We have stayed at the SML three times, most recently this past weekend, and we have appreciated especially its convenience, its amazing heated outdoor all-season pool, and the many ways in which it pampers its guests. It's not perfect, and a few cracks start to show when you stay there during the high season (like school vacation week in February, our most recent visit), but we have enjoyed ourselves there enough to return several times, and hope to go back in the future. Summary of the key points:
Rooms: Beautifully furnished, comfortable beds, immense bathrooms (I would have traded some of the bathroom space for more room elsewhere). My husband and I and our two teenage sons were in a studio with king size bed and queen size pullout sofa, and it was tight but workable. The main drawback from our perspective was that there were very few places to hang wet clothes, of which we generated many -- since ours was an "owned unit", the main closet was locked and full of owner stuff, so we only had a smallish wardrobe with a handful of hangers, plus the bathroom with one towel rack. Why not install more towel racks and hooks in the bathroom for bathing suits, snowpants, parkas, etc.? Other issues: (1) no doubt because it was so busy, the beds didn't get made up till late afternoon, and the sofa bed didn't get set up till late, one night not till 8:45; (2) the South wing rooms are really far from the main lobby and restaurants and it's a constant parade of people going to and fro in both directions. It took us a good 5 minutes to walk from our room to the lobby. OK for us, but you have to be up for this; (3) SML is a pet friendly hotel, which means you might very well be living next to a dog, and if that dog isn't happy, you will hear it expressing itself -- not so nice. But generally, the rooms are well-appointed and comfortable.
Meals: Despite expanding rapidly each year in terms of rooms, the hotel only has the same two main restaurants -- the main formal one, Solstice, and the more informal bar/restaurant, Hourglass (where we happily had all our dinners). This means you have to plan ahead to deal with the crowds, or head elsewhere, like down the long hill into town. Our approach was to get a table at Hourglass in the late afternoon, like 4:30 or 5, hang out there with a glass of wine, and then get our boys to join us for dinner around 5:30 or 6. Families who arrived at 5:45 or after generally had to wait for a table, sometimes for a while. But -- we found the food to be quite delicious. At Hourglass, we had yummy flatbreads, calamari, and our boys had chicken nuggets and fries which they found satisfactory. The breakfasts at Solstice were delicious -- really tasty, crunchy granola, excellent yogurt, fresh fruit, wonderful sausages and croissants, etc. My only beef -- the coffee wasn't the greatest and not always hot, kinda crazy in a luxury hotel like this.
The pool: The wonderful, large outdoor pool is what really makes this hotel special, in our view. You can climb into it indoors and it's quite warm, getting a little cooler gradually as you head out through a transition area, but never too cool. There are two toasty hot tubs that are a wonderful guilty pleasure -- you can sit there for as long as you want, looking up at the slopes, in any kind of weather. There are little lockers for your clothes, and usually an ample supply of towels. It's the kind of place you can spend hours with a silly grin on your face. Only suggestion: they really need to add a warm spot (indoors?) where parents can keep an eye on their swimming kids. Not the little kids, that you need to be right next to, but the older semi-independent ones. You see lots of parents hovering, shivering, either outside, or in the windowed corridor upstairs (with an easily blocked view of the pool, and hordes of people tramping by, not a restful spot), How about carving off a little piece of the fitness area that directly overlooks the pool for this purpose, with chairs for watchful parents?
Other things to note:
Ski valet service: This is wonderful, and makes skiing ever so convenient. You just call from your room a few minutes in advance and voila, your skis are waiting for you on a rack just steps from the slopes. At the end of the day, you just hand your skis to the nice folks waiting at the rack, and head into the toasty hotel. Never had to wait. So convenient.
Cost: SML feels pricey to us, and it's the kind of place where money just leaks out of your pocket all day long. You have to be prepared for this. And prepared to spend your time with many other guests who seem to enjoy public spending of large sums.
Overall, SML has felt like a treat for us, a place we look forward to going and enjoying ourselves. But it ain't cheap, and for those connoisseurs of fine travel, it may feel more like a great bustling commercial enterprise than a grand hotel with service to match and a soul at the heart of it. But if you keep your expectations in line, you should enjoy the place a great deal, as we have.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Travelocity.ca, Cancelon, HotelQuickly and getaroom.com so you can book your Stowe Mountain Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Stowe Mountain Hotel Stowe
- Stowe Mountain Lodge Vermont