I fell in love with the Equinox Resort when the bellman offered to take our dog, MeiMei, to our room while I parked the car. Driving into Manchester, Vermont with it’s right out of an American history book village greenway and steepled white washed churches against the backdrop of the Green Mountains and Mt. Equinox, I fell in love with Vermont.
Anytime of year, the Equinox is a relaxing getaway resort where you can experience Vermont with as little or as much activity as you want. A couple of weeks after buying our Connecticut home, weeks filled with ripping out shag carpet, cleaning, spackling, painting and unpacking, we wanted an easy, relaxing getaway with only enough activity to keep Mirielle and our dog entertained. For our first trip to the great state of Vermont, we found a reasonable deal at the Equinox where kids, including the furry variety, were welcomed with treats in most staff pockets.
Most of the resort is housed in over 100 year old buildings, so the rooms are smaller than more modern hotels. As Starwood Preferred Guest members (the Equinox is part of the Luxury Collection), we were upgraded to a one-bedroom suite at the Charles Orvis Inn, a few steps from the main resort buildings and the former home of Charles Orvis, founder of the outdoor equipment company.
The one-bedroom suite, named “The Watson’s Fancy” after one of Orvis’ fishing flies, included a living room with small eat-in kitchen area and adjacent bedroom and bath. It was cozy, comfortable and quiet, even with a driveway outside of our window. The lobby of the Inn had coffee, tea and other beverages available all day, plus sitting rooms and an outdoor deck.
We enjoyed room service, an early dinner at Marsh Tavern and a breakfast buffet at the Colonnade. My quick assessment – Yum! All the eateries at the Equinox make a successful effort at providing seasonal Vermont cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. The room service menu was similar to the Marsh Tavern menu including lots of comfort foods and both provided a kids menu.
Our relaxing dinner on the front porch of the Marsh Tavern got me excited about the food. Rather than a bread basket, a colonial style wooden tray of bread, corn muffins, apples and carrots was set out, accompanied by olive oil in a stainless steel flask. I had a hearty stew filled with chunks of seafood and seasonal veggies in a very light broth, served in a cast iron pot.
The breakfast buffet at Colonnade was expensive, but, beverages were included, there was a huge variety of appetizing food, anything that could get cold or congealed was prepared to order, and it was high-fructose free with Vermont maple syrup and local jams available. In fact I would put this breakfast buffet in the top five, I have experienced.
One evening we tried to get a drink at the outdoor fire pits of the Falcon Bar. The idea was Jack and I could enjoy a glass of wine while watching Mirielle run around on the lawn with our dog MeiMei. Despite few other guests, after 30 minutes we weren’t served. Waving and the usual flagging down didn’t work, though other guests were getting drinks. I felt a little like we were being blown off because we weren’t hip enough to be hanging out at the fire pits.
(Only service dogs are welcome in dining areas.)
Without leaving the main resort property, we enjoyed the indoor pool, a playscape, a game room, lots of lawn with little risk of running into the street, and the spa (separate review). Adjacent or a very short walk are hiking trails that lead to Mt. Equinox, the resort golf course, an archery school, and a falconry school. Add partnerships with Orvis for fly fishing and shooting and the Land Rover Experience Driving School, nearby ski resorts and the Manchester Designer Outlets and there is all kinds of things to keep everyone busy.
I would go back to the Equinox again and again, if I can find the right deal. As a top resort, nightly room rates start well over $200. We paid $239/night with a $50 gift certificate for the outlets and a few other perks. I keep my eye out for Friday and Saturday night deals under $199 in any of the rooms. I’m not sure why deals are promoted separately, but keep an eye on the Inns at Equinox where I have seen mid-week rates at $169/night for the contemporary townhouse rooms.