Doyle Hotel

  based on 2 reviews   write a review

7 North Market Street, Duncannon, PA, USA
(717) 834-6789

Doyle Hotel Duncannon Reviews

vances vances
575 reviews
The hotel according to Doyle Dec 21, 2013
Yeah, this is the second time I’ve reviewed the Doyle, but the first round was properly categorized as a restaurant review, because all I did was eat here. Now that I am veteran of their lodging options, your faithful reporter can provide some insight into the accommodation side of the equation.

Quick bit of background. The Doyle is a grand old four-story structure sitting on the banks of the Susquehanna River and literally right on the Appalachian Trail, very near the mid-point if you are going the distance. The building was originally raised by Anheuser Busch in 1905 (when they built bars to increase sales), and purchased by my great uncle Jim Doyle in the 1930’s. Jim retired at the age of 88 and sold his namesake, which continues to offer food, drink and lodging.

Unfortunately the building has seen better days and won’t ever be confused with luxury. Everything’s relative, however, and I’m sure that after a few weeks living out of a tent, having an actual bed, bathroom and shower would look rather good. While there are no common sleeping rooms, each floor has a shared bathroom. Everything readily shows wear and tear from the Doyle’s long history, including the thoroughly battered furnishings in your room.

That said, the run down conditions are part of the Doyle’s legacy and for $26.50 a night it is more like you are receiving a fun memory in addition to a place to sleep. Pat and Vicky, the current owners, really are trying to fix up things as time and funds become available, but you may easily understand how difficult is to maintain such a big building in such a remote location. The important aspect is the genuine care your providers offer to all boarders, an extension of “Appalachian Trail unity” – typical tenants are through hikers with atypical needs that creates a bond.

My mom shared the story of how a hiker suffered a heart attack after checking out of the Doyle. He dialed 911 and an alert went out on the scanner. Vicky jumped in her truck, drove to the nearest point she could reach by vehicle and brought the guy in!

Reinforcing this unique sense of community is the presence of a “Hiker’s Exchange Box” on each floor. You are free to grab anything you might need and leave behind anything unused that you are no longer in need of. I was suspicious of a jar of Bacon Bits in the box (!), but there were useful leave behinds (e.g., sun block + bug juice).

Possibly not a place to plan a visit, but if you are on the trail, a wonderful memory is near at hand!
The Doyle Hotel was built in 1905 …
Huge second floor balcony at Doyle…
...but leave the beer behind!
Entrance and exit door to hotel on…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
vances vances
575 reviews
Irish I was here... Nov 23, 2012
Need to begin this review with a disclaimer, because I have a relationship with it. The Doyle Hotel is an icon of the Appalachian Trail: resting just north from the mid-point of this epic hike, the AT pretty much runs right past the front door and is one of the few spots where folks may have their mail directed for pick-up during the long trek. Originally built in the 1800’s by Anheuser Busch to sell beer, the distinctive building has served as a hiker’s refuge for decades, offering cheap rooms for folks weary of tenting with no showers.

My connection is that my great uncle, Jim Doyle, purchased the establishment back in the 1930’s and along with my great aunt Ruth, operated the business for the next fifty years (Uncle Jim didn’t retire until he was 88, and at the age of 82 forcibly removed an over-intoxicated 21-year old patron!). I try to visit my mother every year around Thanksgiving and in years gone by we would stop at Jim’s house to play penny poker – and he usually kicked our asses, even at age 92.

That said, during my most recent visit I told mom we needed to go to the Doyle for dinner (we used to do this regularly when Jim was in charge, but he passed away awhile back and we haven’t stopped in for perhaps fifteen years). So, my review is limited to the restaurant, but it is also a bar and hotel. If you peruse my reviews you might notice I’ve holed up in about every crappy hotel around Duncannon, but sadly have never overnighted at the Doyle. My mom lives in a cramped former dentist’s office, so there isn’t much square footage for guests, and I told her next year I will reserve digs at the Doyle. Look for the review circa November, 2013!

But for now it is on to the restaurant review. For a bar in a small town, this is surprisingly a great place to dine. Pat & Vicky bought the Doyle about ten years ago and are slowly renovating the ancient, sprawling structure. Pat is quite the chef and when we dropped in during the afternoon to pick up a menu, he regaled us with evening specials. We told him we’d be back and he was quite happy when we returned, remembering I was interested in the jambalaya special. My mom ordered the tenderloin steak special and the jambalaya proved quite tasty. The seating isn’t elegant (you are sitting at beat up tables in the bar), but the food was way beyond expectations at very reasonable prices. Not only was the food terrific, personal attention was the difference. My mother asked how big the tenderloins were and Pat told her 12-16 ounces, which she exclaimed was too much. He told her they cut the steaks themselves and would carve a suitable portion. Ruth brought her a plate with a portion of meat about the size of your thumbnail and seriously asked her if it was too big, lol! Then, of course, they served up a six or eight ounce slice which mom relished. My jambalaya was superb, and that opinion comes from a human being who has tooled about rural Louisiana!

If you ever find yourself in Duncannon, definitely do dinner at the Doyle!!!
The Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, PA.
The Appalachian Trail runs right b…
Guess when your customers have bee…
The bar at the Doyle Hotel
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
westwind57 says:
I can see why one would like that place, even without family bias, Vance. Have a nice weekend :)
Posted on: Nov 24, 2012
vances says:
Sadly, renovating the Doyle has been a goal for thirty years or so. It is a splendid old building but a bit too remote to reward any significant investment...

Posted on: Nov 23, 2012
spocklogic says:
Looks like a place with a lot of character and worth the effort to renovate.
Posted on: Nov 23, 2012

Check Duncannon Hotel Deals

Doyle Hotel Map
1 review
1 review
1 review
2 reviews - $78
photo by: vances