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Home » TRAVEL AND LODGING » MAINE » Ringing in the New Year at the Portland Harbor Hotel
The Portland Harbor Hotel
Ringing in the New Year at the Portland Harbor Hotel

Hotel Review - Portland, Maine

By Rhiannon L. D’Angelo | January 31, 2011

I decided to escape Boston’s First-Night revelers and take a trip up Route 95-North to ring in the New Year in Portland, Maine.

On a friend’s recommendation, I booked a room at the Portland Harbor Hotel for two nights.

Located on Fore Street in the heart of Portland’s Old Port, the Portland Harbor Hotel is nestled among eclectic boutiques, renowned restaurants and as its name would imply, the hotel sits a short walk from the waterfront.

The recently renovated building boasts traditional guest rooms, private luxury guest suites, Eve’s at the Garden restaurant and lounge, Nine Stones Spa, a fitness facility and valet parking.   I chose to stay in one of the hotel’s original Jacuzzi suites.

The Hotel Lobby

I was welcomed by a friendly valet (self-parking is not available) who promptly assisted with my luggage and directed me upstairs. The hotel was abuzz with the holiday.

The lobby was still decorated (and not overdone) for Christmas, fires burned warmly in the sitting area fireplaces, and a staff member rolled by en-route to guest rooms with a cart full of champagne bottles and Happy New Year favors.

As I walked around the hotel to get the lay of the land, I noticed a large courtyard beyond the restaurant which is home to one of the hotel’s biggest winter events.   Each year, for one January weekend, the Portland Harbor Hotel courtyard transforms itself into a giant sculpted Ice Bar – complete with specialty martinis and live music.

Though I had arrived three hours before check-in, I was promptly shown to my room.   The hotel only has one elevator – for staff and guests.   I shared the packed elevator with a hotel staff member who, noticing we were all shoulder to shoulder, humorously quipped that our guest rooms would be much larger.

The Guest Room

He was right - my well-appointed guest room featured a separate sitting area, a pillow-topped mattress, robes, Jacuzzi tub, granite top vanity and a separate glass enclosed shower.   The suite overlooked the hotel’s garden courtyard.   Despite the frigid winter temperatures, the pleasant view kept me company as I typed away on my laptop – the hotel also offers complimentary internet access.

If it hadn’t been for the cozy bar downstairs by the fireplace, I honestly might never have left my room.

Save for the obligatory Starbucks, the Old Port’s locally owned businesses, galleries and shops can keep you and your credit card busy for the day.   Though the shop owners may call Portland home – many of the boutiques, like Zane and Blanche and Mimi have a distinct European flair.

Fancy yourself a foodie? Then you’re in luck. Over the past few years, Portland has become quite the culinary destination.   Just a cobblestone’s throw away from the hotel you’ll find award-winning restaurants like Fore Street, Street & Company and Bresca. I chose to dine at the possibly sacrilegious but definitely delicious, Grace, located in a renovated Methodist church, and ended the evening with a nightcap at Eve’s at the Garden.

The Bathroom

The staff at the Portland Harbor Hotel made sure to embrace the celebration of the year ahead. After returning to my room on my second night, I found a bottle of bubbly on ice, an added touch to the hotel’s signature turndown service.

Maybe it was the bubble bath or the bubbly, but joining the rest of Portland to celebrate 2011 did not seem appealing to me so I ordered room service rather than eating out. I planned to head out for a celebratory drink après-dinner.

I ordered duck ravioli, potato gnocchi and a slice of chocolate cake for dessert off the room service menu.   Considering it was New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t surprised when told the wait would be 45 minutes.   However, to my delight, twenty minutes later the dinner arrived piping hot.   Though the gnocchi wasn’t extremely inventive and the duck ravioli portion could’ve been a little larger, overall everything was enjoyable. So enjoyable in fact, that I never made it out for that drink. Next thing I knew, I was waking up refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on 2011.


Portland Harbor Hotel

468 Fore Street, Portland, Maine 04101

Phone: (207) 775-9090

Portland Harbor Hotel website

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