Everyone who's seen it is raving about Hotel Vermont. And for good reason: It's beautiful. Besides what appear to be comfy beds, all the usual amenities and a more-than-a-sliver lake view, Burlington's brand-new boutique hotel has a handsome, contemporary look both inside and out. And much has already been made of how the place marries an almost austere, minimalist aesthetic to Vermonty touches such as homegrown wood and stone, Johnson Woolen Mills blankies and loads of local spirits at the bar.
Just as cool is the presence of the suitably spare-but-handsome artwork of Duncan Johnson. Not only is the West Hartford artist's piece the highlight of the lobby — pictured here behind the registration desk — it is also used on the website and in the marketing and advertising graphics for the hotel.
In other words, Johnson's "painting" as he calls it, of found and reclaimed wood defines what Hotel Vermont is all about. Megan James interviewed the artist for Seven Days in his studio last month, which you can read here.
I got a tour of the premises last night, along with several hundred other people, in a sold-out Lake Champlain Chamber mixer. Though the hotel had already opened, just in time for local college graduations, the event felt akin to a grand opening, complete with complimentary glasses of wine and loads of delicious, locavore hors d'oeuvres.
I happened to walk up to the second floor for the self-guided tour of some of the guestrooms just before a herd of other folks, and found myself getting a personal walk-around with a lovely young woman named Alina (sorry if I'm misremembering that!). I'd already read about and seen some photos of the rooms, and have to say … I want to move in. But I already live in Burlington, so what would be the point of that? Instead, I'll get to frequent the two dining establishments, Juniper and the upcoming, much-anticipated Hen of the Wood.
After a modicum of schmoozing, my claustrophobia in crowds got the better of me and I slipped out, snapping this pic of ingenious plantings in the elevator alcove along the way. I think I might have missed a presentation by the architects/builders upstairs. But perhaps even better is seeing the place with one's own eyes. Bravo!