Reluctant Panther Inn & Restaurant
What We Love
- A Vermont breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate: blueberry pancakes, fresh-baked muffins, oatmeal and more
- Truly unique activities: falconry school, off-road driving classes and Orvis Fly Fishing School are all within walking distance
- Rooms all have fireplaces and flat-screen TVs, and most have whirlpool tubs
What To Know
- This is a small inn, and after 11 p.m. there’s no staff on-site (an innkeeper can be reached by phone)
- The term “Suite” is used very loosely, as some are regular rooms with no extra sitting area
With its gabled good looks and butterscotch paneling, the 20-room Reluctant Panther resembles a supersized dollhouse, a brick-and-mortar slice of the Americana. Originally a colonial tavern dating back to the 1800s, a 2005 fire and subsequent revamp have garnered it a host of modern must-haves (flat-screen TVs, spa tubs) as well as an award-winning farm-to-table restaurant. Add the ambience people come to Vermont for in the first place, and a spot on a quiet residential street (just a few minutes from the Bromley ski resort), and this place is the quintessential New England escape.
Bed and Bath
Cozy guestrooms have a classic B&B style with just enough mod cons. All have least one gas or wood fireplace, a large LG flat-screen TV, free WiFi, a Keurig K-Cup machine and a marble-clad bathroom (where you can unwind in a large soaking tub with Gilchrist & Soames spa goodies).
The inn’s award-winning restaurant is a sedate space of pumpkin-colored walls, royal purple curtains and views of Mount Equinox. Head chef Jonathan Cox is obsessive about cooking local finds, so much of the menu is the fruits of his partnership with the Vermont Fresh Network — such as the farmstead cheese plate (with gooey berry compote) and the succulent duet of duck leg and sausage, with acorn squash and sweet-and-sour slaw.
How to Get There
Expectations were very high based on cost and were mostly met. The room itself was lovely with a jetted claw foot tub, large bathroom, nice sitting area, king size bed. Only drawback was very hard for person short in stature to get into the tub and there was no place to put anything (no shelf, ledge, etc). The dinner was extremely good. Menu items you will not find in other restaurants, everything fresh. Because it was our 25th Wedding Anniversary we received a typed note from the manager congratulating us near some chocolate dipped strawberries. Breakfast was nice, but as wonderful as the dinner. The breakfast potatoes are identical to those served at Friendly's. No fresh fruit was offered. The omelet was nice and the blueberry muffin was nice. Location can not be beat.
My Husband Says ...
That I can't bring the Fallen Spruce suite home with me. I wish I could, though. There are 20 rooms at the Reluctant Panther, so I have 19 to go. This charming high end building (rebuilt in 2005) is staffed by professionals who go beyond to pamper guests. The Inn offers spa bathrooms, invitingly decorated rooms (with, for once, enough outlets and comfortable seating!) and a brilliant restaurant that anyone who is serious about good food needs to visit. Our anniversary dinner started with a cheddar/ramp foccacia, and included a lobster - cheese fondue (extraordinary!), that we shared. I had the risotto. Buratta can be a sauce in the right hands. Chef Sigal Rocklin has the right hands. My husband enjoyed the rabbit roulade. The margaux added to the enjoyment. There were many equally good options on the wine list. I mention it is pet friendly? This is an elegant, yet informal setting where you can play croquet, walk to an active and vibrant downtown (Northshire Bookstore is a mile away), get discount tix for a visit to Hilldene (Robert Lincoln's 18 room mansion) and enjoy a delicious breakfast between 8 and 10 a.m. every morning. We had a wonderful experience, and, dear reader, if you can get to the Reluctant Panther, I believe you will, too.
What can I say? The staff at the Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant are Top Notch people. My wife and I have stayed at the "Panther" many, many times. We have always had an outstanding experience. What makes this Inn an outstanding place to stay is a combination of the wonderful staff, the Inn itself, the location, and much more.
To start with, the Staff headed up by Marissa, pays attention to your every need. Marissa understands the aspect of Customer Service and has been a wonderful addition to the staff. A nice touch is that we received a welcome back hand written note from Marissa. Matt, is Marissa's Assistant, and he has an excellent command on the day to day operations of the Inn. Additionally, Sarah and Morgan make you feel right at home.
The restaurant staff, starting with the Chef, Sigal, are fantastic. We actually got to meet Chef Sigal, and discovered that she was named Chef of the Year for Vermont. What an accomplishment!! Our breakfast server, Darlene, has always been at the top of her "game"
Our evening server, Ken, who was assisted by Hunter, made sure that everything is the way you want it . As far as the food goes, it is exceptional. My wife and I have traveled extensively, and I would match the staff and food at the Reluctant Panther with any 5 star property. That is a bold statement, but trust me, it is accurate.
Regarding the Inn, the minute you walk in the door, your troubles seem to disappear. By far it is clean, beautiful, and well maintained. Our suite the Pierre Lamont, featured two beautiful fireplaces, a large bathroom with soaking tub, was beautifully decorated, had its own entrance with a porch, and was just so comfortable. I regret that i have forgotten the individual's name that kept our room clean and supplied with linens etc. She did an outstanding job. I would be a miss to not mention the great chocolate cookies at bed time, along a a very nice cheese tray.
Finally, don't overlook what you can do during the day. We walked the Equinox Pond area, and visited Hildene, If you are looking for a great little coffee place that is close to the Inn, try Mrs. Murphy's Donuts. The owner, Drew, is a great guy. A great place for a wonderful burger is the Dorset Inn,try that.
As I have said in a previous reviews, there is a selection of other Inn's within walking distance of the Reluctant. Hands down, the Panther has them all beat. Don't waste you time and money on the so called chains, you won't be disappointed in the Reluctant Panther.
Gary and Francine Catania
We stayed overnight for a ski trip to Stratton. Our room was amazing. It had a living room with a fireplace and the bedroom had a fireplace. This was perfect to warm up after a day of skiing. The bathroom was fabulous with a nice stand up shower and a claw foot bathtub. The breakfast and service is wonderful. They serve homemade muffins which are delicious and there is a great selection of breakfast options. We wished we stayed more than one night. This was our second stay at this hotel and it won't be our last!
My husband and I stayed 2 nights for our 35th wedding anniversary and we were pampered at the Reluctant Panther. Our room was clean and fresh. Turn down service on the night if our anniversary left us chocolate dipped strawberries and a Happy Anniversary note. Dinner at the restaurant was very good and the staff was attentive. The front desk folks were helpful and accommodating. The large whirlpool tub was a welcome after hours of snow shoeing at the Hildene Estate. Manchester was a fun place to visit in the winter!