The West Street Hotel, one of the newer additions to the Ocean Properties empire, opened last year on the corner of Main and West Streets in downtown Bar Harbor. Frankly, I was suspect of the property, as construction required a controversial variance to the town’s height law. Locals aren’t fond of either the height or the Miami-does-Maine facade, but when offered the opportunity to visit, I went. What I found was a smart, boutique hotel with a sophisticated, nautically inspired decor, spacious rooms—many with balconies and most with prime views, and a decent pub-style restaurant.
Guest rooms have almost all the contemporary amenities: free Wi-Fi, plush linens, heated floors in the bathrooms, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and refrigerators. I loved the views from my third-floor balcony: the harborfront, Bar Island, and even out to a few of the Porcupine Islands. Noise from the street and pub below wasn’t a problem; but I can see how it could be. That said, heavy drapes not only block the light but also minimize the noise from outside.
The only things missing are in-room coffee and tea. Each floor, however, has a pantry area with a Keurig for brewing coffee, ice, complementary water, morning fruit, and evening snacks. Tea drinkers are ignored (but I made a suggestion to the manager, and I’m hopeful that electric kettles will made available along with Forte tea, which is served in the restaurant). Of course, to get your morning jolt, you’ll have to either get dressed or ignore vanity and pad down the hall in your bathrobe.
The hotel does have some other noteworthy perks: Guests older than 18 have use of a heated, rooftop pool with gull’s-eye views over the harbor, and all guests have access to the facilities, including tennis courts, spa, and oceanfront pool and hot tub at the Harborside, the hotel’s sister property across the street. I spent too little time enjoying these benies, but I must confess that I easily could have spent a day lounging by that rooftop pool, especially if I arrived early enough to snag one the shaded loungers, or equally spent the time in the spa.
Breakfast isn’t included in the hotel’s rates, but Paddy’s, the hotel’s Irish bar, is located on the street level, and it does a fine job (lobster Benedict!). The pub lays on the Irish theme with interior millwork handcrafted in Ireland, traditional Irish furnishing, and wall murals drawn from Irish folklore.
The menu also is a trip across the pond, with breakfast fare including a ploughman’s breakfast, bubble & squeak, and pan boxty scramble in addition to the usuals (and that lobster Benedict, $16); most items range $10-14.
Lunch and dinner options include lobster bisque and onion and Irish ale soup; Irish farm house chicken salad and a Celtic Caesar; sandwiches and burgers; and rotisserie items, which are cooked in a glassed in area; most run $10-28. The sliding glass doors open to the patio, with heat lamps, allowing diners to eat inside, outside, or in between.
And if you’re hungering for lobster, Stewman’s Lobster, across the street and another sister property, is the place to dress down and muckle on to one of the tasty critters while enjoying the harbor views.
Bottom line: The West Street Hotel is a good choice for folks who prefer a hotel over a B&B, want to be front and center in Bar Harbor and have access to that rooftop pool as well as the spa, tennis courts, and oceanfront pool across the way.