils and other equipment we would need had we intended to prepare meals (which we didn’t). A Keurig coffee-maker was included. There were a dining table and 4 chairs as well. The smallish living room included a very nice desk with a hutch, a comfortable sleeper-couch, two chairs, two tables, a decent-sized TV and a gas-fired, free-standing stove, a very nice amenity. The bathroom included a large sink room, and a separate bath/shower/toilet area, with a whirlpool tub. Closet space was very ample.
3. Parking was easy and convenient, even when the hotel was crowded with wedding guests.
4. An outlet mall, including Ralph Lauren, Orvis, Van Heusen, Pendleton, Bass, as well as a CVS pharmacy and a very nice supermarket, are extremely close to the hotel (although for some, this might not be considered a “good” aspect).
5. Wireless internet connectivity was available and free.
6. The terry robes in the bathroom were comfortable and very luxurious.
7. An iron and ironing board, hair dryer, and the usual bathroom amenities were available.

The not-so-good:
1. The tiny bedroom had a dresser, a small TV and only a queen-sized bed, and the bed was not as comfortable as it should have been.
2. The forced-air heating made the rooms very dry, and along with some mold in the rooms, this triggered allergy attacks for both of us.
3. The TVs had no options for any premium channels or movies, and no interface at all with the hotel operations.
4. The corner stall shower was so small we could barely turn around in it.
5. The towels were uniformly stiff and relatively small. No oversized bath towels were provided.
6. Spa treatments were good, but typically pricey, and no better or worse than we’ve had at other hotels that don’t clam “spa” status.
7. One couple in our party was extremely unhappy with their dark, tiny room (which they likened to more of a “tomb”) as well as discovering the lack of maid service when they returned in the late afternoon.

The bad and the ugly:
1. The Essex touts itself as a New England getaway spa, in a beautiful area with views, etc. Don’t be misled. This place is a compound of buildings in a flat, charmless spot adjacent to a highway with nary a hill in sight. It is surrounded by condo villages and shopping malls. A man-made little pond with a fountain on a grassy spot surrounded by parking lots and access roads is used for outdoor weddings.
2. We were extremely put off by the charges imposed for everything. Bicycles are available, but for rental only. Want to take a shower in the spa building before or after a swim in their pool? There’s a $20 fee! Golf or tennis? Get your wallet out. Take a class in their culinary center? More than $100 per person per session. A few hammocks on the property were free if you could find any available (we couldn’t).
3. Some of our party were charged a “Spa fee” regardless of their never having stepped into the spa facilities.
4. This was the first time in many years that we’ve stepped into a room in a somewhat “upscale” hotel where there wasn’t a single courtesy item waiting for us - not a bottle of water, or a 10-cent piece of chocolate or even an apple. (There were a basket of apples and coffee and tea available in the main lobby in a separate building.)
5. On a warm, Sunday afternoon when we wanted to enjoy a drink on their outdoor tavern patio, we were extremely dismayed to find it was closed and that no bar service would be available until after 5pm. (We had to plead with some of the staff to break the rules and provide drinks and we slipped out past the locked doors and sat in the closed patio anyway.)
6. Claiming status as a culinary arts center, we found the food inconsistent. At lunch, soups and chowders were very good, but some sandwiches and wraps were mediocre at best. Breakfast was also spotty, with a few of our party sending back dishes to be prepared as ordered. And there was no buffet breakfast available on the weekend; only menu choices were offered. Our breakfast at the airport going home proved to be at least as good, if not better, than the fare at the Essex.

In summary, we were not very happy with our stay at the Essex. Its overall ambiance was more of a commercial business operation built on a boring tract of land from the ground up, luring guests with images of a spa getaway in the mountains. If you’re traveling to the Burlington area and have no specific reason to stay at The Essex (i.e. for a wedding), I’d recommend you consider any of the other hotels in or around the city itself, such as the Sheraton or the Hilton. At least then you’d be in town with lots to do, and you’d be close to the Church Street pedestrian mall, several excellent restaurants, Lake Champlain, UVM, and many of the other attractions available there. Don’t be fooled like we were.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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9  Thank LarryScott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EssexResort-VT, Manager at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded October 3, 2013

The Trip Advisor forum is a wonderful tool that, when used properly, provides travelers with access to experiences at properties they may consider visiting. It is unfortunate that this opportunity to express opinions has been so unfairly used in this review. I implore readers of this review to analyze it carefully and afterward to feel free to reach out to me personally so I may address concerns on a point by point basis as it contains inconsistencies and false information.


Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
nazj@vtculinaryresort.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

***There is a daily resort fee plus tax added to your final bill***

The plumbing wall in the bathroom is not insulated properly so every time the people beside us used the flush we clearly heard it from the bed.

I have spent far less money and stayed in much cleaner hotel rooms. I am including photos of room 317 so other can see for yourself what we saw. (Both Quality or Comfort Inn's have much cleaner and better finished rooms for half the cost, plus they have mini fridge's in ALL the rooms and the plumbing wall is insulated better!)

I went down to the front desk and spoke to Willie about the cleanliness of room 317 within 1/2 of our arrival (we were there for 3 NIGHTS). Willie returned to the room with me to see for himself. He agreed the room should have been cleaner, and he assured me he would leave a note for the head of housekeeping. (I later confirmed with him that he had done so.)

- Vent above shower disgusting, clearly had not been cleaned in a very long time. (a trigger for asthma)
- Black mold on bathtub grout in several areas. (another trigger for asthma)
- Previous guest's dried pimple puss on makeup mirror which we found disgusting. (Willie actually cleaned it himself.)
- Cobwebs around fire sprinkler (on right side of bed)
- Dried liquid creamer in front of coffee set up. I scraped some of it so it would show up better in the photo.
- Dried paint on carpeting (right side of bed), paint peeling in several place in the room.
- Clogged tub (handyman fixed the problem, there was about 4" of water in the tub all day long)
- One bathrobe in closet even though the booking was for 2 adults. (Thankfully I had packed a robe so I didn't have to call down for another robe on the night we went to use the hot tub)
- blanket on the end of the bed had 2 spots with dried white stuff

Best things were: Willie the bellman, comfortable bed, excellent pastries, and the hot tub.

For the record, Willie offered us a complimentary pastry to compensate for the condition of the room which was a nice gesture though it was far too late to be eating any food at this point. We did take him up on this offer of 2 pastries on our last night, and they were excellent.

A man not staying on resort had booked a massage and afterwards he was told he could use the hot tub and pool, so he came into the hot tub in his tight white thin underwear which made my daughter very uncomfortable. (If the person doing the spa bookings mentioned the extra features of a hot tub and swimming pool then people coming from off site could bring the appropriate clothing!!!)

As for food we never used restaurant as the prices were too high. This was a mother daughter shopping trip so hanging onto our shopping money really was important to us.

There was not a mini fridge in room 317, though you can ask at the front desk and they will store items that must remain cold in their fridge. (Willie put our room number on the bag but when I asked for it the woman at the front desk said there was no room number on it. Stapling the room number to the bag is a simple solution!)

Complimentary coffee in lobby much better than coffee in your room. We only discovered this upon check out as we left the hotel each day from a different door rather than the lobby.

On the second morning we put the do not disturb sign on the door as we were only heading out around 11 a.m. unfortunately we forgot to remove it from the outer doorknob. (The bathtub had about 4" of water standing in it when we left the room. There was a housekeeper in the hallway so I mentioned the problem to her, but she told me that was not one of her assigned rooms so I asked her to please mention it to head of housekeeping. I also mentioned that there already was a formal complaint about the room for her via Willie.)

When we returned around 8:30p.m. there was a note on the outside of our door stating since we had put the do not disturb sign on the door they had not made up our room. Okay, fair enough, BUT why did the head of housekeeping not even come and knock on the door and getting no response check the room to deal with the complaints about the cleanliness of the room???
(front desk said eventually they would have come into the room. Would that have been on day 3??????? If a guest who had also forgotten to remove the do not disturb sign from the outside of their door actually died in the room would they only discover that days later was the argument I put to the front desk upon check out.)



Our booking was via Hotwire (first and last time using this hotel booking service), we wanted a hotel "in Burlington proper", unfortunately Hotwire would not change our hotel location so we went on our trip and made the best of the situation by staying in Essex.

FTR The night before we went to Vermont, which was September 24th I emailed the hotel to ask a couple of questions. I never received a reply.

For $ 200.00 a night we clearing overpaid.

Have not shown a photo of the 4" of water in the tub since it was fixed

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
    • Cleanliness
7  Thank LadyMcD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EssexResort-VT, Manager at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2013

Dear LadyMcD,

Thank you for choosing to spend your mother daughter shopping trip with us and for taking the time to review your experience. Our Executive Housekeeper and Director of Facilities have recently begun a comprehensive and aggressive program to address the very issues you mentioned. This is the type of program that must be a targeted and continuous effort and while we have experienced great results, clearly our work is not done. It is terribly unfortunate to hear that a small number of our rooms have not been given the attention they deserve. I only wish this forum permitted me to post pictures of the majority of our rooms that are cleaned and maintained to the high standard expected.
Our Spa is a world class facility and this is echoed by the five out of five overall rating earned by the Trip Advisor community. Our Spa Director has done a great job in ensuring visitors to the Spa are aware that the entire facility is available to them even if they are not staying with us. However, this is a great opportunity to reinforce that training. It is certainly our desire that all of our guests conduct themselves in a manner that is considerate of others.
Our Housekeepers are trained to not knock and or enter a room with a do not disturb sign. This is in respect to the wishes of the guest who placed the sign to not be disturbed. A note is placed on doors with this preference as a proactive measure in the event the guest forgot to remove the sign prior to leaving for the day.
It is unfortunate that you were not able to take advantage of the wonderful food offered at the Resort. Your comments regarding pricing have been shared with our Culinary team. This is always valuable information for them as they try to balance providing fresh, locally sourced food that is prepared by talented culinary artists with affordability. When pricing menu items, other like properties in the area are taken into consideration and we feel we are competitively and fairly priced.

Thank you again for your honest and valuable feedback,

Nazba Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations

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Reviewed September 27, 2013

We read the reviews, especially the groupon ones, and figured we would give it a try because it still seemed like a good deal. I have to say, it was a steal! 2 nights, spa access and dinner in the tavern for $299. The room was great; large and clean. Other than the furniture needing some upgrading it was great. We didn't mind our sunshine yellow room, but walking by a few other rooms, it seemed we lucked out. We upgraded to a bigger room, it was room 212. The spa was modern and clean and the pool and jacuzzi were nice. We both got a spa service which was perfect and priced right. The Tavern for dinner was great. We had the breakfast buffet at Amuse which was pretty good. Overall, we would certainly recommend this inn.

  • Stayed: September 2013
    • Value
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1  Thank Mary0216
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa

Address: 70 Essex Way, Essex, VT 05452-3383
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Vermont > Essex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Price Range: $143 - $351 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 120
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on 18 acres between the vistas of the Green Mountains and the splendor of Lake Champlain, The Essex is Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa. The Essex is a true destination, offering a full-service Spa and Fitness Center, cooking classes in the J.K. Adams and Chef's Kitchens of Cook Academy, and our two award-winning restaurants-- all of which perfectly complement our classic accommodations.The Essex is the premier choice for your next group event and is the perfect Vermont wedding destination for dozens of happy couples tying the knot each year. From our own Vermont Tennis Vacations to our wine list, ranked among the best in the world, The Essex offers you an experience unlike any other resort in New England. ...a true Recipe for Relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Essex, Vermont`s Culinary Hotel Essex
The Essex, Vermont`s Culinary Resort And Spa
Essex Vermonts Culinary Junction
Essex Vermonts Culinary Hotel
Inn Essex
The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa

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