Eurowest Inns, Inc., owners of The Essex—Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, unveiled a multi-million dollar renovation based on the design concept, “All Things Culinary.” The design is inspired by The Essex’s Cook Academy and its critically-acclaimed restaurant, Junction, where a team of professional chefs bring the best of Vermont’s bounty to the tables of the resort.
Located minutes from downtown Burlington in the foothills of Vermont’s legendary Green Mountains, The Essex is part of the Gemstone Collection by BENCHMARK, which operates the resort on behalf of ownership. The new design concept by the Vermont firm of Christine Burdick Design reinforces the overall culinary experience of the resort, and is slated for completion later this summer.
“The Essex has deep roots in the culinary scene since opening,” said Mr. Botjer. “With our renovation, we deliver our theme throughout the heart and soul of the property, including guestrooms.” Nic Barger, general manager, added, “We are excited to bring this long-planned renovation to life and look forward to unveiling the ‘new’ Essex Resort this summer.”
Entering the newly-renovated lobby, guests will be greeted by the whimsical pastry shop-inspired reception desk, artfully displayed cakes and hand-made pastries. The lobby’s hub will be the Coffee Lounge, serving beverages, breakfast pastries, and afternoon cookies. The Vermont Farmhouse Kitchen will be the place for private dining, cooking classes, and other culinary events. When not in use, the space will serve as display for cakes and merchandise. The new Culinary Library will have a rocking chair, fire, and shelves of cookbooks, and double as part of the pre-function space for weddings, as it is connected to the resort’s striking atrium.
The Essex’s guestrooms will reflect three distinctive culinary concepts. The Art of Baking theme will have flour colored walls that provide a fresh backdrop for wicker basket-style flooring, tea towel-inspired throws on beds, butcher block side tables, and playful artwork to reinforce the overall aesthetic. Harvest Fresh will have subtle shades that invoke green herbs, luscious ripe vegetables, and stone ground wheat. Earthy textures, organic elements, and artwork inspired by the resort’s lavish herb and vegetable gardens will be displayed against natural colored walls and flooring. Spice Rack will recall lush shades of Paprika, ground Cumin, and onion powder. Soft upholstery, warm blankets, and unexpected elements including art in guestrooms will correspond with the design. All guestrooms will provide a unique retro mini-fridge as well as local handcrafted art and sculptures.
The two restaurants, Junction and The Tavern, have imaginative menus prepared by top chefs, using fresh ingredients from the resort’s own gardens, locally-sourced meats, poultry and fish, artisanal Vermont cheeses, and maple syrup. They each offer an award-winning wine list and a large selection of microbrews. The resort’s signature restaurant, Junction, offers an open kitchen where guests can watch professional chefs create tasting menus and entrees to order.
The Cook Academy provides a variety of hands-on classes for every level of skill. Classes span the foods of France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Latin America, and Louisiana as well as cooking with Vermont ingredients including craft beers and maple syrup. Tours of local farms and vineyards are also available.
The Inn at Essex, the resort’s original building, was built in 1989. In 1999 an additional building, The Manor, was added, containing 30 extended-stay units. The spa and a fitness center and swimming pool were added in 2009.