If you’re in the US, you’ll know it’s already pretty hot through most of the country. I’m running way behind on posting this review as the snow in the pictures will tell you.
One of the most special parts of Starwood Preferred Guest are the properties that comprise the Luxury Collection. These are properties that usually don’t carry a flag, like Westin or Sheraton. Generally speaking, they have historical or cultural significance, such as the Hotel Danieli in Venice.
The Equinox Resort in Vermont, located in Manchester Village, has been on our radar for quite some time. Located in a small town in the heart of ski country, the property dates back almost 250 years. I’ll be reviewing the restaurants at the hotel as well as activities in the area in a separate post.
The hotel portion was given its current name when Franklin Orvis (yes, that Orvis) in 1853 dubbed it the Equinox House.
Four US Presidents have stayed at the Equinox over the years, William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Benjamin Harrison. The number would be five Presidents, as Mrs. Lincoln visited the hotel a couple of times before a joint trip with her husband was planned. The hotel constructed a special suite for his arrival but he was assassinated before the planned summer trip.
The property is made up of a number of small buildings, some detached, including the Charles Orvis Inn and the 1811 house with a grand total of 195 rooms. For our stay we had rooms in the main building. There’s a small driveway up front where valets can assist you with your luggage. There’s also a small parking lot in back, but during the winter, I doubt lugging in suitcases from there would end up being very fun. As soon as we walked in the front door we were greeted with hot apple cider and fresh-made donuts.
The check-in process was straight forward, though our rooms weren’t quite ready. We hung out in a living room area, then went for a bite to eat and our rooms were ready shortly after lunch.
We had requested connecting rooms since we wanted some extra space. Based on the age and configuration of the property, there aren’t a whole lot of connecting rooms, but my SPG Ambassador was able to make this happen for us. The type of rooms we had connected by closing off a door at the end of a hallway. This worked out great because we inherited a large space that the hotel moved a few chairs into. Since this was to be a mini family reunion, that became the hangout area for the kids when we weren’t swimming or exploring the area.
The rooms themselves were beautifully appointed and impeccably maintained. Our rooms ran along the window line of the front and back corner of the hotel and were quite sizable. There was a desk beside an armoire, along with some soft seating and a flat screen TV. There was plenty of space for our luggage and to unpack, and virtually the entire front and side wall of the room were floor to ceiling windows.
The bathroom was located at the far end of the room with a sink outside. The amenities were Remede, something I’ve seen in other SPG properties such as the St. Regis, Rome. For a historic property, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the quality of the rooms. They definitely exceeded our expectations.
The hotel has a large indoor pool and spa complex located a short walk from the main building. The fitness center is located there as well. In properties such as these, fitness centers can sometimes be an oversight. But, the fitness center was a decent size and all the equipment was new. It was also more popular than I would have expected considering we were there the week after Christmas and every piece of equipment was occupied.
The kids enjoyed the pool but also wanted to stick their feet in the outdoor hot tub while it was snowing for a few minutes. Needless to say, Charlie had fun bringing the snow over to the hot tub and watching it melt. He even caught Michelle with a snowball!
One feature of the property that we truly enjoyed were the many public spaces throughout the hotel where you can congregate, both inside and out. There were tables with board games, fireplaces with comfortable chairs and couches, outdoor fire pits and plenty of little nooks to sit and read. All of these give the property a warmth you might find in a lodge, or possibly at home. Even though the property was full to capacity we never felt crowded as we walked around or found a place to sit by a fire.
The Equinox is a Category 5 property in the Starwood Preferred Guest program. That means 12,000 points during low season and 16,000 points a night during high season. We paid 16,000 points a night for the week after Christmas, but I see very few weeks where that’s the price. There are plenty of weekends in November and December that are 12,000 points a night and other holidays, like 4th of July weekend are the same.
The property is charming, the service is warm and efficient. If you’re bound for Vermont for summer, fall foliage or snow, the Equinox is affordable luxury with the help of Starpoints.
Stay tuned for a review of the restaurants as well as some activities we participated in during our stay.
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