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“Resort or just hotel ?” 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
Sydney Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Resort or just hotel ?”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

We stayed in a beachfront room which provided a great view of the beach & street. The room was neat & tidy but lacked few 'resort' touches such as a safe, soft towels, compendium. The bed was fine and all the bits & pieces worked such as TV, air con, lights.
The service was a let down with no pool towels available at the pool and none at the indoor pool & spa. The hot 38 degree spa was on the blink when we arrived at the indoor pool but the warm 32 degree spa was working. Lap pool was fine and clean.
Overall the stay was fine but for repeat visitors to return they will need to pick up the service or drop the 'resort' out of the name.

Room Tip: level 2 or 3 beachfront rooms provide a good view of the beach & activity on the street but at a...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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497 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
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2014

We were very disappointed in our stay at Shoal Bay Resort. If we'd paid $180 a night we would have said fair enough, but to pay $285 per night is so very extreme for this place. We were in the Barrington side view 1 bedroom apartments, 2nd from the end. We could only see a view when we stood up as they decided to grow bushes in the flower bed (weed bed) to block the view as well as it being so far back. The balcony wasn't very private as people either side only had to step beyond their wall and could see straight into our unit. The chairs on the balcony had been used so much they sank and you hit the bar below when you sat on them and it wasn't sweep before we got our keys as there was a dead cockroach and cigarette buts on the floor . Breakfast was average, service was average. Paying for internet after paying $285 a night was also so very annoying. Then a sign above the sink saying if you don't wash up your cups etc you will be charged a fee for clearing it up. When was the last time you had to wash up your tea cups and wine glass in a 4.5 star resort?? We will never return to this overpriced, overrated hotel

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Hong Kong, China
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2014

Ok, I gave this place a terrible review due to their service when I booked back in Aug and promised an update if we actually stayed.

Well, we did stay there for a few days just before Xmas 2013 and here's the update.

While many of the negative comments here are probably deserved, to be fair, our stay was rather incident free. We used the pool and ate at the Sea Rock restaurant but did not use any other services/ammenities so can't comment on things like room service, etc.

To be clear, this is NOT a four star resort, at least not by any 'star' ratings I'm familar with. It is a huge, family holiday resort- 3 stars at best with its resources over-stretched. Actually, all of Shoal Bay is a massive, family resort area which means you will need to pay for EVERY little extra and most things will be over-priced, under-serviced with generally mediocre quality. If you set your expectations accordingly, you won't face massive disappointment. In short, you are paying for location- particulalry with his resort, but it is a great location.

We stayed in a 1-bedroom, beach-front facing apartment on the second floor in the Whitesands complex (2 adults/2 children). It had a balcony directly over the bar/restaurant below and facing the beach. Absolutely stunning view. Despite over-looking the main road, with the balcony doors closed, you'd be hard pressed to hear any noise from outside, even with the bar/cafe below and a major bus stop just outside. Our two kids had no issues sleeping on the pull-out sofa bed in the lounge area right by the balcony.

The room itself was clean, modern and comfortable. Had a huge, corner spa tub which was great. However, if you use it as a shower, the whole bathroom will get sprayed with water due to the lack of any shower curtain/barrier for it.

But all-in-all, we had no major issues with the room.

As for service, we found everyone we met very friendly and helpful. We were out of our room fairly early in the morning and back by lunch time and found it already cleaned by housekeeping- maybe we were just lucky? Parking was not an issue for us. We had a spot in the ramp that was easy to find/access.

As mentioned, we ate at the Sea Rock restaurant a couple times. Over-priced and unremarkable food, but no worse than many of the other places in the area.

The outdoor pool was a hit with our kids and surprisingly not crowded. I would HATE to have a room facing the pool though. The pool-side 'bar' (small counter actually) was not staffed at all while we were there, you had to call on the phone sitting on the bar and someone would come to help you. A bit of an annoyance.

As there is no shortage of actitives in the area, we really didn't take advantage of any other services/ammenities offered by the resort.

So the big question is... would we stay here again? A qualified "probably". We would be exceedingly clear when we booked about our expectations in terms of our room and what we wanted. We would certainly shop around for other places as well, however, the location of the Shoal Bay Resort is hard to beat.

ELV

Room Tip: Research the different types of rooms and be VERY clear about what kind of room you expect when book...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Newcastle, Australia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014 via mobile

After paying a little extra my friends and I got a great room upgrade from the back of the hotel to the very top floor at the front over looking the bay. The room was nice but the common areas such as the hallways and lifts were very hot. The foyer had a strange fishy smell and the lifts also had a strange odour. The pool area was beautiful but my friends and I were disappointed there was no music poolside (as advertised) and also that the pool bar wasn't open (as advertised). The included breakfast was lovely with plenty of choice but bigger coffee cups would've saved a few trips back and forth. Would stay here again but disappointed that the things we were looking forward weren't available

Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
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Newcastle, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014 via mobile

We did not actually stay at the resort, and my review is in relation to the pub section of the country club. We went out for dinner on the Saturday night and called the country club and they advised that they could pick us up in the courtesy bus at 9:15. We waited until 9:30 and called them again, which they advised that no one had written down the booking. We then waited another 15 minutes after this and called again. They then advised that someone had come to get us but we weren't there. This was very clearly a blatant lie as we had not moved since we first rang. Clearly we were not important enough to be picked up. They then made us wait another 20 minutes before showing up (even though it is a two minute drive to get there). When we got there my mother went to get a cocktail (at 10:20, and the cocktail bar closes at 10:30). The small man behind the counter (chubby, wearing a fat) refused to serve her and spoke to her terribly because he wanted to close early. We then went into the other section of the pub to buy normal drinks and the purple haired girl behind the bar basically scoffed at us and threw our drinks down on the bench so much so that she split one. The only redeeming factor of this hotel was the band they had playing, Viagro. They were phenomenal and I would only ever return to this place of disgusting service if they were playing. Where is the customer service these days? Total disappointment.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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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
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

We planned a three night stay at this resort. On arrival we walked into one of their sea spray villas which had a strong odor to it, the carpets were filthy and sticky, not one cupboard didn't have greasy marks on it, several of the coffee cups and glasses were dirty. Our view was basically the rooftop of the building below us with glimpses if water views. The air conditioning unit was very noisy. We ended up leaving a day earlier....just wanted to get out. They seem to employ very very young cleaning staff...I think that's a huge mistake. Won't be returning again.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2014

Visited SeaRock Restaurant at Shoal Bay Resort and Spa.
The attitude of the staff was appalling.
Seemed to be a problem for both bar staff and restaurant staff to even speak to guests.
Tourist season is over, so if the staff are not happy suggest they find another type of employment.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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