As always, reliving some of our memories from last year’s trips proves to be an enjoyable experience – it’s one of the reasons we created Map & Menu. To see other years highlights, check our ‘best of‘ tag!
Michael: Clean and minimal wins almost every time with me, so Provincetown’s Eben House is an easy pick. Continuing where their sister property, the Salt House Inn, stops off, the stylish details, like the art, lighting, and subtle pops of color, are what set Eben House apart from so many other properties.
Meredith: It’s so tempting for me to chime in with Michael and say the Eben House for this one, but I couldn’t help but go a bit crazy over all of the pink at the Quirk Hotel (post coming soon) in Richmond. Pink as a main color scheme is such a huge departure from our own decorating style, which is maybe why I’m drawn to it. The entire design scheme is so well-executed at the Quirk, I think a stay there would convince most any pink naysayer to change their tune.
Michael & Meredith: It’s hard for us to ignore Vermont when we think of dog-friendly, and the Pitcher Inn is a glowing example of this. A short hop from any number of trails in the Mad River Valley, the inn provided plenty of places for us to explore. It’s hard to imagine a staff that could be more happy to see Orvis – every time we made our way through the inn, it felt as though we were a celebrity’s entourage.
While the Pitcher Inn was our favorite, we both think that Boston’s Liberty Hotel is also worth a mention. Next door to the Charles river esplanade paths, the ability for Orvis to join us for drinks in main room, and the somewhat surprising dog-friendliness of Boston in general, our trip to the Liberty turned out to be an unexpected highlight for all three of us.
Michael: While sitting by the pool, sipping a rum punch, with the view of Nevis peak behind the centuries-old sugar mill, it’s hard to imagine a better location than Montpelier Plantation.
Meredith: The charming town of Woodstock, Vermont is one of my favorite places for a stroll with Michael and Orvis, so the fact that the Woodstock Inn is located right across from the town green – and just steps away from the trailhead of Mt. Tom – is my idea of perfect.
Michael: The Pitcher Inn’s full seated breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon, seated by the big sunny windows was the perfect way to start each of our mornings in Vermont. I wonder if I can convince Meredith to make farmhouse breakfasts part of our daily routine…
Meredith: Kevin & David of Salt Hotels make breakfast at any of their beautiful properties a meal to truly savor. While the spread is almost too lovely to eat, you’ll want to take your time as you work through the thoughtful offerings like the Banana Crumb Coffee Cake or the Coconut Chia Pudding.
Michael & Meredith: Not only does The 404 top our list of hotel restaurants, the meal we had there was easily one of the year’s best in general. Southern classics, a fantastic bar, and a friendly staff all add up to a great meal. I’ll probably never stop craving the skillet cornbread with that decadent sorghum butter.
Michael: Crisp white tile and marble, with pops of color and brass made the bathrooms at The 404 Hotel some of the most stylish we stayed in this year.
Meredith: I loved how soothing and understated our bathroom was at the Quirk. It’s a design that feels very current and timeless at the same time.
Michael: It’s hard to beat a private beach when discussing hotel amenities, so I think I’ll pick Montpelier here. On our last visit, we never strayed far enough from the pool to make it down to the ocean, but on this trip, we made the sun, sand, and ocean a priority
Meredith: I was a tiny bit obsessed with the keyless entry at The 404 Hotel. Not having to rummage through my purse to find a key was, in a sense, quite liberating. Coming and going was easy and helped keep us in that vacation state of mind we’re always after while traveling.
Interaction with Hotel Staff
Michael and Meredith: This one was tough. Ari Sadri, the general manager of the Pitcher Inn, could be one of the friendliest and most accommodating people Meredith or I have ever met, and it’s clear that his warm personality has rubbed off on the rest of the inn’s staff. Meredith and I felt like we were amongst family while we stayed there, and judging by other reviews we’ve read about the property, we’re far from the only ones who feel this way.
While the Pitcher Inn wins in this category for first time visits, it’s hard to ignore how many employees at Montpelier Plantation genuinely remembered Meredith and I from our last visit… almost four year ago! It was as though we had taken a short trip across the island, instead of a multi-year hiatus back home. Even new additions to the staff since our last trip, like Kakia Michou made us feel as though we were long time friends, and it’s clear that the property prioritizes its warm interactions with the guests.
Overall Hotel Experience
Michael: Traveling with Orvis is always a delight, and Vermont has become one of Meredith and my favorite places to visit, so finding that perfect balance of style, comfort, and welcoming, tucked away in the Mad River valley easily makes our stay at the Pitcher Inn one of my favorites of the year. When planning every new trip to the state includes a “do you think we can make a night at the Pitcher work?”, you know you’ve found a second home.
Meredith: We stayed at fewer hotels in 2015 compared to years past, but I think the quality of our hotel experiences was certainly up this last year. (Maybe that’s an industry trend we can expect to see in future years?) I’ve always said that our trip to the Salt House Inn in 2013 taught us what the hotel experience should be, so it’s no surprise that this year’s trip to their sister property, Eben House, further reiterated what a hotel stay could be.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.