‘No Vacancy’: Bar Harbor hotel rooms filling up fast

Finding a place to stay is more challenging than ever.
The Ivy Manor Inn in Bar Harbor went saw between 100 and 150 calls per week in April for summer...
The Ivy Manor Inn in Bar Harbor went saw between 100 and 150 calls per week in April for summer reservations- five times the normal volume.(Bryan Sidelinger)
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 3:54 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - With the loosening of COVID restrictions on masks and social distancing, some of Maine’s tourist towns are seeing record spring and early summer visitation.

That means finding a place to stay is more challenging than ever.

Bar Harbor hotel rooms being hard to come by in the summer isn’t new. But the rate at which they’ve filled up this year is.

“The Ivy Manner in a normal week in April would get 20 to 25 reservations a week for future stays. This year, we were seeing 100, 150 reservations a week for future stays,” said Peter Hastings, of the Ivy Manor Inn.

“Every day I’m getting at least three or four more bookings, but I’m also having to tell people, ‘I don’t have the time you’re looking for,” said Black Friar Inn co-owner Deborah Vickers. “I don’t have the dates,’”

Some hotels in Bar Harbor weren’t even open at this time last year as a direct result of COVID. Now in a less direct way, they’re filling up faster than ever for the same reason.

“It coincided with the vaccinations,” said Eben Salvatore, Bar Harbor Resorts Director of Operations. “You know, when people felt like they were at the finish line, and they were ready to get back out, we started seeing the phones go heavy. It wasn’t even just that they were calling. It was how they were calling. They wouldn’t even ask what the rate was, just, ‘Do you have something?’”

“We think COVID burnout has really hit, and people just want to travel,” Vickers said.

Those in the lodging industry stress while the reservation rate this season may be unprecedented, that doesn’t mean there’s a “No Vacancy” sign on the entire season.

“There still is availability in town for July and August,” said Hastings. “You just can’t be too picky on the dates you want to come and how long you want to stay.”

“I think people need to realize that this is a once in a lifetime amount of demand, but there is still availability,” added Salvatore.

“There is still room,” Vickers said. “It has just absolutely filled up faster than we thought it would.”

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