Jay Peak Resort sits on the side of a mountain with Jay Peak looming above – sometimes. The peak with an elevation of 3,862 feet can go from fully visible to shrouded in fog in a matter of minutes. Jay Peak sits about 5 miles from the Canadian border in Vermont’s Green Mountains.
The main hotel complex has a hotel at each end. Jay Peak Hotel includes an indoor waterpark and conference center. A corridor leads to shops, restaurants, and a tram that goes up to the top of the mountain, with another smaller hotel on the other side of the tram station. You can get from one end to the other without ever going outside, handy for a ski lodge in winter. There are ski lifts near the tram base as well as in other locations around the property. A skating arena sits next to Jay Peak Hotel, and a golf course across the road below it, complete with clubhouse and restaurant. There’s also facilities for weddings.
The trail system includes Nordic ski trails as well as hiking and biking trails, though the hiking and biking trails are not well marked.
The ski runs work well as trails when there’s no snow so if you just want to hike around on the mountain and don’t really care where you go it’s easy to find your way back down whether you find the official hiking trails or not since there’s almost always a ski run somewhere nearby. Although mainly a ski resort, it is open year-round. Hours and days of operation of some facilities may be limited during the off season though.
Many condos and vacation homes cluster between this hotel complex and another hotel on the other side of it all. A movie theater sits next to that hotel. Neither that hotel nor the theater were open while we were there.
We went to Jay Peak Resort in October. Our room in the main hotel was booked well in advance in the cheapest style of room that they had, which turned out to be one king bed in a larger-than-average hotel room. It had a nightstand on either side, a closet, and a sort of combo desk/dresser that had a chair on one end with open space underneath and a TV over drawers on the other. There was an ironing board with iron and a hairdryer. It had a Keurig with coffee pods only and no tea available for the asking. No refrigerator or microwave. The bathroom was pretty spacious and the room itself had quite a lot of extra floorspace near the entry.
During our stay the hotel seemed mostly deserted. We saw very few other people around the place. I often wandered the halls throughout the entire resort without ever seeing another person. Once I saw a couple people walking a dog when I had hiked on trails far up the mountain, but they were not from the resort. Possibly from one of the vacation homes closer to that area of the trails. One afternoon 3 vans topped with bikes showed up at the resort with a group that spend one night there and left the next morning.
It’s quite a large hotel so it probably gets a lot more business during the winter ski season. John talked to another person there who had booked last minute and got a really nice suite for less than we’d paid for the cheap room, which in itself would normally indicate lots of available space to fill due to supply and demand – prices go down when you need to fill the rooms, up when there aren’t many available.
The 2nd floor room they gave us happened to be right next to some sort of giant machinery sticking out of a roof from the green part of the building over a conference center that was only 1 story high. Probably something to do with the heating/cooling system. It ran day and night making all kinds of racket. Like a furnace or air conditioner running constantly. Outside you could hear it from the distance of at least a couple city blocks away. From inside it sounded a lot like the furnace in the room being constantly on, though it rarely actually was. While this may not bother most people, I’m a light sleeper and always turn off any sort of heating or cooling system at night because I can’t sleep with it running.
After a sleepless night (for me, John slept fine) we asked if we could change rooms the next morning. At that time they said all rooms were either occupied or dirty and they would know later at 4pm. After not having cleaned our room that day we figured it was because they didn’t want to clean it before and after moving, but then when we went down to ask after 4 they said sorry all the rooms are full. Seriously, if the rooms were all full one would expect to see other people around the hallways sometimes and for things around the hotel to be open, though none of the shops or any of the restaurants within the main hotel complex ever were. They had guest laundries available on several floors. I did a load of laundry and besides not seeing anyone on the way to or from the guest laundry – which wasn’t even on our floor – I had to turn on the lights when I got there and nobody else came in the whole time. They never did let us change rooms and I never got much sleep during our stay there. They never did clean the room during our stay either. Whether that was due to not wanting to enter occupied rooms because of covid, not having enough staff to clean them other than between guests, or just their usual policy we will never know.
Clean towels were available at the front desk for the asking. There were also maps of the resort’s trails there for the taking, though the maps for hikers and bikers didn’t show the ski runs and most of the signs you come across up on the peak are for ski runs rather than trails so that would have been useful information for knowing where you were on the mountain. Getting back to the resort was easy enough following a ski run down, but more trail signs and ski run info on the map would have made finding or staying on hiking trails rather than ski runs a lot more possible.
The skating rink, indoor water park, tram, shops, and restaurants had very limited off-season hours on certain days, mainly just the weekend and the movie theater none at all, though the theater being closed could have been a covid thing since a lot of things were still closed due to covid during the time we were there. Nothing much was open during our stay so we never had the opportunity to see much of what the resort had to offer. The little general store opened on the same day as the tram, which was good since that was where the tickets were sold. None of the other shops or any of the restaurants at the main hotel opened while we were there, nor the water park or skating rink which only had weekend hours. The golf course was open and we did see a few people using it.
The golf course restaurant next to the wedding tent was open sometimes while we were there, but of all the restaurants at the resort it was the only one that was. The tram to the top of the mountain opened on our last full day there after having been closed for the rest of our stay. That turned out to be the nicest day weatherwise so taking it up to the top of the mountain that day worked out well for us. While the first couple days had been cloudy, that day had bright sunshine so the views from the top were excellent.
This would be a great place to stay when everything is open since there would be a variety of fun things to do. We enjoyed it anyway, though if you happen to go to Vermont and spend much time outside in nature be sure to check for ticks as soon as you go inside because they do have the sort that spreads Lyme disease there and if you get one you want to remove it before it has been there long enough to have any possibility of making you sick.
That countryside in and around Jay Peak looks wonderful – it was definitely a nice time of year to be there and enjoy the scenery.
It does have beautiful scenery. I had never seen hills of brightly colored fall trees as far as the eye could see before.