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“Still lovely - but keep your eye on the ball” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Harbourmaster Hotel

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Harbourmaster Hotel
Ranked #1 of 12 Aberaeron B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“Still lovely - but keep your eye on the ball”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2009

A return visit after several years - the first was after the deservedly-ecstatic early reviews.
Rooms very comfortable and well-appointed - and my repeat visit was recognised with a note and jar of local honey (nice touch). Staff are friendly and welcoming, and the locals still drop in (good). First time the proprietors were much in evidence : not this time, and there was the odd sign of the personal touch being lost . First night's dinner was good - though some portion-sizes were definitely on the urban (i.e. what can we get away with?) side. Second night was a disappointment: asked whether we'd like our celebratory champagne brut or rose, we said the former and got the latter; beef carpaccio came on hot plates`and thus was luke-warm; scallops portion was half the size of previous evening; fillet steak requested rare came medium++ and its replacement cold. Promised that there would be a reduction on the dinner bill, there was no mention at check-out next morning, and no-one available to ask. Follow up e-mail was dealt with quickly and positively - but (as discussed with duty management at the time) these things shouldn't happen.

  • Stayed November 2009, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank martico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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547 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (136)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Leeds, England
Level Contributor
19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 September 2009

We stayed at the Harbourmaster 2 years ago, and liked it so much we came back on our honeymoon! We had the Madona suite at the top of the hotel which was fabulous, beautifully done and lots of character, plus great views.

We ate in the restaurant both nights, food was good but not spectacular. Bar is a lovely spot for a few pre-dinner drinks however

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ambergatekirsten
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
85 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 September 2009

Why do we travel? Personally, I like to go to somewhat out of the way places and enjoy different experiences off the beaten path. During our ten-day driving tour of North Wales, my family and I were constantly asked why, as Americans, we had decided to explore that portion of the United Kingdom. (Locals seemed somewhat surprised to learn that what they might have thought was merely average we considered to be a very attractive vacation destination!) My answer was always the same: It's beautiful here, with wonderful scenery and cozy little spots that often yield unexpected moments that make you really glad you're there. I had a moment like this while staying at the Harbourmaster in Aberaeron. It was after dark, and most of the daytime visitors had gone elsewhere. The tide was in, and the boats moored just outside were bobbing slightly in the water. There was a gentle wind blowing and then I heard it: the riggings from the sailboats were all gently "clanking" making a sound similar to a cowbell. The night was otherwise completely quiet, with the exception of this wonderful symphony of gentle bells ringing. It almost sounded as if we were high in the Swiss alps surrounded by cows on their way to pasture instead of a harbor on the west coast of Wales. It was a surreal serenade and I opened all of the windows in our rooms to bring as much of the sound in as possible. It lulled us all to sleep that night in a gentle lullabye. It was a memorable moment that reaffirmed the glorious opportunity that travel presents. Our family stayed three nights in the Harbourmaster's cottage. It's the pink building two doors down from the Harbourmaster's main, blue structure. We had all three bedrooms in the two-story unit. It was extremely comfortable. All of the bedrooms were upstairs. Two were ensuite and one was a tiny unit with a bed only and not much room for anything else. The cottage also had a large, modern kitchen and a spacious den area with a television. As you would expect in an older building like this, the stairway up was a tight fit and there was a low beam that would knock your head if you weren't careful. But this unit was terrifically comfortable as was perfect for our family. We loved the ever-changing view out the windows. The boats rose and fell with the tide and so, every time you looked outside, you were presented with a different look and feeling. As other reviewers have noted here, parking was extremely limited although our cottage came with a small spot just outside. There is a steady stream of people walking back and forth along the waterfront. In the evening, families came out with the one goal of letting their children catch crabs. People watching opportunities are endless here. We thought the restaurant was wonderful and we enjoyed many delicious dinners and wonderful breakfasts there. The restaurant fills up fast and reservations are encouraged but the same food is available at the lively bar and lounge. The staff was friendly, outgoing, and especially helpful. There were only a few, slight drawbacks to our cottage unit: It was impossible to shower in the Albion's bathroom without making a mess because it only has a tub and a shower wand, there were no shower curtains or glass enclosure. My suggestion to management would be to improve that situation immediately. Other than that, the bathrooms were both spacious and generously equipped with soaps, shampoos, etc. The other problem seemed to be a plumbing issue in the Pandora unit's bathroom. After using the shower, I noticed a decided leak coming from the ceiling of the den which is situated directly below. Once, water dripped in a steady stream out of the ceiling and wall. But a second time, water began pouring in a thin stream from the main light fixture in the den. Water and electricity can be a very awkward mix and I pointed out both instances to the owner who said he would get on it right away. At a quality place such as the Harbourmaster, I'm confident that situation got addressed and rectified quickly. This town was a good base of operations to explore the surrounding area. Our family took a 90-minute boat ride on a search down the coast for dolphins and other marine life and we weren't disappointed. (This wasn't one of the larger boats that mainly cater to big groups of tourists and blare constantly announcements at you during your time on the water, it was run by two women who were knowledgeable in the field of marine biology.) We also took several drives further south to explore the coastline. Beautiful! Back in Aberaeron itself, there is a delightful Honey ice cream shop less than half a block away from the Harbourmaster with a wonderful restaurant inside offering tasty breakfast and lunch. There are several fresh fish stands nearby, and a small farmer's market close, too. The sea wall was being refurbished and was closed during our stay but I was happy to learn that, once it was repaired it wouldn't be trashed with the touristy shops and attractions that seem to pop up in other small, coastal towns. Bravo! Overall, we loved our time at the Harbourmaster. My favorite moments there seemed to be in the quiet of the early the morning, and again at night after people had left for the day. That's when you really felt like you had the place completely to yourself, and if you were lucky all you heard was the sound of those sailboat mast riggings ringing gently in the breeze.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TravelingManVan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kent
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2009

We stayed for 4 nights in the cottage a few doors down from the main hotel. The room was bright, clean and although slightly small, very well kept and equipped. The bed was extremely comfortable.
We ate twice in the restaurant and twice in the bar. The quality of the food was very good indeed, as was the service, attentive and friendly without being in your face and nosy.
It was the height of the summer season, but parking was not a problem.
All in all a very enjoyable and thoroughly relaxing stay and we look forward to doing it all again sometime soon.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dteach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warwickshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2009

We stayed in The Madona suite (the original Harbourmasters look-out room). The suite was amazing, incredible views of both the harbour and the sea. The suite was furnished beautifully and with real style. Incredibly comfortable bed, luxury bathroom and feeling of space. The staff were incredibly helpful and made us feel special. The food, both for evening meal in the bar and at breakfast, used the best local produce possible and was the best we have ever tasted.

I cannot put into words just how special and different this hotel is. I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a relaxing place to visit for a special occasion or treat.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank schnarum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2009

My partner and I stayed in Aberaeron for 2 days and decided to have dinner at the Harbourmaster Hotel. We hadn't booked so couldn't get a table in the resturant but in a way this turned out to be a lucky stroke because if the poor standard of food in the bar is anything to go by I would not have wanted to pay the over-inflated prices in the resturant. My partner had the Lamb and cous cous which was tender but tasteless and uninspiring. I had the £10.50 Fish Pie. Watery tasteless potato topping and no sauce with the fish underneath apart from the water seaping from the potato. Total disapointment. I felt begrudged to pay the bill but on the other was happy that we weren't paying a fortune for the same low-grade standard in the resturant, that's if it is the same standard. If it isn't then I don't see why the managers think it's acceptable to dish out rubbish in the bar just because its cheaper. (note cheapER not cheap!) It is a very stylish place and good for a relaxing drink but that's about it.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Skedgell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stafford England
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2009

This is how hotels should be. Beautifully appointed room with Molton Brown toiletries, immaculately clean and fresh bathroom, simple but quality furnishings. The bed was incredibly comfortable with an excellent view of the harbour. We loved the quirky shutters for the windows and the exposed brick around the window frame.

Excellent food, excellent service, with first class staff and very friendly Hotel Manger.

Very small car park, but plenty of alternatives available close by.

My only complaint? Should have stayed there longer!!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JPRMX5
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 12 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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