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
I was always reluctant to stay here being it's right next to the Equinox where we've always stayed in the past. The Reluctant Panther did not disappoint and met my expectations and beyond.
My wife and I arrived with our pet. During check in Pam, who was great at the front desk, noticed the room they had reserved for us was not one of their pet friendly rooms. But my heart was set on that room because of the wood fire place so it was difficult to accept another room offer. Assistant Manager did her best to accommodate us, thank you Susan, who was wonderful and was very helpful. We enjoyed our 3 night stay in the lovely room and service was top notch.
We ate at their restaurant twice and food was good. The Inn comes with breakfast so you don't have to go far. They serve at 8:00am. The room has a TV and bed was comfortable.
I can't say enough about the staff because they were all very attentive and just really made us feel special. I will be back.
We were going to book our 15 year anniversary trip weekend here. I had three questions. I called and the phone was answered by Pam.
I said “I have a few questions about the Inn. What time is breakfast served?” She said 8-10.
I asked, “How late does dinner at the restaurant go?” She said 9.
I asked if the restaurant was attached to the inn and she cuts me off and demands “who is this?” I said my name is Cathy and she says, well Cathy, I’m busy AND SHE HUNG UP ON ME! Not sure what is going on there but we’ll be staying somewhere else.
Perfect hotel for an elopement, wedding ceremony or wedding anniversary. Excellent food, drink and wonderful staff to assist you with your special day.
Check with Susan Foster for the perfect day of your dreams no matter how large or small a group you wish.
For the past couple of years I have picked an inn/B&B as a birthday present for my wife. This year's choice was the Reluctant Panther in Manchester, VT. It proved to be an appropriately special place for a special event. I picked a weekday stay to avoid any weekend hustle and bustle. The inn and staff made for a lovely couple of days. We stayed in their "Three Sisters" Junior Suite. It was clean, quiet and a delightful setting for a romantic getaway. A pleasant surprise was a fireplace in both the bedroom and the bathroom. A deep whirlpool tub with an accompanying fireplace is a tough combination to beat! The room, I believe, was over the dining room, but we did not have any issues with noise. For a brief time we did detect a whiff of the kitchen, but it didn't last long. The view from the room included their lovely pond with the Green Mountains as a backdrop.
I chose the inn's Epicurean Experience for our stay. This included their three course dinner for two and a lovely complimentary wine and cheese tray brought to the room. It was our first time tasting cloth bound cheddar - most excellent. The dinner and breakfasts were very good and the service was attentive and professional.
The staff was informative and accommodating.
We enthusiastically recommend the Reluctant Panther for a civil New England stay..
The Reluctant Panther is an upscale B&B that's well located in the small town of Manchester. It's at the intersection of the main drag and 2 quieter sides street. The main drag can have occasional early morning truck traffic that could wake those who don;t live in a big city.
We had a spacious King room (about 25 ft x 14 ft.) with our own street entrance. It was furnished in imitation antiques, a comfortable bed, and flat screen tv. There are area rugs but about 60 percent of the floor is wood.
The bathroom was generous. There was a tiled tub-shower combination and plenty of room for storage.
The nightly price of our stay (with tax) was about $300, an expensive rate given that it was after-leaf season.
We noticed some maintenance issues that one would not expect in an upscale property. Here are some examples - the outside, front porch had peeling paint, the wood molding around the bathroom entrance door had exposed knot-holes that needed to be primed and painted, the entrance door (off the street) had shaky hardware as did the entarce storm door, the storm windows still had their screens down (it was below 30 degees at night),. None of these are major issues, but they are maintenance issues that reflect neglect.
Breakfast is served in a large dining room that is open to the public for dinner. Although it has two raised, gas fireplaces, it has a commercial feel that's impersonal. The food is better-than-average, but not exceptional.
The Panther is more an inn than a B&B. There are two people at a front desk, there is a waiter in the dining room, etc. It's likely that there's a manager on the premises, not an owner. During our 3 night stay, we never interacted with a person "in charge." We expected that someone might stop by our breakfast table, our greet us at some point during our stay. But that never happened.
The inn is housed in a series of older buildings that are constructed in wood, not steel and concrete. As a result, one can hear foot traffic and dog barking coming from adjoining rooms.
We like our privacy, and we don't like being forced to interact at a B&B. On the other had, when we spend as much as we did during shoulder season (the leaf season had passed, the ski season hadn't begun) we expected more attention that we received.