Where Does This Door Go received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 73, based on 17 reviews. Michael Gallucci of The A.V. Club stated, "For all of his apparent devotion to the genre, Hawthorne comes off somewhat soulless on Where Does This Door Go." Derek Staples of Consequence of Sound stated, "For those awaiting more of Hawthorne's soul revivalism, his new carefree mentality has also had a positive effect on the songwriter's more straightforward soul affairs." Ryan B. Patrick of Exclaim! stated, "With Where Does This Door Go, Hawthorne's falsetto-inflected voice has become more commanding, his production more intriguing and his indie-soul aspirations have morphed into mainstream ambitions." Andy Gill of The Independent stated, "Hawthorne's muse is steeped in '70 influences--notably falsetto and symphonic-soul giants like Curtis Mayfield and Barry White, while trailing threads of piercing lead guitar through songs like "Wine Glass Women" and "Corsican Rose" bring to mind Ernie Isley's work on "Summer Breeze"." Zachary Houle of PopMatters stated, "Where Does This Door Go improves over his last effort, which was already pretty good to begin with, and may go down as one of the year's most exceptional releases. Where Does This Door Go is as refreshing as a tropical breeze, if not a good cup of joe at your favorite hangout."
Nate Patrin of Pitchfork stated, "Inconsistency or complexity? Depends on how much you believe in this music as sincere self-expression versus its status as smartly crafted, artist-as-listener-proxy pop." David Jeffries of AllMusic stated, "Wherever this door does go, it is a place that calls for boat shoes, a relaxed attitude, and a returning fan's patience." Harriet Gibsone of The Guardian stated, "Packed with cleverly crafted production, Where Does This Door Go may be a sonic adventure, but it's not quite slick enough to challenge the current crop of R&B luminaries." August Brown of Los Angeles Times stated, "Where Does This Door Go feels like a once-promising OK Cupid date that's gone off the rails." Mike Powell of Rolling Stone stated, "From modest goals come modest returns."