My husband and I got married at Sooke Harbour House in 2009. We had an amazing experience. We had talked about going back to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary and I was surprised when my husband told me that he had planned a three-day trip there! He later told me that he had made the reservation almost a full year in advance to be sure that we would have the same room. One of the things that had made our wedding experience so outstanding was that the staff had gone out of their way to accommodate my dietary needs (I'm vegan) and the breakfasts were delicious and inventive. My husband made sure when he booked the room (almost a year in advance and then in further correspondence closer to the date of our arrival) to note that I was vegan. He also made us a dinner reservation at SHH for the night of our actual anniversary. When we checked in, I again verified with the manager, Sharon, that they had noted my vegan requirements and she ensured me that they had.
For the most part, our experience was very nice. The grounds are amazing and the hotel is very lovely (though, as other reviewers mentioned, it could certainly stand to be updated and refreshed: new paint, carpet, etc., but overall, we didn't feel that that detracted from our experience). What was disappointing to us was that we had hoped the staff might have been more attentive to our requests and had made us feel more welcome, especially since we had informed them that we were celebrating our anniversary and had actually come back to SHH, the place we had gotten married, to do so.
The first morning, they delivered only one breakfast to our room. The delivery woman was particularly unfriendly and simply said that we had marked our breakfast slip incorrectly (I had checked one hot breakfast - a frittata, for my husband, and had written "one vegan breakfast"). I assumed that since we had spoken with management the prior evening to confirm my vegan request, that this would have been clear. The breakfast delivery woman told me I was supposed to have checked 2 frittatas and then written "one vegan." Our issue was that no one called to verify what our wishes were (if there had been confusion) and that it was not clear to us why their default was to bring only one breakfast when there were two of us in the room and we had paid extra for breakfast included. We called down and the woman at the front desk was very sweet ( Brittany) and had them prepare two new breakfasts. My husband got the frittata and I received a very uninspired and not very tasty sautée of squash and zucchini. I spoke to the manager, Sharon, later in the day and she was not particularly helpful or apologetic. She blamed it on the kitchen staff ( it seemed, as others noted, that there was no communication among the staff whatsoever) and said "hopefully this won't happen again tomorrow." How disheartening that she wasn't even guaranteeing me that the problem would be remedied in the future. When I said, "what do you mean, 'hopefully'," she just repeated herself. Honestly, if Sharon had been more apologetic and willing to help us solve the problem, I think we would have had a much better taste in our mouths for the rest of our stay. However, due to her disinterest, we felt pretty disappointed and overall underwhelmed with our experience. My husband went down immediately after I spoke with Sharon to cancel our anniversary dinner at SHH because we didn't want to risk being disappointed. We didn't feel that Sharon's response to my breakfast problem provided any level of confidence that we wouldn't be disappointed at -- a very expensive -- dinner, too. She was apparently not surprised that we decided to cancel dinner and didn't even try to dissuade us by ensuring we would be accommodated if we kept it. (As an aside, we ate at Markus's down the road and it was superb!)
To be fair, the breakfasts the following two days were lovely and much more thoughtful, but we just felt in general that we were unimportant and no one cared whether or not we were happy. For the amount of money we had to spend to stay at SHH, this was extremely disappointing. When we checked out, Sharon had deducted $30 from our bill to compensate for the first breakfast. This was a very nice gesture, but we wish she had told us she was going to do that immediately following the incident because that would have made us feel that she actually cared. I was so disappointed with her -- lack of -- reaction to our complaint that it kind of tainted the experience.
In summary, I will say that if you are traveling to Sooke Harbour House for a special occasion and looking for an attentive, personalized experience where the staff are excited that you have chosen to spend your money and celebrate at SHH, you may want to reconsider. It is a very expensive place to stay and we didn't feel like we were getting the experience that we should have gotten for that amount of money. I don't want to over-generalize since that was just our experience, but I did read other reviews where people had similar experiences. However, if you are just going for an escape and do not desire any special treatment (and the cost is not a burden for you) I would recommend it. The setting is absolutely gorgeous. I cannot speak to the restaurant as we did not end up dining there.
- 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