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The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
NYC
Level Contributor
73 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Sad...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2014

I REALLY wanted to like this place more. It's sad that The Essex has so much potential but it's not living up to it. The property was nice but it looked like some work was going on to prepare for the summer. It also has a 25 minute proximity to Waterbury and Burlington. When we arrived, we were greeted with a tepid reception by the people at the front desk. I expected a certain amount of warmth arriving at an inn in Vermont. I noticed the pastry case as we walked in and thought it was such a cute idea since we were at this "culinary" resort. We stayed in the main building and our room felt old when we got in. One of the blinds was broken and was hanging crooked. I had requested a fridge for my insulin. It came promptly but it smelled pretty bad. I don't know why but it smelled like cigarettes! They should consider propping the doors open wherever they keep them when they're not in use. We decided to have dinner at The Tavern our first night. Like another reviewer, I didn't find out Amuse was closed until a couple of days before our stay. Annoying but didn't wreck the trip since I was going into Waterbury for dinner for the other night of our stay. Our server, Jazz, was very helpful. We enjoyed the majority of the dinner. Cheese curds were good but not a must. The chicken wings were really good. We got a split order so we could try both. They did not disappoint. I got the bbq chicken (meh), roasted parsnips (not great) and the mac and cheese (delish!). My husband got the swordfish. Enjoyed everything but his potatoes were warm on the outside and a bit cold on the inside. We skipped dessert because we were pretty full but she reminded us about the case by reception. As we exited, the hostesses offered us some maple hard candies they had just put out. It was a nice touch and they were tasty. I went to take a look at the case and it looked exactly the same as it did when we arrived; a few half empty trays on different shelves. We had tried to book facials the day we arrived but were told the estheticians were fully booked the next day so we never got to try the spa. We slept well even though the bed wasn't great (pillows were actually better than the bed!) and went to the gym the next morning (adequate but only one channel on the elliptical machine TVs worked). After, we had bfast at The Tavern and sat outside. I was looking forward to it because I had read good things about the breakfast. Other than the awesome lemon poppy muffin and the homemade English muffin, our eggs were mediocre and my hash browns were suffering from the same problem as the potatoes the night before. As we left after breakfast to go sightseeing, I took a peek at the case out of curiosity. One fresh tray was added but the ones that were there from the previous afternoon were still there and in the same spot. Thanks to a nice young lady at the front desk we had spoken to the night before, we did some nice things in Burlington and visited Lake Champlain. When we checked out the following day, there were multiple charges on our bill that made no sense. Initially Wyatt asked us to call later when the billing people were in but when he saw we weren't comfortable with that, he took the time to figure it out and he fixed it. As we exited, the case was still the same as the night before. What I thought was a cute idea initially, just irritated me now. They need to make it look like someone is paying attention to it! They should condense the items as they sell them; not leave so much space in there. It just doesn't say much about the culinary part. Also, if you are a "culinary" resort, a nice touch would be to give the people checking out a baked good or some candy just as a thank you. I did forget to mention that there was a plate of cheese and bread waiting for us in our room. It was lovely of them but the bread was buttered, the plate was wrapped in plastic, therefore the bread was soggy and the brie was runny (?!). I appreciate small details when I stay at an inn. I feel that the Essex misses a lot of opportunities to make you want to come back.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank boriqua72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 28 June 2014
Dear boriqua72,

Thank you for your insights, perspective and suggestions. It is unfortunate that we did miss these various opportunities to exceed your expectations. I assure you this information will be put to good use as a valuable learning and training opportunity.
Hopefully you may consider a return visit with us sometime in the future as I am certain we can provide you with the level of service, quality and attention to detail you would expect from us.

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
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1,354 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (271)
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English first
Montreal
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

The Essex has tremendous potential to become a real gem .Sadly , either the owners don't care see this or don't have the money to put into this "resort" . Everything is there ,the tennis courts ,the indoor and outdoor pool gym etc.. But ... its old and is in need of major upgrades .If you don't care for the look of your hotel and are willing to do with a an old looking resort ,then by all means this is the place .Otherwise , it might be a better to spend your hard earned money elsewhere.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank mgaty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 27 June 2014
Dear mgaty,

It is unfortunate to hear that you did not have the opportunity to see the many features of our Resort that are well maintained and or recently updated. Please permit me to highlight a few. For our arrival experience, the driveway has just been re-surfaced and the front areas re-painted. We have just completed construction of our signature restaurant, Junction. Our grand opening is scheduled for July. Our preventive maintenance crew visits a selection of rooms daily and in fact, we have one gentleman who is dedicated to touch up paint in our public spaces. Our rooms are all equipped with flat screen TV sets, Keurig coffee makers & Ipod docking stations. We have recently upgraded our bed-linens, towels and pillows. Our landscaping crew is hard at work expanding our outdoor pool patio to accommodate additional seating. Our world class spa is a recent addition and is highly rated on Trip Advisor. Our tennis courts have just been re-surfaced for the season.
There is so much more that we have done to keep the Resort fresh and in good repair but these are just a few examples that came to mind. Oh and don't forget the beautiful Vermont views!

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2014

My husband and I stayed at the Essex in February as part one of our honeymoon. The food was great, the rooms were awesome and its a great location for shopping and winter adventures. We took advantage of the cooking class offerings and had the maple creme brulee EVERY NIGHT. It was fabulous! As vegetarians, my husband and I are usually cautious at new restaurants. The staff here were very accommodating to our needs and even let us sneak back to our room with creme brulee and hot chocolate one afternoon when we felt like staying in. The French restaurant was a little heavy for our taste (we're used to lighter fare) but I think that's pretty much the case for all French cuisine for us. Either way, the staff were very attentive and helpful in helping us find things we would enjoy.

For those who enjoy adventure, there was a zipline and climbing course that backed up to the property and there's lots of room for snowshoeing. Overall, it was a great experience and we hope to be back next winter.

Room Tip: The Spa Suite was excellent. You can still fit two people in a luxury suite tub, but the spa suite...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank uber00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 26 June 2014
Dear uber00,

Congratulations and thank you for choosing to spend part 1 of your honeymoon with us at the Essex Resort & Spa.

I am happy to hear we met your expectations and you took full advantage of all the Resort has to offer.

See you again soon.....or maybe next year on your first anniversary.

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2014

So I'm on the second day of my reservation here, and given my schedule I figured I would do the review while I'm sitting in the hotel room because I'll forget by the time I get home (I'm in the Mansion, for people that are wondering about how the different buildings vary).

I think the main problem with the hotel is the use of the term resort in the title. I think if you view this hotel as a slightly dingy Marriott then its easier to not be disappointed. I got the room on a groupon and I've ended up in a fairly small room with a slanted wall, which more resembles an attic room, more than anything else. My assumption is that groupon people get slightly crappier rooms (because the hotel doesn't seem full). But I read a ton of reviews before coming here so I'm neither shocked or disappointed in my experience thus far, its basically what I expected (I updated this review and downgraded review by one less star based on the fire alarm and other experiences).

Now the reasons why I don't think its a resort (it tries to be but fails):

- A resort would let guests know earlier than a few hours beforehand about a fire alarm test at 11am. I was up until 3am the previous night and did not see any notice slipped under my door about the fire alarm testing, which happened just eight hours later. So they slipped a notice about a fire alarm testing sometime in the early morning before they actually did it - without considering that most people who are on vacation will not actually be up early to see the notice.

- A resort would let guests know before they checked in that their main, flagship restaurant was closed for renovations (I only knew because someone posted it on a review)

- A resort would let guests know before they checked in that their interior pool and hot tub were being cleaned (sadly they are being cleaned until the day I leave)

- The grounds would be ... better. When you are in the area where the hammocks and fire pit, they should have sufficient trees and shrubbery so that you don't see the road and highway. It really takes away from the ambiance (and I've spent a lot of time at places in Tanglewood, which really just have spectacular grounds)

- A resort would make it clear what the $20 resort fee was for - we brought bikes with us not knowing that the resort fee covered bike rentals. I couldn't find that out on the website and when I called to confirm my reservation that was definitely not mentioned

- A resort would not charge to use an exercise room that is no different than any regular hotel (and I have traveled a lot for business around the US, and I've never been charged to use an exercise room and sauna, which is effectively all the resort fee covers since the pool and hot tub are MIA and I brought bikes)

- A resort would not have black smudges on the wall in the bathroom. My bathroom wall in fact has some black smudges (see picture posted).

- A resort would have an actual table in your hotel room for your computer. I have one tiny table which also contains the keurig coffee maker (but I would never keep my laptop there or any electronics near water or food).

- A resort would have windows that open - I have one tiny window in my room which does not open. And considering the fresh Vermont air, its a mystery and a shame that it does not open.

- A resort would have a guide to the television channels that is accurate. There is a guide in the packet on my desk but it is outdated and inaccurate (again its about the details if they are an actual resort).

We tried the tavern and the food was good, but not great. The bread was chewy, like the yeast had not completely risen right and it was also overly salty (I think they were trying for an onion focaccia type of bread). My first sandwich was abysmal and they took it off our bill and I ended up with a perfectly fine hamburger (it was medium rare when I asked for a medium but I was starving so I didn't really care). My partner had fish and chips, which are standard pub food, yet the fish was overlooked and the chips were strangely waffle cut flat french fries that were overly fried and greasy. These are surprising mistakes for a place that is supposed to be a culinary spot. The dessert was surprisingly good, given dinner.

The people who work here are definitely polite and try, its just not a resort and there are significant problems here. As a place to rest our heads while navigating through Burlington, it works but I would never go here to relax or spend time on the actual grounds. And I highly doubt when we come back to Vermont that we will choose this place again.

An addendum to my experience at The Essex. By the end of our stay I started to wonder why I was sore every morning after sleeping on the bed and why it felt so strange. My partner and I lifted up the mattress and lo and behold the king size bed was made out of two twin size box springs, with no springs. And holding them together was cardboard taped together (see the pictures I added). I am just amazed they can call themselves a resort with that low level of quality to the beds.

Also, there was clearly water damage on the floor in my room (see the pictures I added).

When we checked out, I realized I was double billed for the refrigerator (they should be $10 a night and I was charged $20). Since we weren't actually asked about the quality of our stay we just started complaining as we were waiting for the double billing to be removed. So for all of the problems we had (outlined in my review), $30 was taken off my bill (once the double billing error was removed).

Apparently the cardboarded together box springs, being woken up by the fire alarm (that we were given a few hours notice of), the water damage on the rug, the smudges on the bathroom wall, and the other ancillary matters I mentioned in my review were worth .... $30.

Stay classy, The Essex.

Room Tip: Don't stay at this hotel!
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank LilMonster9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 26 June 2014
Dear LilMonster9999,

The perspective of a guest can be of great value even if the message is less than positive. There are some points here that may be helpful in our efforts to constantly improve our products and services. However, there is much to this review that is exaggerated, mean spirited and not entirely true. I would be more than happy to have an opportunity to discuss these points with you and I have included my email address below.

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
Clifton Park, New York
Level Contributor
108 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 June 2014

We completed a one night stay here today. The staff was attentive and welcoming but, the room was showing a need to update. The furniture was banged up, mold in the bathroom (vent clogged with dust) and the window curtains were badly frayed. Then there is that $20 "resort fee". For what? - we stayed the night and had a drink in the bar. 3 stars max in my book.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DisneyDad2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 June 2014
Dear DisneyDad2,

It is unfortunate to hear we may have fallen short of your expectations. Your comments and observations regarding the room are of concern and will be passed along to our Maintenance team. These are certainly items on the list of wear and tear items addressed daily by our preventive maintenance squad. The vent in your bathroom is an exit duct that pulls air and moisture from the room. While some dust may be visible, the air is not blowing into the space. This is also an item that is routinely cleaned and clearly requires constant attention. In fact, I toured our guest rooms recently with a representative of the VT Department of Health who inspected many areas and specifically these vents. We passed with no violations.

Additionally, it is unfortunate you were not able to experience and take full advantage of the many varied activities, adventures and amenities the Resort has to offer.

Please consider a return visit so you may take it all in!

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Iowa City, Iowa
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

The staff at the Essex were cheery and accomodating, and the layout of the grounds and our premeir suite was very nice.

I can tell by the pictures that some of the rooms have been very nicely updated-- ours however had not, not since the opening of the resort by the looks of it. It felt a little like false advertising.

The pools were fun for the kids and the restaurants had great options for all 4 of us.

The grounds could really use a sprucing up, lots of errant grass in the landscaped beds and tons of dandelions and weeds in the lawn. My husband and son tried the lawn checkers, but even early in the season, the set was missing several pieces,

My massage was great and the spa was perfect in every way-- luxurious robes and great personnel and facilities.

In short, it felt the main infrastructure needs of a hotel and restaurant were there, but not enough attention to detail pizazz for a world-class resort.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 June 2014
Dear Rebecca M,

Thank you for choosing to stay with us at the Essex Resort & Spa and for having a great time. While I agree that a constant attention to details, wear and tear maintenance is required, I must say that much has been done to keep the Resort in tip top shape. Flat screen TV's in all rooms, Keurig coffee makers, WIFI, property wide, a mattress replacement program, IPOD docks, upgraded pillows & bedding and much more in just our rooms. Our driveway was just re-surfaced, our signature restaurant has been completely remade in both appearance and service level.....the list goes on.
Please forgive us for the dandelions. As part of our green commitment, we do not use harsh chemicals anywhere on property. This puts us at a slight disadvantage in the fight against the worthy adversaries in our lawns.

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort Operations
Report response as inappropriate
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Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2014

Little sister and I on a girls trip from Florida.
2 Great cooking classes with Brandy. Who even heard of Fiddle Fern? But oh so yummy! Several bike rides around the beautiful neighborhoods, a dip in the hot tub. A visit to the Links golf shop for a shirt. Booked a walking tour that included a delish lunch from Essex all home made bread and sweets. Can't wait to get back out there and visit the spa next time.
Thanks Essex. Red headed driver from front desk that took us to airport was great sorry I forgot your name. Staff was great rooms were great.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Leeann E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EssexResort-VT, Director of Resort Operations at The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 23 June 2014
Dear Leeann E,

Thank you both for staying with us and for having such a great time. It is quite rewarding when we hear such great news. Ryan is the gentleman who drove the shuttle for you. Ryan is a recent addition and has been a frequent recipient of positive remarks from guests.
Your support and recognition of the Essex Resort & Spa is much appreciated.

Naz Jenulevich
Director of Resort & Spa
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa

Property: The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa
Address: 70 Essex Way, Essex, VT 05452-3383
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Vermont > Essex
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Essex
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 120
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on 18 acres between the vistas of the Green Mountains and the splendor of Lake Champlain, The Essex is Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa. The Essex is a true destination, offering a full-service Spa and Fitness Center, cooking classes in the J.K. Adams and Chef's Kitchens of Cook Academy, and our two award-winning restaurants-- all of which perfectly complement our classic accommodations.The Essex is the premier choice for your next group event and is the perfect Vermont wedding destination for dozens of happy couples tying the knot each year. From our own Vermont Tennis Vacations to our wine list, ranked among the best in the world, The Essex offers you an experience unlike any other resort in New England. ...a true Recipe for Relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Essex, Vermont`s Culinary Resort And Spa
The Essex, Vermont`s Culinary Hotel Essex
Essex Vermonts Culinary Junction
Essex Vermonts Culinary Hotel
Inn Essex
The Essex, Vermont's Culinary Resort & Spa

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