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Portland vs Bar Harbor

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Portland vs Bar Harbor

I am unsure about staying in either Bar Harbor or Portland. For either, i woukd appreciate jt if someone could recommend one of the top-line hotels from their experience?

Cape Elizabeth...
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1. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

It really depends on what you want to do on your holiday....and what time of year you plan to come to Maine.

Portland has more things going on at all times of year; it's a small but very vibrant city. There are short drives to all kinds of other things to do.....Sebago Lake, the southern beaches, great shopping, etc.

Bar Harbor is on Mt. Desert Island (connected to the mainland) and is a gateway to Acadia National Park. In my experience a vacation there would be more about being outdoors or enjoying the sea. However in the winter this destination would definitely be more about cross-country skiing and such------many places in that area are closed in the winter.

In Portland there are good/really fine hotels, but I think the best experiences are at the resorts just out of town, such as Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth or Black Point Inn in Scarborough. If you want the city experience I'd suggest a place like The Danforth or the Inn on Carleton rather than a hotel.

I'm a bit less familiar with the hotels in Bar Harbor but have had good luck with the Bar Harbor Inn. There are also great places outside of Bar Harbor.

If you can explain a bit more of what you are looking for, anyExpert on this forum is willing to help!

Edited: 23 January 2013, 03:59
Central Maine
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2. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

John -- Have read your post a couple of times and still am not totally sure I know what you're asking.... Are you trying to decide between staying in Portland or Bar Harbor (they're two completely different experiences)... or are you looking for lodging recommendations both places?

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3. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

Well, let me apologize for the grammar in the original post--first time smartphone user, lol. In all honesty, I am just looking for a good couple getaway. I have heard great things about Bar Harbor and Portland, thus I am interested in either of the two. Also, I am requesting recommendations of places to stay at because that might be the deciding factor.

Baltimore, Maryland
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4. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

More than 1/2 the time folks ask for the "best" and after we recommend the Ritz, they tell us that they really want the best in their price range or wanted a pool or something that we could not glean from the generic "best". But, you are in luck because to the left is a button that says "hotels" and further down are all the recent reviews. Why don't you check out the listings and ranking, see what looks like the kind of place you want, fancy hotel, historic Inn, small b&b and then often someone can tell about their stay in addition to reading the reviews of travelers like you.

Many great places and areas to stay and you really have chosen the yin and yang of Maine.

Edited: 23 January 2013, 23:29
Central Maine
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5. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

John -- Thanks for the clarification. As Cessnapilot points out, they're really two different kinds of experiences... one in a moderate-sized city (by most standards, even though it is Maine's largest city), the other in a coastal community which is primarily a warm-weather National Park and water activities destination which also offers a quieter, but equally good, experience in the wintertime.

You really need to decide what kind of trip you're looking for....then consider the accomodations available at whichever destination matches your wants and expectations. A great hotel in either place may turn out to be disappointing if the area around it isn't what you're looking for.,,

Will leave specific accommodations recommendations to others because both Portland and Bar Harbor are day-trip destionations for us. Haven't stayed overnight in either place for a vacation stay in several years.

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6. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

I can't recall requesting the "best" hotel or using the word "best" at all. Although, I must agree, I completely understand that the word "best" is generic. Anyway, my hope was to post here and tap into travelers personal experiences, which might lead to recommendations. In regards of navigating the site, I have read the reviews of hotels that interest me prior to posting here and found a few that seem appealing. However, because I have never stayed in either of the places I find interesting, I posted here to hopefully find an expert or someone who has stayed in both. Being directed back to reviews of people commenting on only that one hotel was no the expected result. To me, hotels are a wow factor on vacation and could be a reason to go to one place over another.

As of the classification of both areas, I comprehend the difference among the two. Personally, I could see myself enjoying both places. Anyway, I appreciate the description of the locations.

Cape Elizabeth...
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7. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

What are the hotels that appealed to you? I am very familiar with most in the Portland area. (Where again I think the most wow-factor are the large beach-side inns just outside of town).

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8. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

We like the Hilton Garden inn at the waterfront in Portland for it's proximity to the Old Port and all the dining. But for a getaway, Inn By The Sea in nearby Cape Elizabeth.

Liked the Bar Harbor Inn and didn't care much for the Harborside. But for us, Bar Harbor is more about hiking and day-drives, we don't spend much time at the hotel.

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9. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

Seem to be getting that vibe from multiple visitors. That is, that Bar Harbor is more of a day trip while Portland is more like an area that has so many landmarks close to it. Am I getting that part right? As for the hotels, I will definitely look into those.

Cape Elizabeth...
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10. Re: Portland vs Bar Harbor

Johndilly, I think it really does depend on the time of year and your interests. You could easily spend a week in Bar Harbor during the summer; it's a beautiful area but the things-to-do (other than just ogling the beauty) are outdoorsy......biking, horsebackriding, hiking (mild to difficult), whale-watching, sailing, etc.

Portland can be a year-round destination with cultural as well as sightseeing opportunities. The Portland area is lovely, but for scenic beauty, Bar Harbor wins.

Either place is good for eating out, but Portland has the edge on that just because of the sheer variety and numbers of restaurants (it was named the U.S.'s "foodiest" town by Bon Appetit magazine).

Because hotel experience is important to you and because you seem a little unsure of what you are going to want to do once in Maine, I still think your best bet is one of the really good inns just outside of Portland (again, Inn by the Sea or Black Point Inn)-----lots of options that way.

Edited: 25 January 2013, 11:52