by Michael Blanding
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel dates back 150 years. Modeled after a Victorian grand hotel that used to be the place to summer in Bar Harbor, it exudes old-school elegance in its design and dÃƒ©cor. However, the Bar Harbor Grand isn’t one of the oldest hotels in town, but one of the newest, built in just 2003. In a short-time, it has also become one of the most popular places to stay in town, as much for its dÃƒ©cor and service as for its enviable location on a hill just above Bar Harbor’s town green, close by to all of the town’s restaurants, and a short drive from Acadia National Park.
The hotel is modeled after the Rodick House, a behemoth of 400 rooms built in 1866 that was once the largest hotel in Maine and played host to Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Vanderbilts in the early days of the Gilded age before they began building their own “summer cottages” (mansions) on Acadia’s rocky shores. At a more modest 70 rooms, it’s not quite the size of its predecessor, but the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel still retains enough character to evoke that era. It’s also not quite a luxury resort, but a very comfortable hotel, with spacious rooms far above average in size (and a few that are downright enormous), a large breakfast buffet, and outdoor pool and hot tub.
The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel is a Witham Family Hotel.
Our Editor Loves
- Witham Family Hotel
- Great downtown location
- Hot tub and pool
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
A full 64 out of the 70 guestrooms in the hotel are Deluxe Rooms; 39 have two queen beds, and 25 have one king bed. The rooms are very spacious, each with a sofa and ample room for a rollaway bed for a fifth person. Rooms are decorated in a grand style with rich gold and burgundy accents, and modern fixtures with a nod to the Victorian age (four-poster beds, heavy curtains, table lamps with curved shades). Beds are supremely comfortable with Englander pillow-top mattresses, and the air-conditioning is surprisingly quiet and unobtrusive. All rooms include a refrigerator, flat-screen TV with complimentary HBO and DVD player, coffee maker and free Wi-Fi.
Suites and Family Rooms
The hotel also has four, Two-Bedroom Suites with three queen beds each, which can accommodate up to six people. For true luxury, the hotel offers two more Family Rooms that are each easily the size of two hotel guestrooms put together. They each feature two queen beds, as well as a queen-sized sofa bed, perfect for large families of up to six people wanting to share a single room. All of these rooms are decorated similarly to the deluxe rooms, and share the same amenities: refrigerator, flat-screen TV with complimentary HBO and DVD player, coffee maker and free Wi-Fi.
Rollaway beds and Pack N' Plays are available for free upon request.
The location is so nice being in the middle of everything in Bar Harbor. If you are looking for something more secluded and away from noise or town this probably isn't the place. However, we loved being there and not having to deal with the parking and we could just walk around every morning or evening to all the great shopping and restaurants within a block or two. A good breakfast is included. The rooms were nice and easily fit our family of five. Wish the pool was a little bigger but we didn't really have too much time for that anyway. Would definitely stay again.
Great location downtown, the best complimentary breakfast you could ask for and comfortable accomodations.
We came up around July 4th to hike Acadia National Park. Immediately it felt like a vacation. There are a few rocking chairs on the farmers porch just steps from the main road that we sat on as we planned what to do for dinner. All we had to do was step out 3 feet and turn left and everything is in front of you, seafood, Mexican, American, cafes, roof top bars, microbrew gastropubs, ice cream parlours, gift shops, etc. Just a great spot to stay for the tourism.
And the real tourist attraction was Acadia National Park. It is located very close by and the biggest surprise of the hotel was their breakfast, which was great fuel for a day of hiking. It was a plentiful and vast spread but what really set it apart was things like the waffles were already cooked and there was plenty of space. Did not have that feeling of 40 people in an apartment sized kitchen all stacking up at a lone waffle maker.
A lot of accommodations in the area have that motel feel of the doors leading right out into the parking lot. This hotel felt like an upscale stay at an affordable price. I would highly recommend it.
Pool and Hot Tub
The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel has a 25-by-40-foot pool in the back that is heated to 82 degrees, as well as a Jacuzzi hot tub heated to 102 degrees.
Amenities and Packages
The hotel offers a library of G- and PG-rated DVD's for rent for $1 a piece. A gift shop on the premises sells kids' books, stuffed animals and blueberry soda. The hotel also offers packages that include a cruise with Acadia Nature Cruises, a tour of Acadia National Park, and/or a sail aboard the windjammer sailboat Margaret Todd.
The hotel's location in downtown Bar Harbor makes it easy to venture out to boat cruises, comedy shows, shopping, and restaurants.
Complimentary Breakfast Buffet
A stay at the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel includes a complimentary breakfast buffet that overflows with cereal, muffins, hard-boiled eggs, waffles, French toast and other breakfast options to fill your stomach before a big day out on the trails.
While the hotel doesn't have its own restaurant, it is a short walk to literally dozens of family-friendly restaurant options, including seafood, Italian, burgers and pub fare.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A small fitness room is located in the basement with a treadmill, exercise bike and free weights.
A coin-operated washer and dryer are also located in the basement near the fitness room.
The hotel carries a list of experienced babysitters available upon request.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Bar Harbor Grand Hotel is open between early April and early November every year, though it does the bulk of its business during the high season from late June to late August. Rates drop dramatically in the shoulder season of May and September, but then again, so do temperatures, so bring a heavy jacket. While Bar Harbor is full of the energy of tourists and kids during the summer, many visitors think Acadia National Park really comes into its own in September, when the roads are less crowded and the foliage has begun to light up the trees.
Bar Harbor is a five-hour drive from Boston and about 10 hours from New York. Alternatively, visitors can take a flight to Portland International Jetport and rent a car (the trip is about three hours) or fly into Bangor International Airport and rent a car or take a shuttle to Bar Harbor, which takes about 1.5 hours and runs five times daily.
Surprisingly, a car is not necessary to enjoy Bar Harbor or Acadia National Park; the free Island Explorer shuttle makes trips between downtown and all of the hotels, as well as making several routes through Acadia National Park and the rest of Mount Desert Island. Those taking their own cars will need to get a weeklong pass for the national park at the visitors' center, available for the bargain price of $20 per vehicle.
For Mom and Dad
It's worth getting a babysitter for the night to catch dinner at the Bar Harbor Inn, a luxurious hotel with a romantic view of Frenchman Bay and a menu of decadent classics like lobster sherry pie and filet mignon with wine sauce. As a fellow member of Witham Family Hotels, the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel offers several packages that include discounted dinners at the Inn.