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“Very good, all things considered” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

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Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Yulara Drive | Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia   |  
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A$232.80* /night
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Very good, all things considered”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013 via mobile

It needs to be remembered that this hotel is in a very remote location and runs a veritable United Nations of staff that must turn over frequently. In this context I was really impressed. Good, clean & comfortable rooms. Food of great freshness and variety in the buffet (the a la carte options were understandably more limited) and reasonably priced. And our experiences with the staff were generally very good ... friendly and competent. When one of our children got sick they happily cancelled our (expensive) Tali Wiru dinner without change which I really appreciated. I'd recommend this place highly. And Ayres Rock / The Olga's were great too.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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1,483 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Sydney
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

We stayed at Sails in the Desert for a 3 night stay - I had picked up a super cheap deal which is why we stayed at Sails (we most likely would have stayed somewhere not as fancy otherwise).

The arrival process was excellent - we were greeted with hot towels and champagne/lemonade. Check in was quick and easy.

Our room was very big for hotel standards! We had a small table and sofa area PLUS an outdoor verandah/sitting area - a delightful change from other hotel sizes.

I thought the hotel has done a fantastic job with the decor in keeping it inline with the natural outdoor feeling. All facilities were exceptionally clean.

My only downfall for this hotel was the service at Walpa Bar (a casual dining option within the hotel). The staff were slow, the meals did not come out as described and for the price you pay, this was a disappointed! $27 for a burger and it wasn't even as described! I must say though, the staff were friendly and perhaps they were just under staff. All the staff members we encountered over the buffet breakfast at the Ikari restaurant were great!

All in all, I would definitely recommend this hotel at the right price. We paid just under $200 per night but I have seen this place advertised for over $350! I think for under $200 it is fantastic but I probably wouldn't pay over $250 per night.

I must also recommend visiting the Ochre Spa within the hotel - it was fabulous.

Finally, our whole trip to the region was fantastic! Just bare in mind that the food here is very expensive compared to other places I have travelled - as long as you know this, you will be fine. I recommend buying lunch from the IGA if you are going to be out and about for the day - you can take it with you.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Brisbane
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

Great weekend staying at this hotel. Very friendly staff, maybe under-staffed as slow service. Comfortable rooms, lots of space. Excellent eggs benedict at breakfast! The spa was very relaxing. Dinner under the stars is amazing. I highly recommend it. Wonderful memories.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
604 reviews 604 reviews
372 hotel reviews
Reviews in 372 cities Reviews in 372 cities
782 helpful votes 782 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

OK, I'm going to be blunt. Ayers Rock is an over-rated tourist destination. Folks, it's a big rock. You can watch the light change on the rock, do a few pleasant walks, visit the aboriginal center, drive over to the Olgas, but that's about it. In the USA, it would be considered an OK but not exceptional national park. In Australia, it's a big thing. Certainly a must see if you're headed to the outback (and, I think, you should head to the outback), but a waste of time and money if you're just doing a "fly in" from Sydney.

Sadly, the Ayers Rock Resort area -- the only place to stay, eat and buy supplies in the area -- does not enhance one's enjoyment of visiting the Rock. What were they thinking when they built this place? As the manager notes in his comment below, it was 1984 -- not a golden time for architecture. But the place is soulless, not appealing to the eye, far from the Rock, and you don't even get nice views -- what were they thinking? And to top it all off, the whole place is run by a single company, so you have to pay monopoly prices for everything.

The only good thing is that the Resort is now managed by Accor, which has some deals. I highly recommend get an Accor Advantage Plus card, which will give you a substantial discount on your rooms (including a buy-one-get-one-free room deal) and a 50% discount on your meals. Armed with the card, the place isn't terribly expensive, so you won't feel ripped off.

As is widely known, Sails is the best of the hotels in the Resort. This doesn't mean the place is particularly grand or fancy, but it's certainly comfortable enough. And, as noted, the rooms have been renovated, and are generally of good standard. The pool area/grounds are acceptable; I'd rate the facility as being 3 to 4 stars. BTW, there's a free (small) laundry room on premises, which is useful if you've been travelling about.

The Accor Advantage discount works on most restaurants in the resort; I'd recommend at least one visit to the budget Pioneer hotel for their cook-your-own barbeque dinner. Unique and fun, and quite affordable with the discount.

The supermarket in the village is also surprisingly affordable given the remote location. At the end of the day, we picked up fairly tasty discounted pizza slices for breakfast/lunch the next day at 40 cents each. You can't beat that!

Sadly, fuel isn't cheap at $2.24 a liter. Buy as much as you can on the Stuart Highway (it was $2.00 at Erlunda). There's a modest fuel discount at the Ayers Rock station if you bring in a receipt from the grocery store.

The oddest thing about the Resort is their cultural program. It's mostly geared toward kids, so adults will probably be bored. But the funny thing about it is that most of their aboriginal performers are white! As American, we thought this was both hilarious and a bit sad.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013 via mobile

Luxury hotel with all the mod cons. Great pool and facilities. Hotel check in/out was seamless. Room was very comfortable with 2 huge beds for myself and my friend. Central location. Buffet breakfast was plentiful. Only downside was parking was limited. Otherwise a great stay.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Georgia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

The shuttle service picked us up at the airport on time and our return to the airport went smoothly. The staff at the hotel is friendly and accommodating and check in was smooth and efficient. We chose the Terrace Room which was just as the pictures portray but the terrace itself has no privacy; it is like sharing one big terrace with all of your neighbors. We also did the Tali Wiru dinner which is VERY expensive and the food and wine was delicious however the massive amount of flies that are everywhere until the sun goes down make it very difficult to enjoy a $600.00 dinner. We would not do it again.

Room Tip: I didn't see the deluxe suites but I would inquire about their privacy and maybe book that room...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Devonport
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

We stayed at Sails in the Desert for two nights as part of an AATKings tour of the Centre, and I have nothing but high praise for the hotel, and particularly the staff. The itinerary for our tour supplied by our travel agent specified Sails in the Desert as our accommodation at Yulara, and I was surprised to find that AATKings had scheduled us to stay at the three star Outback Hotel (not the last time they downgraded the accommodation we had paid for, I was to find later). When I approached the tour driver/guide I was told that it was my problem and I would have to work it out with the hotels myself, and our bags were deposited at the front door.
Inside the foyer I approached Andrew, who I think was the duty manager, and explained my problem. I was very fortunate. Andrew could not have been more helpful. He had our luggage stored, provided us with free drinks, and spent the next two hours being fobbed off by the companies involved in our four week tour bookings. Eventually it was sorted out by Andrew and our own travel agent. During the process I mentioned my wife's lack of mobility to him and he promptly switched us to a ground floor room close to reception.
Andrew's attention to our problem set the scene for our whole stay. The layout of the hotel, the central park-like area with its lawns, pools and wonderul ghost gums, the proximity of the "town square", the cheerful friendly staff, the wonderful breakfast buffet, and the variety and quality of the meals all combined to make this a most memorable stay. Expensive perhaps, but with such a high standard in such a remote location that is quite understandable.
Well done, Sails in the Desert, and grateful thanks to Andrew.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Address: Yulara Drive | Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > Yulara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 232
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In Australia's Red Centre, the five star Sails in the Desert hotel beautifully contrasts Uluru's raw natural beauty with a decidedly luxurious outback holiday experience. Soaring white sails crown Ayers Rock Resort's Sails in the Desert hotel, shading 228 luxury five star rooms and suites. Discover the passion behind Aboriginal art at Sails in the Desert's Mulgara Gallery. Then be lulled into complete relaxation by one of the Red Ochre Spa's package treatments. Sails in the Desert hotel features an expansive gumtree lined heated swimming pool and a diversity of modern dining, bar and lounge options. Choose Sails in the Desert for an outback holiday with a unique style and modern luxury. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sails In The Desert Ayers Rock Hotel Yulara
Sails In The Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort Australia/Yulara

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