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“Owner w/an attitude” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Harbor Lights Motel

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Harbor Lights Motel
2.0 of 5 Motel   |   84951 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 20 Hotels in Islamorada
Rochester NY
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Owner w/an attitude”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

We walked in at 2:45 and owner was less than happy to see us. I guess the fact that we wanted to pay him almost $600 for a three night stay wasn't enough to entice him to welcome us warmly. I said we would like to check in and he said I can't help you as check in isn't until 3:30. He didn't add anything to that comment just looked at me as if he couldn't believe we would bother him prior to check in time. Owner could have greeted us nicely and told us we were welcome to walk around enjoy the view in the chairs by the water but I guess that would have been asking too much. We did walk around and checked out the view and garbage in the water and then went back in and checked in at 3:30. We noticed that the maids were working away and it appeared many of the rooms were already cleaned but apparently checking us in early would have been way too much trouble. We checked in at 3:30 w/another less than warm encounter and wondered why someone who quite obviously hates to own a motel and deal with customers would continue in this business. During our stay we witnessed folks using the boat ramp who had to navigate an already very narrow channel around the owners two boats even bumping into them trying to get around. The boats were in the same spot for the entire time we were there and many had issues getting around them. The room was clean enough but weary and old, no curtains on the windows and the fan and cord to the fan were very heavy with dust. Beds weren't in great shape at all. The "Ocean View" was out the back window and not great. The pool wasn't heated so we couldn't enjoy it at all. Their was also a handy man who was creepy and couldn't seem to keep his eyes off the girls in their bathing suits...ugh.... We will definitely not stay here again ever. We should have listened to the comments on Travelocity about the owner and his lack of customer service skills more closely.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Personally, I would like to apologize for what you may have misconstrued as rude behavior. I assure you that my intent was not to be rude at all. In the afternoons we are focusing on getting the rooms available by 3:30 PM, so there is much to do in that last hour to insure that the rooms are completed on time. What you may have taken as rude, might have been just me trying to get your room ready!

During busy season (like when you stayed) we work very hard to try have rooms ready by 3:30 PM. Often it "appears" that the housekeepers are done when they are not. Rooms might still need supplies or linens, or they might need a final inspection. This is why we try and be fair to everyone by sticking to the 3:30 check in time, and also why we make sure that every customer knows to not expect the room to be available earlier. It is printed on every single reservation confirmation, and we tell every guest who calls the very same thing. I apologize again if you felt that you were being singled out, but that was not the case at all.

Please note the following which you mentioned in your review: Yes, our boat ramp and channel are narrow and have been for 70 years. By law we are unable to widen or alter the shoreline, but most people understand this. Unfortunately, we do have people that throw garbage in the water. We do our best to stay on top of it and remove it several times a week. Fore the record, the owner does not keep boats here - so we are not sure how to even respond to this comment. At any given time we have boats tied up at the dock, and for the most part everyone is OK with maneuvering. The fact that you did not have a boat at all so we are confused as to how this bothered you? Please also note the pool is certainly heated (it is constant 80-82 degrees and checked daily) and it was working fine during your stay.

Once again I apologize for coming off as "rude" when I explained our check in policy and times. It was certainly not my intent.

Todd Chandler
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228 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
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usa
Top Contributor
251 reviews 251 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 85 cities Reviews in 85 cities
203 helpful votes 203 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stopped at Harbor Lights on our 10 day jaunt through the Keys. Happy to find a vacancy with the Marathon Seafood Fest in 2 days we were delighted to get friendly check-in and a room for 4 for $135/night.

Our seperate cottage consisted of 2 queens, tile floors, dining set w/ chairs, kitchen with full refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and large emaculate bath. The room was clean, quiet with comfy beds and cheery white and yellow decor.

Although it was too cool to swim, the pool was large, pristine and nice to sit around and watch the sunset and boats pass by on the oceanside of Hwy 1. The motel has a sandy beach, boat ramp, easy access to the ocean, screened enclosures for large group entertainment and grilling.

Worth a stay in the seperate cottages for a reasonable price.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Thank you for the great review! The picture of your guys in the "Big Chair" is awesome too!

We hope you can come back soon, and stay longer on your next visit!

Todd & Becky Chandler
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La Crosse, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

The owners of the motel were very pleasant and accommodating. Really nice, quiet place to stay. The motel had clean bedspreads, sheets and towels. We left another filthy motel early so that we could stay at the Harbor Motel. It was well worth the price, especially if you don't like the bar crowd. Also, the beds were very comfortable so we got a good nights sleep while we were there.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Nancy,

Thank you so very much for the kind words! We were so happy that you could arrive early and that you enjoyed your stay. We also enjoyed having you, and look forward to your return soon!

Todd & Becky
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Wickford, Rhode Island
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

We made a mistake and thought we were staying in Key West another night. All hotels were booked do to the Marathon Seafood Festival stopping and going along the way... Finally a vacancy she said all I have is 1 room left(like I haven't heard that before) So we took it for 165.00 a night. Well it was not worth 165.00 a night. Stains on the ceilings in bathroom stains on rugs and needed a paint job badly. We rested for the night and went to check out the next day and the gentleman( if that's what you call them down there)said its going to be 225.00 we are no way you need to call that lady that helped up last night and well we paid and left it was the worst stay and experience we had the hole 3 weeks exploring the keys....

Room Tip: BEWARE of this is a dirty place
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
We are so very sorry that you feel the hotel was taking advantage of you.

Please understand that the reason we have you acknowledge the rates and charges at check-in, is so that there are no misunderstandings about charges and fees. When I showed you your very own signature on the registration that outlined every dime, and how it matched your hotel bill to the penny, I thought that was enough proof that the error was on your part. We have never been accused of overcharging a guest. You did, in fact, get our last room that evening and we are not sure what the benefit would be of telling you this if it was not true?

We remind future travelers that this property does not charge hidden "resort fees" that are so very popular down here in the keys. We outline all charges when you arrive and this guest was no exception.

Todd Chandler
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LAKE PLACID,FL
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

TOOK a week to relax n fish even took my own boat and all went well!TODD and his wife Becky
went out of their way to make my experience very enjoyable.TODD helped me launch my boat in the 15 MPH wind gusts which was a great help!THE ocean front room was very clean and the boat dockage was included with stay..No hidden fee's ..most places charge $1.50/2.00 a ft. per day for dockage...A DEAL FOR THE BOATER!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Charles,

We were so very happy to have you back. We wish we could have controlled the weather better during your stay!

We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Tood & Becky Chandler
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

A few of us get together for fishing in the Keys each March. As a frequent visitors to Florida and the Keys - we all know getting any decent hotel for less-than-Manhattan pricing is difficult.

We decided to get rooms at Harbor Lights thinking, no matter how bad it is, its just guys getting together to go fishing, no wives, no women, no children - - - and how bad could it be just to have a place to sleep at night?

Well it was bad. Bad enough even for tough guys that have camped out doors and endured all sorts of weather.

To start with, we were given first floor rooms adjacent to the boat ramp. Which means we had to deal with 4x4 trucks and their boats/trailers 24/7 all throughout the night loading and unloading boats. IMPOSSIBLE to sleep.

Secondly, all the doors seem to have been retrofitted some 20+ years ago with fire-rated, electronic locking doors (they didn't have these in the 50s when the place was built). Trouble is the door jambs were all installed crooked. So there's a 1 inch GAP across the bottom of each door and about 1/2 inch around the sides that lets air and noise penetrate. Not to mention any critter, lizard etc that crawls into your room.

From there it gets worse. Every thing is wrong, THe mattresses and box spring looked like they were yanked from a dumpster on garbage day. Yuch. The mattress squealed each time I moved or shifted (another noise to add to the orchestra music).

No Drapes. Only cheap dollar store blinds. Which fail completely to keep the bright Southern Florida sunlight out. It is in dire need of insulated light-blocking shades but then that costs money and who wants to spend money when you can dupe travelers each year without spending money?

There were what appeared to be section 8 welfare, permanent residents above us - the clue was all their furniture piled up out on the terrace. I could go on and on, open holes in the sheetrock, missing drains, no water pressure, by why bother.

You might get a little luckier on the 2nd floor but do not stay on the 1st floor as each room we checked had the same exact problems (we each checked each other's rooms).

WARNING - You will not sleep here!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarborLightsMotel, Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
We are very sorry your stay did not live up to its expectations. We can assure you that had you even just mentioned anything to us during your stay, we would have made it right immediately.

For the record (and for people using these reviews as guidelines) the boat ramp is not open 24/7. The mattresses and box springs are less than a year old, and there are no section 8 residents living on property!

Once again, we are sorry your stay was less than perfect. We just wish we had the opportunity to address your concerns while you were here. Since your stay we have had numerous people stay in those same rooms, and they have absolutely loved the value (less than $100 for an oceanfront hotel!) and convenience of the small first floor rooms.

Todd & Becky
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Kelowna, BC
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

Harbour Lights Motel is a property with little reinvestment being made in upkeep. It is rundown in a way seldom seen unless being held for redevelopment. It makes no sense for the owners to reinvest in infrastructure if they are planning to tear down the building and build something new. This is clearly the case with Harbour Lights, an unfortunate situation for a property with great potential.
 
The bones of the building are good, and suite 37 has a great view - top floor with an unobstructed view of the ocean and palms. Most of the other suites face an empty lot with only partial ocean views. The place is unfortunately over-priced for what is offered. On the phone it was said "the property is not new but is clean". I cannot agree - as my photos will attest.  The place does not seem to own a vacuum with the attachment to clean in the tracks of either closet or patio doors - the spaces of both were filled with various debris. The tub, surround, windowsill, and tile at the base of the tub were in poor repair and stained by mildew. The blinds were broken and the door in such ill repair you could see through a crack in the front door frame.
 
The managing couple were unfriendly and seemed ungifted with the people skills needed for a venture such as this. 
 
All-in-all I was very unimpressed with this property, and for the price it was a terrible disappointment.

Room Tip: Suite 37 on the top floor has the best view - we opted for the most expensive suite to avoid some of...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarborLightsMotel, General Manager at Harbor Lights Motel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Darryl,

Thank you for your recent review.

We are so very sorry that you felt that your stay was not up to standard. My wife and I are miffed that you feel we were not approachable or helpful, because as you can see by the overwhelming majority of the reviews we pride ourselves on being great hosts here in the Keys. We try and make everyone feel warm and welcome, and hope that you give us another chance to show you our hospitality!

As for the three inch strip of calk in the bathroom and the door tracks, we will redouble our housekeeping efforts to attack these areas ASAP. We just wish you would have mentioned it when you were here so we could have made it right ASAP!

Todd & Becky
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Harbor Lights Motel

Address: 84951 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Islamorada
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Islamorada
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Harbor Lights Motel 2*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Harbor Lights Motel in the gorgeous Florida Keys. We are located at Mile Marker 85, which is right in the middle of the best fishing, diving, dining and entertainment in the area. The motel offers standard rooms, efficiencies and cottages. All our guests enjoy the fabulous water views, free boat ramp, dock, barbecue area, private tropical pool and beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbor Lights Hotel Islamorada

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