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“Service Beyond Belief” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Harbour House Hotel

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Harbour House Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   85 Melville Street | Box 760, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0, Canada   |  
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Cambridge, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Service Beyond Belief”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2013

Just got back from a nice weekend stay at the Harbour House Hotel. Nice location down by the river, but a 5 minute walk to the downtown and Festival Theatre. The room was spacious and the décor was nice. Despite a previous comment, I'm over 6' and had no problem fitting into the shower. However, the shower can be a little intimidating. The room was very clean. They also have a shuttle bus that will take you any where in town you wish to go, and will bring you back. The breakfast room can get a little crowded, but the room is very nice and the meal was quite delicious. The hotel does not have a pool or fitness centre. If you need either, you can use these facilities at their sister hotel. However, what really set this hotel apart was the service. I'm 50 years old and have stayed at many hotels in my life. To say any of the staff that I interacted with were good, would be an incredible understatement. I have never stayed at a hotel where every staff member you met was beyond belief. It didn't matter whether it was the breakfast room staff, house keepers, driver or front desk staff, they were all amazing.

Job well done, to all of you!!!!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Jennifer D, Front Office Manager at Harbour House Hotel, responded to this review, October 25, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind words. We are truly lucky to work with such a wonderful team and I will proudly pass along your kind comments to all!!

I look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to Harbour House Hotel.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Dickson
Guest Services Manager
Harbour House Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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795 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    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 (138)
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English first
Qualicum Beach, B C
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2013

Stayed overnight as a guest of family while attending the Shaw Festival. Hotel was exceptional. Very clean, friendly and convenient. Very spacious and comfortable rooms. Seemed a little pricy but coming from a different region of Canada it may be the price is appropriate for the location. I have no problem recommending the hotel for visitors.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas, United States
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

The staff at Harbour House is it's only saving grace. The room was average, showing some wear. The bath was not what we expected. The room we were given had a prefab shower that would only accomodate someone less than six feet. That wasn't us. It had mold in the corners and the door was always an issue. The breakfast reminded me of staying at your inlaws. The food was at best average, but you feel an obligation to try it. The options are not that varied. Luckily there was too much to do outside to spend much time in the room.

Room Tip: Make sure you ask for a room with a full tiled shower.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Jennifer D, Front Office Manager at Harbour House Hotel, responded to this review, October 25, 2013
Thank you for your recent feedback. Your comments and suggestions are very important to us. It is always our goal to offer an exceptional stay and I apologize that there was a housekeeping issue during your visit. I wanted to assure you that the shower door and mold have been addressed.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and we look forward to welcoming you back to Harbour House in the near future.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Dickson
Guest Services Manager
Harbour House Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

This was admittedly a last minute reservation for a one night stay during a long weekend. I was more interested in getting a room in NOTL and not NF, and given my repeated stays at this hotel's sister property (Shaw Club), I didn't think I would have any issues - but I did.

First though, I would like to credit Kimlin with following up to my email with several questions with a detailed voice message which put me at ease about the room type before our arrival.

We arrived around 5:15pm and it looked like a full house already as the wine and cheese tasting was in full swing - although eerily quiet (not the fault of the hotel of course), but she indicated she would ask that they keep it open a little bit longer until we dropped our bags off in the room (it was to end at 5:30). There was a mix up in our room (original room was occupied), so we waited for new keys and were moved to a different floor. So, it took us a little longer to get back down, and sure enough the lobby was empty and the wine and cheese had disappeared. It was 5:35 :) It irked me, but we just went to our vehicle and grabbed one of the bottles we had picked up at a winery earlier.

The room itself was basic in a sense - yes there is a fireplace - and yes there is an awkward corner jetted tub in the bathroom, which really isn't big enough for two people (no bath products - there was a bath/shower gel that we used, but not a bubble appeared).

Somehow I was expecting something a little more. Maybe I shouldn't have for their 'basic' (aka premium) room. I kept wondering if the room that we were maybe originally assigned would have been nicer/more spacious. This room had a 'cozy' bedroom area then a loooong hallway to the bathroom. Based on the floor plan on the back of the door, it certainly looks like each room is configured differently.

Back to the bathroom - there is more than one complaint here over the years about the dirty grout in the shower stall - but i didn't think twice about it, because I thought a place like this only needs one complaint to ensure it is never an issue again. However, I will attest that the grout in the shower stall is a little nasty and could definitely be cleaned. But i'm here for a night and I know they are booked, so what am I to do? Call them to come clean the bathroom while we are trying to relax and get ready for dinner?!

And for goodness sake, I know I didn't get a room with a 'super shower', but that shower head is a piece of garbage. Can't change the setting - because it's broken. Also, it's clear to anyone that once that shower is on, the water is going to leak right through the gaps around the door. And boy did it. Water everywhere. We cannot be the only ones that this has happened to. We used several towels to sop up the water (how about adding a few extra bath mats to help? why do I need to call for them when it is clear this is going to be an issue?)

The toilet had no lid over the seat - why does it bother me? Because anyone who is slightly aware of germs realizes that a toilet with no lid can probably 'spray' little droplets of grossness several feet away every time it is flushed. Given that the tub is a mere few inches away from the toilet, I wasn't very comforted. In addition, the toilet clearly had an issue (although it could be the entire building) because every use of the toilet required two flushes. That brings me to the sink, which also clearly has a back up issue - by the time I cleansed my face and washed it off, the sink was almost overflowing because it wasn't draining properly. One hook behind the door to hang our towels - so we just piled them on top of each other on the hook hoping them would dry. Again, a little thing that is so easily solved.

The view is awful - it is clearly the parking lot of the marina and the street right in front of the hotel. So we just kept the shutters cracked for some natural light.

No mini fridge in the room, but the hotel could refrigerate anything for us. Great except when you're wine country and have bottles you want to keep chilled and accessible (if we were staying more than a night, then this would have been necessary). Alternative? The ice bucket - which in our case still had signs of the previous guest (again, a little thing, but now they're starting to add up).

By the time we had arrived, our bed had been turned down - which consists of folding down the corner of the comforter as far as I can tell (in fact, the only reason I knew it had been turned down was that there was a note telling me it was done). Also I did notice that the duvet didn't actually have a duvet cover, it was a duvet with a thin sheet on either side (weird). No little chocolates/mints, slippers, water bottles etc. that I had come to expect at 'nicer' hotels at turndown. However the peanut butter cookies (which are left in everyone's room on arrival) were yummy.

We did use the shuttle for our dinner outing - we were going to drink at dinner, so driving wasn't an option - but here's something to note: no taxis, so you are reliant on the shuttle which stops at 11pm or you walk. It would have been about a 15 minute walk for us, and in heels on a chilly night on dark streets (even if this is NOTL) isn't for me. So we rushed through dessert and called for the shuttle. The location of this hotel certainly isn't a plus.

Other nice things? A full length mirror in the closet, lots of hangers, a fireplace that gave off a huge amount of heat.

I did find the bed uncomfortable - it was almost rock hard, but I realize that is a personal preference. So it did make for a rough night sleep for me. But, this wasn't made any better by being woken up at around 8am (I am on vacation and would have liked to have slept in a little longer) by a barking/yelping/whining dog! And it kept on for at least an hour and a half. I recall reading a review from a visitor thankful for their pet policy, so I mumbled to my husband that I forgot dogs were allowed, but wondered what could be done to muffle the sound! Most hotels would generally have the first floor dedicated to pets, but we weren't on the first. We skipped breakfast to instead get some more sleep.

On checkout I was asked how my stay was, I responded "okay" ready to finish my sentence with some issues I had, but was quickly cut off with "that's great!". An interesting response to a clearly mediocre assessment. I then asked twice about the dog situation - first to confirm that dogs were allowed: I was told that yes, but there was a "situation" and apparently dogs are only allowed on the first floor but somehow there was a dog on the second floor. Hmm, I have a dog hair allergy, so now I'm concerned. So, that response being insufficient (and clearly she wasn't inquiring as to why I was asking), I asked again, but this time asked if I was to request a room not on the first floor it still doesn't guarantee that I would get a pet free room or floor? She just said, yes you are guaranteed as dogs are only allowed on the first floor. Hmmm, i'm on the second floor and there's a dog on the second floor. So either someone snuck a dog in or the hotel broke their own policy. Again, she made no further inquiries and offered no apology for the situation. At this point, I'm just about done - knowing full well a Trip Advisor review would get more attention than my comments at check out (I was already being brushed off about the dog, so how would my comments about the shower, toilet, sink, etc be taken?)

Would I go back? Maybe, but not this room type - and only if the room I prefer at Shaw Club isn't available - although, given my experience, I now give a previous review on the River View Suite more credit, so maybe there isn't a better option here...

In terms of background, I travel a lot - for work and pleasure. I choose the best based on reviews and amenities - I expect to receive what I pay for, but also set the expectation based on other factors. Making dinner reservations via concierge is not a 'perk', it is something that I expect from a hotel of this level, so I'm a little stunned by people who include that in their reviews (unless they get a table that you could not have gotten on your own). A room at the Hilton NF would have been about as much as this room, but it is a large overcrowded chain hotel, so I don't expect much beyond a basic level of courteous service. But here, I expected more. If this is as good as it gets, then that's fine - at least we all know for next time.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2013

After reading all the glowing reports, how could we not book a mini getaway at the Harbour House. Before we even arrived, the concierge had contacted us offering to help with our stay. They booked a dinner reservation for us ( to see that 5 star review, see the Charles Inn) and recommended some golf courses as per our request. The hotel is situated just 3 blocks from all the NOTL action, a nice stroll away from the hustle and bustle. Our room was clean, cozy and classy. (third floor gave us the best view of the harbour). Beds were VERY comfortable and room was romantic with fireplace and quaint alcoves. 5 pm wine and cheese and a scrumptious continental breakfast were complimentary and beyond the usual hotel fare. Hotel staff was very friendly and accommodating . All the awards lining the lobby walls are well deserved! We will be back.

Room Tip: request third floor
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
Jennifer D, Front Office Manager at Harbour House Hotel, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Thank for your kind words. It is great to hear that we have lived up our reviews. I will gladly pass along your kind comments to our wonderful team.

I look forward to the opportunity to say hello during your next visit to Harbour House Hotel.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Dickson
Guest Services Manager
Harbour House Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waltham, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2013

We have stayed at HHH twice. It's lovely. Breakfast included is bountiful. From here you can walk to 3 theaters at the Shaw Festival and several fine restaurants. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a kind of Camelot. Besides this lovely hotel, the excellent plays at the Shaw, the restaurants and the vineyards are a terrific getaway destination.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Barcelona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2013

Enjoyed this stay very much. Excellent breakfast, great bikes to rent, close to the Shaw Festival Theatre, wonderful staff, enjoyable wine and cheese at 5:00, what more could you ask for! An added bonus is the very comfy beds and pillows..what a wonderful sleep!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Jennifer D, Front Office Manager at Harbour House Hotel, responded to this review, October 17, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to reflect on the highlights of your stay with us at Harbour House Hotel. It is great to hear that the weather was in your favour and you were able to enjoy our bike rentals and all that Niagara-on-the-Lake has to offer.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Dickson
Guest Services Manager
Harbour House Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harbour House Hotel

Address: 85 Melville Street | Box 760, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario L0S 1J0, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Ontario > Niagara-on-the-Lake
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
#1 Romantic Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
#1 Spa Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
#6 Family Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
#7 Business Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Harbour House Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With a design reminiscent of maritime life in the 1880's, Harbour House captures the essence of historic Niagara-on-the-Lake. Overlooking the Niagara River, Harbour House is within easy walking distance to the Shaw Festival theatres and many fine restaurants, shops and galleries. Our 31 guestrooms and suites feature king-size feather-top beds, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and entertainment centres. Our tariffs include a European-style breakfast served in the conservatory. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbour Hotel

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