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“The American equivalent of staying at a chateau in the Loire Valley”

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Inn at Shelburne Farms
Ranked #2 of 4 Shelburne B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 18, 2013

This is the old Vanderbilt "summer cottage", perfectly situated on a grassy knoll overlooking rolling lawns, manicured gardens and Lake Champlain, with layers of silver-grey mountains on the far side of the lake -- so don't think "hotel" and don't think "inn" in the usual American experience. Think , rather, that you have been invited to be a guest of a great family for a long weekend ... not unlike, I imagine, being a guest at an English country estate or an informal French chateau..

The lakeside rooms are almost universally spacious and charming, with outstanding lake views. Twenty years ago, while dropping off our son at a nearby college, we stayed in the Rose Room, which we thought to have been perfect. This time it was Webb room. . not quite to my taste,
but large and comfortable with three windows on the lakeside.(The Webb room had been a man's room, while the Rose room had a distinctly feminine vibe.)

As others have noted, the restaurant, while good, does not measure up to what it should be, and has been, but it is right there on the premises , and it is " good enough" because of that. I would not otherwise recommend it for fine dining , but I have no experience in the area with which to compare it, . The atmosphere of the staff in the restaurant is friendly and casual. For some, this venue is a big date night, or a place to celebrate an event, and people dress up; others are equally in place being well dressed, but less formal.

In a nutshell what you have here is a first- rate property that relies a bit too much on that fact, and fails to pull off the five- star service to which the property is, by all right, entitled--possibly because it doesn't have to, but possibly because that was never what it was about.

Staff are friendly and pleasant, and while some details are well looked after, others are not. Complaints are taken seriously and immediately and pleasantly attended to, but there is a certain level of disorganization, as if no one is making that list and checking it twice.


It just seems a shame, with this property, this location,this history, this potential and these prices, but there you have it. A certain level of luxury raises expectations with respect to service, and when those expectations are not met, it is all the more noticeable.

Should you go? Absolutely. They do "relaxation" and beauty very well indeed.


If you go with the flow you will have a wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Amaryllisum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
InnDirector, Manager at Inn at Shelburne Farms, responded to this reviewResponded October 19, 2013

Dear Amaryllisum,
Thank you for writing such great comments about our property.

I would be curious to hear more details about the service and organization that you mention in your review - meeting guest expectations is an ongoing process and one that we take very seriously.

You can contact me directly at kpolihronakis@shelburnefarms.org or by telephone at 802-985-8498.

I look foward to hearing from you.

Karen Polihronakis
Inn Director

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 - 120 of 206 reviews

Reviewed October 12, 2013

The best hotel I experienced in the USA! No airco, no noise. The website tells it all, and I specially like the very calm, relaxed atmosphere. Beautiful walks and if you dare you can swim in the lake. I am from Holland.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Jelle580
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

What makes this hotel so special is that it is in one of the great shingle-style homes in the United States. It manages to preserve the architectural character of the house and respects the history of the Webb family that built it while being a luxurious hotel at the same time.

The rooms manage to strike that same balance. We stayed in the yellow room, with its charming sunken bathroom and the view out to the old elm marsh. The elms are long gone, but the view is still pleasing.

The most fun part of the hotel is downstairs, with all the wonderful rooms, such as the great hall and the library, the porches, and the recently restored balustrade overlooking a breathtaking view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the West.

The restaurant is first-class, with a reliance on local produce, including that from Shelburne Farms itself. The service is warm and not intrusive. I loved the leisurely pace of dinner, but without a complaint from us, the hotel offered complimentary dessert and wine to apologize for the delay.

The hotel has young and old guests, and you may find it hard to sleep in, as it is easy to hear the early risers.

Still, we loved this place so much that we want to come back next year, and bring a friend.

Room Tip: The Yellow Room is really a suite with three beds, and so is perfect for three friends.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank FThys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We visited the Inn at Shelburne Farms for a truly wonderful dining experience in the midst of foliage season. The food was excellent, the service A+ and the view overlooking Lake Champlain was breathtaking. We have enjoyed the Farm and Museum when our children were young and we always look forward to our return visits at this elegant turn of the century country mansion. We have not lodged there but imagine the accommodations to be impressive.

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

The Inn is simply glorious. The setting is an old mansion in an estate setting right on Lake Champlain. The inn itself is old, creaky, and beautiful, with tons of personality and mercifully no television. We stayed in the White Room, which offered an amazing view of the lake. It was comfortable and quite large and we would absolutely consider the same room in the future.

As a guest at the inn, you can easily spend your days wandering the trails and the property, visiting the barns, and gazing at the various vistas of mountains and the lake. You can see the gorgeous garden, sink into an Adirondack chair while having tea and pastries, stare at the sunset over the water, and sit in front of a lit fireplace in the gorgeous old library while thumbing through the books. In a word, the setting and "feel" of the place was perfect.

The staff are welcoming and competent.

What takes a star away from my review is the restaurant experience. The staff were extremely friendly, but some were also painfully slow (to bring bread, to bring coffee, to refill water). While the food ranged between very good to excellent, the service concerns definitely colored the experience. And for some baffling reason, the outdoor dining area was closed off during our stay, which happened to be a glorious, warm late September weekend. At dinner our first night, the sunset was stunning and the diners either watched from inside or stepped outside to view it. Why not allow people to enjoy a table there? At breakfast the following morning, we were told that a table for two would be a 30 minute wait. But there was one couple eating outside, and when we inquired about the many empty tables around them we were told that "they are friends of the owner". When we explained to the restaurant manager that we were paying guests of the owner, she relented to setting up a table for us. Unfortunately, we again experienced a painfully slow process that led us to get up and physically request coffee refills, a check, and then a pen to sign the check. I did speak with the innkeeper who responded nicely and professionally.
But this led us to cancel dinner and brunch reservations there and to choose an off-site restaurant for breakfast during our stay.

Would we return? Absolutely! The place is just too wonderful to miss. But we would also choose to have our meals elsewhere.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2013 via mobile

We had high expectations and they were exceeded. I have to give the staff a lot of praise. I have never experienced a more friendly, helpful, and knowledgable staff. They were excellent! The grounds were absolutely beautiful and impressive! The Inn was awe inspiring! The tour was great. An excellent place to relax and disconnect from "the real world". We don't usually talk about coming back to the same place to stay, but this one is different. We would definitely do it again!

Stayed: October 2013
1  Thank goosebeast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2013

Just got back from another stay at Inn at S.B. This property is so beautiful that it stays in my memory all year. I truly love the landscape, the winding drive (over a mile) from the entrance gate to the inn building on the lake, the huge strange barn out of a Nordic fairy tale, the herds of cows, the rolling landscape, the horse-drawn wagons, the cheese-making and the night sky! It's hard to add to what others have said, but I really do not regret any stay here. As others have said, no TV, no air conditioning, and the furniture is old (almost all original to the house). The main public rooms downstairs are very special, especially on a cool fall night when the fireplaces are lit. Flower bouquets are everywhere. Charming small bar just outside the dining room. Drinks on the lawn overlooking Lake Champlain are a must. The gardens keep improving from several years ago, and I know they continue this good work. Cheese and apples come in every room. Are there any flies in the ointment? Little ones, but not worth staying away. We had the Webb room (one of the big ones) and the bed is a little annoying (not comfortable to read in bed, not given enough pillows, mattress does not fill up space within the bedstead so you cannot avoid the chilly side pieces). Restaurant not as good as it used to be, but breakfast is great, the wine list is great, coffee is strong. (Please keep offering coffee at breakfast - we should not have to look for you.) Thanks too for attentive service when guests first arrive. I love the library too and the South Porch. Best of all is the sense of space -- and the quiet. And that incredible sky. And the mountain views.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank MaxieLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Inn at Shelburne Farms

Address: 1611 Harbor Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482-7697
Location: United States > Vermont > Shelburne
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 B&Bs / Inns in Shelburne
Price Range: $155 - $480 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 27
Reservation Options:
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