Combining contemporary-chic and early 20th-century design at The Equinox
By Anne Archer
“Excellent fishing, quiet peaceful repose, delightful scenery, healthful food, bracing, stimulating air and restful landscape.” This was the sentiment expressed in an early 20th-century advertisement as a way to describe a typical stay at the Equinox House, known today as The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa, located in Manchester Village, Vt.
While the resort has maintained the elegant feel, quality cuisine and recreational opportunities of the past, it has been keeping up with the times. In fact, its most recent update was completed this past July.
The makeover, according to Alex Zullo, director of sales and marketing at The Equinox, reflects early 20th century design, with an emphasis on nature-based colors inspired by the surrounding landscape that visually link the interior to its natural setting — calming shades of blue, elegant patterns, clean lines and rich hardwood floors.
Updated superior and deluxe rooms, as well as suites in the Main Hotel and The Charles Orvis Inn, are more “modern, restful and neutral,” says Zullo. In addition, the contemporary-chic bathrooms are always stocked with high-end toiletries and soft towels as the beds are covered in soft sheets and plush comforters.
While the roughly 200-year-old resort has always been aesthetically pleasing, guests appreciate that there is more to do than bask in the comforts of well-appointed surroundings. This has been true since the late 1800s when The Equinox offered many outdoor activities like lawn tennis, fishing and croquet. Then, in 1925, recognizing the growing popularity in golf, hotel operator Louise Orvis commissioned the construction of an 18-hole golf course.
Today, the par-71 course offers 6,423-yards of fairway with stress-relieving views of the Green Mountains and Mount Equinox. The Dormy Grill, located behind the ninth hole, serves lunch and drinks under an extensive, awning covered patio.
In the same fashion as visionary Louise Orvis, The Equinox partners with contemporary outdoor businesses like Green Mountain Falconry School and Land Rover Experience Center to ensure their guests have a chance to try something new.
At Green Mountain Falconry School, Rob Waite, master falconer, introduces people to the art of hunting with a trained bird of prey.
“Guests can be incredibly emotional when they first call a hawk to their gloved fist,” Waite said.
During his hands-on class, Waite demonstrates the speed and agility of a trained Harris’s hawk while revealing the teamwork needed between falconer and bird of prey to accomplish their common goal.
At the Land Rover Experience Center, drivers have an opportunity to challenge themselves behind the wheel of a Land Rover as they maneuver the vehicle through an 80-acre driving course with rocky terrain that includes steep ascents, steep descents and side tilts.
For centuries, the promise of rest and relaxation has lured people to The Equinox and this promise lives on at its recently renovated spa. Guests can enjoy an afternoon lounging at the pool house drenched in its tropical climate or have tight, sore muscles loosened by a masseuse skilled in hot-stone, deep-tissue or Swedish massage.
Exercise classes and a fitness room are available, but a scale from the 1900s, found in the spa relaxation room, may be more intriguing for some. The scale was used by guests upon leaving The Equinox to show that they gained weight during their relaxing stay — proof it was a healthy vacation.
Nowadays, putting on weight during a vacation is undesirable but often unavoidable, especially when executive chef Daniel Black, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago, is in the kitchen.
Black takes pride in the local organic ingredients, some straight out of the chef’s garden located on The Equinox property, he uses to prepare his dishes. Due to the close proximity to farms and gardens, Black acknowledges the time it takes to produce fresh seasonal meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. The respect for the process, Black says, causes him to pay more attention to what he is making.
“You can learn a technique, but it’s easy to create with great products,” Black says.
Whether it’s breakfast in the Colonnade, lunch in the Marsh Tavern or dinner at the Chop House — with breads and pastries made on-sight, homemade ice cream and a chicken pot pie Black creates from scratch using the entire bird — guests are thankful the scale is a relic from the past.
And, as if the food isn’t enough, there are plenty of libations available. Between the Falcon Bar and Marsh Tavern, guests can choose from a variety of signature cocktails, an assortment of wines and several single-malt scotches.
As the day winds down, or perhaps is just starting, guests can enjoy a drink in a relaxing rocker on the front porch or sitting in front of the fashionable fire pit on the back patio. Either way, visitors are reminded of how well The Equinox seamlessly meshes the past with the present.
The Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa
3567 Main St.
Manchester Village, Vt.
The Spa at The Equinox
Daily, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Marsh Tavern
Daily, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Chop House
Daily, 5 to 10 p.m.
Hours may vary seasonally.
The Falcon Bar
Daily, 4 p.m. to midnight.
Hours may vary seasonally.
The Dormy Grill
Daily, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Open daily Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend.
The Golf Club at The Equinox
Daily, April to October (weather permitting), 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Anne Archer lives in Manchester, Vt. She is a regular contributor to the Manchester Journal.