There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed. This was especially true after our stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel in Maine. I have not had any issues with beds at various accommodations I’ve stayed at in the last 5 years of my travels. But there was something about our stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel that did not have us wake up feeling well rested. The bed was comfortable with layers of sheets and comforters. The pillows at first seemed fluffy but each night when I lay my head down, something made my head itch throughout the evening. It was only on our final night’s stay that we slept well and I wasn’t scratching my head. I had wrapped the pillow with the hotel robe. The bedding wasn’t the only issue we had with our room. We couldn’t get the temperature of the room right. At first it wasn’t warm enough then it became too warm. And the heat that was blowing through the fixed blades felt dry and uncomfortable. We eventually figured out to keep the temperature low, and maintain warmth by being under the layers of sheets and comforters.
The room is spacious and clean. There is a giant armoire that hides the flat screen television. The armoire has plenty of drawers and two small closets for storing our clothes. The bathroom is also clean and roomy with plenty of clean white towels. There is a shower and a separate tub for soaking and baths. The is ample space on the vanity for my toiletries.
Housekeeping and turn down service was not consistent. We stayed 3 nights. We had turn down service the first night’s stay and housekeeping the next day only.
The Portland Harbor Hotel is one of two independent “luxury” hotels in the Old Port. The building is located on the corner of Fore and Union Streets. The hotel appears to have great amenities like free wifi throughout the hotel. A lounge and restaurant in the hotel. Complimentary Starbucks coffee in the lobby every morning. The one amenity that I was interested in but they failed to provide was complimentary hotel transport to and from the airport. When I inquired via email about their complimentary transportation from the airport to the hotel, the concierge advised the following, “Please call as your flight arrives at the airport, and we can come to pick you up quite quickly.”
As our plane taxied, I called the hotel and informed them of our arrival and requested a car to pick us up. I was told a car would be available to pick us up after it returned from a current pick up at the train station. The timing seemed to work out because we would still need to obtain our luggage at baggage claim. The car never showed up and it wasn’t until I called did they then inform me that they would not be able to pick us up. I was dismayed and disappointed but then they reimbursed me for the confusion and inconvenience upon checking-in, which I appreciated. At check-out, I inquired about their complimentary car service of dropping us off at the airport. Initially, the receptionist said a car would be available to take us to the airport at the time we needed to leave but shortly after, they retracted the availability. They gave me a contact number for a taxi service and a coupon for $2 off. I was dismayed and disappointed that hotel transport was not available and that the hotel did not at least offer to arrange for a taxi on our behalf.
I mentioned that the PHH is one of two independent hotels in Old Port. The other is the Portland Regency Hotel, which we stayed during my first visit to Portland. They also offered hotel transportation to and from the airport. When I stayed with them, I was promptly picked up at the airport and taken to the PRH.
The general upkeep of the hotel was mixed. The interior and overall design aesthetic of the hotel was tasteful and festive especially for the holiday season. However, we had noticed certain areas of the hotel where things lingered for more than a day when they should have been cleared away or disposed. There were glasses half filled with liquid that lingered in the street level vestibule. There was a lollipop stick with bits of red candy stuck to the carpet in the corridor to our room. The love seat in the lounge next to the window was covered with lint and hair. I wasn’t sure if it was human or animal. The hotel is pet friendly so it could have been both. I didn’t get too comfortable in the love seat.
The PHH features a restaurant, Eve’s at the Garden, which as the name suggests, has a view of the hotel garden. Food wise, I can only speak about breakfast on New Years day. Service was a bit slow and we weren’t having breakfast during peak time. TH enjoyed his usual eggs Benedict while I waited for the croissant French toast because they incorrectly served me a croissant breakfast sandwich. General service was professional and friendly.
The croissant French toast is layered with berries and mascarpone cheese. I was looking forward to it but it was a bit soggy. I think they rushed to get it out and may not have cooked it thoroughly? It was okay. It has potential. If anything, I will try making a similar croissant French toast at home.
The stay also included a half bottle of champagne, petit fours, and celebratory accessories. We did not make use of these items when it struck midnight though TH did nibble on some of the petit fours the next day. The inclusion of these items did not justify the up-charge of the room for NYE. The room cost $139/night, and $239 for NYE. With the difference, I would have bought a nicer half bottle of champagne and indulged in cupcakes from East End cupcakes located less than a block from the hotel and/or a box of 4 pieces of handmade champagne infused chocolates from Dean’s Sweets. I think it’s silly that hotels even offer this as mandatory when booking a room during NYE stay. It should be optional.
One thing we would have appreciated is coffee and tea in our room to enjoy at night. We like to end our evenings with a warm cup of tea. Or at the very least, have self-serve coffee and tea available in the lobby anytime. I just don’t think its worth calling room service for evening tea.
Despite some of the issues described above we generally enjoyed our stay at the Portland Harbor Hotel. They are in a great location in Old Port. It is easy walking distance to the Arts District, the Waterfront, and Old Port. The atmosphere and hotel design is very pleasing. Our room and the public areas are tastefully appointed. The hotel staff are generally friendly, and aim to please. I wouldn’t rush to stay with them anytime soon. Unfortunately, they are 1 of 2 luxury hotels in downtown Portland.