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“Nice, but could be better”
Review of The Island Inn

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The Island Inn
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 August 2012

I love Monhegan and have been going as a day tripper for years, always wishing I could spend the night. So, when I had four days to spend with my daughter in Maine I thought immediately of Monhegan and booked a suite at The Island Inn. I'm sure my expectations were too high, and we still really did enjoy ourselves, but it just seemed that they did as little as they reasonable could rather than trying to make guests really happy.

Pros:
Amazing sunsets, plenty of places to sit outside and enjoy it and the scenery in general, good breakfasts, and most importantly - it's on Monhegan which is a magical place.

Cons:
General stinginess; thin towels and bathroom amentities (tiny generic shampoo, slivers of soap), no seasonal fruit at breakfast or any variety, coffee and tea get put away at a certain time in the morning, even during a rainy day when everyone has to stay in, they make you buy a trail map for $1 (couldn't they just include one in a $360/night room? I would donate to Monhegan Assoc. anyway), heavy bags cost $2, light bags $1 to bring to the dock, etc. I realize that things are more expensive on Monhegan, but it still seems - stingy.

It's not these little charges are expensive, they just bug me and make me feel bad about a place. I would be happier spending $5-10/night more to cover the map, the bags, decent bathroom amentities, coffee and tea available throughout the day etc. (maybe even cookies or cheese and crackers in the afternoon?). Those are the touches that guests notice and make them feel good.

Room:
Suite 2 was like living in a fishbowl and although I was happy for the sitting area and desk on our super rainy day, and the private (but very basic) bathroom, I would have prefered more privacy. People continually passed by our windows, even standing to talk on a cell phone for a while one day, and one side of our sitting area was glass exposed to the common porch, which caused us the leave the shades drawn. If we closed the doors to the bedroom to get more privacy we got no fresh air as the room had no windows. Also the wall in the bedroom is shared by the diining room so you wake up by them setting up for breakfast early, and go to sleep to the sounds of closing down after dinner. I wouldn't choose this room again if I go back.

Restaurant:
Breakfast was exactly the same everyday. It was boring. The buffet consisted of melon, pineapple and grapes, granola, yogurt, lobster scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, toast, blueberry muffins and scones, and blueberry french toast and cold cereal with eggs and pancakes to order. Everyday. Different fruit, or muffins, or french toast, change the eggs? The food was good but a little variety would have made breakfast better.
Lunch is only served Thursday - Sunday, so we had to get takeout sandwiches and bring it back to the room or picnic. The dinner was average and expensive, some of the sides were pretty bad, the filet was good, it would have been nice to have lighter options too, like on the lunch menu.

There aren't many choices on Monhegan and this may be the best Inn, but I wish they would charge less so that I didn't have as high expectations, or charge a bit more and really deliver - or even better - just deliver. If you have time, a house for more privacy and a kitchen, might be a better option.

Room Tip: Avoid suite 2 - it lacks privacy and is next to the dining room.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank jtrippernow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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140 - 146 of 202 reviews

Reviewed 1 August 2012

Ah, where do you start when talking about Monhegan Island? Well, we fell in love with it like so many do. The Island Inn was relaxing and a taste of yesteryear. Our room was on the second floor and though small, as most are I think, it was cozy and had a view of Manana Island and of the water. Surprisingly it was quite warm when we were there (mid July) so our room was roasting hot but at night the temp. cooled off nicely. Also, we left the door open slightly so that there was a good draft between our room and the large comfortable bath with window across the hall. The second night there was a wind off the sea and it was exciting to hear the wind whistle and to have the doors and windows rattle. The early morning was very nice sitting in Adirondack rocking chairs on the front porch. Dining at the Inn was lovely (bring your own wine) and the breakfast buffet was fabulous (scrambled eggs with lobster) and blueberry pancakes. Next time however we will choose a different time of year to go.....there were lots of tourists at the Inn (of course, it was July) but there were some guests who would just not stop talking, and drinking! A group of four had incessant motor mouth and so we moved every time they came around. But when we went hiking we found peaceful moss, lichen and fern covered forests and granite slabs by the sea where we could ponder the view and have quiet time. We now know why so many people love this place. We are very glad we went and happy that we stayed at this charming turn of the century inn. Don't miss the Museum and Lighthouse up on the hill behind the Inn. The Museum is fabulous.

Room Tip: Room overlooking Manana Island.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Andiamo_38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2012

The accommodations are simple but comfortable. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Sitting on the porch looking out at Manana Island in the rocking chairs was most relaxing. The breakfast buffet is plentiful and delicious. Lobster scramble and blueberry stuffed French toast every morning! There are so many wonderful walks on the island.

Room Tip: Our room door rattled all night with the wind.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank 344Rebecca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2012

This was our third visit to the Island Inn, so that has to tell you we love the Inn and the island. With only a few pick-up trucks and some golf carts on the island it is peaceful place to visit. This time around the weather was great with temperatures in the mid-70's. We did more hiking covering trails that had not previously done and retracing our steps on others from past years. Did some serious porch sitting watching the harbor, artists. and sunsets. Other times we spent talking to folks learning more about the history of the island and its residents. There are only about 40-50 permanent residents. After tourist season they turn there attention to fishing and lobstering. Our room which we had on our two prior visits was perfectly suited to our needs, comfortable and clean. Food and restaurant service was excellent. Planning our next visit.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank FandB2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2012

Arriving on Monhegan Island by the Elizabeth Ann from Port Clyde was the beginning of two incredible days. Our luggage was delivered to our room on the 3rd floor, corner room, overlooking the wharf. A seaside view from our bed! The room was simple and cozy; nothing more was needed after a day of hiking the incredible trails and picnicking on the rocks near the crashing waves. The rockers and Adirondacks were the perfect place to kick back and watch the sail boats. Breakfast was fresh and satisfying. Cannot wait to return to this rugged and serene place.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank MelanieD63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2012

The Monhegan Island Inn is a wonderful step back in time that takes some effort to make. Don’t get me wrong, it is WELL worth the effort, but it does require a certain level of commitment to get the most of your visit. Having a proper mental attitude will greatly enhance your visit. I could easily spend more hours writing about this destination than we actually spent on the island. For the adventurous at heart, the strong of stomach, and those with hardy hiking skills it is undoubtedly worth the challenge. As long as you bring good bug spray.
First is making sure you have a reservation for your stay. There are limited accommodations on the island and even more importantly, there are limited ferries going back and forth. Nest is choosing a port from which to embark and an effort to make the mostly early day sailings. Do your research and pick which suits your itinerary the best. It’s an open water voyage from each port, so if you are prone to seasickness take the precautions that work best for you. Nothing will ruin your day like an upset tummy. Luckily we had smooth sailing both ways, but that doesn’t always happen, and, we have tough tummies. Buy the hiking map that is offered onboard, you’ll need it if you go wandering.
Friendly staff from the inn meet each ferry and will carry your luggage all the way to your room. Check in was easy, advise was offered as well as info on the communal fridge available for guest use. Our room was on the second floor and had two shared bathrooms at our disposal. We normally don’t like shared bathrooms, but these were kept immaculately clean and felt almost private – except that they were across the hall. We did have a washbasin in the room which was nice. The room was smallish, but had a fabulous view of the harbor. No AC and a fan would have been nice considering the heat wave, but it did cool off enough in the night to want the lightest of 3 blankets that were on the bed.
Knowing there were limited dining opportunities on the island we chose to book a reservation at the inn. My God, the scallops were to die for! I eat a lot of seafood and really beat myself up for choosing the mussels instead of the scallops my companion had. I’m lucky I even got a taste. There is no alcohol served at the inn, but knowing that, we had purchased a surprisingly affordable and perfectly serviceable bottle of Malbec earlier in the day at the local store just up the road from the inn. I took it down as soon as the restaurant opened and had them open it to breathe and slightly chill it. Perfection.
We had spent the afternoon exploring the village and some of the art galleries and the limited shopping opportunities. I scoped out the local fish market and had aspirations to try their smoked salmon for the next day’s picnic. Beware – they sell out early! We lounged on the back porch – or is it a front porch and went to dinner. There was entertainment happening just down the road, but the venue was sold out by the time we finished dinner, so we sat on a bench outside, enjoyed a song or two and fed a plethora of biting insects before heading back to the inn, admiring the few stars visible at 9:30pm and went to bed to recharge for the hike we planned for the next day.
Dawn comes early here. By 3:30am the skies were lit. By 4:30 I was awake and went out to the aforementioned porch to read and soak in the atmosphere. Unfortunately breakfast doesn’t start until 7:00. Early coffee showed up at 6:00 which kept me going. The breakfast was hearty and most definitely well received.
By 9:00 we had checked out of our room, packed up our picnic, studied our map and headed out. After all our ferry was at 3:ish and we had ground to cover. The Inn assured us we could leave the bags for them to transport to the ferry and we could use the facilities when we got back. They also did provide a hose for my companion to clean shoes and pant legs when we stumbled back in. Too bad we didn’t do the bug cover before we headed off.
There are probably many pages of info about the hikes. We went out to Black Head Point. Easy trail, not much muck to wade through and we were there pretty quickly. We should have started with the lighthouse and museum, but hindsight is always 20/20. It was too early for lunch, and some folks who passed by us said the trail to Lobster Cove from Blackhead was easy going and very pretty. Off we went without consulting our trusty map or considering the physicality of those other hikers. We’re both on the northern side of 50, live in Florida and generally only walk our dogs on flat roadways. This trail was a scramble! There were moments of sinking up to ankle height in a bog, and moments of sitting on rocks and sliding down to the next level. Luckily it was mostly down! The trails on the island are maintained by the Association and I respect their commitment to nature. But come on guys, a few more trail markers won’t ruin nature and would certainly enhance the enjoyment of your visitors! By the time we reached the shipwreck and Lobster Cove we were hot, tired and thirsty. Too bad, since it was another pretty spot. Note to self – carry more water. Two bottles per person was not enough.
Don’t let me scare you away folks. It is beautiful. I did take lots of pictures. I’d have loved to have had another day to explore more. And laundry can be done almost anywhere – except on Monhegan. But anyone with any serious mobility issues should be careful before they take off on these primitive trails. And wear lots of bug repellant. And watch out for poison ivy. Thankfully we didn’t pick up any ticks. My companion did get a bite on the face that sent us to an emergency room 4 days later when it got infected. We have no idea what that bite was from.
I’m tempted to say this was my personal highlight from our 18 day trip. I absolutely regret that we didn’t do a two night stay given the amount of time it took to get there. I do wish I had done more research about the island and had been better prepared for what it offered. If you are looking for unspoiled Maine, make the effort.

Room Tip: Even the shared bath rooms were nice and the bathrooms were sparkeling.
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Auntie_C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2012

We love "getting away from it all" on Monhegan, but still having WIFI and othe necessities. I was told by the front desk that even in high season if you can be flexible with your days or room type they can probably work you in. We stayed in the cottages, and they were as nice or nicer than staying in the hotel, but you don't have the view.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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Thank egkvol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about The Island Inn

Address: 10 Ocean Avenue, Monhegan Island, ME 04852
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Maine > Monhegan Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Monhegan Island
Price Range: £140 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Island Inn sits atop a bluff looking west over Monhegan harbor toward the ocean and in the evening it provides a perfect location to view the dramatic sunsets and the magnificent colors that accompany them. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Island Hotel Monhegan
The Island Inn Monhegan Island, Maine

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