When the thick steel gates of Smugglers’ Notch Pass swing shut for the season, northbound skiers and riders traveling along Vermont’s scenic Rte 108 dead-end, or should we say reach their destination, at the foot of the state’s highest peak topping out at 4,395 ft. To their benefit, this positions them smack in the middle of Stowe Mountain Resort’s two mountain areas; the aforementioned roofline of the Green Mountains, Mt. Mansfield, and the Spruce Peak at Stowe alpine village. In the heart of the latter—adjacent to the Over Easy Transfer Gondola connecting the two base areas—sits the Stowe Mountain Lodge, a 312-room luxury lodge that greets discerning travelers with a fine blend of modernity and warm New England tradition.


ARRIVAL

It may not compare to the dwarfing presence of Mt. Mansfield’s rocky summit, but the six-story Stowe Mountain Lodge still makes a dominant, yet welcoming, impression when you pull up the stone-lined drive to a covered entryway. You can tell it’s built Vermont-tough and is as resilient to the elements as the locals are. Out front, while you exchange keys for a valet stub, your equipment is immediately labeled and carted off to Ski Valet, where it will be waiting for you—fully tuned and with boots warmed—on the way to first chair.

Entering the lodge through a facade of woven timber and expansive glass—an architectural tip-of-the-hat to the area’s natural beauty—you’ll quickly pick up on the attention to detail and appreciation for careful craftsmanship that’s carried throughout the restaurants, guestrooms and common spaces. Rising above the doorway and check-in counter, the lobby expands around a large stone wood-burning fireplace. Massive burnt-orange leather sofas and dark wood tables are surrounded by towering birch bark columns. Rough-cut sapling branches comprise the stairway and balcony railings, adding to the outside world’s strong indoor presence. It’s not just the color scheme, but the ambiance that also radiates rustic charm.

Up an oversized staircase, sits the Hourglass bar; named for one of the resort’s most venerated backcountry trails. With plenty of balcony seating that hovers directly over the main lobby and a special Hourglass Ale on tap—brewed exclusively for Stowe Mountain Lodge at nearby Rock Art Brewery—Aprés-ski pints and some premiere people watching are bound to ensue. 


THE ROOM

Even in the lodge’s modest studios*—upgradable to suites in one-, two- and three-bedroom models, multi-floor club-level accommodations and private mountain cabins—marble floors extend from the doorway into the bathroom and through the surprisingly well-stocked kitchenette. The bathroom dons an emerald white marble-topped vanity and relaxation tub, a glass-enclosed shower and water closet that’s hidden behind a dark wood sliding door.

The kitchenette equips in-room diners with a two-burner gas range, microwave, mini fridge, stainless steel cookware and even a compact drawer-mounted dishwasher, which stows discreetly beneath the sink in double agent fashion. Handcrafted glassware by Vermont glassblower/potter Simon Pearce—who was commissioned to custom-design the beautiful in-room lamps—and forged stainless flatware fill the cupboards and drawers. Never has ordering into your room, which can be done for any meal, felt so farmhouse-chic.

Rooms come well-appointed with the typical refinements like an iPod-docking alarm clock, HDTV, safe, and of course, complimentary Wi-Fi for checking the latest snow forecast as you burrow deep into the goose down feather bed. Inside the large standing closet hang two luxurious and eco-friendly microfiber robes for your trek to the hot tubs or the 21,000 square foot world-class Spa and Wellness Center. Next to the stone-framed fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows sits, in most rooms, a private balcony offering panoramic views of Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak.

*Stowe Mountain Lodge offers pet-friendly accommodations in select rooms and will specially prepare your room when four-legged friends are on the reservation. A plush doggie bed, food, water bowl and an assortment of treats will be awaiting your best friend upon arrival.


SKIER AMENITIES

When it’s time to hit the slopes, most guests will walk further from their room to the lobby than they will to the lifts once outside. The Sunny Spruce Quad—a short and incredibly ski-boot friendly walk from the lodge—provides high-speed access to a wide variety of terrain and summit lifts on Spruce Peak. Accessing the meat of Stowe’s alpine attractions is effortless thanks to the Over Easy Transfer Gondola, which delivers skiers and riders to the base of Mt. Mansfield in just two minutes.

The Alpine Concierge program allows guests to ship their gear to Stowe in advance, arriving to find boots heated, gear tuned and even schlepped to the lift or gondola by “ski sherpas”. The Concierge can also assist guests with travel plans (lessons, rentals, dining, spa treatments) prior to arrival to ensure not a second of their vacation is wasted.

After a long day soaking up fresh powder stashes or leading your friends on boot-packing expeditions to the Chin, the outdoor heated swimming pool (with indoor access) and hot tubs are standing by to loosen you up for the next morning’s first chair. Myriad spa treatment options, a full-service fitness center and secluded relaxation areas in the Wellness Center will ensure you’re feeling your best when the powder alarm rings.


BOTTOM LINE

With its long list of skier amenities, first-rate service and slopeside access to some of the east’s most legendary terrain, you’ll wish you could call Stowe Mountain Lodge home. That’s why so many families do—look into the Front Four residences if you’re serious about making that slopeside “house in the mountains” a reality. From any one of the many personalized details you’ll experience—Alpine Concierge, private spa treatments or even tableside banter with the head chef at Solstice restaurant—it will become instantly clear that the minds behind Stowe Mountain Lodge have covered every detail. They’ve found a perfect balance of comfort, service and natural beauty, offering everything you’d expect of any Destination Hotel & Resort member, without spoiling the rustic New England elegance and tranquility of a Vermont mountain cabin.