More about Topnotch Resort And Spa
Great Getaway to Topnotch at Stowe Resort
We visited the Topnotch Resort for two nights at the beginning of August 2006. As two couples traveling without children, we decided to book a two bedroom, two bath town home rather than two separate rooms in the main hotel. The price was approximately the same for either of these booking options. Definitely check around on-line for rates. There is a great variation between different travel website rates (Expedia) and rates quoted as standard on the Topnotch website.
When we initially pulled up to the property, we were a little nervous since the building looked like a 1980's outdated condominium complex with very little personality. Upon entering the main lobby, the check in area was very small and dark with low ceilings. The main area of the lobby is a bit more pleasant with a large fireplace, stone wall and couches, and wall of windows with nice views of the property. However, the most exceptional parts of the property are the spa, indoor/outdoor pool area, and Norma's restaurant.
The town home we were assigned was fine, but nothing special and clearly had not been renovated as part of the 2006 project on other parts of the property. Generally, the townhome was dark and the furnishings and decor were a bit outdated. The beds were reasonably comfortable and the kitchen was well equipped. Overall, the accommodations were fine for us, we did not spend much time in our room during our stay, but, I would definitely suggest opting for one of the 2006 renovated rooms in the main building if the price is the same or close.
The renovated spaces at Topnotch were very, very nice.
The spa facilities were large, clean, and brand new. There were plenty of staff members on hand in the locker rooms and getting spa treatments as desired (booking about 1 - 2 weeks before the trip) was no problem. The resort was busy but the spa never felt or looked crowded. The fitness facility was also brand new and had any type of equipment you could want. There were also many fitness classes offered in several group fitness rooms. We did not take any classes, but they ran all day long and ranged from beginner to advanced level, from yoga and stretching to circuit training. The spa area itself and wide array of services offered (members of our group tried pedicures, massages, wraps, reflexology, facials, and scalp treatments and all were good or excellent) were definitely worthy of a five star rating.
The indoor pool was bright, large and clean with a hot tub with a waterfall massage adjacent to it. The two outdoor pools were lovely as well. Both were heated and had nice views of the surrounding mountains. There were plenty of comfortable lounge chairs and towels and again, the pool areas never felt overcrowded or busy -- they were quite relaxing even though we spent most of our time at the larger "family pool" with families with children.
We had one lunch and one dinner at Normas, the new restaurant. Both were excellent. Dinner was especially notable. The food was local and fresh and very well prepared. The service was also good. The dining room is small but comfortable and appropriately casual for Vermont. The prices were fairly high but worth it as the food was excellent.
Finally, the staff was somewhat hit or miss. Certainly all of the staff members we encountered were pleasant (which is the most important thing), but, some were much more helpful than others.
The concierge, Jack, was excellent and had great suggestions for dining and activities in the Stowe area (especially dinner at Michael's on the Hill Restaurant -- a must!). Our waiter, though not a local himself, found a local waiter to provide some off the beaten path hikes in the area (HellsBridge -- the steepest hike in VT to the highest point in VT -- not for the faint of heart or weak of leg!). The bartender at Normas, Jo, was helpful and accommodating as well.
However, some of the staff was clearly not from the area and not that helpful in steering us to activities we were interested in. We called the front desk one evening (after the concierge had left) to ask about local hiking (not an uncommon activity in Stowe) and were told that a "package" would be put together for us with some suggestions. When we went to the desk to pick it up, our "package" was a small undetailed map of local trails which was not useful at all.
Overall, we had a great stay at Topnotch and would return again. We would definitely book the newly renovated rooms but everything else was great. Stowe is a great area for outdoor activities in the summer and Topnotch is a great place to stay for excellent spa, pool, and dining experiences.
Fantastic Getaway...except for the...
We just spent 3 days at the Topnotch in Stowe. The purpose of this short getaway was a birthday gift for our mother. We were looking forward to spending some quality time together, just the 3 of us, no husbands, no kids. We lucked out on terrific spring weather.
The Hotel and Spa are lovely and spotless. The room was a comfortable size, and clean. The staff we encountered were outstanding. We ate a few meals at Maxwell's and thoroughly enjoyed them. The service was superb. We spent a lot of our time, relaxing by the pool/whirpool, gym, and participated in some yoga/pilates classes, which we all enjoyed very much. The Spa area is impeccable, and has very friendly service. We also treated ourselves to some treatments at the Spa, of which there is an abundant list to choose from. Sounds fantastic doesn't it? Well, all would have been 100%, except for the fact that the Hotel is undergoing MAJOR renovations. They are building an outdoor area, with pools, and a restaurant. Unfortunately, upon arrival to our room, when opening up our shutters for a view of beautiful Vermont Mountains, what we got instead was a view of a construction site just feet away from our window. And, surprise... at 7:00 AM you are woken up by the sound of the saws and compactors starting up their engines. The sound of a construction site outside your bedroom window, or seeing the cement mixers moving up and down the driveway while relaxing in the Spa area, were not what we envisioned when treating Mom to a Birthday Getaway. And by the way, no mention of any construction was mentioned when booking our vacation. I am sure the Hotel will be very enjoyable once they have completed their work, unfortunately, we had to pay the price.
Elegance in the Mountains!
I visited this Resort in May. I was looking for high-end VIP treatment and pampering at a Spa. I found a gem! From the cheerful informative reservationists (They even made my dinner reservation for me while I was booking the room!). to the doormen and concierge; it was fantastic. The Spa was superb; treatments galore. Best massage I've ever experienced. I tried the Maple Sugar Scrub and it really brought the Vermont experience over the top. The rooms are absolutely beautiful. They have a very homey feel. Nothing like a boring hotel room. The most comfortable beds ever! Dinner at Maxwell's restaurant was delish! Top of the line in every regard. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend a relaxing weekend than being treated like a queen. I made my next reservation before I left. I can't wait! I recommend this resort for many reasons and I didn't even mention the view...
What a weekend! While visiting family up in Stowe this past weekend, I took the opportunity to learn tennis at the nationally ranked Top Notch Tennis Club. After a couple of pre-trip emails with Tennis Director Milan Kubala, I had established my goal for the weekend...to be able to play (and enjoy) a game with another beginner. I arrived Saturday afternoon and after a warm greeting, Milan immediately outfitted me with the proper shoes and attire and got me on the court for some one on one instruction to learn the basics. Within 90 minutes, Milan had me hitting forehands and backhands. Milan was excellent at picking one thing for me to focus on at a time to improve my shots. The next day I joined a group session...most all the players were intermediate to advanced, but I had the time to work with someone closer to my level on volleys, serves and much more forehand and backhand practice. We were guided by Marcus, a wonderfully patient and skilled pro. By the third day of coaching...this time a one-on-one with the resident Aussie, Shaun who put me through an intense session i eflt like I had achieved my goal...I am hooked on tennis and on Top Notch.
After day 3, my muscles were aching with the "good" pain that comes from using long-forgotten muscles. I headed straight for the newly developed spa which can only be described as sumtuous luxury. After checking in for my 80-minute deep tissue massage, I limped to the gentleman's lounge where I sat myself in a large chair to watch World Cup action on the big plasma and talk footblall with the other guests. I dragged myself up to head to the oversized sauna where I warmed up my muscles. My therapist, emily, a soft spoken and deceptively powerful masseuse, brought me downstairs to work on bringing my muscles back to life...which she did...well enough for me to make it to dinner at Maxwell's, one of the premiere restaurants in Stowe. I had the HUGE bone in rib-eye which is an impressive cut of meat, expertly cooked (it takes 35 minutes!) and am still dreaming about it. If you want one, you better get up there fast...maxwell's is closing down next week to make way for a new development. That would be sad, excpet for the fact that Norma's, the new open-kitchen restaurant with perhaps the best view in Stowe is due to open in a week. The restaurant is situated behind the dramatic new pool area which was on the cusp of opening when i left. I will be heading back to Stowe soon to check it out and brush up on my game...this time I will definately spend the night!
Topnotch Spa Resort: Luxury Mountainside Resort & Spa Tops
By Rachel Rome: Topnotch at the Stowe Resort and Spa is tops for a luxurious Vermont mountain and spa retreat, only a three-hour ride from Boston, Massachusetts to Topnotch Spa. Topnotch is one of the premier spa resorts in the county. Rejuvenate brain and soul here in the mountain air, beneath the Mt. Mansfield Mountain range. On my visit, I relaxed on poolside lounge chairs, strolled down a the short path to feed the carriage horses in a neighboring corral, rode a horse, and even rented a bike to ride on the Stowe Recreation Path. Naturally, spa treats were on my agenda.
Paula Upton, Spa Director at the Topnotch at Stowe Resort and Spa, helps clients select from a dozen or more choices from their vast spa menu, including my Decleor Aromaplasty Facial, which left my skin vibrant, sparkling and hydrated. Many special massages are on the menu, including several for men and the Maternity Massage, Designed for mother-to-be. Massages begin at $95. A deep Tissue Massage is directed toward specific areas of tension and imbalance in the muscular system. Beginning at 50 minutes for $105. New for men is the Gentlemen's Facial, Sports Massage, Vermont Woodspice Treatment, Sports-Specific Personal Training, Hiking and Showshoe Trekking, Sports Stretch, and special training sessions focusing on ski or tennis conditioning. Men even have their own lobby area.
Spa nail treatments lackluster, but rest is great
I actually stayed at Topnotch in January, and just visited last week for a few hours to get a manicure/pedicure.
First, I love staying at Topnotch. The accommodations, staff, food, and spa and sport facilities are excellent. It's very comfortable and well-run.
But the spa services I've received have been lacking, although the spa facilities (pool, locker room, jacuzzi, and the new outdoor pools) are fantastic. My beef is that when you pay $40 for a manicure and $40 for a pedicure, they should be, well, topnotch.
But they are not. As nice as the manicurists and pedicurists are, they don't deliver the quality I expected. Hangnails, rough edges, and not always well-applied polish are not good. I live in New York City and the $10.50 manicure and $25 pedicure I get here are much better. I do give high marks for cleanliness, comfort, and the nice personalities who work in in the spa.
But I have acaveat to add there as well. They run late. In January, my pedicure was a half-hour late, and no one came to tell me what was going on. Last Sunday, 15 minutes after my manicure was supposed to start (and I had a plane to catch) I went to the spa reception, and they sent someone into the manicure room, who came back and told me it would "just be a few minutes." So the manicure started 20 minutes late, and the spa reception desk's attitude was a bit frosty.
Again, a $10 manicure, perhaps the service would not be the best, but this is Topnotch and they are charging high prices. I was not happy, and asked for a discount. and spa reception said they could do something. But while I was getting my manicure, my sister paid our bill. And no discount was given. I will continue to go to Topnotch and enjoy all of its good things, but will refrain from the nail treatments.
The name is correct
The recent guest room and spa renovations have truly elevated Top Notch to the spot to stay in Stowe.
Our last visit in Mid august was our first since the opening of Norma's their new poolside restaurant and also since the poolside expansion was done.
The pool area is one of the nicest we have seen, and features two pool areas, one for families and one for 18+ a great idea.
Normas-which is great sits poolside as has beautiful views of the pool area and mountains.
At night it is truly spectacular as they light up basins of fire perched on stone pillars to light up the area-there is also a firepit with Adirondack chairs and marshmellows for roasting.
Topnotch has elevated itself to the next level, and from what staff told us while we we there, they are demolsihng the wing which contains Maxwells and the lobby, so that they can bring that part of the hotel up to the new standards.
The nice thing about top notch is we can go with our daughter or alone as a couple and enjoy it ebvery time.
Dirty Sheets? How do we know you didn't do that???
We booked our stay because we'd purchased a gift certificate at a charity auction for a part of the cost of our vacation. The reservations people were nice, the restaurant and spa lovely, but we had an incident that will be sure we never return to the hotel.
Our first morining waking up, we were preparing for the maid's arrival and upon arranging the pillows, my husband found some blood and unfamiliar hairs on the underside of the pillow he had just slept on. An assistant manager came immediately over (we called right away) and agreed that the hairs were clearly not my husbands and that he had no facial cuts that could have caused the incident. They sent the maid to change all the sheets. NOTHING ELSE. We waited all day...no call from the manager, no spa gift certificate, no complimentary dinner. The next day my husband left a message and basically played phone tag w/the manager, we called our third and last morning to find out that basically we were going to receive nothing for our gross inconvenience...for $485/night, I do not expect blood on my sheets. We finally got him under diress and him basically accusing my husband of planting the blood there, to give us 20% off one night....awful. We left with such a bad taste in our mouths and customer service is cleary NOT the managers forte. If all goes perfectly (and you like lots of dogs in the lobby) you'll do fine, but if you have a problem...good luck.
A very relaxing and beautiful resort
We had won a night to stay here from a charity auction and we were excited to see what a resort was all about. From the outside it does appear a little dated, but the grounds are beautifully kept. The service, from the doormen to the maids to the front desk to the excellent advice from the concierge, Jack, was outstanding. Our room was beautifully appointed, our beds the most comfortable we have ever stayed in, and we enjoyed the fresh baked cookies in the afternoon and the turn down service with chocolates and bottled water at night. Our budget did not allow us to use the spa services, but we completely enjoyed the indoor pool and the hot tub with the cascading waterfall. There is something special about the water there - the temperature was just right, and we felt great. Enjoyed the views too. Loved the comfortable robes provided. We didn't eat at Norma's or Maxwells, but did venture into town. We did discover that Stowe is pretty pricey. Mr. Pickwick's is a British style pub that we found only ok. We did enjoy the samplers of beers they had. We really enjoyed breakfast at McCarthy's restraunt in town and found the service quite personable. While it is unlikely we'll ever be able to afford a stay at Top Notch again, we would certainly recomend it. One night there, and we left very refreshed!!
This was our first ever visit to this spectacular part of the country. Topnotch is the THE place to stay. Our room was large and very nice. The bed was extremely comfortable. Breakfast servers need some help but the food is good. We ate 2 other meals and both were very good. The spa is awesome and the work out area and higher end exercise classes are "topnotch". We also enjoyed a bonfire at night near the tennis facility and took a carriage ride. We rented bikes and rode to Stowe for lunch and shopping. All was terrific.
Other activities included a tour of Ben and Jerry's - do go. And lunch at the Trapp family restaurant which was well worth the trip and we had a special visit from Agatha Von Trapp as she was signing books that day. What a wonderful history lesson!!!!
We also managed to make it on to the Country Club of Vermont golf course. I would classify it as phenomenal!!! One the best courses I have ever played. Each hole was amazing, the leaves were near peak and the mountain views - oh my, what a treat. Dinner at the Cliff House is a bit over-rated but OK.
We can't wait to return to Topnotch!
Hikers resting on the summit area
Stowe Theatre Guild