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“Good, but has slipped”

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Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sooke
Certificate of Excellence
Kirkland, Washington
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Good, but has slipped”
Reviewed 7 August 2013

My wife and I just returned from our third trip to the Sooke Harbour House. We stayed for our wedding anniversary in 1998, 2003 and now in 2013. Although there’s still a lot to like about the place, I definitely think it’s lost a step or two since our earlier visits.

The location will always be great and the gardens and artwork are still fantastic but value has noticeably declined. Sooke Harbour House was never inexpensive (a special occasion place for us) but you used to feel like you got a fair deal for your money. The prices have now gone through the roof and you get less for your money. I don’t recall what we paid back in 1998 and 2003 but I do remember that breakfast and lunch were included in the price. The breakfast was a full hot breakfast, not the small cup of granola and orange juice that we got this time around. For lunch, if you were staying another night, they packed a nice picnic lunch and put it in a special backpack for you to take on a picnic. Now the lunch is $20 per person and the breakfast is extra as well. To be fair, they provided the breakfast to us for free when we told them it was our anniversary and that we were return visitors so I don’t know what the charge would have been but like I said, the meal wasn’t much. We stayed in one of the least expensive rooms and still paid about $300 per night. The bed was, very surprisingly, substandard and about on par with a mediocre chain motel. The room was in good condition but it didn’t look like anything had been updated since our first visit 15 years ago.

We ate one dinner in the restaurant. The food was very good but the service was slow. It took us 2.5 hours to get through a 3 course meal and the original bill given to us was $50 too high as the waitress had mistakenly charged us for a 4 course dinner. She was apologetic when it was brought to her attention and a correction was made but it just seemed like one more thing that was not up to past visits. One personal quibble on my part is that the only thing on the dinner menu with a price was the 3 or 4 course dinner. There was no wine list or wine prices and although there was a desert menu, there were no prices listed there either. Perhaps it’s one of those high end restaurants were, if you have to ask the price you can’t afford to eat there, but I’ve eaten at enough expensive restaurants to think this was unusual. This places the diner in a position to have to ask the price of these things which is inconvenient and makes you feel just a little bit uncomfortable.

All in all we spent well over $800 for two nights in one of their least expensive rooms and one dinner for two. We enjoyed our stay but next time I think I’ll explore other options for that kind of money, I’m sure I can do better elsewhere.

Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Lawrence K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederique P, Owner at Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel, responded to this review, 8 August 2013
Thank you very much for your review of our small hotel. We have for the last 35 years try to keep our standards very high, offer the best quality in every aspect of our small hotel, be the food, the gardens, the guest rooms. We understand that you felt we were not up to the standards you had experienced in the past. The recession that has hit the hospitality industry has been and still is quite severe and this with the rise of all prices has made keeping the quality of our service a real challenge. The prices you experienced in 1998 and later are still the same prices we offer now almost 15 years later! We feel personally very sad as we always want our guests to experience the best and have special memories of their stay with us. We have not succeeded with you; we sincerely apologize.
Frederique Philip, Co-0wner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (129)
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English first
Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2013

My husband and I have stayed at Sooke Harbour House for special occasions over the past 8 years. Our first few visits were amazing with an obvious care for all of the details and little touches that made this place so unique. Sadly, over the years, we have experienced a steady decline in many of the elements that made it so special for us. (The lunches and breakfasts were no longer included, there is only 1 choice for breakfast which is fine if you are only staying 1 night, not so great when planning a longer stay. Small things, but those that make a big difference to the overall experience.) The last straw was when we booked a 4 night stay for our mini-honeymoon. The check in was good, the room was cozy but the next day we were awakened to very loud construction noises as they were replacing the carpet in the room directly above us. Sadly, they had neglected to inform us of this when we checked in (even though we were the ONLY people in the entire wing) and I had been very clear when we booked our stay that it was our honeymoon! When we spoke with the front desk person she was rude and indifferent. We elected to cancel the rest of our nights and go somewhere else. When we told them of our decision the attitude was astoundingly horrible! My husband and I travel a lot for work and pleasure and are happy to pay for service and quality, unfortunately the Sooke Harbour House is off our list for good! I have never had such poor quality service and total indifference to customer experience. It was clear, from the way that we were treated, that they were not concerned with customer satisfaction or repeat business.

My recommendation - fine for just 1 night if you've never been there before ("if" they have dinner service available that evening) but go elsewhere for that multi-day special occasion if details and customer service are important to you.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank kath062013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
77 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013

So many good things have been said about this delightful hotel with it's wonderful restaurant that it's hard to add more, but, try I will! We had just one night in the original part of the hotel with warm wood floors, fireplace, soaker tub and a beautiful deck overlooking the many vegetable and flower gardens. The staff were all very welcoming and helpful and the whole hotel has such a beautiful, tranquil feel to it that you want to move in permanently! We did have the four course dinner in the delightful and cosy restaurant...very interesting use of flowers in the sauces and garnishes and very fresh and delicious ingredients in all the dishes. This we could recommend without hestitation to anyone who would like to stay at a really peaceful Westcoast and charming destination.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AngieB634
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013 via mobile

Stayed at the Harbor House for two nights for a friend's wedding. The wedding was gorgeous and the Harbour House provided a wonderful setting for the event. The views surrounding this hotel are amazing and it's definitely a more homey stay than a hotel. Almost like a hybrid B&B/hotel. That being said, I didn't think that this place is a great value given the exobanant prices it requires. Most noticeably, I felt the service was subpar compared to even an average hotel. I also felt that the breakfast, while delicious, could have offered more variety than the croissants and coffee. Finally, no staff present later in the evening to answer questions was a huge pain on both nights. If all of these things were true and I am paying $200-$250 a night, fine, no biggie... I'm paying for the views, nice rooms, and tranquil atmosphere, but when I'm paying Ritz-Carlton prices, comparable service needs to follow.

Many of the other guests at the wedding stayed at the Best Western Prestige and got some great value there. If traveling to the area again, I would give that hotel a closer look.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Brian M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
139 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2013

This was our second stay at the Sooke Harbour House in Sooke British Columbia. This time we stayed in room 1 called the Artist Studio. Each of the rooms at the Inn are different in decor and feeling. The Artist Studio is a large suite of rooms, split level and very cozy....with a deck surrounded by a large healthy kiwi vine....with fruit in season. The water view is limited due to a full grown tree in front of the window facing the water. Other rooms have more open views of the Straits of Juan De Fuca and the Olympic Mountains if that is a need.
The only complaint about the room, which has been mentioned to management, is that it was extremely difficult to slide the bathroom door closed. It was faced with a mirror and was very heavy and became stuck half way through the closing....which meant muscling it in order to close it all the way. There are no tv sets in the rooms so if you want one you may request it.
The restaurant at the Inn is five star in my estimation. Food is fresh, flavorful and creatively presented. We have eaten there many times and have never been disappointed.
Finally ....it is not an inexpensive place to stay. Perhaps a bit higher than need be but then this is the high season.

Room Tip: It is best to look on line as the rooms are truly all different in decor and view. I would choose a...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank grazia2626
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2013

The place is really special! the opposite of sterile chain hotels,.. very personal, decorated with lots of personality. the garden only contains edible plants,.. really a great idea. personnel is very friendly. Restaurant is outstanding! The setting so special,.. I can imagine many to think about this as a place for a honeymoon or wedding!

Room Tip: Upstairs room have balconies, the downstairs rooms have little gardens!!!!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BrigitteLippmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2013

My husband and I just spent a week on Vancouver Island, with our last two nights in Sooke (following Tofino). I couldn't recommend Sooke Harbour House more highly - we were so warmly welcomed, with a handwritten personal note congratulating us along with truffles in the room. And because I had requested an upgrade at time of booking and they happened to have one available, we were upgraded to the Thunderbird Room which was AMAZING. Huge balcony (or shall I call it a deck?!) looking out onto the water on the top level with a huge soaker tub and two chaise lounges. The room itself was just so unique and interesting - awesome comfy bed, bathroom with a big shower room with picture window, an old fashioned tub outside near the bed, a living room area, a little bar area, a real fireplace (was nice to get away from those gas ones!), and tons of interesting art and even a big tree and skylights. It was super quiet - very private too - and we loved the breakfast brought to our room each morning (delicious pastries still warm, yogurt and homemade granola etc). Even in other rooms you won't go wrong - we took a look around and one is VERY different with unique decor and setup, and so many cool little touches. And of course soaking tubs and views! The morning is particularly interesting to hang out on the balcony and watch all the birds and other wildlife. My one suggestion at least for our room is that they include a binoculars so that we can see things a bit better!

The rest of the grounds were awesome - very colorful and peaceful, we loved having a bottle of wine down by the water on comfy chairs off to the side, was so secluded and quiet. Probably helped that the weather was particularly perfect during our stay!

The restaurant was pretty good - wasn't blown away by the food (esp the dessert I chose) but it was very enjoyable and it had lovely views - and great value if you get their three course or four course special. We weren't as impressed with room service but we only ordered soup (which came with stale bread and just wasn't worth the price) so perhaps it wasn't a really fair try.

We only had one full day here so we didn't explore Sooke much before flying out of Victoria - but I would definitely come back to Sooke, if nothing else to simply visit the hotel again!

Room Tip: We loved our Thunderbird room but they are all really cool. We liked being on the top floor.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cshorens
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
Region: 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 sympathetically 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 May 31st our fine-dining restaurant is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday. It is open for dinner Thursday to Monday from 5.30pm to 9.00pm. Throughout the high season the fine dining restaurant is open 7 days a week for dinner. The Copper Room is open daily serving food and beverages 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 Canada - Vancouver Island

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