Inside Topnotch, Vermont's Big New Renovation

The spa’s new indoor pool includes a separate lane for lap swimmers.

The spa’s new indoor pool includes a separate lane for lap swimmers.

 

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With the New England ski season rapidly approaching, Travel Agent recently visited Vermont’s newly revamped Topnotch Resort & Spa. The resort, which unveiled a top-to-bottom $15 million renovation this past June, is heading into the season with two new restaurants, The Roost and Flannel; a newly landscaped arrival area; a redone spa; and renovated guest rooms. We flew in to Burlington from New York JFK, which offers a direct flight via JetBlue. From there, it’s a 45-minute drive to the resort.

The new renovations begin with a completely redone arrival area that includes a newly landscaped drive and a lobby that has been reconfigured to take advantage of the surrounding mountain views. Open-panel, 18-foot windows face the resort’s central yard, which looks out over Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont.

RELATED: Ski Vermont Releases Infographic for 2013-14 Season

The guest rooms have likewise been fully renovated, and now have handmade furniture, textiles and artwork with a natural feel.

On our first night at the resort we got a chance to sample the property’s two new eateries, The Roost and Flannel, on a “dine-around.” The Roost is an indoor/outdoor bar that specializes in small plates and local craft beer. An indoor shuffleboard table provides some offbeat entertainment that was popular with our group.

Flannel, which prior to the renovation was Norma’s, serves contemporary cuisine based on local Vermont ingredients in an indoor/outdoor setting. Both restaurants flank the resort’s central courtyard and pool area, which looks out over Mt. Mansfield.

While guests may be headed to Vermont for the skiing in the coming months, the resort is also well known for its tennis. In 2012, Top Notch was rated the No. 1 tennis resort in the Northeast by Tennis magazine, and since the property’s four indoor hard courts are open year-round, guests can opt to play tennis when they are not on the slopes.

The tennis center offers USPTA/PTR certified instructors and lessons tailored to all ages and ability levels, as well as a pro shop that sells apparel and equipment. Seasonally, there are also six outdoor courts open, four of which have Har-Tru surfaces.

Our first day on the property we also got a chance to visit the Spa, which has undergone a complete redesign in conjunction with the property’s renovation. The spa program is now organized around four Pathways to Wellness, which combine various spa services into four packages organized around distinct goals. The aim of the Pathways is to make the spa experience more user-friendly by grouping the treatments in a logical fashion.

The Discovery pathway is aimed at first-time spa goers, and offers a wide-ranging selection of spa services designed to acquaint guests with the spa experience and help them develop their tastes and preferences. The Active Pathway is more sports-focused and offers treatments for specific fitness goals. The Revive Pathway offers anti-aging and beauty treatments, and the Restorative Pathway offers opportunities for relaxation and reflection.

While we didn’t have a chance to check out one of the pathways in full, we did get to experience the 50-minute combo massage in a private treatment room.

Local Cuisine

Our second day offered the chance to explore the local cuisine and surrounding area when we took a bike ride into nearby Stowe Village. Bike rentals are available from the Nordic Bike Barn just across the street from the property entrance, next to the tennis center, and there is also a stable for horse-drawn carriage rides. The bike path into Stowe is a five-mile long paved trail through the woods, passing by a small petting zoo and a corn maze. Though there are a few small hills, the terrain is mostly flat and should be appropriate for guests of moderate fitness levels.

About halfway down the bike trail is the Crop Bistro & Brewery, where we stopped at for lunch. The Crop is part of the Vermont Fresh Network, a partnership between local Vermont farms and restaurants on farm-to-table cuisine. Locavores visiting Vermont can spot these establishments by the green logo displayed on the front or on the door. The Crop serves farm-to-table food at mid-market prices (about $12 for a typical entrée during lunch), and also offers a wide variety of beers produced onsite.

RELATED: Ski Season Preview – What’s New at Four Properties This Winter

Our final day we took a nature walk in the morning with Sunrise Mountain Guides, who offer itineraries year-round that can be booked through the hotel. During the winter the company offers cross-country ski tours for either two hours or the full day and ice climbing. During spring, summer and fall the company can arrange rock-climbing excursions in the surrounding area, including custom itineraries aimed at multiple skill levels.

Weddings and Events

Topnotch’s renovations also include its meetings, events and wedding spaces, which have undergone a complete overhaul. The new outdoor event spaces offer mountain views, fire pits, a broad lawn and a bocce ball court. The redesigned ballroom and indoor meeting spaces have new windows with increased natural light and new AV equipment, furniture and artwork inspired by Vermont’s natural landscapes.

Travel agents should direct inquiries to Kevin Duff ([email protected], 802-488-0289), director of travel sales.

 

A newly renovated Executive King guest room at Topnotch.

A newly renovated Executive King guest room at Topnotch.

 

 

On the Slopes

Get Two-Fer Lift Tickets With Colorado Gems Card

Colorado Ski Country USA is offering the Colorado Gems Card program at participating Colorado Gem ski resorts for the 2013-2014 season. The program offers two-for-one adult lift tickets at eight participating Colorado resorts and Flash Deals promotions at Gem resorts throughout the season. Each Gems Card, which costs $20, is good for one use per Gem resort, per season; only a limited number of cards are available.

Book Early and Save at Waldorf Astoria Park City

The Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah is offering Book Early & Save Package. Book your clients by December 31 for stays in a King Studio Guestroom from January 2 through April 7, 2014, and they’ll receive an automatic upgrade to a One-Bedroom Residence plus a $50 per night resort credit.

Mountain Collective Offers Free Days and Discounts

Ski Utah reports that Snowbird has joined with Alta in the Mountain Collective for the 2013-14 season. For $379, clients who join the Mountain Collective receive two free days and an unlimited 50 percent off lift tickets, plus exclusive lodging deals at AltaSnowbird and five other ski destinations.

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