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Presidential Charm: A Review of The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa in Vermont

Oct. 05, 2019
12 min read
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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.

(Photo by Becca Deneberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

In the early 1990s, the historic property underwent a large restoration, and the golf course was constructed.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

This Bonvoy property also holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Location

(Photo by Becca Denenberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy)

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.

(Photo by Becca Deneberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

Booking

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.

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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 hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, I also earn perks like up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible Marriott purchases (including room rates) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program, complimentary Marriott Gold status, a free award night (worth up to 50,000 points) after my account anniversary each year at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees), 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 at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program (certain hotels have resort fees) that come with the Bonvoy Brilliant card.

Check-in

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

Later, upon departure, a staff member picked up my car and loaded all of my luggage in, which was really nice.

Room

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.

(Photo by Becca Deneberg/ The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Becca Denenberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

Though I did appreciate the desk and armchair, I found the intense carpet pattern to be dizzying.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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).

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

My Le Chemin from Byredo bath amenities were high-end and smelled fresh.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

Food and Beverage

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy)

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.

(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

Amenities

The property was stunning, beautifully landscaped and surrounded by greenery.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy)

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.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

The weekend of our stay had gorgeous weather, but the hotel pool was indoor, which was unfortunate.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy)

There were a few seats outside, though, and a small outdoor Jacuzzi, but since it was warm out, I didn't use it.

(Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

A large gym with different kinds of weight and fitness equipment was near the pool area.

(Photo by Becca Denenberg / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Becca Denenberg/The Points Guy.)

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.

Overall Impression

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.

Featured image by (Photo by Lori Zaino / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more