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“A warm welcome awaits you in this B&B” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast

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Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast
17 Kerr Street, Portrush BT56 8DG, Northern Ireland   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 27 Portrush B&B and Inns
Belfast, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
63 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“A warm welcome awaits you in this B&B”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013 via mobile

Comfortable, welcoming, and friendly. Sam and Tim run a great guesthouse right on the seafront overlooking the beach and harbour in Portrush. They really go the extra mile to make sure your stay is both enjoyable and memorable. You really feel like part of the family. The views from the bedrooms are just splendid whatever the weather, and the hearty breakfasts are really tasty. You will be very happy staying here.

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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116 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2013

The location of Harbour Heights [HH] is superb, looking over the harbour and the west strand (Portrush has also a much longer east strand). Do not be put off by the rather austere outside: inside it is attractively decorated and all public rooms, stairways and bedrooms contain examples of the splendidly varied art/photographic work of co-owner, Tim. He is a really gifted photographer and many of the images are striking and impressive. Copies of his work are available for sale and we had fully intended to purchase one; however, later events ensured that we had no wish to take away any keepsake of our stay at HH. Tim is also a charming host and introduced us to Alfie, a beautifully marked, (then) 20 week old kitten who clearly adored him. Alfie was delightfully playful and would, if you left your bedroom door open, join you inside and stroll around as if it were her own room.
Our second floor bedroom was spacious (with a single and double bed) and attractively decorated, but best of all was the really large bay window overlooking the harbour and strand. The small supplement for a sea-view room was WELL worth it. At night the sunsets were spectacular to behold. A fair sized flat TV sat on a unit which contained (behind doors) the tea/coffee tray and kettle – a nice touch to have them out of sight.
The bathroom was very clean and the tiling, which looked recent, was of a high decorative order. The bath towels were white and fluffy, albeit a tad on the small size. It had proper toilet paper (not the see-through variety) and a box of tissues.
Breakfast is ordered from a personalised menu the previous evening, which allows you not only to select any cooked item, but also to stipulate how you wish your egg to be cooked: lightly/medium/well done. Everything else is self service at breakfast.
On our first morning we left our room at about 11 am. About 4 pm it looked as if rain was imminent and so we returned to HH, to collect an umbrella. Tim was working in the dining room and my wife had an amicable chat with him whilst I went up to collect the umbrella. I was rather surprised to find that the room had not been serviced. The waitress/chambermaid had been servicing the first floor rooms as we had left and so it was unlikely that she was still on duty. “Well” I thought, “it’s no big deal, we are perfectly capable of making the bed ourselves” and we certainly did not expect, or want, clean towels. However, we needed more milk tubs and preferably clean mugs for our morning coffee. Going back downstairs, I asked Tim if he would arrange for clean mugs and milks to be delivered to the room. He looked quizzical so I explained (but did not complain) that the room had not been serviced. He looked very surprised and said he would see to it “straight away”. The rain had now arrived in torrents and upon seeing my small folding umbrella, Tim very kindly offered to loan us a large “golf” umbrella, for which we were very grateful. It was a nice touch and typical of the man.
Upon returning to HH after 8pm, we found no mugs and no milks, which, given Tim’s assurance, was annoying. I went downstairs to find Tim but nobody was at home. I wrote a note explaining that Tim had promised to provide the mugs and milks (because the room had not been serviced) and that I was unimpressed by their non-delivery, adding that it was not the sort of service we had been led to expect from the glowing Tripadvisor reviews. We awoke the following morning to find a note from Tim apologising for the non supply of the milk and mugs and saying that both were now outside our room, which indeed they were. It was certainly a case of “better late than never”.
At breakfast, I asked the waitress to ask Tim (whom we knew had cooked the previous day’s breakfast) if I could have my scrambled eggs slightly less well done, but it arrived the same as the day before. I said nothing. As we were finishing a woman appeared in the dining room, dressed as if she had come from the kitchen. She chatted to the occupants of two tables, subjecting them, and us, to several shrill and obviously false laughs – it was 9.30in the morning! And then it was our turn. Without introducing herself, she asked how my scrambled egg had been. I replied truthfully, that I preferred it less well cooked. In a dramatic change of tone, she responded, not with “I’m sorry”, but “Well, that’s the way we cook it”. Unspoken, but clearly implied was “Tough, if you don’t like it”. What is the point of asking guests how they like their eggs cooked if there is a pre-set way of cooking them, regardless? Both my wife and I were very taken back by her tone. We were to be even more surprised to later discover that this was not some impertinent cook, or member of the kitchen staff, but in fact co-owner, Samantha!
Seriously annoyed by the way she had treated us, at check-out I said I thought we should have a discount for the fact that our room had not been serviced. She said that she (not “we”) had already discounted the rate we had paid (via Booking.com) in comparison with high summer rates. (Maybe, but had not all B&B owners reduced their rates in September and anyway how was that relevant to the non-servicing of our room?) She then said nothing would ever please me and that I was a “professional complainer” who would never be satisfied. I asked her on what basis she had reached this amazing conclusion and she cited the scrambled egg at breakfast and the complaint about the room not being serviced. I pointed out that I had NOT complained about the scrambled egg; but merely answered her question about it. As for the room, was I not entitled to expect it to be serviced and to complain about such an obvious omission? Apparently not, because the chambermaid had knocked on the door (to service the room) and received no answer, but “heard” that we were inside. She had received no answer because neither my wife, who has exceptional hearing, nor myself, had heard her knock. When I said she should surely have returned afterwards, we were told that when we left the room we should have alerted her to our going – i.e locate her in one of 10 bedrooms over 3 floors. It was, in short, OUR fault that the room had not been serviced. I asked if it was seriously their policy to leave rooms unserviced if, at the first calling by the chambermaid, the room was not free to service. In a voice dripping with sarcasm, Samantha replied that she would “send” me their policy. I said it would be much easier if she told me it there and then, to which she responded in an increasingly shrill voice, that they didn’t have any policy, which would suggest it was entirely up to the chambermaid whether she bothered to service the rooms or not, there being no fall-back position if she did not. My wife’s suggestion that they employ “Do not disturb/Please clean room” labels that hang from bedroom doors was rebuffed by a “This is a B and B, not a hotel” Does the law in Northern Ireland prohibit B&Bs from using such signs?
Samantha continued in an agitated tone to state that I was “welcome to complain on Tripadvisor”, when she would “have the right to reply”. I thanked her for giving me “permission to complain”, to which she said she was NOT giving me permission! As for Tim’s failure to deliver the mugs and milk as per his promise, she said he had not “promised”; he had “said” he would do so – the only logical deduction being that what Tim “said“ he would do did not amount to an undertaking that he would in fact do so – a harsh verdict on one’s husband and on an apparently very decent man. At this point we felt that Samantha was reaching a tipping point and we left, assuring her that we would never return.
However, HAD I have been a “professional complainer”, as alleged,there was quite a lot of material for me. For example, I could have objected to an email from Samantha informing us that check-in was only between 4 and 6pm, whilst signs in the B&B advertised it as from 2 to 6pm. I would have expressed serious concern that our second floor room contained no information on where to exit the 3 floor building in the event of a fire. I would most certainly have complained straight away on discovering on day 2 that the room had not been serviced. I could also have complained about the faded and heavily stained carpet in our bedroom (stains “Vanish” would surely have been able to get rid of) and about the squeaky double bed which was so loud that when one of us turned over in the night, it woke the other. I wasn’t much impressed by the fact that the tea/coffee tray in our room contained only 4 little tubs of milk which were sufficient to whiten only one mug of coffee and that decaffeinated coffee was not available either in the bedroom or in the dining room. I could also have drawn attention to the fact that the rear of the dining room was frankly a mess, cluttered with Tim’s photographic paraphernalia and other assorted items – like an unopened pack of 2 ‘Silent Night’ pillows – not normally found in a dining room. I could have further complained that the residents’ “Glens of Antrim” lounge had effectively been taken over as a photographic studio by Tim and resembled a junk room more than a lounge. I could have complained about the fact that breakfast was served only from 8.30 to 9.30am, when many on holiday would prefer a more leisurely start to their day, and that porridge was available only “sweetened”. Given that both sugar and honey were available on the tables, why sweeten it whilst cooking it, thus denying it to, among others, diabetics? The 4 cereals available were all Kelloggs productions, so of reputable quality but all of the seriously sweet variety. I could also have complained that the scrambled eggs I ordered as “lightly done” were “well done” on BOTH mornings and that on the first morning my wife’s egg was fried rather than poached as she had ordered (it was replaced when she drew the waitress’ attention to the error). Asking the waitress for anything appeared to be a burden to her and although it would be done, seemed to be done begrudgingly and certainly without any hint of a smile. I could also have complained that on day 2 the wall-mounted bottle of shower/bath soap contained enough for only one of us to have a shower – more evidence of the seemingly work-shy waitress/chambermaid.
Yet, about NONE of this did I complain at the time, nor would I now have mentioned much of it here, had Samantha not given me permission (well, sort of) to do so. When, at check-out, I did mention the lack of shower soap, this too was my fault as I should have “said something”. Since “free toiletries” were advertised and indeed expressly appeared on the booking reservation conformation, I had assumed that their provision would be automatic and not on-request.
So if you decide to visit HH (and the sea views almost make it worth it, but of course are also available from adjacent B&Bs on Kerr Street) and are asked your opinion by Samantha, you would be well advised to make it a favourable one. Samantha very, very clearly does not want even constructive criticism. Oh, and whatever you do, DO NOT COMPLAIN!

Room Tip: Seaview rooms well worth the small supplement
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2013

Portrush is a small close-packed surfing town on a peninsula on Ireland's north coast. The narrow streets and small shops slope down both sides of the peninsula to an East Beach and a West Beach.

We dragged our luggage a few short blocks from the train station, along the west waterfront road, to Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast. It's a three-storey townhouse in a row of three-storeys looking out over the harbor.

When we arrived Sam, our hostess, was standing on the front steps chatting with someone. She directed us inside to her husband, Tim. In the small entry hall we rang the bell at the flip-up counter. Tim emerged from the back and checked us in. He led us up a flight and a half of stairs to our room, carrying one of our bags.

Our room was small but comfortable and cheerful. There was a loveseat, a wardrobe, a dresser, and the bed. The bathroom was also small, but clean and bright. There was a shower but no tub.

Out the window was an unattractive space between buildings.

It's a short walk from the B&B to any place in town.

As we went out, Sam stopped us on the step to talk about the local attractions. She gave us directions to Troggs, the surf shop, and to the Harbour Bar.

At Troggs I rented a wetsuit and got advice on where to swim. The clerk said the water temperature in the harbor would be about 58 degrees. He advised me to swim at West Beach. Surfing lessons were available, but I didn't have time for it.

The Harbour Bar turned out to be a very small tap room with a dozen people looking up at the television while the barman served beer. The barman said he knew how to pour a black and tan, but he actually didn't.

We drank our beer outside; on the benches against the wall; looking at the beach, the harbor, and the town; and talking with other travelers.

The barman was Willie, an entertaining purveyor of lore and tall tales. We had heard of him even on the train from Belfast, and he was full of advice for us, especially urging us to take a table in the restaurant behind the bar.

In the restaurant, the roast duckling looked more like half a large duck, and it was crispy and good.

After supper we walked along East Beach, while the sky flamed and faded.

The next morning I went down to the West Beach, where I pulled on the wetsuit and splashed into the surf. The beautiful clear water was cold enough to take my breath away, but after a while I regained my breath and slid through the waves.

Later in the morning we took the tour bus to the Bushmillls Distillery. From Bushmills we walked to the Giants Causeway, an awesome geologic formation on the coast. From there, we took the bus back into Portrush.

After supper, back at the B&B, we had a nightcap and a chat with Sam. The next morning Tim rose early to make sure we had breakfast before we set out to catch a 7 am train.

Room Tip: Try to get a room in front with a view of the bay.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

We, two couples, stayed at Harbor Heights in the off season, late October, and had a very comfortable and relaxed visit here. The hosts, Tim and Samantha, were great, and Tim made us a good breakfast and guided us to the best restaurant in town. We had the rooms facing the sea, and our views were worth the extra sterling. The hotel was quiet and clean.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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.
Fort Pierce, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

Just a quick review for Tim and Sam at Harbour Heights B & B. Nice clean accom, great breakfast and magnificent hosts. I stayed for a week and the only thing that I can complain about is that Tim is a far better photographer than I. If you are there for a few days get him to do a family portrait in his studio or have him take you on a photo tour of all the local attractions, well worth the effort and money. Highly recommended in all seasons.

Room Tip: Front of house overlooking the harbor and book early.
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  • Stayed October 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

I had a one night stay at the harbour Heights B&B. The hosts Sam and Tim are fantastic, making us feel right at home. The location is exceptional; our room overlooked the beautiful harbor.

While our room was clean, I was disappointed in my bed. My pillows were paper thin and mattress soft. Bath towels were sparse. There were no bath amenities so make sure you bring your own soap and shampoo.

Room Tip: Don't miss the Harbor Bar, located down the street. Locals are very nice. Nice fireplace.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

Tim and Sam are very welcoming hosts – glad that we stayed there..! Was suggested where to go and what to see – especially the most picturesque view points. The small town itself is a beauty with Harbour Heights facing the small harbour. Views are stunning and good restaurants around. All major sightseeing locations are nearby. Breakfast was fantastic...!

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast

Address: 17 Kerr Street, Portrush BT56 8DG, Northern Ireland
Location: United Kingdom > Northern Ireland > County Antrim > Portrush
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 27 B&Bs / Inns in Portrush
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Harbour Heights has a friendly family atmosphere. Conveniently located central to all restaurants & amenities in Portrush, overlooking the blue-flag West Strand. We aim to make your stay pleasant, comfortable & memorable for all the right reasons. We can help plan your days with advice on the area, must-see places & where best to get a good bite to eat. A fabulous Ulster fry & good craic will set you up for your adventure-filled day. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbour Heights Hotel Portrush
Harbour Heights Bed And Breakfast
Harbour Heights Bed & Breakfast Portrush, Northern Ireland

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