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“Should have been better”
Review of Harbor Light Inn

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Harbor Light Inn
Ranked #1 of 19 Marblehead B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 July 2010

We stayed in room 32 at the Harborlight Inn in Marblehead for four nights in July 2010. The location is great. The building historic. Unfortunately, we arrived just in time for a sweltering heat wave with heat indexes over 100 degrees. However, we thought our "air conditioned" room would keep us comfortable. The downside of a building from the 18th century is that the air conditioning does not really get up to the third floor rooms. We were sweltering. You might stay comfortable is you didn't move at all. Trying to shower, dry your hair, and get dressed to go out was very uncomfortable. We complained to the front desk who said they would crank up the air conditioning to see if that helped. Hours later, it had not. We mentioned it to the bartender, who said he would crank it up more and it seemed to improve slightly.

Then there was the shower. The water pressure was so strong that if you put your face directly in the stream, it felt like it would gouge your eyes out. The tub in the tub/shower combination would not drain and we stood up to our ankles in dirty water. We complained about the tub right away and was told by the front desk that they would have someone check it out "right now." No one looked at it for 24 hours and it was very confusing when they did. When I kept complaining that it wasn't fixed, I would be told a bit more of the story, like. the maintenance man "didn't have the right equipment and had to go to the store to pick it up. He'll be right back." Hours later when nothing had been done, I was told that he couldn't actually leave to go to the store because there was no one to cover for him. When he finally did arrive, I needed to shower and dress for an appointment, but had to wait 20 minutes while he poured Drano (the equipment?) down the drain and waited for the result. Even though he said it was draining faster, it wasn't. I complained again to the front desk and this just went on and on. On the third night, when we arrived back from visiting friends, the hotel offered to move us to a more expensive room (#5) at no extra charge with better air conditioning and we jumped at the chance! Problem was the air conditioning was set so high that we froze all night and could barely sleep. We called the night manager who said he would turn down the air, but that didn't make a difference. In the morning, our heads felt like popsicles. They didn't tell us until the next day that you could adjust the vents, which we did, then opened a window to the heat to help the room temperature normalize. So...on the last day, we finally had adequate temperature control. But unfortunately, the shower in THAT room had no water pressure whatsoever and rinsing off took a half hour. By that point, we just gave up and didn't say anything.

On the plus side, the small pool area is lovely and meticulously maintained. But considering everything else that happened during our stay, we'll never go back. Also, while the owners seemed to be working hard to try and correct the situation after the first two days, it wasn't enough to give a positive review.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank northshoregirl245
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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385 - 391 of 465 reviews

Reviewed 2 June 2010

We stayed in Room 35 for two nights. The room was spacious and characterful, the bathroom OK. The bed was a decent size but very jiggly, when one person rolled over the other felt it in spades.

Breakfast was hugely disappointing. Service non-existent, very lean pickings and no replenishment of emptied dishes. Perhaps if one were first to the table it would have been OK - we heard mention of smoked salmon having been there earlier ( we were down by 08;30 am) but saw no sign of it. There were one or two rather poncy dishes but little resembling an "American breakfast" , no bacon and eggs for example. There were not even coffee cups and no-one appeared as I went on a hunt through the little kitchen area looking for them. On the second day, I did at least discover the jams in the second drawer down on the LHS of the sideboard..

Location was excellent and central , the car park was good (a real plus in the constricted confines of the town.

However, on the whole, overpriced and trading on (I suppose position mainly).

The bar doesn't serve spirits by the way, it's also very small indeed.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank chriskLondon_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HarborLightInn, Manager at Harbor Light Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 22 June 2010

It is unfortunate that a guest had a less than satisfactory experience while traveling. We try to take great care in meeting all of our guest's needs and ensure that they have the best experience possible. Unfortunately it is difficult to correct problems that we are not made aware of.

The "jiggly bed" is an easy fix and we would have sent someone to remedy immediately, if known. Our breakfast buffet has something for most and we are glad to fulfill any special requests. We are more than happy to accomodate, whether it is a special dietary concern or for those who prefer an omelet or eggs of choice. We prepare special requests frequently and are pleased to serve our guest's needs.

We encourage guests to communicate with our front desk and overnight staff members, on duty 24 hours daily, when a problem or question arises. The Tavern is small, but we are not able to remedy.

In closing, it is frustrating as an innkeeper or hotelier to hear of a guest's complaint, long after they have checked out, when it could have so easily been rectified with a call down to the front desk or brought to the attention of an employee.

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Reviewed 4 May 2010

We had a deluxe room (#34) which was on the top floor. It's one of two rooms that have decks. There is one room on the first floor that has a much smaller deck. Our room had a nice view and the deck was very private. The room was small, but the deck was like another room, and included lounging chairs for sunning, and a table and chairs for the bottle of wine and cheese we brought. Very clean inn, with a nice breakfast included.

The hostess, Darrell, was a delight and made us strawberries dipped in chocolate and coconut as a present for our anniversary! She had the wine glasses in the room -- everything my husband had asked for to make the day special.

I lived in Marblehead almost 30 years ago and we went to all the old haunts-- The Barnacle, The Landing, Crocker Park, Fort Sewell, Maddie's (of course!). The inn was a 4 minute walk to Maddie's Sail Loft and the drinks are still strong....save that stop for last!

Off street parking was appreciated by Ron. He loved not having to drive anywhere until we checked out the next day.

Make sure you take a drive to Marblehead neck before you leave. Visit Castle Rock and Marblehead Light. (left at the lights as you're heading out of town). The lighthouse vantage point has spectacular views of old town.

We tried to plan a family reunion here, but learned that the inn is not too kid-friendly. However, they do have apartments to rent down the street, so if you're interested -- inquire about these.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank JaniceRon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HarborLightInn, Manager at Harbor Light Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 22 June 2010

Thank you! We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your celebratory stay with us. All the best to you and yours.

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Reviewed 3 April 2010

The apartment was like home for us and the staff was like family. Our stay was long and very enjoyable. Our stay was purposeful waiting for our grandaughter to be born and enjoying her first month of life. The apartment gave us a place to stay ,be close to my daughter , as well as able to entertain family and friends. The staff was exceptional taking care of our needs and sharing in our excitement over the baby... Thank you Harbor Light Inn for a very memorable stay. We hope to return so we can watch our grandaughter grow.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank oliviamarblehead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2010

My girlfriend and I needed a night away from the hustle and bustle of the city and we had a mutual friend who mentioned The Harbor Light Inn as a perfect getaway. As soon as a walked through the cranberry red front door, I was immersed with a charm that I had never experienced before. The chandeliers over head glistened like a star, the study enticed me sit and grab a book and get lost. The check in was seemless and friendly, as if they been anticipating my arrival all day. Upon entering our room, I was taken back in time. Now, I work at a 5 Star/5 Diamond Hotel in Boston, and we describe our decor as colonial, but it is nothing close to the allure that our room had at the Harbor Light Inn. The first thing that caught our eye was the bed with a gorgeous canopy. To the left of our bed was a fireplace, lighting up the room with a warm glow. But it was in the details that made it feel like home. The art work and furniture lended itself to the charm, the painting were wrapped in golden frames, the chairs were drapped with a cloth that was soothing to the touch, instantly putting me at ease. But my favorite part of our room was the bathroom. We were greeted with a stunning vanity, and a deep soaking tub that was boardered with lush greens. I can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed while in the tub. After losing myself in the tub, we wanted to enjoy the town. They informed us of a quaint restaurant & pub called Maddies Sail Loft. A mere two minute walk, and we were enjoying a pint and a home cooked meal. Upon returning, I found the bed surrounded me like a warm caccoon. It was the best sleep I had in weeks! We went down stairs for breakfast, where again the staff was warm and sincere. The eggs were delectable and the fresh sqeezed juice brought me back to the days I lived in Florida. To top it off we had a striking view of the gardens. Unfortunately, we did have to go back to the daily grind, but I felt like I had been on vacation for days. I can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank theycallhimBK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2010

Headed up to quaint Old Town Marblehead for a belated Valentine's weekend with a group of friends. We basically took over most of the Inn and had a wonderful time. The rooms went from nicely sized to gigantic! Ours had a lovely canopy bed, working fireplace and antique furnishings. Bathroom was nice with just a shower but friends had a lovely tub in their room. We had access to the "front parlor" for the evening after a catered dinner from Sticky Rice ( delicious Thai!) which was arranged with Susan's help. For a nominal fee we had the dining room to ourselves for dinner with all the plates, glasses, coffee and tea we needed and staff to do the washing up! Breakfast the next morning was a scrumptious buffet with everything from bagels with lox and cream cheese to crab meat strata to french toast casserole with fresh fruit. Close to all the charming little shops and wonderful seaside walks, it was a perfect quick getaway, made all the nicer by a welcoming staff and elegant venue!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank margateer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2010

We stayed at the Harbor Light Inn for Valentine's Day Weekend. The Inn itself is clean, charming, and the staff is pleasant and fairly helpful. We really enjoyed the breakfast. The Inn is centrally located, and they do have a parking lot, albeit difficult to navigate.

The rooms were not really up to par, especially the beds. Our mattress was terrible--hard and springy. The sheets were incredible scratchy, our duvet cover had holes in it, and the pillows were hard lumpy. The room was also very, very warm. The staff informed us that they couldn't control the furnace for individual rooms, so we had to crack a window. I mean, the house is old and it's difficult to control temperature in older homes, but it did mean that we really did not sleep well. On our first morning there, we were awoken by a blaring fire alarm at 8:30 am. That's not really anything the staff could control, but when we rushed downstairs, there seemed to be no fire anywhere and there were no staff members to confirm whether or not there was a fire; even the firefighters who arrived were confused. Eventually, we were told that there was a blasted water main and that it was okay to remain inside. All in all, we did not sleep well during our three-night stay and are now nursing sore backs/necks. I expected better quality from such a highly regarded inn; I definitely do not think it is a good value. I will never stay here again, and that's a shame because it is in a prime location and very convenient as we visit family in Marblehead several times a year. I would have loved to share these comments with the staff, but there was no one at the desk when we checked out. Via intercom, they bade us goodbye and told us to leave the keys on the desk.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank AuntieJoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HarborLightInn, Manager at Harbor Light Inn, responded to this reviewResponded 3 March 2010

Thank you for posting a review of the Harbor Light Inn. We appreciate all feedback we receive from our guests. We are so pleased you found the inn charming and clean. We work hard to keep the inn in great condition and with the best possible amenities for all of our patrons.

As a hotelier or innkeeper one of the most frustrating experiences is if a guest is unhappy at some point during their stay, for whatever reason, instead of giving the staff a chance to correct the situation and show their hospitality to improve the stay. The guest will wait till after departure to, then bring the situation to the staff’s attention. We always have ways we can improve your stay and will always do everything in our power to do so. However, if you never give us that opportunity it is hard for us to reconcile the problem retroactively.

With that said in regard to the heat issue. We understand that heat preferences are very individual for guests. However, we have found most of our guests are very pleased with the temperature of their room. We do have plans to install separate heat controls for all the rooms. In the meantime we have taken steps in insure all of our guest are comfortable, as the happiness and comfort of our guests is our number one priority. We do our best to check in with all of our guests throughout their stay to make sure everything is up to their expectations. I know that a staff member did in fact check in with you on the second day of your stay inquiring, if the heat was at a satisfactory level. Since you had mentioned it was a bit warm the previous evening. At that point, you let the staff member know that the heat was just fine. I would like to reiterate again that it is impossible for us to fix a problem for you, if we are unaware a problem exists.

As you mentioned occasionally things occur that are out of the staff’s control, such as a fire alarm. All of our staff members are trained to handle situations that arise and if during the alarm the desk was momentarily vacant it was due to that fact the staff member was attending to the safety procedures set in place. We do sincerely apologies to all of our guests for any alarm or inconvenience caused during such an event. Again, I know the staff member on duty that morning spoke with you directly assuring you there was no need to panic, that a small amount of water had dripped through an alarm head unfortunately tripping the whole system.

In regards to your comments on the bedding. We know when we occasionally make a mistake. We agree with you that during the tenure of your stay the linens in your room were not up to our standards. First of all we sincerely apologize for that. Secondly, we would like to thank you for bringing that to our attention. Finally, since your departure we have purchased all new linens for that room including a new duvet. We have also replaced the mattress with a brand new one. We have also gone through all of our linens in all rooms to make sure they meet all of our standards.

We truly appreciate every review we receive from guests. The good ones help reaffirm everything we do. While the rare negative ones help us continue to become better, as we are constantly striving to improve our standards and our guest's experiences.

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Additional Information about Harbor Light Inn

Address: 58 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945-3553
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Massachusetts > Marblehead
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 B&Bs / Inns in Marblehead
Price Range: £123 - £249 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Harbor Light Inn 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Old town Marblehead and the harbor district, the Harbor Light Inn offers easy access to beaches, shopping, art galleries, historic homes, museums and a variety of great restaurants. The Harbor Light Inn offers complimentary parking, wireless Internet and an on-site Tavern. Within short driving distance to neighboring Salem, Massachusetts and less than 18 miles to Boston. Corporate retreats, small weddings and executive meetings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Harbor Light Hotel Marblehead

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