This January we took our skis and hit the road, or the skies actually. We flew on a Sunday morning to Smugglers’ Notch, and stayed there for four nights as we tested out many of the amazing family friendly activities there. Our stay was more fun than we ever imagined, and it’s really easy to see why Smugglers’ Notch consistently is ranked Number 1 Kid Friendly Ski Resort in the Eastern U.S and Canada. I have shared some of the fantastic winter sports we tried at Smugglers’ Notch, like the Cat Trax Express, and I shared an overview of the resort as well last week here: Smuggler’s Notch: One of the Best Family Ski Resorts You Could Find. I also wanted to take some time to show you inside the accommodations, so you know what you can expect when you visit with your family. Let’s face it accommodations and comfort are important when you travel with family.
We stayed in Kestrel 1, in the neighbourhood called the North Hill village. There are also premium accommodations in West Hill and Highlands Hill. We had never been to Vermont and really had no clue what to expect. We have previously travelled to Blue Mountain and various family ski resorts in Ontario. Last winter we spent some time at Mont Tremblant, where we learned to ski. Interestingly, Mont Tremblant and Smugglers’ Notch are always ranked the Top 2 most family friendly resorts in the Eastern U.S and Canada by Ski Magazine. So we had been to Mont Tremblant, which has a very European ski chalet and village vibe. Then we arrived in Vermont.
Smugglers’ Notch is extremely secluded, located in northern Vermont. This is one family ski resort that is not pretentious at all. The customer service, well I think I posted to Facebook when I was there that I had never seen better customer service anywhere, and actually felt like the phrase customer service completely failed to convey the richness of our experience. Smuggs is the friendliest place we have been skiing and perhaps the most efficient family ski resort as well. That matters to me. I have been to many places in Ontario that call themselves family friendly BUT they really lack the friendly part. Smuggler’s Notch has both of those pieces down pat.
From the moment we arrived to the second we left, everyone at Smugglers’ Notch was welcoming, warm, friendly and super sweet. We never once felt like customers. We felt like friends and I still feel like we made some good friends during our stay. Personally, it makes me happy to have friends around the world. It gives me more reasons to travel, and to return to places we enjoyed. It was also very friendly in Quebec in 2015. For me, though, Smuggler’s Notch dominates the kid friendly ski resort category.
Kestrel 1 was dubbed a condominium. The condominium we were in would have easily fit two families. In fact we counted space for beds and determined that in a pinch you could fit 10 people in the room. The condominium where we stayed was on the lower floor of the complex. Each complex – Kestrel 1 and Kestrel 2 for instance had their own private, individual, secure storage lockers for ski equipment. So each night when you returned via shuttle to your family accommodations, you could take the skis and poles and whatever else that was icy and well used that day and lock it up safely as you entered for the evening. That’s a great feature that helped keep our condominium space uncluttered and clean.
Each of the complexes also had their own hot tub for the condo residents use. Ours was attached to the first floor near the main entrance way. It was underneath an overhang so it was protected a bit from the snow and of course there was a cover for the hot tub, but it was still open air on at least two sides. We did not make it in to try it out. It was extremely busy one night after skiing. That same night we walked across to the nearby community pool and splash pad, where there is also a fitness centre and 2 hot tubs, and we used those instead because they were almost empty.
Inside Kestrel 1, the master bedroom was well equipped and had a walkout patio door. It was too cold to walk out in January but in the Fall and summer months that would be well used. Smuggs is also open all year round and when skiing stops, there are many activities like hiking. There also appeared to be a small barbecue outside for use of the tenants within. There is also a full screened in sunroom off the living room, which would be fabulous for summer and fall stays.
There was a massive en suite with a sauna style shower that was most welcome after stretching my muscles to the extreme on my first day out skiing of the season. There’s also a jacuzzi tub and a large vanity. The en suite was lovely and really spacious too.
This space was specifically for the adults. As in, my husband, and myself. There’s a TV in each bedroom which normally I don’t really care about, but with teens and tweens sometimes that’s an additional feature that can keep them a bit independent of Mom and Dad.
Payton and Ainsley had their own bathroom and they were thrilled with their own spaces inside the condominium we shared while staying at Smugglers’ Notch. Ainsley’s room was massive with four beds!! They both could have stayed in the one room, but for this trip my 14-year-old had no interest in sharing space with her younger sister. I didn’t mind that because she was with her all day every day skiing anyways.
There were three bedrooms. At least two of the bedrooms had a great view of snow and mountains. The room Ainsley stayed in fit four very big beds. That type of room would be perfect for big family travels or for a groups of cousins joining in on the trip. Each of their rooms also had space – either a desk or a side table – where they could do homework. Yes we brought homework along on the trip. My teen did hers each night because we did this trip midweek and three weeks before her first set of exams. So, she needed to keep at the homework a bit.
The dining room was very large, with literally everything and anything you could need to entertain or spend a whole week here with family. We found a crock pot, wine bottle opener, dishwasher, coffee maker, frying pan, huge fridge and every kind of glass or dish you could need. The table fit at least 8 people.
The fridge was lovely and clean and there was a dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, toaster, and a large island for breakfast and quick lunch meals, if you are in the unit at lunch.
My youngest got a massive kick out of sitting at the island. Not sure why that was so meaningful to her, but we don’t have an island in our home, so perhaps the novelty of it made her happy. She snacked there every day and enjoyed her breakfast there too.
The accommodations range in size from studio apartments to five bedroom townhouses at Smugglers’ Notch. The decor inside the Kestrel units is not fussy, but it is functional and earthy, with greens, greys and browns and lots of wood. There are plenty of great windows helping to bring the outdoors inside. We felt completely at home and the kid friendly decor meant we never worried about them damaging anything. It was just a relaxed, comfortable space.
Smugglers’ Notch might get you there with the promise of great skiing, fun snowboarding, tubing and more, but they will have you coming back with their exceptional family friendly atmosphere and remarkable staff. Smuggs is simply one of the best family ski resorts in Eastern US and Canada. Canadian money is accepted at par which basically means you will save 30 % off your vacation here versus what you might spend at other US ski resorts.
We were guests of Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont and we received accommodations and all activities included while we were there. I won two flights from Porter Airlines prior to leaving as well. We loved every minute of being Smugglers and we hope to return because the staff were so great. My opinion is all my own and it is always truthful.