Sometimes the only family adventure you are looking for is a delicious meal followed by a dip in the pool. Topnotch Resort and Spa offers a family escape within the beautiful mountains of Stowe Vermont.
As you wind along the mountain road passing towering trees, small shops, and country homes, you come to Topnotch’s subtle hillside entrance. The wood clad exterior is reminiscent of a modern mountain cottage. The resort itself is small, with 68 rooms within the main building and 23 luxury resort homes, though the grounds are very spacious. Although investors now own the once family-owned resort, Topnotch strives to maintain the family feel.
From free valet parking and a fresh bottle of Vermont spring water in your room everyday to milk and cookies in the downstairs lounge every afternoon at four, it’s these little details that set Topnotch apart from other vacation destinations in the area.
Topnotch’s recent renovation not only updates the resort’s décor, giving it a modern luxury cabin in the woods vibe, it also takes advantage of the majestic scenery that surrounds the resort. The small front lobby feels open and airy with the window of walls to the outdoor living space. The two new restaurants, The Roost and Flannel, offer spectacular floor to ceiling window views of the mountainside along with wonderful outdoor seating to take advantage of the morning sun or the evening breeze.
In the evening you can enjoy a fire pit outside of Flannel where they occasionally roast marshmallows for s’mores. There’s also a large outdoor fire pit outside of The Roost, perfect for catching the setting sun.
As if a reminder of Topnotch’s roots, the resort incorporated one of the original lodge walls as a backdrop to the fire pit and it fits wonderfully.
Although the area of Stowe has a number of great restaurants and cafes, you’ll be hard pressed to venture out of Topnotch after you’ve eaten at either of the resort’s two restaurants. The Chef makes an effort to work with local producers and the quality food choices and it shows in the dishes.
The meat and cheese options were superb at The Roost though a real cheese knife would have greatly improved the dining experience. You’ll find a few dining tables available for a casual dinner though the kids much preferred the more relaxed chairs and lounges.
For a more substantial meal we tried Flannel. They do offer a children’s menu but Flannel’s selection of small plate options are a perfect idea for kids, expanding your child’s food repertoire while catering to smaller appetites. My son, having never tried oysters, fell in love with his Crispy Oyster BLT. I really wish we had left room for dessert because I spied a delicious looking s’more dessert on the table next to us.
Our Topnotch weekend escape included a lot of time in the water, enjoying the resort’s two pools. Although my kids loved being in the pool, I loved the spectacular view. There’s something magical about swimming under the watch of the mountain range especially as the sun sets.
Most of our evenings ended with time in the indoor pool. It was the perfect way to unwind. With the pool area not that busy at night I really enjoyed the quiet time sitting in the warmth of the sauna and steam room located right on the pool deck. Having the deck shower was ideal for rinsing off from the pool before heading back to the room for the night.
As the name implies, Topnotch Resort and Spa offers a wonderful onsite spa, one of the world’s top resort spas by Spa Finder, Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure. Just stepping into the spa reception, accessible from an outside entrance as well as a resort entrance off of the indoor pool area, the aroma has the ability to relax you even before your spa treatment. I was surprised at how large the spa area is with individual treatment rooms as well as group rooms, should you want to do a mother and daughter treatment. Our weekend didn’t allow for a spa visit but a visit is on my list the next time I’m in town.
After a full belly and a relaxing swim, the pillow top beds were heavenly. A delicious bed to sleep in can sometimes be a luxury on it’s own, especially if the bed is king sized. Having the Keurig coffee maker in the room was a nice touch too, especially as we have a similar machine at home. It was easy to pack a few of our favourite Keurig flavours, such as my husband’s coffee and the kids’ hot chocolate.
If you’re looking for a little more room or you’re traveling with a larger family, the Topnotch Resort and Spa suites are ideal. The sitting area was a great place to relax with ample seating for the kids. They loved having their own space and I love that they didn’t have to share my large shower. The seating area easily transformed into a sleeping area at night, with a pullout couch and wall bed.
For a bigger escape you can also book one of the resort’s luxury vacation homes. Situated on the hill behind the resort, all the homes seem to enjoy lovely views plus you have access to all the resorts amenities. Definitely on my list to try.
Topnotch Resort and Spa’s friendly staff, beautiful surroundings, and superb food made for a fabulous family escape. We did encounter what felt like novice service in the restaurants, a few mechanical issues in our room, and a little lack of detail in stocking the room. The things that were fixable were addressed right away and the other issues I’ll chalk up to working out a few bugs after their reopening. With the glitches sorted, Topnotch is bound to be a superior family destination offering a wonderful small inn feel and hospitality with superb service.
Thanks to the folks at Topnotch for their hospitality.