My husband and I chose Bar Harbor as the third leg of our New England road trip. After staying 2 nights in Comfort Inn-like amenities (there is nothing wrong with those amenities), we were very much looking forward to this bit of luxury.
We booked the 2 day Autumn Gold Package and stayed in Room 501 in the Ocean front Lounge. There are only 3 rooms on the third floor of the Ocean Front Lodge, and room 501 is the first on the left (ocean facing). Our package included a Lobster Bake at the Terrace Grille; a 3 course dinner in the fine Reading Room; 2 breakfasts in the Reading Room (or ordered as room service); a $20 credit for the gift shop and a choice between an Acadia Tour or what is described as a “harbor cruise” on the Margaret Todd schooner. Because we were touring Acadia ourselves, we chose the harbor side cruise.
We had a rushed but delightful stay at the Bar Harbor Inn. Everything but an explanation of how the package works was outstanding. The package was worth it at $929, especially when you consider a one night stay comes with a $314 price tag. We booked this inn most specifically because of the view. The food was what one would expect from a restaurant of that caliber. The harbor side cruise was a huge rip off. However, from a food perspective, we feel we got our money’s worth. Thus ends the “Reader’s Digest” version of our stay. If you are interested in a blow by blow, feel free to continue reading on.
Check-in: We arrived around 4:00 to decent weather. It had rained on the other legs of our trip. The lobby is quaint and cozy. One could find it “dated”, however, we found it tastefully historic. There were so many touches of the inn’s history one could spend a good amount of time simply roaming and reading. We were greeted with coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot apple cider and cookies, and a roaring fire in the fire place. In the lobby area you would also find 2 computers. with a printer. Directly off the lobby are the gift shop and the Reading Room restaurant. During check-in, we received business cards for each of the elements of our package. We were given no real explanation as to how they worked. However, the girl who checked us in somehow remembered our anniversary and wished us a good one. It was a lovely touch as I had simply called and asked if there were any specific packages we could purchase. The astute front desk clerk I briefly spoke to via phone made a notation about it. We have been “welcomed home” at many all-inclusive resorts and have been met with banners on doors, but the verbal wishes were a nice touch and not something we have experienced in all of our travels. Last but not least, they sent a lovely card with a bottle of sparkling cider to our room.
How Those Vouchers Work
If you booked the Autumn Gold package with the Acadia Tour/Harbor side Cruise element, if you are choosing a sunset cruise, see if you can make a reservation prior to check-in. Since we were not told we needed to make a reservation for anything, we had to play catch up and lucked out with a sunset cruise scheduled for Day 2 of our trip. Bring your voucher with you when you board the schooner, just to make sure your reservations have actually been made.
In addition, if you would like a table next to the windows to enjoy the view at dinner in the Reading Room, make a reservation when you check-in. We learned that one the hard way too. Apparently, the window seats are booked early on.
There are 4 cards for your meals. When one dines, one is presented with the “bill”, simply put the card in the bill. Since tax and gratuity is included in the package, they automatically calculate 15% and it is covered by the voucher. If you are 20% tippers like we are, you can add an additional amount to your bill and sign for it. It will be placed on your bill at check-out. Your lobster bake includes: clam chowder, steamed mussels/clams, the lobster with potatoes and corn and delicious blueberry pie. Since we had no idea that dessert was included, or how the voucher system worked, and our server was seriously overworked, we left the card on the table and departed. Thank goodness our overworked server, Valorie, chased us down so we didn’t miss the blueberry pie.
Breakfast includes a beverage and an entrée. Since you are only entitled to one beverage, if you would like juice AND coffee, one of them is added to your bill. If the breakfast entrée doesn’t come with a side of potatoes, and you would like potoes, it is added to your bill. You simply sign for it at the end of the meal. Or, don’t add it to your bill and hit the more than generous continental breakfast that is put out in the Ocean front lodge(more on that later).
Likewise, Dinner included 3 courses and non-alcoholic beverage. Since we wanted both soup and a salad, one of either was put on the bill.
They were lovely. The pool is heated however, because we had only 2 nights, we didn’t have the time to use it. There is also a playground for kids. It was impeccably manicured.
We found all members of the staff that we encountered to be quite friendly and helpful.
The Gift Shop:
It is very small with a limited selection. $20 gift certificate doesn't go very far.
There is an extensive, yet expensive room service menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ordered breakfast on our last stay. Yes, we could use the vouchers from our package. It arrived hot within a half hour.
The Oceanfront Lodge Room – Third Floor-Room 501:
Warning, there are no elevators, so if you would like the third floor, which I highly recommend as the balcony is totally private, pack lightly. Tyler, the bell hop, assisted with bags and filled our ice bucket. I have read all of the reviews and quite frankly, I think the other reviewers were a bit whiney about the décor. Again, we found it cozy and quaint. The room was spotless and well stocked with amenities. The view was breathtaking and after the climb of the stairs, we really needed all the wind we had. However, the view made that climb well worth it. It was the best view we have had in all of our travels. However, as others have mentioned, since the ocean path is well used by other visitors in town, if you keep your door open to be lulled by the sound of the ocean while you sleep, you will also hear the early morning joggers. For us, it was not so bad because we wanted to see the incredible sunrise. However, one needs to use the bathrobe to enjoy the sunrise as again, because of the path, there is little privacy. In other words, there is no sitting on the balcony enjoying the sunrise in your lingerie.
We stayed in Room 501. There are only 3 rooms on the third floor. 501 is the last room on the left (ocean facing). Rooms are non-smoking. However, I bought my own ash tray and enjoyed a few at night on the balcony. I just made sure no one else was enjoying their balcony and I cleaned up my mess.
Within the room, you will find a mini fridge(think square dorm style); a flat screen t.v.; remote for the ceiling fan; and a/c/heat units. Inside the drawer, we found a crank flashlight. We found this a wonderful idea. While I had already packed a flashlight for night time ocean path exploring, there was no need. However, the tag warning one not to take it home made actually using it a bit of a pain. The tag was huge. Inside the closet, there are 2 plush bathrobes, 12 hangers, an iron with board, a safe, extra blankets and a safe. Extra pillows are in the drawers of the bureau.
The bathroom was a decent size; with a very tall bathtub/shower combo. Inside one will find a coffee maker with New England’s best breakfast blend, decaf and tea bags, as well as the appropriate fixings(including Splenda); and a 1600 watt blow dryer. The 4 bath towels were a decent size. The sundries included: a separate soap and lotion dispenser, along with a basket of shower cap, mouthwash, shampoo and a pack of cotton and q-tips. These were replaced each day.
My only gripe about the room was that on my side of the king sized bed, they didn’t have a nightstand. I haphazardly improvised with the luggage caddy.
Re free wifi…..we thought the speed was just fine.
The included continental breakfast…..Frankly, it was more like a buffet with coffee and tea; home baked breads and muffins(cranberry, banana, pumpkin and lemon poppy); a variety of cereals, with some kid friendly alternatives; juices, fruit, fruit salad; bagels and bread; fresh fruit salad; oatmeal and hard boiled eggs. If you don’t feel like dressing to eat in the Reading Room restaurant, hit this little gem and take it outside to enjoy the view.
Was the package worth it? In all honesty, we think it is but only because the room itself is so darn expensive. When we added what the meals would have cost, tacked on the price of the stupid Margaret Todd cruise and the $20 gift certificate, it pretty much came out even. When we return, we will go with the spa package.
The continental breakfast is more than enough for breakfast and the inn is within walking distance of some reasonably priced eateries.
I would also suggest doing this trip in 3 days. We felt as though we were running the entire time. We really didn’t relax, except of course when we sat on the balcony at night.
We had a lovely stay at the Bar Harbor Inn. The view is worth the price.
Pack lightly for a third floor room in the Ocean Front Lodge.
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.