The transition from country hotel to full-service resort

“Country Inn Charm… Luxury Hotel Service” 

All thru the 1990’s and early 2000’s, this was our tag line.  We certainly were – and continue to be – “charming”, and the fact is, we’re the most luxurious property in our region (heck – we are the only AAA Four-Diamond Resort in Chittenden County / Greater Burlington).  But this tag line, though accurate, sometimes just didn’t feel like us.  During our formative early years, it probably did best describe what we were:  a very nice country hotel providing exceptional service and wonderful dining by the New England Culinary Institute (NECI).  Those traits certainly live on today, but they tell only a small piece of what has evolved at our property over the past five-plus years.

Since 2003, we have been experiencing a steady evolution towards what will come to fruition this spring, making us the only full-service, luxury resort in the Greater Burlington, Vermont area.

Here’s a snapshot of that evolution:

2003 Spring – Owners agree there is pent up demand for world-class, full service resort in the Greater Burlington, and it needed to be filled.  We realize that a spa is really needed in this area – and lack of indoor pool has been hurting our business for years!  Resort theme needs to be pursued with a culinary angle that we uniquely possess having one of the top rated culinary schools in the country here on-site.  How can we really integrate the classroom with the dining room, in an exciting and accessible way?

2003/2004 – 90 hotel guest rooms are renovated by renowned designer of Manchester VT – Susan Sargent.  Links at Lang Farm Golf Course opens all 18 holes across the street from the Inn.  

2004 – 6 Har-Tru Tennis Courts are built and partnership formed with New England Tennis Holidays, the #1 adult rated tennis program in the country.  Spa study begins, initial consultants hired.  NECI receives coveted Wine Spectator Award for our wine list!

2005 – Relationship formed with Vermont National Country Club (semi-private Jack Nicklaus golf course) and Country Club of Vermont (exclusive course with spectacular views) to offer the finest golf venues in Vermont!  Partnership with Dacor is formed, and hands-on-kitchen is built to offer classes to the general public by the New England Culinary Institute.

2006 – Permitting is submitted, plans begin for the spa.  We see a distinct shift in our guest mix to those looking to stay on property more and make the most of our on-site amenities, in addition to our Burlington area assets.

2007 – Spa permitting is approved.  Inn becomes approved as an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge… the first in Vermont!  We purchase a hot air balloon as an additional resort offering.

2008 – Spa begins construction!!  Stocked fly-casting pond is added to front of property.  Northern Lights Rock and Ice builds an on-site rock and ice climbing facility with twin 400 ft zip lines for yet another interesting resort amenity.

2009 – Spa is scheduled for a spring 2009 opening!  A 22,000 sq. ft facility featuring 10 treatment rooms, full salon services, movement studio, multiple coed and same-sex relaxation areas, 25 yard indoor pool with 18 person outdoor hot tub and 900+ sq. ft. fitness center.

So today, we look at our original name (“The Inn at Essex”) and realize,we are no longer an “inn” (never really were), and this says nothing of what we offer or are coming to be.

With that, I introduce, The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

Hope to see you soon and often!

Jim Glanville, Vice President & General Manager


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