Presidential Charm: A Review of The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa in Vermont
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To The Point
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, a Luxury Collection property in Manchester, Vermont was the perfect place to stay for a charming getaway. Pros: beautiful grounds, Helpful complimentary car service within Manchester and comfortable beds. Cons: Thin walls, rooms could use a refresh and lack of privacy in the bathroom.
When heading to a wedding in Manchester, Vermont, I chose to stay at the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, a Luxury Collection property. It was the perfect fit because I wanted to earn more Bonvoy elite nights, and it was also one of the properties recommended by my friends tying the knot.
The hotel also has an interesting history, dating back to the late 1700s, serving as a tavern and then becoming an inn. The property has played host to four U.S. presidents and one vice president: William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt (he even gave a campaign speech on the front lawn), Benjamin Harrison and Vice President James S. Sherman.
In the early 1990s, the historic property underwent a large restoration, and the golf course was constructed.
This Bonvoy property also holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Equinox is in the heart of the Green Mountain National Forest, a mile and a half away from the city center of Manchester, Vermont. It was walkable (though it’d be a long one), but the hotel had a complimentary car service that took guests anywhere in town, like restaurants, shops or bars. Basically, the hotel felt close enough to things to do while still giving off that relaxing, weekend-in-the-countryside feel.
There was also a golf club on the grounds, as well as a tennis club, so if you’re visiting to spend some time playing a round of golf or work on your serve, you won’t even have to leave the property.
Rooms were about $395 per night for a traditional king room, but to my delight, I was told I had been upgraded to a king deluxe upon arrival.
Although the rate wasn’t cheap, I realized once I started my hotel research that it seemed to be a pretty average rate compared to other hotels in the area for a summer weekend in Manchester, Vermont.
I got the most out of my stay by booking book the property directly on Marriott’s website and paying with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.
Besides earning 6 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott properties, I also earn perks like up to $300 in statement credits each year for Marriott purchases (including room rates), complimentary Marriott Gold status, a free award night (worth up to 50,000 points) after my account anniversary each year, and more.
My two-night stay earned me almost 11,000 Bonvoy points, including a bonus I got for having Gold elite status that comes as a perk of The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Equinox is a Category 6 Bonvoy property, meaning an award night will cost you 40,000 points for an off-peak night, 50,000 for a standard night and 60,000 points for a peak night. If you’re able to find availability at the standard or off-peak rate, this property is eligible for the free-night certificates (worth up to 50,000 points) that come with the Bonvoy Brilliant card.
Check in was a breeze — staff actually came right up to the car, took the bags and valet-parked for me (free of charge). By the time I walked into the reception area, my room key was already ready and waiting for me. I was notified of my upgrade before I could even ask for one, and offered prosecco, which I happily accepted.
Later, upon departure, a staff member picked up my car and loaded all of my luggage in, which was really nice.
The bed was the highlight of the room. I think it may have been one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in at a hotel.
The furniture at first glance looked new(ish), but on closer inspection, it definitely had a bit of wear and tear. The TV wasn’t brand-new either, but I didn’t really have time to watch it, so it didn’t matter.
Though I did appreciate the desk and armchair, I found the intense carpet pattern to be dizzying.
The room itself proved to be perfectly comfortable during my stay, especially for sleeping. But I did notice that the walls were really thin and heard a lot of noise early in the morning from other guests and housekeeping. Luckily, the tech offering was relatively up to date, so lighting was intuitive and I had enough outlets to plug in my devices.
But the bathroom setup wasn’t ideal. Only the toilet and shower were private and in a separate room, so I had no choice but to wake up my now husband while blow-drying my hair at the vanity. The shower wasn’t tall enough for taller people (it definitely wouldn’t have passed the TPG shower test).
My Le Chemin from Byredo bath amenities were high-end and smelled fresh.
Food and Beverage
Breakfast was available a la carte or at the buffet, which was $25. I chose to test the buffet out, and it was a nice spread in a beautiful dining room.
The buffet was packed with plenty of hot options, pastries and fruit. The omelet station was particularly unique, as I was encouraged to select exactly what I wanted, pick it up myself (actually put the veggies, meats and cheeses in my own bowl) and bring it directly to the chef for a perfect, self-designed omelet.
The bathrooms just off the buffet were a different story, though. I was sorry I had entered — they were so dirty I lost my appetite for food!
After 11:00 p.m., the hotel only served cold food for room service, but I got my order in just in time for hot food. But it was some of the worst room service food I’d ever gotten. My club sandwich and pizza took almost a full hour to arrive. Both were borderline inedible. I’m not sure what was going on in the kitchen, but the food just tasted bad, especially the pizza, which was disappointing after the delicious breakfast.
The property was stunning, beautifully landscaped and surrounded by greenery.
I enjoyed relaxing in the indoor common areas, which were lovely during my summer visit. I imagined it would be even more charming in the winter, as I noticed a few fireplaces and cozy blankets. There were signs set about in the common areas saying, “Silence Encouraged.” Despite the signs, I still heard noise while in my room.
The weekend of our stay had gorgeous weather, but the hotel pool was indoor, which was unfortunate.
There were a few seats outside, though, and a small outdoor Jacuzzi, but since it was warm out, I didn’t use it.
A large gym with different kinds of weight and fitness equipment was near the pool area.
As I previously mentioned, the property featured a golf club and a tennis club, as well as a complimentary car service for guests.
Pickups and drop-offs were available until 11:00 p.m. daily anywhere in Manchester. The car service was available on a first-come, first-served basis, and they did their best to accommodate and juggle all guest requests, getting me to the wedding on time even though there were other guests also in need of rides.
The hotel also had a spa, but I didn’t have time to use it during my two-night stay. But I was able to do a short hike near the hotel, which was very relaxing. If you like the outdoors, this hotel would be an excellent fit.
The Equinox hotel grounds and property were historic and beautiful, and I loved being able to get out of the concrete jungle that is New York City to enjoy a relaxing weekend away in the woods. I ended up getting a great night of sleep in the bed and had a delicious breakfast. But little things, like the strange bathroom setup, thin walls and terrible room service, might keep me from returning.
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