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.
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- Also Known As:
- Inn At Shelburne Farms Hotel Shelburne