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“Disappointing”

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The Harbour Cottage Inn
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 June 2009

First let me say, the rating of "Terrible" was assigned by the website and I was unable to choose my own ratings for the areas of cleanliness (4), location (3), rooms (2), service (3), and value (2). I would say it was "Disappointing".

My husband and I are veteran B&B-ers. We have stayed in many different inns and homes over the past 25 years and consider ourselves to be very flexible and tolerant. That said, our experience at Harbour Cottage Inn was a disappointment.

As a previous reviewer stated, we were asked for payment of the balance upon arrival. We were staying 5 nights. Our deposit had been carried over from the year before when we had to cancel due to my husband's mother dying. The deposit was non-refundable even in that instance. So, we made plans to come this year.

After looking over the rooms on the website, we called to talk to the owner and reserve the room. He talked me out of the room I wanted and gave us a room that was much to small for a 5-night stay. When we arrived, after inspecting the room we were given (The Yawl) I did ask to be moved to the room I had originally wanted which was next door. It was much larger and had a small sitting room. (It was vacant the evening of our arrival and one other night during our trip.) However, we were told that due to current bookings, another room was not possible.

After our third night in the Inn, we decided it would be best for us to leave a day early. However, when we approached the innkeeper with our request we were told that was not possible as refunds were not made. If he could let our room, he assured us that he would credit our account. We grudgingly decided to stay the fifth night since we had already paid the $175.

During our stay, we had two occasions that the shower water was unacceptable. Once it was cold. We later found out that the hot water heater is turned off every night and it had not been turned back on at the proper time. Another time, it was barely warm enough for a comfortable shower. Additionally, the water in our tub did not drain properly and we were standing in 2-3 inches of water during our showers. Also, the pressure in the sink was so light that my husband found it difficult to shave at the sink and instead, shaved in the shower.

Breakfast should be a very special event at a B&B but like several other reviewers, we were disappointed with this as well. It wasn't terrible, but it seemed to me that they were trying to make the entrees too "fancy" for lack of a better term. A hearty breakfast of simpler foods would've been much more welcome. The chime-ringing for the 8:00 seating time was quite annoying for us. I felt like we couldn't go into the dining room until the bell rang. It reminded me of being called into homeroom in school. Breakfast should be a more leisurely event when on vacation, not a strict call-to-order feeling. If breakfast is served between 8 and 9, then one should be able to come at one's leisure during that time. The problem is their dining room is too small for the number of rooms they have, even with the porch included. Unfortunately during our stay, the weather was bad and sitting on the porch was not an option the two mornings we ate breakfast there.

To their credit, I did enjoy the coffee and tea service which was available 24 hours a day. There was a nice selection of teas, creamers, sugar and honey to suit one's taste, and their coffee was good. I didn't, however, like having to get up from the breakfast table and go into the adjoining room to make my second cup of coffee or tea. I really feel like at breakfast, they should do refills. The space is crowded enough without several people trying to get up and get their own refills.

The furnishings and decor were quite lovely and comfortable. I enjoyed sitting in the lounge area with my coffee and reading a book. They have many interesting items from their travels and a bookcase full of unusual reading materials.

The students they had working there from Macedonia were very nice, pleasant and interesting.

Our saving grace during the trip (which was 5 days of rain), was a local restaurant, Eat-a-Pita. After our second breakfast at the Inn, we began having breakfast, lunch and dinner at Eat-a-Pita, which at night is Cafe 2. The food is exceptional, the service delightful, and the wine selection more than adequate. Don't miss patronizing this restaurant if you are in Southwest Harbor.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank DJWatford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Djoel, Owner at The Harbour Cottage Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 5 July 2009

Reviews such as this are rare for us on Trip Advisor as you can see but we do take them seriously and appreciate the opportunity to respond. We know that although we strive to make all of our guests happy it is not always possible. Guest satisfaction is however our primary goal and we do appreciate the positive comments made in this review and would like to respond fairly and honestly to the not so positive ones. We remember these guests very well and at no time did we have any sense that something was unsatisfactory to them. Unfortunately the weather did not co-operate, as it was rainy and foggy during their entire stay.
This can obviously lead to an understandable level of discontent. Unfortunately these guests were unhappy with the weather and wanted to leave early and receive a refund. In keeping with our stated policy of not refunding for early departures it is impossible for us to issue last minute refunds and to maintain a viable business as well. In good faith we did promise to do our best to book the room and refund the last night if successful. The next word was that they had decided to stay. No mention of discontent with the room, food, water pressure or any other aspect of their stay was ever made.The fact that they stayed the last night "grudgingly" as stated in the review was never made obvious to us until this review. For all we knew these guests were perfectly happy with everything except the weather.

We have a very large hot water tank and never run out of hot water unless there is a problem. We did have a part replaced during the stay that required us to empty the tank and the water had to be heated from scratch which caused a temporary inconvenience. The situation was fixed as quickly as was possible. Our shower heads are spa quality and our sinks are equipped with low flow aerators to help conserve water which is a precious resource on this island not to mention the rest of the world. Guests often compliment our "Oxygenic"shower heads. The sinks, while having water saver faucets, are adequate for washing up and brushing teeth. We have made great strides in keeping waste to a minimum and contributing to a more "Green" world environment. If only we had been told that the tub was draining slowly we could have happily corrected it immediately. If it had been within our power to move these guests to another room we would have been delighted to do so.

Breakfast is one of the things we take great pride in. We recently found a beautiful antique set of dinner chimes once used on a cruise ship of the famous Cunard Line. Their beautiful rich sound gently announces the start of the breakfast hour. They are not intended as anything other than to add a quality of class, distinction and fun to breakfast. We are very flexible with arrival times after the chimes are sounded. Yes the dining room opens at 8 as that is the time when we feel most ready to offer our guests the best service. Guests can sip coffee in the common rooms and front porch as early as they like. We have a total of 26 seats for breakfast which are adequate for an inn that can sleep up to 30 people. We do find however that guests prefer a private table which is why we have 2 seating's. We recommend a seating time to guests when they arrive and also make clear that we can be flexible within the breakfast hour if the time is inconvenient. We do have a fantastic young front desk attendant in the evening, a student from Macedonia, who is improving her English. Perhaps this was not made as clear as it should have been. We apologize for that. Our dishes are creative and healthy as we offer things such as whole grain pancakes, whole grain muffins, fresh fruit, cereals and farm raised eggs. We do offer dishes that are different than what most people have at home in an effort to pamper our guests. We are not attempting to be "fancy" but rather unique, creative and delicious. If the hot entree does not appeal to a guest there are plenty of other fresh options to choose from. Simple eggs and toast are always available.

Please indulge me with a word or two regarding cancellations and refunds. First of all it is our intention to provide the best possible accommodations and service to our guests. We know there are lots of options and that we have to prove ourselves with each and every guest. This is only fair. We cannot however take and hold reservations for months in advance only to have last minute cancellations or early departures. We are not a large national chain that can easily absorb them. This is a costly business to operate and we only have about 16 weeks a year to earn a living and to pay our staff and other expenses. The best we can do is to apply an advance deposit for cancellations made at the last minute to a future stay or in the case of an early departure, sell the room and return the payment. Just one more thing, to be fair, as a guest, please make us aware of your concerns while you are staying with us so that there is time to take action and make things right. That is why we are here. The sad thing is that it is too late to make things right for these guests and for that we are truly sorry.

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246 - 252 of 301 reviews

Reviewed 14 June 2009

My husband and I recently spent six wonderful nights at the Harbor Cottage Inn. The Inn is an extraordinary Victorian filled with wonderful antiques. The Innkeepers, Don and Xavier, designed the Inn with an artists eye for details. The breakfasts are a delight with a different entree daily, the beds are very comfortable and to my own particular delight, the Inn is immaculately clean. Needless to say the surrounding area is an incredible place to visit. When you are in the area put The Harbor Cottage Inn first on your list.

2  Thank ecilaShermanOaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2009

We were most impressed. We would recommend this Inn to anyone. Great breakfasts and very friendly people. Was a beautiful place and a great location. Also they were very helpful in locating places of interest.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank johnsn5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2009

What a lovely place! This is the place to go when you want a charming New England B&B but you also want spotless and modern facilities. Hot coffee was ready for us when we arrived on a cool Saturday afternoon. The owner greeted us and made dinner arrangements for us. Breakfast was excellent. We stayed in the Downeaster and the king bed was fantastic. Southwest Harbor is a short ride from Acadia and Bar Harbor but a world away from the tourists. We highly recommend this place!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank ChinaLakeTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2009

This stay was our 6th in 3 years. Oviously, we love staying here. Having checked the web site prior to our first visit, I knew what to expect of our room and general inn decore; a cottage feel. That is calm colors, generally clean lines and limited "stuff", not busy, just charming and relaxing.
The location is good, just a tad beyond a quick walk into town, but if you walk to dinner (Red Sky, is the closest and EXCELLENT) you can justify dessert (again, Red Sky has "worth the calories" desserts even if you drive). Southwest Harbor is a charming, small village with most everything you might want.
The inn keepers are accommodating, helpful and friendly. They are the soul of this B&B and we truely enjoy our time with them. Javier's breakfasts are wonderful, especially his "stuffed" pancakes, and I don't even eat pancakes! If you are lucky enough to be there on a nice day breakfast is served on the lovely covered porch. Breakfast is served at 8:30, however, I am sure if this time is inconveniant they will work with you.
Kudos for the entire stay!!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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Thank MaineCarmen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Djoel, Owner at The Harbour Cottage Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 25 May 2009

We are so grateful for guests who choose to return time after time. We realize we have to earn that loyalty and we strive to do that with each ane every guest. One of the great rewards of this business is the opportunity to meet great people and to make new friends. We've been at this for more than 8 years now and we are looking forward to the next 8.

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Reviewed 20 May 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Harbour Cottage Inn with our 4 year old son for a long weekend and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The room, the Captain's Nook, was perfect for us in that it was a very clean, charming and thoughtfully put-together room. It was small, but perfect for putting our heads on the pillows after days out adventuring on the island. The whole island is easily accessible for a weekend - even side roads. We loved the island's shorelines and the view from atop Cadillac Mountain... HCI had excellent gourmet breakfasts. Even though it was primarliy an adult environment, the innkeepers were friendly and accommodating toward our son, which we appreciated. If your child is a well-behaved traveler (cooperative, likes experiencing new things and has an adventurous diet), then we definitely recommend this Inn for very small families. For couples, no doubt, it is great. We'll be back someday, we hope.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled with family
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Thank TravelingFamily02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2009

Our weekend stay at the Harbour Cottage Inn was wonderful. The inn is beautifully decorated and very clean. Very cozy and relaxing. Our room (the Sloop) was small, but very lovely. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was large and clean. The inn was quiet and we slept great both nights! The owners are very friendly and helpful. Don helped us plan out a great day at Acadia, since we had never been there before. His restaurant recommendations were excellent as well. Breakfast was fabulous also - the quality of the food and service was outstanding! We will definitely be back to stay again!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank traveling_lady27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Harbour Cottage Inn

Address: 9 Dirigo Rd, Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME 04679-4454
Region: United States > Maine > DownEast and Acadia Maine > Mount Desert Island > Southwest Harbor
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Southwest Harbor
Price Range: £103 - £209 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Harbour Cottage Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Harbour Cottage Inn, a premier bed and breakfast providing very private and elegant lodging in the quiet and historic village of Southwest Harbor, Maine. Our beautiful location is steps away from a picturesque working harbor, near Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, which makes many great adventures possible. The inn is furnished with museum quality art and antiques, and all of our 11 incredible guest rooms and suites offer cozy, comfortable and well-appointed spaces to relax, refresh and renew. Choose from a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suite offering relaxing accommodations for 1 couple 2 couples or even a family of 6. Unlike most bed and breakfasts, some of these suites have private living areas, decks and kitchens. Imagine starting your day over a lovingly prepared breakfast on the porch, or in the living room by the fireplace. Explore restaurants, shopping, marinas and lobster wharves near our Mount Desert Island lodging. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbour Cottage Hotel Southwest Harbor
The Harbour Cottage Inn Southwest Harbor, Maine

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