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“Extremely disappointing”

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Harbourmaster Hotel
Ranked #1 of 11 Aberaeron B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Bedfordshire
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Extremely disappointing”
Reviewed 28 January 2014

My husband booked a couple of nights at the Harbourmaster for a birthday treat for me after several recommendations from family and friends. This was our first visit. First impressions were rather mixed - the room at the front of the hotel with sea views was very pleasant, well furnished and clean. However when we arrived we had to check in at the desk in the bar area which was a bit strange The receptionist was rather cool and offhand and offered us no assistance with our luggage that we had to carry up two windy steep flights of stairs.
The walls of the rooms seemed quite thin for an old building and we could hear people in other rooms, TV and bathroom notices from several rooms around us.
We decided to eat in the bar on the first night and in the restaurant on the second night. The bar was incredibly noisy, so much so that it was difficult to hold a conversation. A few soft furnishings or wall sound absorbing wall panels would help reduce the noise a lot.
I am vegetarian as well as needing a gluten free diet so we had checked with the hotel before arriving that there would be a range of suitable food available. We ordered a few entrees of olives, humus etc which were horrible. The olives were weird tasting and the humus had no taste at all. It seemed that some chickpeas had just been food processed with no garlic, lemon juice or seasoning. It's actually quite difficult to get a simple recipe so wrong so this did not install confidence for the following courses. The pear and local welsh cheese salad starter was actually very nice. Disappointingly there was only one vegetarian meal on the menu (there were loads of meat and fish options for my husband) which was a vegetable stew with a slice of goats cheese on top. It looked very unappetising and tasted even worse than it looked. It was just a pile of chopped bog standard vegetable like carrots and peas in a very hot tomatoe sauce. It was so spicy that I could not eat it. A waitress and the manager asked if our food was OK after delivering the food to our table. When I told both of them separately that I could not eat it they both just said 'sorry about that' and walked away. There was no attempt to rectify the situation or offer me any alternative food. We waited ages for someone to come and clear the table and in the end we had to ask - were never visited again to be offered a dessert or coffee so we left and went back to our room. It wasn't even that busy so it was hard to overlook us - the staff were just plain rude and completely unattentive. The service at breakfast was no better and when I asked for three slices of gluten free toast ( that was all I asked for - i wasn't having anything else) I was told I could only have two slices as they had run out! We decided not to eat in the restaurant the following evening and went to somewhere a few minutes away and had a fantastic meal and excellent service.
We gave our feedback to the duty manager when we were checking out. She was very pleasant but all she could say was 'sorry about that - I wish I could do something' and then proceeded to do nothing. She said that all the staff have been trained in customer service and waiting at tables but we saw no evidence of that. I suggested that they visit the other restaurant we went to so they could see what good service looked like.
We will definitely not be returning to this hotel. It's such a shame as it is in an excellent location but the people just do not care about their customers and the food was below standard. If you are vegetarian or need any special dietary requirements, if you want value for money and good service I would advise avoiding this hotel.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank StanleyGBeds
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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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (141)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

We've holidayed in many 5 star hotels around the globe that have fallen short in comparison to the Harbourmaster. Although our room wasn't in the main building or one of the fanciest for that matter (we could only get a room in one of the cottages due to availability). It nevertheless met, then exceeded, all our expectations. The location is fantastic, the decor is minimal and elegant and the extra touches - water, robes, excellent tea & coffee facilities etc - all added up to a wonderful stay. The icing on the cake however is the breakfast. It's divine. I won't bother boring you with the details, just book and find out for yourself. The place is a treat!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Robertsdesk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

We have just returned from a nights stay at the Harbourmaster Hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a relaxing break. The hotel staff were great, the rooms perfect and the food and wine list superb. We will certainly be returning.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sarah D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warwick
Level 6 Contributor
183 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 December 2013

It's said that the most important aspect of a Hotel is location. Well the Harbour Master certainly has that,situated as it is, at the harbour entrance to Aberaeron.A very warm and cheery welcome on arrival with help to our bedroom. The bedroom was well proportioned with excellent furnishings, a bathroom that featured all the latest in showers, baths. etc. There was a delightful balcony that looks out to sea. Shame we visited in Winter. As it was we were there during those tremendous pre-Christmas gales and we had a bit of a sleepless night with the rain lashing at the windows as if someone was drumming on the panes. We keep positive by imaging just how wonderful this would be in the summer, as this is just the perfect base for exploring the delights of Aberaeron and its pretty coloured houses.
The bar area is spacious, well designed the U-shaped bar the serves a wide selection of excellent wines, beers and spirits.
Unfortunately the restaurant was fully booked for a private Christmas party, but not to worry, as a dinner reservation was made for us in the Bar.
The menu includes dishes to suit every palate and with many meals having a Welsh twist. Excellent
Aberaeron is a great place to visit and the Harbour Master just about the best for hospitality. Visit for a meal, or stay for a period. You will not regret it.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aberystwyth
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2013 via mobile

Came to the harbourmaster for a family meal with a bunch of fussy people!!

1 vegetarian, 1 celiac, 1 lactose intolerant & 1 snob!

I hate going for food with my family but, as far as I'm aware, no one ordered anything that wasn't on the menu. Everyone loved the food. Mine was amazing!

The bar staff & servers were so nice, I couldn't fault anything!

I'd definitely come back & recommend the harbourmaster to everyone!!

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank HardtobeatWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wales
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2013

In a lovely setting and funky bistro But.........
Food very ordinary and expensive, worst glass of rose had in years not even chilled
Young staff pleasant but more interested in chatting to each other than customers.
Disapointing

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank indigor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 December 2013

Have been going to the Harbourmaster since it re-opened a few years ago - I've been so so proud and pleased that it has (sorry HAD) become one of the must visit eateries in Wales.
I visit there every year when I take my aunts out for a family get together and the Christmas lunch - this year was sadly a disapointment - the luncheon was was less tasty and the portions were smaller- noticed that hardly anyone was eating the Xmas lunch unlike years gone by, they all had the cheap option - soup and bread

Serving the drinks at the bar slipshod - example a Gin and Lemonade for one aunt - they used Brecon Gin, an award winning Welsh gin so a good start, it was poured into a measure and thrown at the glass and quite a bit missed.

I did a search on the place and notice it's for Sale, shame, maybe the owners have taken their eye off the ball or trying to be the VERY best, maybe the local council have pushed the business rates up astronomically and they have cut staff - don't know but I wish they were as good as they were

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Teifion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Harbourmaster Hotel

Property: Harbourmaster Hotel
Address: Quay Parade, Aberaeron SA46 0BT, Wales
Region: United Kingdom > Wales > Ceredigion > Aberaeron
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Aberaeron
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:5 star — Harbourmaster Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Harbourmaster on the quayside in Aberaeron offers you comfort in the most idyllic of locations. This listed landmark building reopened in June 2002 after extensive renovations. We have 13 individually-designed rooms in three historic buildings - all with harbour views. In 2008 the warehouse was opened, providing a further 4 rooms. A harbour facing suite with panoramic views, two west facing sea view terrace rooms and a town view room suitable for disabled use. (lift access to these new rooms) The Restaurant and new warehouse bar specialises in fresh local produce. Come and stay for a relaxing time and watch the tides wash in and out and the sun set over the bay! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Harbourmaster Hotel Aberaeron, Wales

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