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“Nice enough but annoying musak...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Ramada Resort Shoal Bay

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Ramada Resort Shoal Bay
4.5 of 5 Resort   |   35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, New South Wales 2315, Australia (Formerly Shoal Bay Resort & Spa)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Shoal Bay
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Nice enough but annoying musak...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

We stayed 2 nights in a pool room. Basic room although spacious. Overlooked the pool which was open from 7am-9pm.

The noise from the pool of kids playing didn't worry or annoy us. However, the resort started musak and quite loud too from 8am which work us up. When asked why the musak had to be so loud, reception merely told us they 'couldn't hear it from reception when they turned it on but were sorry'. One wonders why anyone needs or wants loud musak on at 8am? Surely not the many families with toddlers.

In addition a 'musician' played guitar and sang to no-one in particular around the pool from 4-7pm. During which we could not hold a conversation, watch TV or indeed snooze in our room.

The pool area is very very very crowded and quite small given the size of the resort. The buffet breakfast was a revelation in just how packed and mediocre it could be. Not good for older kids or adults as there is little room away from young kids.

Room Tip: Don't pick a pool room if you want any peace and quiet.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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498 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (119)
Date | Rating
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  • German first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Sydney
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

We stayed at the resort in January 2014. This was our first stay, as we usually stay in privately owned holiday apartments via KD Winnings.

While our overall stay in Shoal Bay was nice, I feel compelled to write a review, as this place is most certainly not a resort, nevermind 4.5 stars. As a reference, we stayed in a side view room in the Barrington building.

Check in was easy enough, however finding the building, our car spot, and our room wasn't easy. The place lacks any signage, and once in our room, we found the information provided was lacking (only a menu to one of the restaurants)

Here is why this place is not a 4.5 star hotel or a resort:
-No room service
-Linen (inc towels) only replaced every 3 days (costs extra to service more reg. or to replace towels)
-Only one towel per person provided
-Bathroom quite rundown and dated (shower tap is a nightmare to operate)
-Mini bar items available on request from reception only
-Hallways filthy- in the three days we were there, they were not vacuumed once
-Lifts are also filthy and SO SLOW!
-The buffet breakfast is the worst of anywhere I have been (not worth $8, nevermind $28!)
-The amount of tables in the Promenade (where b'fast held) are very insufficient in comparison to how many guests the place holds. Took staff a long time to clear off dirty tables, and cutlery only available if you request it from staff.
-Rooms are dated and definitely not as I would expect from a 'resort'
-Food is overpriced, and service is poor (ate at Catch and Sea Rock)
-Staff are generally not well groomed, or friendly (with the exception of the lovely ladies at the Resort Shop)
-Place is generally run down
-The air con unit outside in the hall was loud enough to hear from our room

At almost $300 per night, certainly not what I expected. I would have rather stayed in one of the privately owned units we have rented before- we wouldn't have missed out on anything.

I certainly do not recommend this place during school holidays. I am not a fan of the location either- no street parking, and too far to walk. Little Beach end of Shoal Bay is quieter, and is walking distance to the Marina- with a much cheaper, and nicer breakky available from the Little Beach Shop.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joburg
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014 via mobile

spent 3 nights here. Stayed in Zenith studio. was not told on booking that it was in the back of the resort, accessed through a car park up various flights of concrete stairs. Really really ugly - not like a resort at all.
Zenith is accessed by driving around the back of the 'resort'. We arrived after dark and could not find it as the sign is small and not lit at night. Drove up and down the street till we found it.
The room was comfortable enough - decent size for 1 adult, 2 kids. But all the windows were either on the street or looking straight into someone else's apartment so no privacy if curtains open - so spent the 3 days with curtains closed.
Room was booked for 3 people, only 2 towels provided though 3rd one was provided when asked. One tiny little piece of soap for 3 people. Very stingy.
There is no info made available about activities in the area. No info in the room like you normally find in a hotel.
Buffet breakfast very mediocre. Tables filthy and no cutlery available until requested. One very slow toaster for 100s of people. One staff member very grumpy in breakfast room, others friendly.
Reception staff friendly and helpful.
Pool is tiny for such a large resort.
I wouldnt stay here again - it is way over priced for what they offer and they want to charge extra for washing dishes you leave in your room, among other things

Stayed December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wollongong, Australia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2014

My husband and I stayed there 2 nights in Jan 2014 on the way back home from a Diving trip.
We paid $350 a night for a beachfront room. ( Room 219 in White Sands).

This resort is extremely over priced- In this case we certainly paid for the view.
The rooms are very basic and do not reflect the price you pay.The bedding is so uncomfortable its not funny- 2 singles to make up a "king" . Luckily, we took our own pillows because the pillows provided lacked any support.

Balcony furniture was broken, and I reported this and it was promptly replaced.
The room was clean, but had a "cobweb" feel to it- the balcony had been neglected to be cleaned and there were a few webs near the TV. The carpet had stains, the lamp shades in the bedroom were dirty- things that cant be helped, but when you are paying $350 a night, you do expect the resort to maintain a certain quality.

Upon check in the staff member who looked after us was lovely. We arrived early not expecting our room to be ready, but were grateful when it was.

The cafe there was disappointing. Very limited in choice, and menu options that were no longer available and you only found out this when you went up to the counter to order- Staff here were not helpful at all.
At the bar, I ordered a glass of wine with lunch, the wine was off. The lady at the bar was helpful to open up a fresh bottle for me.

Checkout should be an easy, simple process.
The man at the desk made it everything but. He looked at us with surprise when we said we needed our $100 holding deposit refunded. He knew nothing of the deposit, and went to check in the safe to see if the cash was there, even though we repeatedly explained that it was an electronic transaction. He had no idea how to use the EFT machine to process the refund.
Check out took us over 20 mins in total- a process that should take 5 mins - which made us late for our diving trip that morning.

The resort is looking tired and in need of a refurb. Some staff training on how to use the EFT machine wouldn't go astray either.
Unfortunately, I would not stay there again.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

There's no denying that the location of this hotel is spectacular. Shoal Bay itself is beautiful and the hotel is perfectly located. We booked a Heritage Suite overlooking the water. The room was spotless and great. The main issue with this hotel is that they seem to charge you for everything, despite already being very expensive to start with. Having paid several hundred dollars for our room we were then informed that we needed to pay $26 for internet connection which was outrageous. Our suite was great with kitchen but i was very surprised to see a sign above the sink stating that if we left any washing up then the hotel would charge us extra for cleaning. Unbelievable considering the price we had paid in the first place!
The breakfast buffet was acceptable but not of the standard you'd expect noting the rates.
In all, the location was great but the hotel was disappointing value for money.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2014

The apartment I had was huge with great beach views. The staff were very helpful and when I checked in the guy begin the desk carried my case to my room as it was heavy. I only stated one night but would have stayed longer!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

Recently booked a room at Shoal Bay Resort and Spa and was very disappointed with the service. We booked a 2 bedroom with the waterview that looked nothing like the images posted on their site.

After our 4 hour drive, we arrived at 2:15pm and approached reception to check in but were told that our room was not ready. We were a little worried as we had booked and payed for water activities at 3pm and wanted to unwind and change before leaving. We decided to wait near reception until 2:45 and then asked roughly what time our room would be ready, staff told us that they did not know yet but they did know that our particular room hadn't been cleaned yet. They noticed we were getting agitated so they handed over two complimentary drink vouchers (there were 4 people, only 2 were allowed to rehydrate) and told us that if we needed to change we could use the bathrooms and head off and that they would contact us to tell us our room was ready. So the four of us headed into the bathroom and changed into our swimwear, while other guests waited in line to use the toilet.

At 3:30 (an hour and half after check in time) we received a call saying our room was ready. We asked if we could have an hour extra to check out considering they were an hour and a half late with check in and what seemed like some time of arguing they settled on half an hour after specified check out time.

As we made our way back to the resort, our card wouldn't work for both the car park and our apartment. Frustrated that it was now around 5:30 and we still had not accessed our room, we contacted reception and asked someone to come and swipe us in. It took 15 minutes (while we waited in drenched clothing) for someone to come up and open the door and notify us that the person who checked us in didn't finalise something which was why our card wasn't working.

We had a couple more hiccups during our stay. Noise complaints, while we were playing a calm game of pictionary on a Saturday night. What disappointed us the most was the fact that we were not even asked 'how was your stay?' not even a smile and 'we hope you enjoyed your time here' before we left. Staff seemed as though they hated their jobs and couldn't care less about our comfort.

The only perks to our stay was the location (very close to activities, shops and restaurants) and breakfast buffet was not too bad as well.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ramada Resort Shoal Bay

Address: 35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, New South Wales 2315, Australia (Formerly Shoal Bay Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Port Stephens > Shoal Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Shoal Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Ramada Resort Shoal Bay 4.5*
Number of rooms: 183
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shoal Bay Resort & Spa is the ultimate beachfront Resort perfect for romantic escapes, family holidays, pamper weekends, beach getaways, weddings, special events and meetings and business. Shoal Bay lays by the entrance to Port Stephens, overlooking the white sands and the magnificent volcanic Tomaree headlands. Boasting crystal clear waterways and extensive National Park with unspoiled bushland, Shoal Bay is certainly one of New South Wales most stunning destinations. Just 2.5 hr drive north of Sydney and 30mins from Newcastle, this award winning Resort offers a diverse range of accommodation styles and options to suit a variety of budgets and can accommodate up to 700 guests. Accommodation ranges from Standard Studios through to Waterview, Beachfront and Bayview rooms with a choice of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments located across 7 accommodation buildings. The Resort features 4 restaurants including the award winning Catch at Shoal Bay, 5 bars, the iconic Country Club Hotel, Occie’s Kids Club (operating throughout NSW School Holidays periods), Shoal Bay Resort Store, Whitesands Conference Centre, an outdoor heated Resort pool with children’s wading area and complimentary secure undercover parking. Relax at the Aqua Spa wellbeing sanctuary for adults (min 16 yrs+) offering a true Thalassotherapy experience for guests through the 3 mineral spa pools and 25m heated lap pool. Take yourself on a journey to revive your mind, body and soul, indulge in a range of menu treatments that enhance the total well being and surrender to the experience of products that will relax, de-stress and energise you. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shoal Bay Hotel Shoal Bay

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