Easy access to the Stowe Recreation Path isn’t the only reason to stay at Alpenrose Motel (2619 Mountain Rd., 802/253-7277, www.gostowe.com/alpenrose , $70); the rooms are moderately priced and come with private baths, coffeemakers, and kitchenettes. The property also has a swimming pool and pleasant gardens and a patio for outdoor lounging.
Handmade quilts and snowshoes decorate the compact but tidy rooms at the Austrian-style chalet, Grunberg Haus (94 Pine St., Waterbury, 800/800-7760, www.grunberghaus.com , $120–160), tucked into a maple forest. Each room comes with a large en suite bathroom, private balconies, gas-fired woodstoves, fridges, and microwaves. Cabins are also available, and all rooms come with a full home-cooked breakfast.
Another Austrian-style inn with slightly cutesy rooms (lots of pink and blue pastels), Honeywood Inn (4527 Mountain Rd., 800/659-6289, www.honeywoodinn.com , $119–269) offers significant perks and convenient services: babysitting and child care, business services, fireplaces, kitchenettes in some suites, and a pool. Pets are welcome.
Not nearly as outdoorsy as its name suggests, the Bird’s Nest Inn (5088 Stowe Rd., Waterbury Center, 802/244-7490, www.birdsnestinn.com , $135–195) is actually a haven of creature comforts, starting with the three-course candlelight breakfast (yes, breakfast) and the hammocks for lazing in the outdoor garden and ending with guest rooms boasting cushy comforters, delicate floral walls, and custom bathrobes.
Uniquely appointed rooms—many with working fireplaces, canopy four poster beds, and mountain views—make Edson Hill Manor (1500 Edson Hill Rd., Stowe, 802/621-0284, www.edsonhillmanor.com , $179–289) a worthy spot to rest your head. There’s also complimentary afternoon tea, a library for relaxed reading, and a country breakfast served in the lovely dining room every morning.
With loads of pampering and fantastic recreation for adults and kids,
Topnotch Resort (4000 Mountain Rd., Stowe, 800/451-8686, www.topnotchresort.com , $385–535) wins the luxury-for-families award, hands-down. Grown-ups can chill out on the slopes, at either of the beautifully kept mountainside pools (one indoor, one out), or in the glorious new spa’s treatment rooms. Meanwhile, the children’s activity program is extensive and extremely well organized, so both they and mom and dad feel entertained by the day’s end. Not for families only, the resort also manages to make couples feel catered to, with romantic dining at Norma’s, sumptuously decorated suites with oversized tubs, and couples’ massages.
Even better than visiting the Trapp Family Lodge (700 Trapp Hill Rd., 802/253-8511 or 800/826-7000, www.trappfamily.com , $245–375) for serious Sound of Music fans is staying there overnight. The lodge definitely stresses the “family” part of the name, with comfortable accommodations and staff who are especially patient with children. Once a bit worse for wear, the lodge has been slowly renovated over the past few years in a more modern, up-to-date style.
It was inevitable: After years of resisting the kind of big-lodge accommodations of other ski mountains in New England, Stowe has finally succumbed with the opening of the new Stowe Mountain Lodge (7412 Mountain Rd., 888/478-6938, www.stowemountainlodge.com , $400–850), located at the base of Spruce Peak. What’s surprising, however, is how well the lodge has retained the “real Vermont” character of Stowe. From the birch trees and the Lake Champlain granite (with fossils of trilobites stuck inside) in the lobby to the Simon Pearce and Miranda Thomas pottery in the guest rooms, the lodge has gone out of its way to include, not ignore, its surroundings. Of course, the lodge also has every luxury you can imagine—goose-down pillows, flat-screens, iPod hookups, etc.—and every room is a suite with kitchenette and laundry to make travelling with the family easy. Finally, those two words that are music to every skiers ears: ski valet.