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“High Price, but Worth It” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel

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Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sooke
Certificate of Excellence
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“High Price, but Worth It”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2008

We were slightly hesitant about staying here after reading some of the reviews on this sight, but we decided to splurge anyway at the very high recommendation of some friends. And I'm glad we did.

To begin with, it really is in a beautiful location and our room, on the first floor, had a spectacular view of the harbor and the mountains in the distance. Located right next to a park with a spit jutting out into the harbor provides a great place for nice walk. And the deep jetted tubs on the deck overlooking the water was a great way to relax with the complimentary cookies and port provided in the room.

We did find some things about the room to be a slight problem. Whenever anyone near us used water, we could hear it.

We actually chose this hotel largely for the restaurant, and we were not disappointed. I've often heard it said that a meal that costs as much as one here should provide an epiphany. Well, this one did. Two of the four courses were true revelations, and the other two were delicious as well. The revelations were the mussels in a rich mushroom broth -- so good that it's unlikely I'll ever order mussels anyplace else -- and a green apple and rosemary sorbet. It was amazing. Back home we told the sorbet maker who comes to our local farmers market about it and encouraged him to try to make something similar. He seemed skeptical, but we told him that it was a truly ingenious combination of flavors.

After the amazing dinner, breakfast the next morning was a bit of a disappointment. The choices are very limited and a bit underwhelming.

We'd heard much about the gardens and wandered through on our own prior to dinner, but decided to take the daily garden tour the next morning. It was informative and enjoyable and well worth the 45 minutes.

We'd definitely go back when, and if, we venture back to that part of the world.

  • Liked — the restaurant
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank moserbike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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466 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (127)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2008

Recently stayed at the hotel for the 3rd time, and the site is indeed very beautiful. The garden is charming, and the ocean scenery is great.

But the food has definitely slipped in the last few years, and is not nearly as good as before.

Its very clear this hotel has gotten lazy, resting on its laurels, and is nowhere near world-class anymore.
Simply having uniquely designed rooms, and a nice view is no longer enough to set a hotel apart any more.

Serious issues included:
-our friends had family heirloom jewelery stolen from their room
-our bill was blatantly miscalculated - with meals, taxes, and mysterious charges riddled throughout.
-our friend's bill was also overcharged by several hundred dollars

For a boutique hotel, this is inexcusable.

But our primary complaint was that the overall attitude of the hotel ownership is extremely rude and unpleasant.

I could never recommend this hotel again. Its a shame that the service and people there have really deteriorated......but clearly they could care less.

Drive by for a site visit, but definitely stay somewhere else!

  • Liked — Scenery
  • Disliked — Service, quality, cleanliness, and theft
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank DaleMT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AndyFed, Owner at Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel, responded to this review, August 26, 2008
It is always with great sadness that I read bad comments on the Sooke Harbour House. I have worked very hard every day in the past thirty years to make sure that we provide the best and make our guests happy and content I say sadness because owning a small hotel and taking care of all the details makes it a very personal thing where guests become after each return more friends than just customers. On this review I need to point out that in the past thirty years we have never had an incident of theft and I trust that every one of our staff members has never and will never steal from our guest. It cannot be proven of course but there are also other places where things that are in a suitcase can be taken away from that suitcase. As for the mix up with billing, I am sure it was rectified quickly and the proper amount was billed. I have no excuses to give just apologies for the fact that the invoice was not correct at check out. Our intentions and the intentions of our staff representing us are never to be rude or unpleasant, again my sincere apologies and a request for these guests to give us another chance and an opportunity to show what Sooke Harbour House really offers. Thank you for giving me a chance to answer this comment.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inverness, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 327 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2008

Stayed here for 2 nights at the end of our trip following a stay at the Abbeymore Manor in Victoria (wonderful) and we were expecting something very special and out of the ordinary following the hotel's website, despite the mixed reviews. We left with very mixed feelings of our stay for the reasons below. Apologies for the length of this review but this place is very expensive and we had a real mixed experience.

First the good things
The hotel is a wonderful building - light and on different levels with pretty gardens and a stunning ocean side location.
We had room 25 (Thunderbird) and it was a superb split level room - very light and spacious, simple white decoration with lots of wood and a truly wonderful balcony looking over the straight to the mountains beyond - could not fault the room at all and the first nations artwork was tastefully done. Great bed, and nice linens, althought the bathrooms towels need upgrading and increasing. There was a clawfoot bath next to the bed which you can decide if you like or not (personally I prefer my baths in the bathrooms but it was Ok!), and a woodburing fireplace next to a separate seating area - all in all a lovely room with high valuted celings and lots of space. The room was lovely to relax in and I was missing the wonderful view before we left the carpark - we watched otters, seals and seabirds from our balcony. Also on the balcony was an out door bath tub - not a hot tub ! Bascially you had to fill it as you would a bath and wear a bathing suit as it was not private as the balcony overlooked the front of the hotel and a terrace popular for sunbathing. However it was fun!

Now the not so good things
Check in - When we cheked in we were greeted in a very unfriendly and business like manner by the young lady at the desk , no smiles on offer and this was extremely off putting. The carpark was full with wedding guests so we had to leave our car outside reception - as a result we were frog marched to get our bags and then taken upto our room all double quick and the whole meet and greet experience just did not provide the welcome we had hoped for. We were then told to move our car to the employees parking lot immediately - at no time were vallet services offered (we had a number of heavy items) and to be honest the whole thing felt very awkward and we were pretty annoyed by the time the young lady left us to our own devices. Overall we had very mixed experiences with the front desk, some staff were lovely but others.......

Restaurant - this was a special birthday trip so we decided to put check in in behind us and concentrate on dinner. We had high hopes of the restaurant, and one of our party was vegetarian and we had notified the hotel twice before check in. The setting for dinner was lovely and a beautiful room, unfortunately the service was haphazard - we lost track of who was serving us and the poor vegetarian got no choice of her meals but was given what the chef created - nothing written down and the staff had to ask - very poor - how to make someone feel unwanted. When the food arrived it was merely Ok - but not the superb expereince that we had been expecting. We could see what the chef was aiming for but the flavours did not reach the targeted spot - so for $250 including a low range bottle of wine and 2 glasses of fizz we felt that dinner was very poor value - however the view was good but not enough to compensate for the poor dining expereince. On our second night we got the local bakery in the village (vienna bakery and deli) to make up a selection of picnic snacks and we ate in our room with a bottle if wine which was much better.

B/fast - this was very poor - no other way to say it. B/fast is served in the room - no choice and personally I prefer eating somewhere else to where I've just slept - or at least having the choice. What this means is that you have a very basic choice of a limited bread basket (rubber bagel, muffin and croissant with butter and jam) & yogurt/compote OR (not both) a hot dish (small portion) a glass of juice and tea/coffee - and that's it, and you have to decide by midnight and hang out your notice. Its delivered with the minimum of silverware (lack of separate spoons for yogurt etc) , no tablecloth and you have to set the whole thing up yourself and tidy it all away and then put it outside your room. Any special coffee is extra. I was very disappointed by both the quality of the meal and the lack of selction -there is only one choice of hot dish and if you don't like it there is only the bread option. A hotel of this standard should offer a choice for in room or restautant and offer patrons a full choice of gourmet b/fast.

The only other comments to make is that sooke does a lot of weddings and we found it was very busy with wedding guests and they could be noisy in front of the rooms and that is where they hold wedding cermonies so check before you book as whilst we wish people happiness and joy on their wedding day we don't necassirly want them congregating below our specially requested quiet room

So overall a very mixed review - the location is stunning, property very attractive, room was fantastic & the views amazing, but the check in and the food, espiecally the b/fast were extremely disappointing and as this is a luxury and very expensive hotel (yes remember you are the customer) then I expect more. It could be so easy to get this right and all of the basics are there.

  • Liked — room and views
  • Disliked — dinner and b/fast arrangements
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank vicki1812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AndyFed, owner at Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel, responded to this review, August 26, 2008
Thank you for the "good things" comment . As the owner of Sooke Harbour House for the last thirty years I would like to make a few comments on your review! Our place is a very romantic place and we do have a few weddings mostly on Saturdays and mainly in the summer. We all wish here that we could run our business as smoothly as possible and without ever having to think about profit margins but just the sheer pleasure of working and making everybody's stay as pleasurable as possible. As for the comments about the lack of choice for vegetarian, I agree that it needed to be written down. We have been able in the past to offer extensive menus for some of our guests with very restrictive diet, we have used your comments to reinforce our past policies and to be sure that what happened to you would not happen again to any one of our guests. One last thing, I wish you had mentioned that you would have preferred your breakfast served in the dining room, as it is always an option possible but not often used by our guests.
I would love to welcome you again to our wonderful island. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. Frederique Philip, Co-owner Sooke Harbour House.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eugene, OR
Level Contributor
45 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2008

I find many of the below reviews on target. Sooke Harbour House is a magical place, but part of the pleasure of going there is steeping yourself in the beautiful execution of a very particular vision: the place is stamped through and through with the owners' commitments to gardening and to supporting local artists. This means that certain elements can be grating: I wanted to strangle our waiter by the end of our meal for his condescending attitude when I asked for structure and less than 13.5% alcohol in a glass of red wine (neither would have been a problem had he thought to offer one of the Italian or French selections on his wine by the glass list, but he was on a mission to serve what he wanted to serve...). And our crab came out flavourless and overcooked. Yes, breakfast was a sort of hit and miss affair. *BUT* my husband's sablefish was silky and delicious, as were my scallops, the flowers on the salad were tasty and adorable, and, hey, this isn't really Dungeness season anyway.

Plus: the gardens are a marvel: abundant and lush, but also charming, creative, full of those kinds of nooks, artistic touches & trompe l'oeils that make up a true European garden. And the double-duty that almost every wall and surface of the place serves --any avail. space is used to display a vast and eclectic range of works by local artists-- is very impressive, once again calling attention to the commitment of the owners to their community and its working artists.

  • Liked — Creative, beautiful gardens and quirky art collection
  • Disliked — It *is* overpriced
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Elithecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2008

My husband and I just returned from celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary ... and while we had a wonderful time, the Sooke Harbour House lacked attention to detail and "top tier" resort experience to make us willing to recommend it to others.

The good:
- Beautiful location, larger and comfortable rooms with working fireplaces that are set up to make it easy for guests.

- Courteous and helpful staff.

The not-so-good:
- Restaurant: We ate at the Sooke Harbour House for three of the nights. The first night was a truly terrible experience. Our reservation was set for 8 but we weren't seated until after 8:30 and it took truly forever for our food to arrive. You have 2 choices for each course, so you are out of luck if nothing is appealing. But more importantly it felt as though the chef was "trying too hard." Just because you have lavender in the garden, doesn't mean that it needs to be infused into everything...

With this said, our second night was better and by the third night they finally nailed it with a truly wonderful meal. However, our guess is that most people are not willing to invest the time or the resources in three meals to get one that is great.

- Breakfast: Each morning was incredibly inconsistent. The portion size of the included breakfast was moderate, not generous. And if you were not up for the main course, you were left with pastries that sometimes did and sometimes didn't come with butter and preserves. I ordered a latte every morning but only received one 2 out of 4 mornings - but was charged for all 4. This lack of attention to detail was annoying since the last thing we wanted to do was worry about complaining when we are on vacation.

- Spa: The services are truly great, but be clear that they are provided in your room. While the providers are incredibly professional, it does invade your privacy some when you have "visitors" in your bedroom.

We still believe that each trip and visit is what you make of it, and we don't want to discount the fact that we did have a lovely time. However, we would not return in the future and it doesn't compete with other resorts we've been to.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The lack of attention to detail
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank WTWHOYA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bothell, Washington
Level Contributor
217 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2008

The Sooke is famous for it's many celebrity guests, all of which are noted on the entryway to the restrooms. There have been many movies filmed here as well. Therefore, I had been wanting to stay here for a very long time and in all honesty, I was disappointed.

The inn is beautiful as was the view from our room, but we did experience problems.

On 6/28, we got a phone call from the inn, saying that we were supposed to have been there the day before. I told them that our reservations were for 6/29 (Sun). The woman said she would change their records. I didn't think much of it, but then I got curious, so that night I called the hotel again. First they couldn't even find the reservation. Then the receptionist read off some dates that were completely wrong (3-4 days off from what I had booked). Thank God I had printed up a confirmation notice. They had gotten our reservation mixed up with another guest of the same last name.
When we arrived, they had the correct dates, but I made sure that they weren't going to charge us for nights that we didn't book. When I asked why there was a problem, the receptionist immediately pulled out a bunch of emails that we had sent. I had forgotten that after we booked our room in February, we requested some changes.This is why they had the dates wrong. I left feeling responsible for the problem, which angered me.

Our room was very nice; spacious with a wonderful steam shower, separate toilet, a claw-foot bathtub, comfy bed and a deep soaking tub on our balcony that overlooked the water. It was gorgeous. We were in the Whale Room, which was decorated with whales of every kind imaginable. There was a table with literature and books about the area as well as lots of books on whales.

We asked about a place for lunch and were steered toward a restaurant called Fuse. Turns out that since we were the only ones seated in the restaurant (the outside seating was full), we got the worst service possible. I didn't like my food at all, but my husband liked his. We relayed this to the hotel, but they seemed to shrug it off. It has a nice view of a cove, but I don't recommend this place at all. Drive about 30 minutes more and you'll find other restaurants.

We splurged the first night and ate in their dining room. Be aware that the menu is set and very expensive. Our total bill was over $200. The service was excellent, but the food wasn't great, IMO. And dinner at the Sooke Harbour House takes a VERY long time. Our reservations were for 6:30pm and we were there for about THREE hours. However, it was our anniversary so it was almost worth it. I would have enjoyed it more had the service been faster. We had to wait at least 30 minutes in-between courses-of which there were several.

The second night, we forgo our dinner reservations and decided to eat somewhere else. In Sooke and surrounding areas you have to eat BEFORE 11PM, or else there is NOTHING around. We went to ask at the front desk and after the manager realized that we were guests, he offered us an entree in the dining room. We politely thanked him (although it was extremely generous), and they pointed us to a restaurant down the street. However, when we arrived, the bartender said that they had stopped serving at 8PM. We finally ended up buying sandwiches at a nearby convience store.

Both mornings, we we were served breakfast in our room. Unfortunately, my breakfast was awful both times. The first morning, we had to call down to the front desk for silverware. My husband had no hot water, for the tea they brought and my breakfast consisted of baked goods, but no jam or butter. The second morning, my pancakes (which looked more like crepes) were so cold, I refused to eat them.

So all in all, I was very disappointed in Sooke Harbour House and I would have to think twice about trying it a second time. The staff seemed very scatter-brained which was disappointing for such a well-known hotel.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — The very disappointing breakfasts
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank iloveloveseaotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ontario
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2008

I am a chef from Ontario and was looking forward to dining at Sooke harbour house for many years.Finally I had the chance this April.The place is very beautiful with lots of art,breathtaking scenery and beautiful herb gardens.The staff was very polite and helpful.I was not blown away by the food.I found the menu quite limited and avarage at best.

Stayed April 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank cookieOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel

Property: Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel
Address: 1528 Whiffin Spit Rd | British Columbia, Sooke, British Columbia V9Z 0T4, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Victoria Capital Regional District > Sooke
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sooke
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel is located on Southern Vancouver Island overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Olympic Mountains, and has direct beach access to Whiffin Spit on the Juan de Fuca Strait. Our unique 28 rooms feature a selection of fine amenities including spa tubs and steam showers. All of the guest rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and ocean views, with the exception of the very spacious family room which overlooks our garden area. The internationally award-winning fine -dining restaurant serves organic, seasonal, Canadian cuisine, specializing in wild seafood, mushrooms, herbs, and flowers from its organic gardens. We offer meeting facilities, spa services, recreational activities and eco-tourism in pristine wilderness. Whale watching can be enjoyed within walking distance, and on occasion the Orcas swim in front of the hotel! The Sooke Harbour House is a perfect destination for weddings, romantic holidays and an 'any season getaway'. In 2016 all 28 guest rooms were sympatheically renovated with new carpets, beds, luxury linens and 40 inch flat screens with cable tv. In September 2016 we opened our wonderful new Copper Room, featuring a large selection of Island produced craft beers, wines and spirits as well as international favourites. The Copper Room is open from 11:00am to 9:00pm year-round daily, serving a more casual menu of wholesome and hearty foods as an alternative to our fine dining. *** Please note: From 18th October until Spring our fine-dining restaurant is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday. It is open for dinner Thursday to Monday from 5.30pm to 9.00pm. The Copper Room is open daily making Sooke Harbour House a full service resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sooke Harbour House Hotel Sooke
Sooke Harbour Hotel
Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel Vancouver Island

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