We stayed at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel the week of Thanksgiving 2011. Having never been to this area of New York, we were interested in the excellent wines and the scenery around the lakes. Not the best time of year to visit due to the cold and many of the trails in the state parks being closed, but we still had an enjoyable time.
The Harbor Hotel is a fairly new facility (opened in 2008) that sits right at the south end of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen, NY. The hotel actually looks over the small harbor and then on up the lake. If you want this view however, you have to request a Lakeview or harbor side room. And if you want a balcony, make sure to request the Lakeview patio. Otherwise, there are less expensive rooms (called Village View) that look towards the parking lot and town of Watkins Glen as well as the cliff face that is a portion of the state park.
We stayed in a Lakeview King patio with a sofa/bed, as there were 3 of us. We were given a room on the top floor with a balcony. Although it was cold, the rain stayed away most of our stay so the balcony was a nice amenity. In the summer months, this balcony would be a great extra splurge for your room as the views are very nice. The rooms, being fairly new, were well maintained and comfortable. The maid service was very professional and it seemed that they kept a watch on our room so that they “knew” when we were gone and would quickly and efficiently make up our room before we returned. There was also turn down service every night as an added bonus.
The hotel has a small fitness room with elliptical machines and treadmills as well as a multi-purpose weight machine. This fitness room has a view of the harbor as you work out as well as TVs built into the machines. There is also an indoor pool that looked nice however we didn’t try it out. Outside, there is a nice patio that has a fire pit. I believe in the warmer months there are dining amenities out there and it is just off of the bar area.
There is a nice upscale restaurant in the hotel called Blue Pointe Grille as well as a nicely appointed adjacent bar. We ate at the restaurant one evening and the food was very good, although expensive. One plus to the restaurant was that we weren’t charged a corkage fee for a nice bottle of wine we had purchased at a Finger Lakes winery. I’m not sure if this is because we were staying at the hotel or that it was a slower weeknight but make sure to ask. There are so many great wineries in this region, you’ll want to bring some of your purchases to the local restaurants, corkage fee or not.
Except for Thanksgiving, we ate at various restaurants in Watkins Glen and the surrounding villages. We ate one night at Jerlando’s Ristorante in Watkins however we felt this was just an average Italian restaurant. Another night we ate at The Village Tavern in Hammondsport, which was unique and had very good reasonably priced food. Their selection of beers and wines was amazing if you are so inclined. We also ate in Ithaca one evening with friends who live there – I’d recommend searching on Trip Advisor or other restaurant recommendation sites as there seem to be many nice restaurants in this college town (home of Cornell University).
I mentioned Thanksgiving dinner. I had made reservations for us for the Thanksgiving buffet provided by the Blue Pointe Grille but set up in the large conference rooms at the hotel. If you happen to be in the area on Thanksgiving, I’d recommend this for your dinner, as the buffet was excellent. In addition to turkey, there were other well prepared meats and the side dishes were all very well done. And the dessert offerings were all worth sampling if you had the room after gorging on the large buffet. We again brought a bottle of Finger Lakes wine with us and this time were charged a nominal $10 corkage fee. I believe the buffet fee was $25.00 per person but it was worth every penny and judging from the crowded dining area, this is a highlight Thanksgiving buffet for this region so if you plan on this for next year, make your reservations early.
Don’t miss the Corning Glass Museum if you happen to be staying in the Finger Lakes area. Well worth a visit as this is a very unique and enjoyable museum. And lastly, do visit your share of wineries in the region. Having done many “winery trips” in the past, I would have to say that this region is one of my favorites and holds it’s own to any wine tasting trips anywhere in the U.S., including Napa!
Overall, our stay at The Harbor Hotel was very nice and the Finger Lakes region is an excellent vacation destination. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go back up there in the summer or fall at some time in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel has been awarded a four diamond rating from AAA -The American Automobile Association. This distinction is given to hotels with refined and stylish accommodations and a high level of service and attention to detail. This award makes the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel the top rated hotel in Watkins Glen, New York. At the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, our staff is proud to offer all our guests outstanding service! The hotel offers a variety of deluxe accommodations including six luxurious suites. We offer nightly turndown service, an indoor pool, fitness center and our professional concierge is on call to assist you and your family in planning your Watkins Glen vacation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Watkins Glen Harbor Boutique Hotel