Ale House Inn
What We Love
- Free bottles of beer from Smuttynose Brewery upon arrival
- Museums, restaurants, boutiques, cafés and a riverfront park are all just steps away
- Free parking and use of the hotel’s Trek bicycles to ride around town
What To Know
- Located on the Piscataqua River; some rooms have views of the water or the Old Harbor
- Bathrooms have tub-shower combos
- There’s no restaurant on site, but snacks such as apples, pretzels, popcorn and Goldfish crackers are available in the lobby
- No fitness room, but guests get 40 percent off at the Sagamore-Hampton Golf Club, which is a 15- to 20-minute car ride away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Around the corner from a nondescript entranceway there’s an elevator that brings travelers to the second floor of 121 Bow Street, where a vintage lightblub sign spells “A-L-E,” a clever nod to the building’s former incarnation as a keg storage facility for the Portsmouth Brewing Company. And in spite of occupying a handsome 19th-century warehouse with exposed brick walls, framed antique maps and a collection of old-fashioned beer bottles, the Ale House doesn’t feel the slightest bit dated.
Bed & Bath
Tasteful nautical artworks and a serene blue-gray palette in the light and airy guestrooms evoke the sea coast, while potted bamboo plants and marigold-colored throw pillows add a splash of color. The desks are big enough for a laptop, and every room has an armchair or loveseat. The bathrooms, although on the small side, have Harbor Linen cotton towels and 100 percent vegan bath products from Lather, such as a mint-thyme hair wash and a lavender-lime moisturizer.
The Ale House shares its home with the Seacoast Repertory Theatre, and with advance notice you can usually score some free tickets. Although there’s no on-site restaurant, the lobby has a few snacks such as apples, pretzels, popcorn and Goldfish crackers. Or plan ahead and order a box of decadent chocolate truffles (think bacon-maple and stout beer) from Kilwins to await your arrival. Guests also enjoy a discount on excursions aboard the Piscataqua, a reproduction of a flat-bottomed gundalow river barge.
In the Area
It’s hard to imagine a place more walkable — or bikable — than Portsmouth. When hunger strikes, follow Bow Street down to the Old Harbor and choose from more than half a dozen restaurants serving steak and seafood, all with views of the red tugboats that handle the city’s river traffic. For more indulgence, drop in on Annabelle’s for a scoop of Maple Walnut, Triple Chocolate or Peachy Peach ice cream. But here it’s all about the suds — don’t miss the chance to sample one of the inventive beers on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s oldest brewpub. And if shopping’s your thing, flex that plastic at Ganesh Imports, N.W. Barrett Gallery or Market Square Jewelers. History buffs should spend a little time at the Strawberry Banke Museum, the state’s premier American history museum.
How to Get There
We had a lovely one night stay in a queen room. The room was not large, but very well equipped and comfortable - it had everything we needed. We liked the vibe here, the kettle, tea and cold brew coffee available in the lounge, the friendly staff, the dining recommendations, it all added up to make a great stay. The location is perfect, just a few minutes walk to the town centre. Highly recommended.
We decided on the Ale House Inn for two reasons: the first being that we have stayed at a Lark hotel in Newport, RI and were blown away, so expectations were high. The second reason was because of the reviews praising its location.
On the latter, we were not disappointed. It is probably the best location of any hotel in Portsmouth. Near eateries, a fine repertory theater literally in the same building, and walkable to the desired areas around town- all great.
It was the actual accommodations that disappointed. Everything was “tight”. Small elevator, small room, small gathering lobby, really tiny bathroom, and the view from our room was a rooftop with mechanical units on top. Ugh! I felt the decor did not have the style we somehow thought would be carried through the Lark experience of the other place where we stayed. This particular venue is a small one in terms of number of rooms, but we didn’t think that small would translate into the size of the rooms. We were not able to get a king bed due to both of them being already booked.
The staff were welcoming, helpful- absolutely no complaints there. One note though is that after 7:00PM there was no one on duty if problems arose. You would have to call a sister property.
We booked directly with the hotel, so it was pricey on a nice fall weekend. I would never pay that much again were we to return, knowing what we now know.
We did appreciate getting a parking pass for a church lot across the street. Because we walked everywhere, moving a car was never an issue.
I would say that this in NOT a handicapped accessible place. Many steps to gain entrance from the street. The rooms would be impossibly small for handicapped.
If you want expensive convenience to the town of Portsmouth, with clean but tight accommodations, it’s a great spot.
I was only able to stay one night due to my schedule. However, The staff helped me feel welcome after hours by giving me the easy to follow instructions for entering my room. They provided an iPad with various restaurants and things to do. I was able to walk within 1 block a great restaurant and order online a tour of the city on the following day!!! I will definitely return.