by Michael Blanding
Acadia Inn may be nothing compared to the huge cottages of the rich and famous that filled Bar Harbor back in the 1800s, but what it offers, it offers well: a moderate-priced family hotel close to all of the action of downtown and Acadia National Park. Nothing is all that fancy here, however the inn has splurged where it counts, such as its super-comfortable mattresses for the beds, and it has added a number of unique little touches with kids in mind, like movies on the lawn and a scavenger hunt throughout the inn.
When bought by local hotelier David Witham in 1996, the property was slated to become a Hampton Inn; however, Witham changed his mind to create an independent hotel that would be the second in his lodging empire after the Bar Harbor Inn. Since then, Witham Family Hotels has expanded to include 15 properties throughout Maine, including a dozen in and around Acadia.
The inn isn’t located in Bar Harbor, but it isn’t far away either. The Inn is situated on Eden Street, the main road into town after crossing the bridge from the mainland to Mount Desert Island. A shuttle runs back and forth to downtown and links up with the free Island Explorer that travels throughout Acadia National Park.
While the inn may feel like a chain hotel, there is a discernible difference in the level of care and attention paid to guests by staff — many of whom have been working at the inn for 25 years — making it seem more like a family inn. If not the most luxurious accommodation on the island, it is certainly a solid and comfortable mid-priced option that is particularly well suited for families.
The Acadia Inn is a Witham Family Hotel.
Our Editor Loves
- Witham Family Hotel
- Complimentary breakfast
- Movies and scavenger hunts for kids
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Breakfast
- Free Wi-Fi
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Deluxe Guest Rooms
Acadia Inn has 95 guest rooms in total, including 30 rooms with king beds and 65 rooms with two queens. Other than the difference in number of beds, the rooms are all identical, done in a pleasing light green and white color scheme. The beds are more comfortable than might be expected for a mid-priced accommodation, with pillow-top mattresses and premium linens. The attractive dark wood furniture is elegant and bathrooms feature granite-top vanities and bathtubs along with eco-friendly bath products. All rooms include free Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and flat-screen TV's and DVD players, which are available free by request.
For a small fee, the inn provides a "kiddie bath kit" with a kid stool, "no tears" shampoo and a rubber ducky.
Cribs are provided at no extra charge; charges for rollaway beds vary depending on the number of people in the room.
by Beth U
Stayed two nights. Staff was wonderful (especially Walter), rooms were super clean, nicely appointed, breakfast was a very nice treat. After the first night, decided to stay a second, and we were quickly accommodated. Staff provided good recommendations for places to hike, sightsee, and eat. It's a very quick ride to Bar Harbor, Thunder Hole, and the Acadia Park loop drive. We were highly pleased with our experience.
Very clean and comfortable two night stay with my teenage daughter. Friendly staff. Beds were comfortable and AC/heat unit worked perfect. Stayed on the top floor on a busy leaf-peeping weekend and had no noise issues at all. Most of the other guests looked to be retirees - many from a tour bus. Complimentary continental breakfast was about average to the chains or slightly better. They also had afternoon snacks and hot apple cider available when we checked in.
The hotel is on the Island Shuttle route which is helpful to get in an out of Bar Harbor rather than driving around endlessly on a busy day looking for parking. If you want to save a few minutes getting back to the hotel on the way back - get off at the first stop out of town (at the College) and cross the street.
The hotel furnishings and décor were nice and clean. Although we did chuckle that they seemed to only have 3 or 4 different prints hanging on the walls throughout the hotel. We saw the Bass Harbor Head lighthouse what felt like 50 times during our stay as we walked through the hotel... and we never saw it in person. :)
Behind the inn is a small pool that ranges from 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep, and is heated. In addition, it has a small hot tub that is open to children, with a pair of striped kid-size pool chairs with matching umbrellas next to the adult pool chairs.
Playground and Lawn Activities
A playground, as well as a large lawn where kids can get out extra energy after the long drive to Acadia, sits near the pool. The playground includes a slide and swings, as well as a treasure chest of kids activities including ring toss and waffle ball. The back lawn is also home to special activities, including a fire-pit with S'mores three nights a week, and occasional outdoor movie nights with popcorn. Behind the lawn, a nature trail wends an easy mile into the woods to Duck Brook, hooking up with the network of hiking trails through Acadia National Park.
Scavenger Hunts & Kids Camp Out
The inn also has a few other thoughtful touches for kids, including a card available at the front desk for a scavenger hunt throughout the property and the grounds; kids who complete it get to pick a prize from a treasure chest of goodies. Another special perk is a "Kids Camp Out" package, which can be added to any room for an additional fee and includes a tent set up in the room; a lantern; beanie babies in the shape of a lobster, seal, and moose (all found in Maine); and accompanying bedtime stories.
Finally, the inn offers discounted tickets for the excellent Acadia Nature Cruises, which departs from the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel across the street and offers a chance to see seals, bald eagles, and other wildlife in the able hands of retired naturalists Chuck Whitney and Bill Townsend.
Complimentary Breakfast Buffet
The inn has a large breakfast room off the lobby that features a lavish breakfast buffet, with cereal, yogurt, muffins, bagels, French toast, waffles, and other goodies.
While there is no restaurant on the property, the inn does offer packages that include dinner at the Bar Harbor Inn. Unfortunately, there aren't many dining options in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, though the Jack Russell Steakhouse and the Bistro on Eden are within walking distance. For other options, you'll have to take a shuttle into town.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The inn offers coin-operated washer and dryer downstairs.
The front desk has a list of approved babysitters it provides to parents looking to get out for a bit without the little ones.
The Art of Smart Timing
The inn is open between mid-April and early November every year, though it does the bulk of its business during the high season in Acadia 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.
Acadia 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.
The inn isn't located in Bar Harbor, but it isn't far away either. The Inn is situated on Eden Street, the main road into town after crossing the bridge from the mainland to Mount Desert Island. A shuttle runs back and forth to downtown and links up with the free Island Explorer that travels throughout Acadia National Park. 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. Acadia offers several packages that include discounted dinners at the Inn.