Booking a Vermont hotel no longer means choosing one overwrought B&B over another: Luxury ski lodges, such as the 2008 newcomer Stowe Mountain Lodge, are giving the Green Mountains a new gleam. Not to be outdone, the historic, hulking Equinox resort in Manchester has undergone a contemporary upgrade, and Barnard's Twin Farms continues to raise the bar on exquisite service. There are, of course, still plenty of romantic inns run by charming keepers whose hospitality only adds to the splendor of fall foliage. If that's the Vermont experience you seek, look to the Queen Anne confection the Jackson House Inn, in Woodstock, or West Dover's Deerhill Inn, where quintessential Vermont hotel rooms such as the Rose Garden and the Apple Blossom whisk away any remaining thoughts of city life.
The highest concentration of premier properties, with rooms and private cabins up to $2,300 per night in the busy winter high season, are located in and around the ski towns of Stowe, Warren, and Manchester. Meanwhile, Vermont hotel rooms under $200 keep the city of Burlington and the stunning Northeast Kingdom region well within reach for budget-conscious travelers. There is one catch: Vermont hotels require guests to book especially early (try a year in advance), and at higher rates, for the fall foliage season in September and October. Summer is becoming more popular, too; it's best to reserve rooms a few months ahead of time. You'll find the widest availability and the lowest prices during the shoulder months of November and April, but you may also find that the innkeepers have fled south. We recommend that you follow their lead—stick season and mud season are better left unseen.