Vermont resort renovation inspired by culinary focus

The Essex - Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, is undergoing a renovation based on culinary inspiration.

Eurowest Inns, owners of The Essex - Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa in Essex, Vt., have announced a multimillion-dollar renovation program that will bring new levels of comfort, innovation and culinary inspiration to the landmark property. The design concept, “All Things Culinary,” is inspired by The Essex’s noted 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.

“The Essex has deep roots in the culinary scene since opening,” said Robert Botjer, chairman of Eurowest Inns. “With our renovation, we deliver our theme throughout the heart and soul of the property, including guestrooms.” Nic Barger, general manager, stated, “We are excited to bring this long-planned renovation to life and look forward to unveiling the ‘new’ Essex Resort this summer.”

The Essex, which is located minutes from downtown Burlington in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains, is part of the Gemstone Collection of Benchmark, a global hospitality company, which operates the resort on behalf of ownership.

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Slated for completion later this summer, the new design concept by the Vermont firm of Christine Burdick Design reinforces the overall culinary experience of the resort. Entering the newly renovated lobby, guests will be greeted by the whimsical pastry shop-inspired reception desk, artfully displayed cakes and handmade pastries. The lobby’s hub will be the Coffee Lounge, an internet-style-cafe lounge serving beverages, breakfast pastries and afternoon cookies.

The nostalgic 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 exclusive merchandise from The Essex.

A comfortable rocking chair, roaring fire and shelves crammed with cookbooks will make the new Culinary Library a foodie haven. This cozy room can double as part of the prefunction space for weddings, providing a convenient and private place for bridal parties to assemble before entering the resort’s striking atrium.

The Essex’s guestrooms will reflect three distinctive culinary concepts, bringing variety to each space and a unique experience to each guest. The Art of Baking theme will feature flour colored walls that provide a fresh backdrop for wicker basket-style flooring, tea towel-inspired throws on beds and butcher block side tables. Playful artwork will reinforce the overall aesthetic. Harvest Fresh will feature 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 deliciously unexpected elements including art in guest rooms will have a corresponding recipe. All guest rooms will provide a unique retro mini-fridge and artwork/ sculptures handcrafted in Vermont.

Eat, Learn, Savor is the mantra of The Essex. Its two restaurants, Junction and The Tavern, feature 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. An award-winning wine list and a large selection of microbrews, provide the perfect accompaniment. The resort’s signature restaurant, Junction, offers an open kitchen where guests can watch professional chefs create innovative tasting menus and entrees to order.

The Cook Academy provides a variety of fun, 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 an exciting aspect of the Cook Academy’s curriculum.

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.

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