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“Over rated”

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Sooke Harbour House Resort Hotel
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Sooke
Certificate of Excellence
Utah
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Over rated”
Reviewed 2 May 2007

We stayed at Sooke Harbour House April 20, 2007 in one of the high-end Executive rooms. The view was lovely but attention to detail in the room was sorely lacking. The worst part for me was lack of cleanliness - there was hair in the bathtub, the make-up mirror was covered with dust, the mirror over the sink was spotted/dirty, the floor in the bathroom was dirty, the walls were marked/scuffed in many places, many surfaces were dusty, just to name a few issues. The decor is in need of an update; as one previous reviewer stated, it is "tired" AND the room was very expensive ($430 CAD). I would recommend that they provide bottled or filtered water as the tap water is rather yellow colored. Staff hospitality ranged from good to just barely adequate.
On the up side, dinner was nice, the food was good and the views from the dining room were lovely. Be aware, you only get two choices for each of the three courses and it is also very expensive ($330 CAD for two with a bottle of wine and dessert). Breakfast is served in the room at a pre-requested time with several selections of food, which was very nice. The art gallery in the hallways and the pieces in the room were a real treat!
Overall, due to high price + lack of cleanliness, I just cannot recommend the Harbour House.

  • Liked — The art in the hall and room
  • Disliked — Not clean
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank funintravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (134)
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English first
West Vancouver, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2007

Upon the recommendation of a reputable travel magazine, my husband and I, along with our dog, booked an overnight trip to the Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, B.C.

My review in a nutshell is this: The S.H.H. does not warrant the prices they charge. We paid over $400 for one night and it was completely unjustifiable. I found Sooke Harbour House to be an overpriced hotel squeezed into an unimpressive suburban neighborhood touting B&Bs everywhere. It's a 3 star with 5 star prices.

The restaurant on site looks nice and has a water view but it was ridiculously expensive. The daily menu is limited to a set 3-course meal with a choice of only two entrees for $75 per person - that's before drinks, tax & gratuity.

There is no reason to visit the town of Sooke, B.C., and this hotel is no exception. Regardless of the things that could give this place a good review, the price leaves a bad taste in your mouth and a hole in your pocket. Unfortunately for us, we were not able to get a refund and had to stay the night.

On a positive note, the staff was pleasant, the room was very clean with a wood burning fireplace & water view and the hotel did make efforts for our dog to be comfortable (it was our first time travelling with our pet).

My recommendation would be to take a ferry across the border to the nearby San Juan Islands, Washington. The McMillan Suites of Roche Harbor Hotel are everything that Sooke Harbor House is not - and more.

  • Liked — Wood burning fireplace
  • Disliked — The price per room - it was too high
  • Stayed April 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Maureen_Vancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2006

The Sooke Harbour House has 3 star rooms...why would they not do justice to their lovely location on the beach...and the great Restaurant ?

Their prices are 5 star, however, for a "best in the world" inn? I don't think so.

Our room was 2 or 3 star:
-tired-looking,
-the double bed (it couldn't possibly even be big enough to be a queen) was dressed in tacky bedding, the mattress was OLD
-there were no bedside tables and lamps at all as the bed was stuck at an angle from the wall
-the "desk" areas and shelves were cluttered with dog-eared booklets and books "for sale"
-the person who checked us in waved towards what the Inn considers a "kitchenette"... a bathroom vanity a couple feet from your bed that 'barely conceals a kettle, mismatched china, coffee maker and mini fridge;
-a bathroom that is spartan and faded/worn/mildewed
-a main room that has (besides the bed) a nice sofa by the fireplace (a fire hazard by the way with sheer gauze curtains brushing up against an open hearth), mismatched standing lamps that are too dim to read by, electrical cords that run across the room! under scatter rugs...real hazards.
-an outdoor bathtub that is so so deep which is nice, except that it was too dirty so we did not even use it.

With rates as high as they charge...we recommend spending a lovely dinner and have some great wine, and go back to Victoria for the night, and then go to a more upscale Inn that is worth the price (and the price is a lot less) at The Galiano Oceanfront Inn and Spa, The Aerie Resort on the Malahat, or Poets Cove on Pender Island.

  • Liked — Beachfront ocean setting; restaurant
  • Disliked — Rooms
  • Tips/Secrets — Dine here; stay elsewhere
  • Stayed October 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank InnSightsTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CA
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2006

Sooke Harbor House and Vancouver Island are both special places. I'm always struck by how much I like Vancouver Island every time I go there. The people are friendly, charming, and innocent -- different from the people you see in the big city of SF. Love SF but sometimes the innocence is so refreshing. We went to Sooke HH on a 2 day trip after visitng the San Juan Islands.

We had previously stayed at Aerie, another property in a town near Sooke. Aerie was very luxurious with very gourmet, rich, French style food where the meals were very long and involved.

Sooke HH is very different. It is very comfortable, elegant in an unpretentious, natural way. I have to say I like Sooke HH better in several ways.

The only thing that I really disliked about Sooke is the lack of window screens on the windows. Since we absolutely hate bugs in our room and I'm very attractive to mosquitoes, we slept in our room with the windows closed and it was hot. Once Sooke gets screens on their windows they will merit 4 stars!

Now to what I loved about Sooke! The setting is absolutely stunning. Right on the southern coast of Vancouver. Views are absolutely gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. There's a long spit with gorgeous views that you can walk/run on right next to the property so exercising after eating a gourmet meal is very easy! The neighborhood is nice to walk around with lovely homes with nice gardens. Lovely organic flower, fruit, vegetable gardens surround the main house & dining hall. Everything in their gardens are edible!

The main house and dining halls are very nice, very comfortable, sunny, airy. I like how the house is laid out. Large common area in the basement with comfy chairs and room to play. Our room was the edible blossom room. It was nice although the bathroom needed some updating; it was the last room available when we went and I would have preferred a nicer bathroom. Nice view from the room and it is very private b/c it's near the end of the house.

The staff are genuinely warm and friendly. They take pride in what they do and they obviously love the place. You can feel the vibrancy and enthusiasm of this place the minute you walk in, from the front desk ladies to the cleaning people. If you're the kind of person who wants 4 Seasons style service though, this place is not for you. There is a lot of attention to detail but it is not that kind of service.

The best part of Sooke is the food. It is truly amazing food. The quality of the food can vary quite a bit depending on who is in charge of the kitchen but the range is from very good to out of this world. We had 2 dinners & 2 lunches & 2 breakfasts there. Our dinner when the head chef was in charge was very good but nothing terribly outstanding. On our 2nd night, the sous chef was a young woman (can't remember her name) but the food we had that night was absolutely stunning and perfectly presented. It was right on par with any 3 star Michelin restaurant or a very fine restaurant in SF.

The amazing thing about their food is that they will use very unusual ingredients that are mostly local -- for instance I had a delicious soup of mushrooms/carrots with a drizzling of oil made from the needles of a local pine tree. The food is light, fresh, and delicous.

For lunch, they will pack a picnic backpack for you to take hiking or sightseeing. Lunches were scrumptious!! Each one had a yummy sandwich (something I couldn't make at home), a pastry (mmmmm) and a fruit that looked like it was from their gardens, water.

Breakfast was heavenly too. You can choose from a breakfast special or get a continental breakfast (which consists of delicious, warm, flaky croissants, muffins) a yummy fruit compote, yogurt, juice, tea....

In summary, I think this place is perfect for someone who is tired of your typical luxury style hotel and rich, gourmet foods heavy in cream & butter. The food is tasty enough to please someone who is not a foody but complex and interesting enough to make a true gourmet giggle with delight. It's healthy enough to make a hippy happy but did I already say that it is very tasty? This place is real. I would definitely come back again, but in the cooler months when I won't want to open the windows.

Stayed August 2006
Helpful?
5 Thank anigozanthos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2006

My wife and I just returned from Sooke Harbour House where we celebrated our 34th anniversary. We reserved the Kingfisher room where we had stayed in 2002 and 2003, only this time it was better than before. A sunroom had been added extending the room and a new room paint job only enhanced the beauty of the lodge and its surroundings. This place is paradise, and one of the truly unique and remarkable places to visit in the world, and we have traveled extensively. Between the sea otters, deer and other flora and fauna, tranquility reigns supreme. The food, all organic, is exquisite along with the restaurant service. The meals and presentations are unique and comparable to the finest NYC and Paris restaurants (along with the prices!!) The sommelier is extremely knowledgable and friendly, not effete as some are wont to be. There is a reason numerous a travel magazine recently rated Sooke H.H. as #2 in North America for all HOTELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The natural sublime beauty and scenery cannot be compared to anywhere we have visited in northwest and BC. The only criticism I can make is the front desk staff seems at times to be out of it, totally. They always mess up our restaurant reservations and times, and generally convey an attitude of indifference. I didn't like that, and at the rates they charge it's totally unacceptable. Overall, on a scale of 1 to 10 this place rates a 12!

Helpful?
2 Thank elmarko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2006

Recently, in May 2006, we had the most amazing family reunion at Sooke Harbour House, which truly felt like a home-away-from-home. As our family happens to be scattered across the globe, getting together in one place is hard to organize.

After looking into options at various inns in different countries and regions, we discovered Sooke Harbour House in Sooke, B.C., Canada. Although not exactly located at the centre of our families' spiderweb, Vancouver Island was easy to reach by plane and/or ferry for all of us, and Sooke Harbour House graciously arranged for convenient transportation from Victoria to Sooke for all of us.

Once at SHH, we were greeted by welcoming staff that invited us into our "home" for the coming week with drinks and intriguing little snacks, before we were all guided to our respective rooms. Check-in had been efficiently arranged for our group in advance, so there was no waiting in line at the front desk, despite the substantial size of our group. Each of our nine (9!) guestrooms were uniquely designed and decorated around individual themes, such as the Edible Flower room, the Driftwood room, the Blue Heron room, the Seal Room, the Raven's Nest, the Chef's Study, the Birdwatchers' room, the Mermaid room, etc. They comfortably slept between two and five of our family members, in addition to our four-legged entourage (our dogs were welcomed at least as warmly as we were at SHH where, as we were told, the owners' own dogs used to be a popular feature in previous years).

Our family reunion was made magical in these amazing surroundings, with each of us finding our own favourite pastimes on offer, ranging from the abundant art, library, spa treatments, FOOD (!) and wine (!), gardening and seaweed tours, outdoors activities (SHH arranged various trips for us, including whale watching, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and much more), birdwatching, golfing, and even a spectacular local wineries and organic farm tour. After having gone off in groups on all these SHH-arranged activities, each evening we met 'en groupe' in our own special dining room for the week, offering us privacy from the other hotel guests in the main dining room (and sparing them our often very entertained dinner conversations!) in the lovely and large Garden Room which is surrounded by the amazing and extensive edible flower gardens. Both the food and the wines were of exceptional quality, and many of us discovered numerous new ingredients and adventurous combinations. Despite the size of our family group, we never once felt like we were being offered simplified versions of dishes available in the main dining room. The service was gracious and impeccable, and found the ultimate balance between offering us family-privacy and providing attentive gourmet dining service.

When we started planning this reunion we could never have imagined it would turn out as heavenly as it did, owed in large part to the wonderful and creative staff and owners at Sooke Harbour House.
Although family reunions like this obviously can't come every year, we are positive that in smaller groups we will all return to Sooke Harbour House as soon as we get a chance to. We were frustrated to see SHH displayed here and on other blogs as "unaffordable", since they offered us a unique experience at a MORE than competitive price!
We warmly recommend this Inn for any group gathering, family, friends or business, and wish for any of you the amazing experience we had at SHH!

  • Liked — Everything! Warm welcome to our very large (family) group + dogs; arranged everything for us; very competitive pricing: amazing value for money!
  • Disliked — Saying goodbye was hard.....
  • Tips/Secrets — COME AND VISIT!!! Bring a group; have your family reunion!
  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank kz.lee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
billyar
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 260 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2006

I fell for this unique Hotel the minute I arrived. The location at the end of the road by Whiffen Spit was breathtaking. It is a delightful rabbit warren of a place with art everywhere. The rooms are all different and wonderful in their own ways.

I think that the staff and certainly the owners truly care about the Harbour House. I know the chefs care; noting was ever served that was not organic, fresh, artfully presented and unbelieveably delicious.

I stayed in room 2, the Blue Heron suite. It was all angles and windows with infinate views of water, trees, the gardens, ships and the Olymipic Mountains in the distance. One can soak in the tub, enjoy the real fire (the fireplace is set up and ready to go, with more properly seasoned wood nearby) and enjoy the views. It was so comfortable; chock full of nice details. Best balcony and view in the place.

My guests stayed in room 25, The Thunderbird. It was the size of a condo, filled with art, a living ficus tree two stories tall and a deep soaking tub on the balcony. The fireplace, walk in shower, and clawfoot tub rounded out the room.

They leave the unoccupied rooms open for exploration so I viewed a few. Each was different with different themes. Lots of custom woodwork and art everywhere. I have to say I like room 2 the best. But I would enjoy staying in any of them.

After arriving and taking a walk I was sure it could get no better. Then I sampled the fresh baked chocolate biscotti in the room. Wow, best I have ever had.

The first night we just had cheese and wine. The cheese selection was presented on a slate rock platter embellished with edible flowers. The selection and quality was top notch. Someone put their pride in that lovely platter.

Each breakfast was a surprise, with combinations of eggs and fresh ingredients I have never seen before. Seldom have I seen so many ingredients used so cleverly. Amazingly it all works to perfection. Those were unique breakfasts that cant be had elsewhere, even at the best hotels.

They set me up with a bike and directions to the Galloping Goose Trail. I was given a backpack stocked with water and a box lunch. The trail a converted train track was a world class bike ride. I recommend it highly. I sat by the the Sooke River and ate a box lunch from heaven. A perogi-like packet fill ed with mushrooms, fresh spices and ground meat, a perfectly ripe pear and more preternatural baked goods. It could not have been better.

We had the dinner in the dining room that night. It was too good to describe. Foodies will find heaven here. Slowly but surely works of art paired with excellent wines crossed our table. There must have been hundreds of ingredients, all fresh and local, and they all worked together. It was the combinations and the freshness that made this a perfect meal.

Our server was deeply knowledgable about the local wines and food, but was relaxed and friendly, no pretention. My non-foodie guests had a wonderful time and tried many new foods. For me it could not have been better.

One might think it is expensive to stay here but I know you will get more than you pay for here in so many ways.

I will return as soon as I can.

  • Liked — Views, Artful Design, Fireplace, Balcony, Spa Tub, Great Bed, Biscotti and Port
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Tips/Secrets — Enjoy the outdoors, then eat eat eat. I like room 2
  • Stayed July 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank billyar
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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