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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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Sandman3858
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 created a nice ambiance. I like the room a lot.
  • 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
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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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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