Over the Christmas holiday my husband and I decided to drive up to Manchester, Vermont to spend a night at the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa – one of Starwood’s Luxury Collection properties. This is an extremely historic hotel which opened in 1796! It is extremely cute with a lot of charm. For those not in the points and miles world, you’d never even know it is a Starwood property. The best part about this property is that while it is extremely expensive during peak times, it is only a category 5! This means you can snag a free night for only 12,000 points! This is by far one of the best values for SPG points!
It is actually one of the few resort properties in all of New England where you can use hotel points for a free night stay! It is about 3 hours from Boston, 4 hours from New York City, and only 20-30 minutes from some awesome ski mountains!
Since we drove up to Vermont during the Christmas Day snow storm, we went straight to Stratton Mountain for a day of skiing. It was a great ski day since it dumped snow over night and continued to snow throughout the day – a powder ski day is all you can ask for! After a day of skiing we went to check in at the Equinox Resort. Driving up to the property we felt like we were back in time during the horse and carriage days. Due to it being over 200 years old, it had such charm that you just do not see these days.
The hotel was fully booked so unfortunately no upgrades available, but we did make sure to book a room at the main house. There are 5 different parts of the hotel – not connected to one another, but only two of them area available when using SPG points. While the rooms were renovated, you still have to understand that all the windows are original and it is an old building. So you might get a slight draft come in and you might hear some noise from outside. That did not bother us at all, it was part of the history. But if you are looking for a top of the notch fancy hotel room, this might not be the place for you.
Everything is in the main house except the pool complex (which I’ll get to in a minute). We liked being in the main house so we could wander around and not have to go outside (it was freezing during our visit!). It was an extremely cozy environment with a fire going and many people just hanging around with a hot drink and some donuts in hand. People were reading books or playing board games. There was a fire put on the outside patio as well that I am sure is fun, but it was closed while we were there due to the win. I was told that many nights they bring out marshmallows to roast! We felt very much at home and relaxed!
They also have a bunch of activities during the day and evening, and specific programs for kids. There is also a large arcade room for kids! There are also a bunch of hikes and outdoorsy stuff – skiing and snowmobiling during the winter and horseback riding and golf during the warmer months. They also have shuttles that will take you to town as well as Stratton and Bromley Mountain.
Later that night we headed over to the pool and spa complex. There is an indoor pool where there were many kids having a blast! There was also a small outdoor hot tub. While having an outdoor hot tub is always nice on a snowy evening, it was not nearly as nice as many other ski mountain resorts I’ve been to. There was also a spa area with separate men and women locker rooms, steam rooms, and saunas – everyone can get their own robe and sandals as well. They also have work out classes and a gym. At the end of the spa there was another cozy spot to sit and relax in front of the fire. I personally didn’t use the spa, but that seemed like a popular activity during the day or after a day of skiing!
The next morning was bitter cold so we hung around the resort and ate breakfast at their buffet. The buffet is housed in their ball room with a massive spread and an omelet station. Platinum members receive complimentary breakfast! I was also told there are some cute breakfast restaurants in town, but did not experience them first hand. Downtown Manchester has a decent amount of restaurants and stores (especially outlets), but not somewhere where I could spend the entire day.
For me, the big attraction was the historic and cozy appeal of the resort. I also loved that it was a place where I could use my points (at an incredible redemption value) close to a New England ski resort! Since we are a ski family, this is a big attraction for us. I will 100% visit this property again, but probably only in the winter. While this trip was a one-night getaway for me and Adam (we left the kids with Grandma!), once both kids are old enough to go skiing, we would not hesitate to bring them. They would love it! And while staying right on the mountain is awesome, being only 20 minutes away is not too bad. Especially when you only have to use 12,000 SPG points for a room that would otherwise cost $500! An amazing value of SPG points, just make sure to book ahead during peak times!