When you want to relax in great comfort and style away from home, consider an all-inclusive resort. After paying a set fee upfront, all meals, liquor, tips, exercise classes, and rental equipment, such as canoes and bicycles, are included in the cost of your stay. Here are three places to provide you with just that sort of escape.
TWIN FARMS, Vermont
When you’re searching for understated elegance in a secluded woodland setting, Twin Farms is an ideal choice. The former country home of Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) and his wife, journalist Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961), this stone and clapboard property with 20 distinctive accommodations lies tucked away in Barnard, on 300 acres in the mountains of central Vermont. The main house contains the original dining room, along with an antiques-filled living room, the main dining room, where all meals are served, and a cozy game room. While the main house also has four guest rooms, the cottages have the most character. An English-style cottage called Perch, for example, has a fishing theme, along with a massive copper soaking tub. The Aviary pays homage to our feathered friends with huge glass windows looking out onto a forest of maple, ash, and pine trees. All cottages have spacious sitting rooms, screened porches, and at least one fireplace. They are serviced throughout the day; laundry is gratis; and any meal can be enjoyed in the privacy of your room.
Thanks to executive chef Ted Ask and his team, meals are a highlight, beginning with breakfast. In addition to the morning specials, you’ll find myriad egg dishes, house-smoked trout, homemade sausages, porridge, fruit, soufflé pancakes, and warm scones.
In the spirit of a grand house party, Twin Farms serves afternoon tea and scones, followed by cocktails and canapés at 7 p.m. and dinner at 8. For an intimate treat, ask to dine in the wine cellar. For post-prandial entertainment, you can savor a drink in The Pub, soak in the Japanese Furo (bath), or simply stroll the property admiring the owner’s art collection, which includes works by Jasper John, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, and Frank Stella. While children under age 16 cannot stay at Twin Farms, twice a year (usually February and July) the resort offers a family week, where infants, toddlers, and children are welcome. Rates for two people, off-peak (Sun-Wed): $1,260-$2,800; peak (Thu-Sat, holiday periods, and foliage season): $1,400-$3,100.
452 Royalton Turnpike, Barnard, Vt.,
In the Litchfield Hills, Winvian appeals to those eager to kick back in a country farm setting with the comforts of an on-premise spa. The resort also specializes in whimsy, mainly in your choice of 18 unique cottages. The most outrageous is Helicopter Cottage, basically a hip hangar for the 1968 fully restored Sikorsky HH37 Sea King Pelican helicopter it contains, looming at the foot of your bed. Savor morning coffee in the helicopter’s interior seating area; enjoy a nightcap in the cockpit. Woodland Cottage features soaring wood ceilings, whole tree pillars, and two sinks fabricated from tree trunks, all offering the illusion that you’re staying outside. Behind the bed’s headboard is a stone slab slick with water that drips into a stone pool near the sunken bath. For families the best choice is Treehouse, a two-story cottage suspended 35 feet off the ground.
While rates vary slightly depending upon which cottage you choose, the all-inclusive option gives you all meals, unlimited cocktails, and all activities. A small gym with a few pieces of cardio equipment offers a place to exercise. However, in fine weather, a much better choice is to pedal around on one of the resort’s bikes or go hiking. For a less strenuous option, book a body treatment at the spa, a window-filled oasis with a central relaxation room open to all guests.
Choose either the three- or four-course menu for dinner. Entrees might include wild duck with garden blackberries or roast lamb with yogurt-mint sauce, while dessert can be either local cheese or a richer sweet, such as an almond-chocolate cherry torte.
The all-inclusive rate of $1,050 is for two people and includes meals, in-cottage wet bar and cocktails, and use of resort facilities. Spa appointments are extra. 155 Alain White Road,
Mor ris, Conn., 860-567-9600, www.winvian.com
CANYON RANCH, Massachusetts
Wellness — in mind, body, and spirit — is the buzzword at this posh resort in the Berkshires, which combines Gilded Age graciousness with modern-day fitness. A stunning 1897 mansion serves as the property’s centerpiece with various New England-style clapboard buildings arching around it. Upon checking in, you’ll receive an extensive information packet, which includes a day-by-day listing of that week’s activities with multiple options offered hourly.
Some folks come to kick-start a healthy lifestyle, packing their days with exercise classes and healthy gourmet meals. Others come to escape the frenzy of work and home, indulging in restorative walks and yoga classes and body treatments at the spa. Lectures and workshops on various health topics, such as breathing for health and vitality and reigniting your creativity are offered. For an added fee, you can meet with a board-certified physician at the resort’s Integrative Health Center to create a personalized health care plan. Canyon Ranch has specialists in Ayurvedic medicine, Naturopathy, Western herbal medicine, and mental health. Diagnostic services, such as cardiac stress tests, also can be performed on the property.
Many guests come simply to relax and refuel. Most meals are served in the formal dining room with white tablecloths, lemon water on each table (no alcohol is served on the property), and the day’s choice of healthy, carefully prepared appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Depending on the season, a dinner might begin with a cream-free carrot-ginger soup, peak with seafood paella, and end with a small scoop of pistachio frozen yogurt. Nutritional information accompanies every offering. For those on the go, the window-filled Café Tasse has coffee drinks, healthy baked goods, light breakfasts, and savory snacks such as veggies with low-fat hummus.
Guest rooms are located in the modern clapboard section of the resort. Rendered in a soothing palate of gold, brown, and mossy green, they are comfortable and functional, equipped with Wi-Fi, DVD players, coffee machines, and polished quartz bathrooms. The resort fee includes the room, all meals, unlimited snacks at Café Tasse, dozens of daily activities, classes, and workshops, along with services built into the overall fee to put toward body treatments or certain health consultations. All taxes and tips are included in the rate, which varies from season to season, but from now until Nov. 30 begins at $2,490 (Sun, Mon, Tue) for a three-night minimum in deluxe accommodations. That drops to $2,240 from Dec. 1-March 12.
165 Kemble St., Lenox, 800-742-9000,
Victoria Abbott Riccardi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.