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World's Most Expensive
An Alpine Idyll at Vermont's Topnotch Resort
March 4, 2014
Victoria Abbott Riccardi
Snug in the steamy water gazing at the snowflakes streaming down from the sky against a backdrop of the Green Mountains, it was a dreamy alpine moment and the perfect finale to a day of skiing.
Topnotch Resort sits on 120 wooded acres in the quaint town of Stowe, Vermont Thanks to a 15-million dollar property-wide renovation this summer, it now has something for everyone. Luxury seekers will appreciate the property's AAA Four Diamond status. Families with kids will love the resort's numerous activities. Those in search of pampering need look no further than the spa, consistently acclaimed as one of the "Top Ten" resort spas in North America by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. And, for those who want to get away with their furry friend(s), Topnotch welcomes pets, particularly dogs, who can get turn-down service at night, dog treats in the lobby at teatime, and a Rover Reiki massage in your room by a specially trained therapist.
Upon entering the sleek wood, glass, and stone main lodge, you're greeted with the friendly check-in staff and concierge desk. The lodge houses sixty-eight guest rooms and suites decorated in soothing tones of brown, rust, ivory, gray and yellow. June Jacobs body products grace each room, along with a coffee maker (with local Green Mountain coffee), a CD player, DVD/VCR, and complimentary Wi-Fi access.
For those eager to spread out, the resort has forty Resort Homes only a short walk from the main lodge. Most of the homes look out onto Mt. Mansfield and have two or three bedrooms, multiple full baths, a full kitchen, living room with fireplace, dining room, washer and dryer, patio, and central air conditioning.
When it comes to working out, Topnotch has extremely impressive facilities. The Fitness Center includes a cardio studio with treadmills, Stairmasters, LifeCycles and Elliptical Cross-Trainers and a weight-training studio with Cybex circuit equipment and free weights. The aerobics studio has a cathedral ceiling and panoramic mountain views. You also can see the mountains from the heated outdoor and indoor pools. For tennis buffs, The Tennis Center is ranked #11 in the world by Tennis Resorts Online and has more than thirty tennis programs for all ages and levels of play. Then, there is the resort's Nordic Barn Recreational Center with equipment to rent for downhill and cross-country skiing, cycling, mountain biking, snowshoeing, in-line skating, canoeing and fly-fishing. There is also an Equestrian Center, which offers private and group horseback riding lessons, along with guided English and Western trail rides.
The Spa at Topnotch has full facilities for women and men, including a whirlpool, sauna and steam room. There is a full-service beauty salon and more than 120 body treatments–facials, massages, scrubs, and wraps–including ones “Just for Men.” The spa also offers Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine menu, and Aesthetica Medi-Spa under the tutelage of Dr. Randy Stoloff.
When it comes to dining, you have two choices at Topnotch. The Roost, located just off the lobby in the main lodge, is casual spot with a lively bar, big screen TVs, a Shuffleboard Dining Bar, and a scattering of tables and chairs around gas fireplaces. Menu offerings include such items as stuffed clams, wings, chips, and chili, along with meat and cheese boards, and simple suppers, like veal meatballs with rigatoni. Executive Chef Steve Sicinski tries to use as many local ingredients as possible. Your second dining option is Flannel, also located in the main lodge and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While Flannel aims to be slightly more upscale than The Roost, it still has a kid-friendly feel with bare chunky wooden tables and an open kitchen. Dishes change seasonally and might include winter starters like kale Caesar salad and steak tartar. For mains, you might encounter salmon with cranberry balsamic jam and seared Ribeye with potato hash. Should you pass on the homemade pies, ice creams and sorbets on the dessert menu, you always can snag a s'more at one of the outdoor fire pits–just another sweet reminder of how Topnotch Resort aims to please everyone who walks through its doors.
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