The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa
What We Love
- The Essex is an all-in-one resort; everything you’ll need during the trip is on-site
- Hands-on culinary classes at the Cook Academy
- The 22,000-square-foot spa with a top-notch fitness center and indoor/outdoor pools
What To Know
- The $20 (plus six percent tax) per room, per night, resort fee includes seasonal activities
- The outdoor pool is open from about mid-May until Labor Day; Tennis Camp runs from the end of June through the end of August
- Register for cooking classes at least two days in advance
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Against a mountainscape of maples, the Essex is a snapshot of quintessential New England. Driving up to the porte cochere past lawns swinging hammocks, it’s obvious that the resort has the down-home comforts of a country inn — and a beautiful Colonial one at that.
Bed & Bath
The airy rooms have a rural New England look, with brightly colored walls, maple armoires and patchwork quilts. Recent renovations added some extra home comforts, including 300-thread-count linens, flat-screen televisions and iHome players. Traditional Rooms are a spacious 375 square feet, though those with a fireplace are worth the upgrade for romantic winter evenings.
It’s the resort’s expertly prepared meals and smart culinary classes that really set it apart. The resort built its reputation on the Cook Academy, a destination in itself. Offering a rotating roster of various courses, the school has students chop, braise and sear up a storm. Meanwhile, the Tavern has lovely patio seating along the property’s herb and vegetable gardens and Junction restaurant serves classic dishes made with locally grown ingredients prepared in an open kitchen. The sparkling spa is a timber and granite sanctuary for rejuvenation, with treatments like a mineral and orange blossom body scrub.
In the Area
The Essex packs a raft of activities onto 18 acres: cycling paths, flower gardens, a championship golf course, a fly-fishing pond, an outdoor adventure center (rope courses, climbing walls). The Essex also partners with hot air balloon operator, Above Reality, to offer guests hourlong rides departing 50 yards from the resort’s front door. Or venture off-property and visit the 30-plus producers along the Vermont Cheese Trail and the Shelburne Museum for its collection of folk art, circus figures, weathervanes and wild fowl decoys in 20 quirky, historic structures.
How to Get There
I booked a trip to The Essex for my husband and myself as a Christmas gift to him. He's a Hallmark Channel Christmas guy, and the setting couldn't be any more perfect!
I noticed a special package, Beer & Brews, on their website. Besides the accommodations, it included a special cheese/beer tasting flight in the Tavern, souvenir glasses, local craft beer delivered to the room and a credit toward spa services, including beer-themed body treatments. It turns out, we were the first people ever to book that package! There was a little confusion among the staff because it was the first weekend it was offered, but everyone was delighted to kick it off with us.
My massage was unbelievable, with an incredibly nice young man who talked with me about reiki. My husband chose a beer pedicure and enjoyed drinking the extra Heady Topper that came with it. We spent the weekend touring several local breweries and couldn't have been happier.
The food in The Tavern was amazing. Truly the best scrambled eggs I've ever had. We planned to take a cooking class on making gingerbread houses but we ended up double-booked between that and the spa treatments. All in all, I think we made the right choice, but I would love to go back and try one of their classes too!
This was a great stay, everyone was very nice and accommodating. We loved the property, and our room was clean and very comfortable. We ate at the Tavern restaurant at the hotel, and it was delicious! Would definitely stay here again!
We stayed one night at The Essex. It was a great experience. Our room was clean and spacious. Loved the retro mini refrigerator. So cute! We drove into Burlington for a stroll down Church Street and had a bite to eat.
This is my first time going to this Culinary Resort and Spa and I am very impressed with the customer service. They are very helpful and they go above and beyond to make your stay the best it can be. I am looking forward to going on my little getaway to relax if this is how their customer service is just to book the reserversation.
Whether you want adventure or amazing food or a relaxing vacation, you can find it all here at Essex! Such a great time and friendly staff! Plenty of vineyards and breweries nearby as well as Church Street in Burlington just a town over.