First thing to know about this place is the photos on their web site are a little misleading. Clever use of wide angles make some rooms look bigger than they are. Here's the skinny:
The bar / bar-tenders. You get about $15 in bar credit a night and the pours are generous and the tenders very friendly.
The outdoor patio with "fire table" is great on chilly nights. People tend to congregate there and have some good laughs.
The breakfasts were outstanding. Not the usual weak-sauce continental fare. This is a real, eat-a-nice-breakfast-and-skip-lunch type meal.
Location. Easy access to Acadia NP, and walking distance to several good food places. You can get around quite easily from this spot and find your way back no problem. Best food we had was Guinness-Porcellis. The Lobster pizza was unbelievable, as well as panacotta for desert. Most over-rated and over-priced was McKay's Public House. Don't waste your time. Best Chowda and Lobster roll was at Geddy's, although was also the most touristy / had an over-the-top "Crazy Key West" vibe going. Jimmy Buffet would be proud.
Staff are all very pleasant and helpful.
I didn't use it but they had a nice looking workout "house" separate from the hotel.
Grounds and general condition of rooms are well kept (clean, gardens, etc).
Nice perks like wi-fi and movie rentals, and a nice sitting room with fireplace for rainy days.
Pool / Patio area is very nice. Nice big lawn also for warmer weather visits.
The Shore Path they tout is just OK. Don't expect amazing views or beaches with sand.
One of the "perks" they don't mention: you DO NOT get a beautiful view of the Harbor every day from your room or deck... you get a beautiful view of a huge CRUISE SHIP a couple hundred yards off shore. Waking to the captain's announcements was not part of the game plan. Bottom line: 100 yards down the path is an offloading point for thousands of tourists coming to the island every day. That is not an exaggeration; if you want seclusion, this is not your place.
The "private" balcony suites are not private. Beds for each room easily visible from neighboring deck (about 5' away), and one of the "private decks" has a door that is accessible from some other part of the hotel apparently. Also, it would be very easy for someone to move from one deck to the next if they were so inclined (to see what's in the room, etc). The "top suite" is fenced in and 180 degrees of that "amazing view" is parking lot. So, don't book because you think you'll have a private "love deck" with some of these suites or something like that. They're nice for a morning view (or if you smoke), that's about it.
Sleep number mattresses need replacement in some suites based on what I heard. Mine was OK but a little soft even at the highest pressure, with a "dip" in the middle. Was kind of annoying / hard on the back. Generally: this building was built in the late 1800s and has been refurbed so lots of cracks, creaking and funky wood cuts / wall cuts / short ceilings as they've upgraded and covered things up. The shower in some rooms is tiny (3x3 feet).
Generally the condition is not that of a 5 Star hotel, although the furnishings in the public spaces are 5 star. For a 2-3 night stay you should be comfortable and enjoy it / the people. We had people from all over. NY, PA, MA, TX, CA...
Pets are allowed. This will bug some people, others will like it but there will likely be dogs when you're there.
Rooms on 3rd floor probably quietest but stairs are squeaky so don't got to bed too early.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
13 November 2011
I am happy to hear you enjoyed your stay with us at the Balance Rock. We pride ourselves in giving the best service amenities. We appreciate all input given by our guests but, we will take defense to such claims. Our inn is in a prime location, we are a few steps away from the downtown square at the end of a quiet cul de sac...so we do not have any heavy foot traffic from cruise ships that unload down at the wharf. Yes, the cruise ships anchor in the harbor...it is not in our control where they anchor or when, so I think it is a reasonable expectation that it is not mentioned cruise ships anchor in the harbor daily. We believe it to be general knowledge. As for the rooms with slanted ceilings on the third floor...these are not cover up jobs. Our 4 third floor rooms were created in the original attic of the mansion. So they have generally a ceiling slant or dormer windows kept with the historical constuction of the house. As well, some of the common area hallways do show slight cracks in the walls...again these are plastered areas, we do our very best to maintain these plastered walls. Short of gutting the inn completely and shutting it down to summer time guests not much can be done but maintenance. Most guests come to us specifically for the old world feel of the inn with the modern updated rooms. For decks with door access from the inn...these are fire tower exits for emergency and are only given access by the guest in that room. As well room no 304 with rooftop deck not only has a view of the inn's grounds (parking area included) but of all of Frenchman's Bay, Winter Harbor across the bay, and of the mountains on the island. If some guests are curious from this particular balcony it is very possible for that guest to look to other decks on the outside of the inn. If any person is curious to view our property online we have lots of video that gives great tours of our property.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC