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“Good location in Bar Harbor”
Review of Balance Rock Inn

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Balance Rock Inn
Ranked #23 of 41 Hotels in Bar Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
Pittsboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Good location in Bar Harbor”
Reviewed 19 August 2014

We stayed at the Balance Rock for three days. The location and views were perfect. The room was nice, bathroom was a little cramped but adaquate. Just about everything in Bar Harbor was within walking distance, restaurants and shopping. Decided to take it easy one night and ate in the bar, the food was very good and the staff was very nice and helpful. You just need to remember that the place is 100 years old.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Ron H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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452 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (123)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
Level Contributor
181 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2014

Just had a one-night stay at the Balance Rock Inn after a day hiking around Acadia National Park. The location is great in Bar Harbor: just a couple of quiet blocks from the heart of the town and right on the water. The building is beautiful, but appears to have been pieced together over the years. They had a cozy little bar leading to a dining veranda that overlooked the pool. Past the pool was a large lawn that brings you to the walking path along the water.
We spent an hour or two lounging/napping at the pool. There were a few other guests there, but everyone was definitely focused on relaxing as it was very calm and quiet. However, through no fault of the hotel, there was a cruise ship parked right off shore. It was probably relatively small, but still seemed massive and ugly off such a picturesque coastline. It made a fair amount of noise when it started up to go, but it was time to get cleaned up for dinner around then anyways, so didn't really matter.
The hotel itself was larger than a traditional bed-and-breakfast, but much smaller than some of the other popular waterfront accommodations in Bar Harbor, a nice balance of quaint and professional.
Our room was one of the smaller ones, but still an okay size. One odd thing was that the mattress seemed larger than the bed frame, so I often felt like I was about to slide off the edge of the bed.
It was quite nice to have breakfast the next morning on the veranda watching the beautiful view.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeff B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 17 August 2014

We had a wonderful time with our stay at Balance Rock Inn. It was difficult to find a *nice* dog friendly hotel and we're often faced with the choice of leaving our beloved dog home or choosing sub-par hotels, but this inn met every criteria on our list. At check in, the staff was helpful in giving us suggestions of dog-friendly restaurants. The hotel and rooms are nicely appointed. The bar/veranda area is beautiful and the perfect place to go for a drink (with your dog if you want) before or after dinner, or to watch the sunset. The views from our room were nothing short of spectacular. The inn is quietly tucked away, but it just a minute walk away from the thick of main street restaurants and shops. The location really is unbeatable. If we ever find ourselves in bar harbor again, I wouldn't even look for a different hotel, I would re-book here.

Keep in mind only certain rooms are pet friendly so get the list of rooms before you reserve. I had my heart set on an upper level room that I booked early and that turned out to not be a pet-friendly room, which was an annoyance. But after visiting the inn, the first floor room we ultimately selected turned out to still have a fantastic view and the private exit to a patio made it easy to walk our dog in the mornings without having to walk through the main entrances.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Kristen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Upstate NY
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2014

we stayed there for 3 days in early August and truly enjoyed it, the grounds are beautiful, and the location wonderful, right on the shore path and a quick walk to Bar Harbor, it was great to park the car after a day of exploring Acadia and enjoy walking around the town. The staff was great and very attentive, breakfast and appetizer were very good. I really enjoyed the iced tea and cold water in the afternoon, and the bartender prepared some very good drinks especially blueberry martini.
Our room was very nice and actually bigger than I expected, we did not spend much time there, as the pool area and deck were very welcoming.
We look forward to making this an annual getaway.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank looking4aname
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2014

Charming Inn, nicely appointed with lots of nooks and crannies to relax and hang out. Back of the Inn has a sun porch with bar where many people hang out for drinks and small plates, which overlooks an outdoor deck with a fire pit, which in turn overlooks a pool, big lawn and ocean. I was in the smallest room, which is best suited to a single visitor. It was very comfortable and cozy. I will go back and recommend it.

Room Tip: Don't sweat not having an ocean view as there are various places throughout the Inn you can hang...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank Marie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CT
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2014 via mobile

Just a short stroll away from bustling Bar Harbor is this hidden gem. The inn is welcoming and luxurious. Most stupendous is the terrace which overlooks the pool, a green lawn and Frenchman's Bay. The lounge chairs are deep and comfortable. The bar is just steps away, and the public path along the ocean is close enough to beckon, but far enough not to interfere with the tranquility of the setting. At night there are scrumptious small plates, a lovely bar and an outdoor fire pit.
While the room was spacious and had a lovely view, it had a peculiar odor that came from the air conditioner filter. When we checked in we alerted the bellman, but it was a day later when we notified the front desk that they sent maintenance. Cleaning the filter helped, but didn't entirely dispel the odor. This inn could be perfection if there was better oversight.

Breakfasts were healthy and delicious.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Westport00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Armonk, New York
Level Contributor
124 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2014

I don’t doubt that the positive reviews are warranted, based on people having a lovely room and no issues. Unfortunately that is not what happened with our stay. I don’t judge a place by a bad experience/s; they happen. I judge by what they do to remedy it – or not - and make you feel as if you’ve gotten some compensation for your inconvenience.

I researched pet-friendly inns and came across the Balance Rock Inn. It sounded idyllic, and as it turns out Bar Harbor in general is a very pet-friendly town. It was more expensive at least by double than what we’d normally pay for an inn, but it’s peak season, I needed a vacation desperately, and I’ve never been to Maine. So we decided to splurge.

While the pet friendly aspect of the inn is wonderful, we were unfortunately caught off guard by our dog being a little freaked out by the experience. She displayed some behavior we didn’t anticipate – she’s a rescue we’ve had for 6 months and maybe the trip from NY was a little ambitious. She barked/snapped at a couple of the gentleman that worked there. To their credit, they were very gracious about it and we had to be very careful to keep her away from people. On the 4th day she calmed down.

Nearly everything I write here had been communicated to one or more staff members, and met with differing levels of “I am sorry”.

The Room

After reading some reviews on TA about how worn and dated the rooms were, I expressed my concern with the reservationist. She assured me those reviews were a couple of years old, there was a new owner, and “a lot of work” had been done to update. After going through several rooms with the reservationist, we landed on Room 208 with an ocean view, which sounded lovely. I didn’t much care about the whirlpool tub as they are rarely well maintained and tend to be very moldy. As is always the case, the pictures of the room online were taken on Day 1. When we arrived I was nearly in tears at the price we were paying vs. what the room was. The first thing I noticed was the VERY strong mildew smell from the bathroom. I have a mold allergy and noticed lots of black mold in the tiles. The room overall is in desperate need of a renovation. The couch fabric is bleached from the sun. The windowsills and window panes look as if they have never been cleaned. There are dried up drips and stains all over on the walls, windowsills, and woodwork. The lack of attention to cleanliness detail in a “luxury” inn is inexcusable, and overall the room just looked dirty, especially with the wall-to-wall carpet.

The Pool and Deck

The pool and deck are in a prime location, overlooking the ocean, but again the “dirty” look of the entire area are a put off for the price you pay. The cushions on the pool lounge chairs are totally moldy and dirty, the deck looks dirty, and there are stains on many of the chair cushions. I have been to inns and resorts – that cost a lot less - where very early in the morning there are staff members hosing down and scrubbing all outdoor surfaces to get ready for the day. This does not happen at BRI.

Our third night there, some of the guests decided to have a pool party, complete with howling, from 1:30 – 2:30 am. Our dog kept barking because she was scared. As there is no one at the front desk to call, and we had to walk by these people to get to the front desk to find alternate means of communication, we were just kept awake with all of the screaming and trying to keep our dog quiet. At about 2:30 am, it seems they went inside, their rooms were above ours, and they proceeded to slam doors and things until 3 am.

The next night we were trying to have a drink on the deck with our dog beside us, and she started chewing on something she picked up on the floor. I pulled something out of her mouth that looked like glass. Sure enough, there was an incredible amount of broken glass all around our chairs and table. She picked up another piece before we realized it and we have no idea if she swallowed any. She has thrown up several times since so were very concerned. If the inn were as on top of keeping things clean and tidy as they should be, how could you miss cleaning up all of that glass? The next day we had her near the pool. She went under the chair next to mine and had something in her mouth she found under it. I pried open her mouth and it was a USED TAMPON. Yes, you read that correctly, a used tampon. Under a chair. By the pool. Wonderful.

The Breakfast Buffet and Food

Lots of people enjoy a buffet. I am not really one of them, and here I will say that is just my personal thing. I didn’t like many of the things that were prepared, but they were very accommodating in making some simple requests such as scrambled or fried eggs. Much of the food on the buffet was lukewarm. In the morning they put tea and coffee out at 7 am. The hot water they put in the urn for tea is run through the coffee machine. That is gross. Anything that gets run through the coffee machine tastes like COFFEE. This is hospitality service 101. Really. And the tea selection is paltry. It’s all in the DETAILS.

Our first night we ordered some appetizers – the crab cakes being one. They were so salty we could not eat them. The couple we were sitting with tried them and said they were nothing like the ones they had the night before. We then got the spring rolls, and they were good. People say the food at BRI is very good, and it may be, but we ate elsewhere for the rest of the trip. Quality control and consistency may be an issue there.

For all of our trouble, not even a drink was offered. Do not expect appeasements at Balance Rock Inn, because they do not occur no matter how much glass your dog picks up on the porch or how much you are paying for the privilege of staying there. And it is for this reason that I cannot endorse BRI.

Again, I don’t doubt there are people who have wonderful experiences with updated, clean rooms, no glass and used tampons by the pool, and fantastic food. I guess for our $500/night we just weren’t destined to be one of them.

Room Tip: Do not stay in 208. For the $$$$ there must be better rooms.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank traveleatshoprelax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Balance Rock Inn

Property: Balance Rock Inn
Address: 21 Albert Mdws, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, ME 04609-1701
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Maine > DownEast and Acadia Maine > Mount Desert Island > Bar Harbor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Bar Harbor
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Balance Rock Inn 4.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Balance Rock Inn is one of the premier oceanfront lodging properties in Bar Harbor, ME. Set on a secluded tree-covered property with expansive views of Frenchman's Bay, this luxurious Inn's name celebrates the "balance rock," a precariously positioned boulder on the nearby ocean shore, a huge remnant from an ice age. Balance Rock's 27 rooms and suites are tastefully outfitted in harmonious colors, handsome wall coverings, handcrafted furnishings, and all the creature comforts. All rooms and suites have either a king or queen size select comfort bed, a private bath, flat screen television with DVD player, WIFI internet access, individually controlled AC and heat, and most with amazing ocean views! The Inn features a full bar and restaurant, sundeck with fire pit, and heated swimming pool...all overlooking the ocean. In addition there is a formal dining room for breakfast and dinner, a small fitness center, and ample parking. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Balance Rock Hotel Bar Harbor
Balance Rock Inn Bar Harbor, Maine

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