REVIEW - Hilton Garden Inn Portsmouth, NH:
We recently flew back into Manchester, NH on our way into Canada to see both Quebec City and Montreal (July 2013). Portsmouth, New Hampshire was the first nights destination and so we had to choose a hotel that would allow us to walk around downtown Portsmouth and not require driving too much. Portsmouth, NH is a beautiful town right at the coastal border between Maine and New Hampshire. I had stopped into Portsmouth about 10 years ago and felt like it would be a nice place to stay with our 2 kids. I often stay at Courtyard hotels or Fairfield Inns, but chose the Hilton Garden Inn based on location and price. It was more expensive than I would have thought to stay on a weeknight in Portsmouth. Our room was $220/night - although I must say the room was large and the views were nice. They even included a breakfast for that rate.
Best Hotel in Portsmouth, NH
- There are a few choices when it comes to staying in downtown Portsmouth. There is the Sheraton Portsmouth Hotel, Residence Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, and a handful of bed and breakfasts and small inns. The Sheraton was not rated as highly as the Hilton and the Residence Inn was full - no rooms with 2 queen beds available. Tripadvisor has their ratings for hotels in Portsmouth, but I decided on my own that the Hilton was the spot. The Sheraton and Residence Inn are literally 1 block away from the Hilton Garden Inn, so location is all pretty much the same. If you are traveling without kids, the Ale House Inn down by the waterfront would be a nice alternative. Portsmouth is a fun town with plenty of things to keep you busy for at least a day or 2. My kids loved visiting all the shops along Market and Bow streets. We had a nice dinner at the Old Ferry Landing - an excellent spot for lobster. The restaurant has outdoor seating and the kids had never seen us eat lobster before so it was a real treat. All within walking distance of the hotel which made for a nice walk after dinner.
Hilton Garden Inn Portsmouth, NH - Location:
Portsmouth is a small town, so there is not a huge advantage to staying at one hotel or another in terms of prime location. As mentioned above, the Hilton sits literally within a block of the other hotels in town. We approached from the south on I-95 and took the Market Street exit which pretty much took us right to the hotel. We turned on Hanover and then took another quick right turn onto High Street. It's hard to get lost since the town is fairly small and no matter where you turn it seems like you end up back on Market or Bow. There are some one way streets to deal with, but overall not a difficult hotel to find. We appreciated that you could park your car (for a fee) and then just walk to the restaurants, stores, river, etc. We had our lobster dinner, strolled down Market then back down Church and back through town to the Portsmouth Brewery for a final beer and dessert. Our kids stayed up with us and enjoyed the city life that they don't often see where we come from. Portsmouth, NH is a very quaint town with plenty of restaurants and things to see as you walk along the small streets. The people were friendly, the wait staffs at the restaurants were nice, and the weather was just perfect for our mid-July visit. There are some hotel options as you enter into Maine, but Portsmouth offers more than say the small town of Ogonquit, ME.
Portsmouth Hilton Garden Inn - Amenities - Room Features:
Let's start with the arrival. There are guys out front waiting for cars - as they offer valet parking for those with automobiles. The lobby was modern and our kids liked that they had fresh chocolate chip cookies for guests. There is a rather large sitting area along with a breakfast sitting area for the morning. The Pavilion Pantry is open 24 hours a day and has snacks, drinks, and more. There is also a full bar downstairs if you want a drink before or after dinner. The Rooms
- We had a room with 2 queen beds, a micowave, views of Portsmouth, free Wifi, and a small refrigerator. The junior and full suites have a separate seating area and bedroom which is nice when staying for more than a few days. The beds were definitely comfortable and the pillows were soft and cozy. Although a street was below the room, we heard no noise at night and otherwise the hotel was really quiet at night. The bathroom was standard with tub/shower combo and modern fixtures. The pool was located downstairs along with the fitness room. When we walked by both were totally empty - so if you have kids this would be a great spot to let them swim in nearly a private location. I would recommend staying in the Hilton Garden Inn Portsmouth mainly because of the superior location in comparison to the downtown section with restaurants and shops. The rate varies from weeknights to weekends, so compare those with the Sheraton and Residence Inn that are really right next door.