This 18th-century waterfront terrace presents a neat, traditional exterior overlooking the lough towards the attractive village of Strangford, and the National Trust property, Castleward.
The inn, which recently came into new ownership and is now a sister property to Belfast's premier hotel, The Merchant, is one of the most popular destinations in Northern Ireland - not least for its longheld (and now fast growing) reputation for good food, including excellent lunchtime bar meals.
The ground floor bar, a comfortable sitting room, and the restaurant all have a cosy, well-kept old-fashioned feeling to them and, while not luxurious, accommodation is comfortable. In keeping with the age and charm of the building, the individually decorated en-suite bedrooms are furnished with antiques and some have lough views - those on the front attract a small supplement.
The hotel is beautifully kept and maintained, a lovely place with personality, and friendly, helpful staff.
Small conference/private parties (35/80); parking. Children (Under 16s free in parents' room; cots available at no charge). No pets. Rooms 14 (all en-suite, 2 shower only, 4 family rooms, all no-smoking) B&B from about £50 pps, ss £20. *Mid-week deals often available.
Gary Bell, former sous chef at top Dublin restaurant Thornton's, is now heading up the kitchens here and his cooking is making waves. Portaferry - and the Portaferry Hotel in particular - has always been a popular destination for Belfast folk taking a breather from the city, but the pace has hotted up of late as word of the good food being served here has spread.
Now sporting smart high backed chairs and white clothed tables, the restaurant has lost its cottagey feeling but the view across the lough to Strangford village remains unchanged and it's a perfect setting for very good food with local produce at its heart.
Given the location, seafood has long been a speciality at the hotel but - while delicious fare like Dundrum mussels and oysters, Portavogie prawns and Glenarm organic salmon still takes pride of place - Gary Bell's menus are more balanced, and give equal billing to produce from the land, including free range poultry from Marlfield farm just outside the town, organic shorthorn beef from the Glenarm Estate, local pork and wild game in season.
The cooking has great style and, while prices are moderate for the standard offered, dinner here will have a sense of occasion - especially if you opt for the tasting menu, which comes with all the culinary bells and whistles more usually reserved for city restaurants.
Other menus offered include a two or three course dinner, a set three course Sunday lunch menu and à la carte bar menu featuring some of the dishes offered on set menus plus specialities such as scampi (battered Portavogie prawns with hand cut chips, tartare sauce & lemon mayo), homemade burgers (with the new Kearney Blue cheese, which is made in Portaferry) and the house pie (chicken & wild mushroom with puff pastry).
Excellent breakfasts are served in the restaurant - a particularly good menu is offered, giving plenty of choice including fresh and smoked fish as a feature.