We thought we'd check in with The Essex Resort and SpaDec 14, 2020 03:53PM ● By Michael Dawson
Essex Junction, Vermont is home to one of the finest resorts one can experience in not just the state of Vermont, but the country as a whole, The Essex Resort & Spa. Established in 1989, The Essex was initially run by the New England Culinary Institute and held a high standard of excellence that it holds itself to up to this date. Eventually the resort rebranded itself in 2009 to The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary resort and Spa, and NECI stepped down from daily management.
We spoke with Kristen Mackenna to give us a good run-down on The Essex and what it holds in store for potential guests
The Tavern is The Essex’s pub and boasts an incredibly appetizing array of culinary delights and specialty beers and ciders. There are 33 craft beer taps featured, all sourced locally from such local breweries like Fiddlehead, Long Trail, Switchback, zero Gravity, and Queen City. "The Tavern is not your typical pub,” says Kristen. “With 30 craft beers on tap, we have the area's superior selection of what’s a must to experience. With live music performed by local artists nightly, you’re sure to be entertained. With flight of beer available guests can sample a variety of choices before deciding on their favorites."
If privacy is more your thing, there is also a Timber Room available that gives you and your guests a bit more seclusion. Perfect for conferences or more private affairs. Along with world-class dining and ingredients, The Essex boasts its very own Cook Academy, where guests can learn how to improve their own cooking skills and make fine dining recipes. The Cook Academy is hosted by master chef Dante Trisciuzzi and each class is small and personalized, having guests prepare three or four course meals for each lesson.
"The owners wanted to keep the culinary training aspect of the property and opened Cook Academy to the general public,” says Mackenna. “Guests, whether coming for a stay or just those who live locally can take part in cooking class and workshops." Tantalizing dishes could be yours to make after just a few lessons, making this one of the more enticing options for the most adventurous guests looking to expand on their culinary skills.
"Our chefs love to share their passion for food and are patient, supportive instructors who guide you step by step through the preparation of a delicious meal. You can expect to acquire new cooking techniques or hone the skills you already have, plus learn industry insights that can help you entertain at home"
On top of the Tavern, there is also The Lobby Cafe, which is The Essex’s own bakery, complete with delicious baked goods, desserts, wine, and coffee. "Entering the lobby, guests will be greeted by the whimsical pastry shop-inspired reception desk, artfully displayed cakes and hand-made pastries,” says Mackenna. “This Internet-style-cafe lounge is also the spot for checking email, perusing a newspaper or waiting to check-in. Our Lobby Café is home to daily delights that come fresh out of our bake shop. This is not your typical front desk, grab coffee, a late, pastry, truffle or macaroon, maybe even a draft beer or a glass of wine. Guests love the macaroons and we have been asked on more than one occasion to share the recipe." Any guest looking for hometown comforts with unbelievable taste will be pleased to spend their time at this cafe.
As noted in the name, The Essex’s spa is unrivaled by most, offering otherworldly pleasures to entice guests who need a relaxing treatment. Full wellness and resort packages, along with rejuvenating spa services are available. "Spa at The Essex is the only full-service spa in the Burlington area. We help our guests feed their body, mind and spirit with specialized treatments, massages and services and don’t stop there. Set on 18 scenic acres, our guests are surrounded with the natural beauty that is Vermont, discovering the tastes and flavors of Vermont as they enjoy the freshest locally sourced products all year long. Guests can discover wellness and explore healthy living using our scenic grounds as the setting for their journey,” says Mackenna.
The Essex Meetings Accelerator Program is absolutely perfect for any meetups you may need for your business or gathering. And in the time of Corona, The Essex takes great lengths to ensuring your stay is safe. "With zero risk to book your meeting or event why not book without worry. We don’t know what is to come for 2021 but with our Accelerator program we have you covered,” says Mackenna.
Lodging arrangements at The Essex meet guests every need and are breathtaking in their elegant design. There are three distinctive culinary concepts that all guest rooms at The Essex will reflect. The Art of Baking theme has flour-colored walls and a wicker basket-style floor pattering, along with butcher block side tables and tea towel bed throws. The Harvest Fresh theme evokes a kind of autumn look, with shades the color of green herbs, stone ground wheat, and ripe vegetables. Earthy textures ground everything down and bring together a look that is evocative and reminds one of lush vegetable gardens. The Spice Rack theme features shades of onion powder, ground Cumin, and Paprika. Expect soft blankets and upholstery, along with retro artwork and handcrafted Vermont sculptures. Also offered are suites and studios that come complete with stocked kitchens for longer stays.
In these trying times, The Essex takes great strides to ensure that all guests are safe. Kristen Mackenna explains. "The health and safety of our both guests and associates have always been a top priority for us at The Essex Resort & Spa. From the beginning, in addition to our standard, strict cleaning practices, we enhanced our efforts across the resort, including Signage & Communication, Floor Markers for proper physical distance spacing, Low Contact Check In with Safety shields in place as a barrier, no signature registration card, Guest uses machine for credit card collection & authorization. Credit card machines are disinfected after each use, PPE supplies available at Front Desk (gloves, masks, hand sanitizer) if needed for guests & employees."
In addition to this, hospital-grade cleaning supplies are kept on site at all times and employees are properly masked and temperatures are checked. "In addition, Vermont’s Medical/Wellness Check-In Procedure and Travel policies are among the safest: All arriving guests complete COVID-19 Survey prior to receiving their guest room keys; questions about common risk factors including travel, close contact & flu like symptoms in the past 14 days. All guests certify that they are eligible for a Vermont hotel stay. All out of state guests register for state health alerts while they are visiting Vermont."
The Essex Resort & Spa does not rest on its laurels, however, and instead looks towards the future, what to improve, and how to bring an even greater experience to its guests. Vermont is home to many beautiful wonders and sights, and The Essex Resort & Spa ranks highly among its most prestigious and pristine. They are the first and last word in quality, comfort, and hospitable through and through.