Hotel Review: Harbor Hotel, Watkins Glen

As we drove through the quaint town of Watkins Glen, New York, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the hotel we were bunking in for the evening – the town just screams B&B. However, when we pulled up to the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, I knew we were in for anything but a typical B&B.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Built in 2008 – to much fanfare & some jeering from locals – this AAA Four Diamond property sits right on Seneca Lake. Despite the fact that the hotel’s 104 rooms were completely booked the night we stayed there, including a large wedding party, the property never felt crowded.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Our room, a King Lake View with Patio, was decorated in what I’ll call “nautical chic” – it felt like a New England lake house. The crisp whites & soothing blues made for a comfortable stay. The bathroom was styled much like the lobby of the hotel with natural stone (more mountain lodge than lake house, but still nice) & a huge walk in shower.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The best part of the room was the patio, which overlooked Seneca Lake & the marina. It was perfectly sized for two people with a pair wrought iron chairs & a little table, appropriately sized for a bottle of Finger Lakes wine & a couple wine glasses.

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

The hotel’s proximity to the lake could not be better. After dinner, we walked around the marina in the twilight & the whole scene was New Englandy-summer-on-the-lake perfect.

balcony view
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

Two things really set the Harbor Hotel apart: it’s the only luxury property within walking distance of the town & the price is incredibly affordable. Our room goes for under $300 per night during high season in the summer – a great value for the nicest lodging in town. That rate includes parking, wifi (which was sketchy at times), morning coffee* & newspaper, & access to the hotel’s fitness center & indoor pool. Even with spotty wifi coverage, the price is very reasonable. If the hotel added a spa, there wouldn’t be much this property was missing. We didn’t take advantage of any of the on-site dining, but admired the large fire pit surrounded by lounging chairs from our balcony.

When we return to Watkins Glen, which we definitely will, I know we’ll be staying at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel again.

Know if you go… 

– *One of my biggest hotel pet peeves: no coffee in the room! In this case, the coffee is located at a station in the hall – something I didn’t discover until I was on my way out. In addition, there was only one small pot of regular coffee for the entire floor, which was empty when we walked by. This is an area the hotel could definitely improve.

– Don’t let the hotel’s cumbersome website slow you down – I promise it really is a luxury property, even if the website is not.

– Check-in isn’t until 4pm (a bit late) & check-out is (a bit) early at 11am. Make sure you plan accordingly. Your parking pass also expires the day you check-out at 11am, so you’ll have to move your car. It’s not a big deal, since there’s plenty of free & cheap parking in Watkins Glen, it just feels a little… cheap.

Our stay at the Harbor Hotel was provided complimentary of the Watkins Glen Chamber of Commerce.
As always, all opinions, rants & raves are my own.

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About christina

Christina is a 30-something D.I.N.K. travel writer & photographer who travels the world often wedged into the middle seat. Follow her on Twitter & Facebook.

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