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“Battle Harbour” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Battle Harbour Heritage Properties

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Battle Harbour Heritage Properties
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PO Box 140, Mary's Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador AOK 3PO , Canada   |  
Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Battle Harbour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

We recently enjoyed two nights at Battle Harbour - one would not have been enough. We are a family of four and even our two boys (7 & 10) loved the the place. They played with wooden boats, made by the guide Nelson for his children, in a small pond - all thoughts of TV, iPads and Wii disappeared!
Although it is not cheap the fact that the place is managed by a non-profit Trust to support the historical way of life makes it more palatable. The food was good - mix of local and more adventurous international dishes - and all the staff were fantastic.
There is clearly a passion, from the head of he Trust to the rest of the staff, to make the place a success. It is still a work in progress but well worth going now. The accommodation is very comfortable and although you are staying in original homes the refurbishments have added comfort but have not spoiled the character.
We were also followed by dolphins on our way to the island and spotted whales while we were there.
All in all a fantastic experience, in a pristine and uncrowned environment, which was also enhanced by a stay at the Whalers Cabins in Red Bay on our way there.
One word of caution - we drove a saloon car with, in hindsight, inappropriate tires and suffered two simultaneous punctures. This delayed us significantly and if was only through the kind help of locals that we got sorted. The last section of the road leading to Battle Harbour from Red Bay is unpaved and we heard many a tale of woe from punctures to broken windshields. While there are imminent plans to pave the road this will take another two years so make sure you have proper transport and strong tires! Also, check if coming from Newfoundland in a rental car, whether they allow you to take the car to Labrador. If in doubt, leave your car in Forteau and hire a sturdy rental locally for this part of your trip. Also note that cell phones do not work n this stretch but you can borrow satellite phones.
However, the above mishap did not deter us - we made new friends who helped us out and rekindled our faith in human nature! A special thanks to Peter Marsh who rescued us!

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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    21
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
St. Anthony, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

I've stayed at Battle Harbour on numerous occasions and each time I feel privileged to have the opportunity to be there. It is hard to put into words how it feels to be there and there's certainly more to it than just a feeling of being in another time, it's more like being in a uniquely special place, a corner of the world that few have experienced. As stated in other reviews, it is hard to get to, but not as hard as getting to Macchu Pichu and a lot less crowded. It is rich in history and geology and run by people who have a vested interest in everyone's experience at Battle Harbour.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

The trip starts with a ferry across the ocean to Battle Harbour. We were fortunate enough to have a few icebergs floating close by and a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the boat ride.

The meals are excellent. The guided tour provided by a knowledgeable and friendly local was a wonderful introduction to the history of the island, the buildings and the way of life. The inn was fully booked the night we stayed. We were fortunate to share the space, and the one bathroom, with wonderful people. There was no issue sharing a bathroom with that may people.

The inn is a beautiful place to spend a night. The room we stayed in overlooked the west end of the island so we had a beautiful view of the night sky at twilight. The beds were comfortable, and the rooms, including the bathroom, were very clean.

The staff are wonderful. The kitchen staff consistently went above and beyond. The locals were friendly and helpful.

The only negative is that the departure ferry leaves at 9:00 am the morning of check-out. We were only there for one night, so we had less than 24 hours to enjoy the island. It would have been nice if they had kept the afternoon ferry, which left at 4:00, so you could have more time to wander and enjoy the land.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

Battle Harbour, an historic fishing premises preserved by a historic trust, is an exceptional destination. This was once the unofficial capital of Labrador and tremendous wealth was shipped through this port. A visit is adventure tourism, ecotourism, cultural and historic tourism, and once you are there, as relaxing and comfortable as your Grandmother's kitchen. You must travel considerable distances to get here. Most will include it in a trip to Newfoundland by taking the ferry to Blanc Sablon across the Straits of Belle Isle. From there you drive on a gravel road to Mary's Harbour and take a private ferry (people only) to the island. Many days there is only one trip a day, so you should plan your drive time carefully. There are several other wonderful sites on this stretch of Labrador's Coast, like UNESCO site Red Bay, which you should include. But staying overnight, and indeed for three or four days, at Battle Harbour will be the highlight. The restored historic homes are immaculate and the staff exceptional. You will get a flavor of the friendliness of the local folks as they proudly show you around on tour. You brought your guitar right? An evening kitchen party is normal if some guests are musically inclined. The food is authentic and wholesome. Yes, just talk to the cook about your dietary needs, she is right there. As every thing comes by boat, if you have unusual requirements let them know when you reserve. Now for the fun. You can hike all around the island, exploring the amazing geology and beautiful rock formations, picking berries, photographing everything, or just sit and watch the sea, the birds and the generally present whales and ice bergs. There are no "keep off" signs. There are trails, but you can bushwhack across the rock outcroppings and hop across the streams as people have done for hundreds of years. The sub-arctic plant life is extraordinary and you will want to bend down, look closely and cherish it. We keep going back because it is such an extraordinary place. Go, do go, but spend several days so you can absorb the history and the natural beauty.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint John
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

This was one of the most wonderful experiences in my 51 years of living. The journey, location, accomodations, staff and stories as told by a 5th generation fisherman will bring so much joy you cannot miss this in your lifetime.

The first Grenfell Hospital was built here, the Merchants who controlled the fisherman's family and existence and the bountiful Labrador fishery in its prime are all set here in Battle Harbour. Also is the harsh reality of life you will come to understand here over 100 years ago.

Our advice - don't stay just one night as the place gets into your soul with the ever changing weather, light and season.

You will not find nicer hosts, guides and family anywhere.

Don't miss the Grenfell Heritage in St. Anthony which ties this all together.

The story must be heard as it is an important chapter in Canadian history.

The accomodations are lovely and clean. Several rooms in the Battle Harbour Inn as well as private cottages and sheds which folks love to stay in. We were fed traditional Labrador meals which were outstanding along with very sweet people who staff the island during season. The 1 hour ferry ride was comfortable and we saw pods of porposies along the way.

The day we left a family was arriving to host a wedding the next day. We could think of nothing more perfect to start a new life for a young couple.

I guarantee you will catch Battle Harbour fever if you visit.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockton, New Jersey
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2013

Battle Harbour, managed by a historic trust, offers a unique offshore island experience combining historic buildings of the traditional cod, salmon, and seal fishery; vistas of icebergs and whales; the beautiful sub-arctic ecology and geology of southern Labrador; and the cuisine and culture of the people whose ancestors long ago settled in this remote part of North America. Getting to Mary's Harbour, from which the boat leaves, is a challenge because of a long stretch of gravel road, but the rest of the experience is nothing short of magical, thanks to the people and the place.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Red Deer, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Unquestionably one of the most unique accommodation experiences on offer in Canada, Battle Harbour is a true jewel culturally, historically, ecologically and more!!

The site is a restored coastal fishing village - one of the last of what were once hundreds along the Labrador coast. What is more, however, is that the site continues to be used as a summertime community for families that have called this island home for decades, if not centuries.

Stepping off the passenger-only ferry is to step into another world, and to be welcomed by the warmest hospitality of the island community. Battle Harbour is designed to be a multi-day visit, and on arrival you will be shown to your quarters, which may be a room in the old inn, one of several restored cottages, or perhaps the shed of the old RCMP station (which is so much more than a shed once you step inside!!). Accommodations are comfortable and flavoured with the traditions of the island and the fishery that prompted its settlement. Depending on your selected accommodation, bathroom facilities are ensuite or shared; the aim is to provide a place where anyone will be comfortable.

The culinary experience of the place is true to the roots of the community - hearty home-style traditional Labrador meals served family-style in the dining area above the general store. Here is a great opportunity to meet other visitors, to meet community members who have prepared the fabulous meals, and to glean more about the history and modern-day workings of the community. Meals can range from the Sunday favourite Jigg's Dinner to codfish to desserts made with local berries, and are served with love and care by community members.

The first day of a visit will include an afternoon tour of the community from the perspective of a lifelong resident. In addition to gaining insights into the history of the place, personal anecdotes bring the tour to life. Frequent impromptu stops to chat with residents further enhances the walk-about. By tour's end, visitors are comfortable with their surroundings, and cannot help but feel a part of the community for the time of their stay!

The island includes an incredible diversity of geological and ecological treasures which can be explored at will via hiking trails that circumvent the island. For those staying multiple days, a trip across the tickle to Caribou Island opens doors to a larger island. A half- or full-day hike (take a picnic from the kitchen) would be time well spent exploring more of what this neighbouring island has to offer.

In season, icebergs are frequent visitors to the area (my room at the inn came with a view of an iceberg out of the window!!), as are whales (we had great sightings of humpbacks on the trip back to the mainland). Depending on the season, capelin and cod are still being fished by residents, and visitors are given a glimpse of the importance of the fishery to these coastal communities.

Battle Harbour is accessible via road (88km on excellent packed gravel from Red Bay or again on gravel from the Goose Bay side), air/road, or boat directly to the island. Getting there is a part of the overall experience and this should not be a deterrent to visiting this remarkable place!!

There is no cell phone service on the island, and only very limited internet, so a visit should be treated as a retreat away from the busy-ness of daily life. If you can't bear the thought of a few days without email or texting, then Battle Harbour is probably the place you NEED to be. Here you will discover the value in connecting face-to-face in community, and to authentic, rather than virtual, reality!!

The only caution: DO NOT COME FOR ONE NIGHT!!! Battle Harbour is an experience that grows on the visitor. The longer the stay, the more immersed one becomes in the setting, the community, and the relaxed lifestyle. Stay 2 or 3 nights minimum - stay a week if you can!

Room Tip: If you don't mind sharing a bathroom, ask for the Battle Harbour Inn. The 'shed' behind...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Battle Harbour Heritage Properties

Address: PO Box 140, Mary's Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador AOK 3PO , Canada
Location: Canada > Newfoundland and Labrador > Labrador > Mary's Harbour
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Mary's Harbour
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
Battle Harbour Heritage Properties Mary's Harbour, Canada - Labrador

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