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.
- 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