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“unattended at night”
Review of Ale House Inn

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Ale House Inn
Ranked #1 of 3 Portsmouth B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 12, 2013

I travel a lot, and prefer to stay in boutique hotels. I sometimes travel on a budget, sometimes splurge for more if I feel like it's worth it. I rarely give negative reviews, because I usually read all reviews before I go so I know what I am in for. I booked a night at the Ale House for a last minute business trip instead of staying at the Sheraton where the conference was - - not a fan of big box hotels. I only read the first few reviews before booking. Turns out I should have read more.

There are some things about The Ale House that travelers should know, before they book. First, there is no staff at the Inn between 5 pm at 8 am. I did not know this until after I booked, when I got my confirmation email. I figured I could handle it, as I am an independent woman and travel alone for business frequently. Turns out it creeped me out arriving in the dark, using a key code that I am guessing is not changed regularly, and going through a dark hallway to an old elevator, leading up to another deserted hallway to get to the rooms. My key had been left in my open room. No one was around, and it just felt weird.

Second, there are very steep stone steps leading up to the front door, and not just a few of them. I only had a small bag, but if someone had heavy bags it could have been a real hassle lugging them up. Again, no one around to help.

Third, the parking situation is weird. You have to park at a church lot across the street. You must move your car by 10 am the next day if you are checking out. I was there during the week, but I think cars have to be moved on the weekends during church - - not sure about that.

All of these things might be fine for you, but you should know about them before you book. For me, the last two issues would have affected what I thought the price should be. The first issue feels more like a safety/security issue, and is a dealbreaker for me in the future.

The decor is typical modern, nice and inoffensive, but no local art or flavor in the room. The linens were good, but I found the mattress very uncomfortable (this is subjective, I know - - others seem to like them). The ironing board provided was a "mini", so I had to set it up on the bed to do my ironing for the conference the next day - - not convenient. The iPhone docking station is for the pre-5 models, and no usb ports for charging that I could find. Free iPad in the room was a nice bonus, but I travel with my iPhone so it didn't add much for me.

I did not pay much to stay here, as it was way off season, midweek, and I had the least expensive room. I see that some rooms go for $250+. I simply cannot imagine why someone would pay that to stay here. At that price, you should be expecting personal service that is not possible when no one is in attendance after 5 pm and you have to bother people across town by phone to get help. I have stayed in lots of alternative accommodations in lots of places, and all of them - - inns, b&bs, guest houses, campgrounds, even youth hostels-- had overnight staff.

I am not sure why all of the people who gave high reviews do not expect more for their money. Portsmouth should not be this expensive, at this level of service. The decor is nice, but it isn't nice enough to make up for the other shortcomings. At the least, information about the staff hours, parking, and the steep, long staircase to get in should be more prominently displayed, and not just on the "policies" tab of the website. That is what has prompted me to post - - people should know what they are getting.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled on business
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6  Thank PaigeNE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawn H, Public Relations Manager at Ale House Inn, responded to this reviewResponded December 16, 2013

We thank you for your review and for sharing your concerns. Ale House Inn indeed only has staff onsite from 8 am to 6 pm, but we also are always on call when a guest needs us. While we do outline these hours and many of the issues you mentioned in the booking section of our website and in our confirmation letter, we agree that perhaps it is not as prominent as it should be prior to booking and we are taking steps to rectify that and make the information more visible. Thank you again for your thoughts.

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209 - 215 of 565 reviews

Reviewed November 17, 2013

Came up to Portsmouth with my boyfriend for a wedding. The hotel is situated in an old ale house, which is charming on the outskirts of the town. When getting in the reception was small, but the receptionist was very nice and showed us to our room. The room we had was just stunning. The bed was huge, for an English girl this was such a novelty, and was so comfortable.
The only slightly negative point is that there is no food. If you want to eat then you do have to eat out. Possibly the hotel could recommend or pair up with restaurants that would deliver.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Bumpkin7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawn H, Public Relations Manager at Ale House Inn, responded to this reviewResponded November 25, 2013

We are so pleased that you enjoyed your stay and found your room to be so spacious and comfortable. It’s true, Ale House Inn does not serve food. Our Portsmouth hotel wouldn’t even think of competing with the incredible dining options located just outside our door! With over 250 restaurants in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, you are sure to find a great option to fit your mood.

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Reviewed November 7, 2013

We stayed one night here at the end of a two week trip. We couldn't fault the downtown location, and also the detailed instructions to reaching the designated hotel parking!
We booked a "cosy queen", so we knew the room would be small. It was indeed, but there was plenty of storage space. The bed was very comfortable and the room was well kitted out (large TV, ipad etc).

The inn itself is located above a theatre, and it was slightly strange to enter and walk through a mezzanine level, which overlooks the entrance hall of the theatre, and then take the elevator to the inn,which only occupies a floor of the building. (this is not criticism, just something I've not experienced before!!)

There is no restaurant on-site, and no breakfast (but fresh fruit and snacks in the lobby area) - in a town like portsmouth, this isn't an issue, and there are lots of places to eat nearby! The receptionist was very friendly, and able to give directions and recommendations of where to eat.

Since we stayed, the Inn has been acquired by Lark Hotels. This wouldn't necessarily put us off staying in the future, but the original owners plan to open a new boutique hotel in Portsmouth, which I would be interested in checking out, as I feel they put a lot of thought into the Alehouse Inn.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LouLouLouLouLouLou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dawn H, Public Relations Manager at Ale House Inn, responded to this reviewResponded November 8, 2013

Thank you for your review and your thoughts on your stay. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your visit and that our new, detailed directions on parking were helpful! Lark Hotels is a small service and design oriented company with local managers at all properties. In fact, Kelsey, the former assistant manager, is now the manager and the person who helped you with your needs. We greatly admire the work Doug and Dan did to create a great atmosphere at Ale House Inn and our intention is only to enhance it. As a Lark Hotel now, guests at Ale House Inn are able to sign up for our "On a Lark Club" loyalty program. We hope to see you back at Ale House Inn or one of our other New England properties. All the best!

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Reviewed November 6, 2013

Yes, the rooms are small...But we knew this would be the case before we arrived. I felt that there was more than enough space for a two night stay, and was very impressed at the cleanliness of the Inn. I also appreciated the convenience of having an Ipad in the room with restaurant suggestions listed by category.

This is definitely one of those places that I would feel comfortable returning to again and again.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NedaJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

I booked the Ale House for a weekend getaway with my hubby several months ago and was looking forward to staying here. We come to Portsmouth at least once a year for a weekend and this was the year of the Ale House. I was surprised by the room size when we checked in. We had room 2 which is a cozy queen, for the 2 night stay it was $457. This room is also right across from the reception desk and I think might be the noisiest with people checking in and out we heard most every conversation I just hope they didn't hear us! Yes each room comes with a docking station and an ipad I have those items at home I would have liked a little larger room. The bathroom was so small it was only a 1 person set up, meaning literally only 1 person could fit inside the bathroom at a time. This is a very modern inn/B&B with no old style charm. I thought I would like this type of getaway but I really missed the creaky floors, the great home cooked breakfast and a view from a traditional inn. The upside for us was the price of the room comes with complimentary tickets to the Seacoast Repertory Theatre which we went to see the Odd Couple was playing, great evening. We weren't in the room all that much but it would have been nice to have more room as we really think this was the smallest room we have ever stayed in. We have been married 27 years and go to a B&B/inn at least 3 times a year.

Room Tip: Room 2 is noisy with the reception desk just feet from your door.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ThatsAGiven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2013

Stayed here for just one night in September. We choose this place largely for the location, as we only had the one night we didn't want to be messing about driving in and out of town. So on the location front this place is great and we found it easily. Everything is walking distance from here so no need to touch the car again once you arrive.

Our room was very nicely decorated and clean with modern and taseful furnishing. There was a large TV, but no DVD player or DVD library (which we would have liked). We liked the free beer on arrival and the room touches such as the ipads. However, for us, even the ipads didn't justify the price they charge for rooms here. Perhaps if their was a breakfast included (of exceptional quality) they might be getting nearer, but as it was we came away feeling overcharged.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TanyaBLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2013

We stayed in late October during the NH film festival right next door. It gave a lively feel coming in and out of the Ale House but didn't have a negative impact on the tranquility of our sleek, modern room. Lots of small touches - iPads, ipod docs, complimentary beer and snacks, as well as free bikes on load made it a pleasant stay. Beds are incredibly cozy, but may be soft for those used to an extra firm mattress.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HoneymoonBC2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ale House Inn

Address: 121 Bow St, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3854
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Hampshire > Portsmouth
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Portsmouth
Price Range: $138 - $260 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Ale House Inn 2*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Housed in a former brewery on historic Bow Street, the Ale House Inn is Portsmouth's urban inn. 10 guest rooms appointed with 32" flat panel televisions, iPod docking stations, Keurig coffee makers, refrigerators, free WiFi and private baths. Please note: we are not a Bed and Breakfast, as we do not serve food at our property. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ale House Hotel Portsmouth

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