1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton
Accommodations,  Upstate New York

Harbor Hotels in New York Bring Back the Charm of Turn-of-the-Century Resorts

I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong century. I’ve longed for elegant dinner parties, beautiful gowns, and incredible architecture. That includes the glory days of resort hotels. So when I find a place that takes me back to simpler, yet more elegant times, I’m so happy. This fall I was invited to visit the Harbor Hotels in New York – and they quickly became one of my new happy places. With waterfront locations, multiple dining options onsite, and several amenities to enjoy, these hotels have it all. Check them out next time you need a place to stay in Clayton, or Jamestown, or Watkins Glen, NY.

Thank you to Harbor Hotels for inviting me to stay at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel. I also visited Chautauqua Harbor Hotel on an unrelated trip, so am able to talk about my experience at both. Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is on my bucket list to visit next!

Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celeron, New York
Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celeron, New York

What makes the Harbor Hotels unique?

Have you ever stayed at a hotel and wished you’d picked a place in a better location? Or with a better view? Or better dining options? You won’t have those regrets at any of the Harbor Hotels. Each of the hotels in the chain is situation on some of the most scenic waterways in the state. They are also all located in tourist towns, filled with plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained. Plus, the Harbor Hotels in New York each have multiple onsite dining options – with gorgeous views!

1000 Islands Harbor Hotel is in the village of Clayton. Sitting on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, guests can easily walk to town from the hotel.

Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is located in Celeron, New York, right outside of the city of Jamestown. It sits along the banks of Chautauqua Lake.

Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel is in Watkins Glen, in the heart of the Finger Lakes, along the shores of Seneca Lake.

As soon as I pulled up to each of the hotels, I was impressed with the scale, location, and design of the buildings. The entrances felt grand, yet accessible. I also love how each property takes advantage of its waterfront location with a walking path surrounding the hotel. From both the sidewalks and the balconies of each hotel are beautiful sunset views over the water.

Step inside one of the hotel lobbies, and you’ll be warmly greeted by the staff at the front desk. Each hotel provided excellent customer service. In Chautauqua, the concierge helped heat up my leftovers when I arrived late at night and needed a bite to eat. In Clayton, the staff left a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries in my room’s refrigerator.

Harbor Hotel Restaurants

Although it’s been a few months since I’ve visited either Harbor Hotel, I still can’t stop thinking about two things. First, the uniqueness of the Carousel Bar at the Chautauqua hotel. And second, the phenomenal filet mignon at the Clayton hotel. Both contributed to the memorable stays I had.

At each of the three hotels is a full service restaurant as well as an outdoor bar. The menus at the restaurants are similar, featuring classic American fare like pasta, salad, sandwiches, and steaks. The appetizer selection is very appealing, with hot crab dip, charcuterie boards, and quesadillas. But make sure to save room for dessert and ask to see the daily specials! The peanut butter chocolate cake and cheesecake I had in Clayton were both perfection.

The breakfast options are fairly standard; nothing really stood out like it did for dinner. But the cocktail bars were nice. I especially loved the Carousel Bar in Chautauqua. The circular bar sits outside the hotel, closer to the water. Guests can order wood-fired pizza at the bar in addition to a wide array of beer, wine, and cocktails.

  • Breakfast at Clayton Harbor Hotel
  • Pancakes at Clayton Harbor Hotel
  • Bread Basket at Clayton Harbor Hotel
  • Steak Dinner at Clayton Harbor Hotel
  • Cheesecake 1
  • Cake in Clayton

Harbor Hotel Amenities

Inside, the rooms are spacious and welcoming. Each room has WiFi (that actually works!), comfortable beds, a mini refrigerator, and nice toiletries in the bathroom. On the first floor you’ll find an indoor swimming pool, business center, and fitness center. Each hotel also has a ballroom that can host private events between 300 and 450 people.

Outside is where the hotels truly shine. In addition to the outdoor bars and waterfront views, guests will love the fire pits and lounging areas. The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel also boasts an outdoor swimming pool and a putting green.

It’s easy to see why the Harbor Hotels in New York have been awarded Four Diamonds by AAA.

Things to do in Clayton, NY

While Clayton is a great place to visit year round, it truly shines in the summer. Visitors can enjoy shopping at the local businesses along Riverside Drive, which is walkable from the hotel. Among the shops are also lots of additional dining options for any time of day. For the adults, make sure to try the local beverages at Wood Boat Brewery, Clayton Distillery, and Saint Lawrence Spirits.

No trip to Clayton is complete without a visit to the Antique Boat Museum and a ride along the Saint Lawrence River. Consider a tour of the 1000 Islands to learn about the unique history of the region. Then tour one of the castles that makes the area so famous. Both Boldt Castle and Singer Castle are open to the public. Book a ferry to each island and a tour of each castle.

Things to do in Jamestown, NY

Jamestown, New York happens to be the home of one of the most famous and revolutionary actresses of all time: Lucille Ball. To honor her legacy, Jamestown is now also home to the National Comedy Center and the Lucy-Desi Museum. Travel around town and find all the Lucy murals, and try the Lucy-inspired drinks and dishes at the local restaurants. Then book a boat tour on the Chautauqua Belle, one of the only working steamboats still in operation in the country.

If you’re looking for the best time to visit, go during the National Comedy Festival in August. The week is filled with exclusive tours, events, and stand-up performances by famous comedians.

Things to do in Watkins Glen, NY

Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Watkins Glen is one of the most famous state parks in New York. The gorge at Watkins Glen is filled with dozens of waterfalls and beautiful trails to explore. While in the area, make sure to stop at the local breweries and wineries.

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