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“Great service, very nice hotel --just a few annoying quirks” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

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Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   35-41 Wharf St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia   |  
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Early Booker
Ranked #4 of 66 Hotels in Cairns
Minneapolis, MN
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
174 helpful votes 174 helpful votes
“Great service, very nice hotel --just a few annoying quirks”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2009

My companion and I stayed at the Pullman Reef Hotel and Casino at the beginning of September, mid-week, as part of a much longer trip around Australia and New Zealand. We found the hotel to be very good overall, but it had a few surprising quirks that kept it from being a top hotel in its category (luxury hotels). These would not keep us from staying again.

First the good: the hotel has a very good location, just a 5 minute walk to either the Esplanade (the main street facing the water where all the shops are), the Pier Complex (which has probably the best restaurants in Cairns), and the actual terminal where most of the boats to the Great Barrier Reef depart from. Only the Shangri-La and Hilton are closer (and not by all that much). The service was excellent: all our interactions with the front desk, concierge and hotel operator were professional, friendly and very helpful. The concierge helped us book our excursion to the Reef (Cairns' raison d'être) and had everything billed through our room. There's a casino attached --modest by the Vegas standards I'm used to, but a nice looking place for those inclined for taking a break at the tables.

The room was spacious, clean, and well appointed. The bathroom was also large and had both a shower and spa-tub. The toilet had a separate room (with separate entrance from the rest of the bathroom) and had a separate sink. There were sliding doors that opened up the main bathroom to the rest of the room --allowing someone in the tub to watch TV if the wished.

Now for the quirks: The in-room safe was not free. In all my travels, all around the world (click my profile), I have never, ever seen any hotel (let alone a high-end luxury hotel) have the audacity to charge a per-night fee to use the safe. Especially one with a casino attached. If this hotel were not good in every other category, I would've considered this a deal killer --especially when you're a traveler with passports. I will not stay at any other Pullman Resort outside of Cairns because of this issue. Also, even more costly, there was a fee charge for using my credit card. I made the reservation using my credit card's website, and this still cost me an additional 2%.

These two quirks result in one verdict: if you can get a better or close-enough price for the Shangri-La or Hilton, go for either of those properties. If there's a good deal here, then its worth it.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, October 20, 2009
Thank you for your time in reviewing our hotel and I am pleased you were overall happy with your stay. We are proud of our rooms and of course, our professional and friendly staff. You may be interested to know that our hotel was recently rated the highest point score of all 5 star hotels in Cairns in the independent star rating review conducted by AAA.

I note your comments regarding the credit card surcharge. It is true that we charge 1.5% for credit cards however no charge for alternate methods of payment.

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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1,170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (166)
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London, England
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2009

We chose this hotel because of the high recommendation on this review; in spite of the extra effort of calling international phones after securely booked two rooms online, they insisted that there was only one booking and that I have to unwind the existing booking and pay double instead with the rate on that day.
After a long flight arriving early at 6 in the morning, I have actually booked extra night just to secure the rooms so that we can rest, I have made sure by talking directly to the reservation at this hotel prior to departure, but neither of the rooms were ready.
After a long 40 minutes wait, this Korean man has introduced us to the rooms after shown the evidence of a photocopy of existing booking confirmation.
I could hardly believe my eyes to find an envelope through the door threatening us to pay double, with the room rate they suggested on that day of arrival. I checked this online travel agent, and they said things like this is unheard of and it is outrageous. Each detail of my booking had no faults what so ever. No apologies from the reception admitting their mistakes. Instead, everytime we had to pass through in front of the reception, they glared at us in a very unpleasant manner. Korean-OZ courtesy?
This hotel experience has significantly ruined our holiday. Zoo on the roof, several employees being helpful, but this Korean receptionist has damaged the entire reputation of this hotel. I will never recommend our friends to stay here.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, August 31, 2009
Dear Greatholidays2006,

I am terribly disappointed to read your comments. This is certainly not in line with our standard procedures and is most unusual. Under normal circumstances there would be no reason to change rates on arrival and we would not normally expect any guest to pay double their booked rate. A review of my recent correspondence suggests that I haven’t received any direct communication from you. I would welcome the opportunity to closely investigate this claim further and come back to you directly with a personal response. My email address is adrian.williams@accor.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Adrian Williams
General Manager
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cairns
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2009

Like the motto....Check In. Chill Out.. The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino stands by this! From concierge welcoming with the glass doors opened, to Alex in reception checking me in...Daryl in Room service and Nicole at the Guest desk outside the Casino...this complex has it covered. The staff were very friendly, very accommodating and informative on the areas surrounds. The facilities are great...dining options a plenty and entertainmnet in "Vertigo" buzzing. I will definitely be back...I love the location, proximity to everything and whilst on business it's a fantastic luxury right in the city!!Love it!!!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, June 8, 2010
Dear netballfanatic

Thank you for your review. We are glad to read that you enjoyed Vertigo. Our very popular bar is home to the best free live entertainment in Cairns and is guaranteed to give you a great night out.

I look forward to welcoming you back again!

Warm regards,

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 28, 2009

A good hotel for groups, casino is probably the way to kill time at night besides drinking. Welcoming staff and nice breakfast, the fruits are really fresh. Can't really comment on the value cost its a paid-for trip. Overall nice experience. There's another hotel opposite which seems nicer, would like to try that next time.

  • Stayed March 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, June 8, 2010
Dear peanuttoe

Thank you for your review. The Pullman is the highest rated 5 star hotel in Cairns and widely regarded as having some of the best rooms available in the city. We are confident that should you stay next time in one of our competitor hotels that you will agree with our assessment.

I do hope to have the opportunity to have you back with use again.

Warm regards,

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2009

We stayed here for 4 nights in July. At first I was nervous since it was a casino, but the rooms were separated enough from any noise. We had a nice view/balcony and the room was very large. The concierge was awesome! So nice and very helpful. The location is great, too.

The pool area is very relaxing and the gym is nice. The pool water was freezing, though!

The hotel is not perfect (if I could give it a 4.7, I would have)...especially since we stayed in the Sofitel in Sydney, so I had high hopes.

One other note...we booked this a while before the trip (but could cancel). We checked the rates closer to our stay and ended up saving ourselves about $400 by canceling the other reservation and re-booking.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this hotel.

Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, June 8, 2010
Dear Jos527

Thank you for your review. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed our hotel. We agree with you that the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney is an outstanding hotel and glad that you chose us based on that good experience. We continue to strive for your additional 0.3 points in rating however 4.7 is not too bad either!

I hope to welcome you back when you are next in Cairns.

Warm regards,

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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Australia
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2009

You can see why Accor changed this hotel from a Sofitel to a Pullman. It is no longer suitable to carry the Sofitel brand as the rooms are starting to age and cleanliness standards are slipping. It doesn't have the TV channel choices that one would be looking for on holidays, with more of a news and business focus, which fits the Pullman style. The outdoor spa was out of action when I was there and the pool was freezing, but the gym was well-equipped and the in-room spa bath was very welcome. The service ticked all the boxes, but I felt it was a little too impersonal and clinical. Location was great. Certainly would recommend it to others.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, June 8, 2010
Thank you for your review.

You will be pleased to know that we have since added an increased range of TV channels and a new HD television system. I hope to have you back again when you are next in Cairns


Warm regards,

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2009

The rooms are nice at the Reef Casino Hotel and the hotel has a great location. Having said that, I would recommend that you eat elsewhere, because there are many restaraunts outside of the hotel. Be aware that if you choose a breakfast option when booking, it is not prepaid. The room is paid but the breakfast is not, and they charge you when you are checking out. I thought that is was prepaid, but then got the bill when I was checking out. We left early in the morning and was not able to get one of the breafast that was on the bill, so I asked if they could take it off the bill since we did not eat that morning, but they said they couldn't do that. I was dissapointed at that because I could understand if it was already prepaid but the fact that they were asking for the payment then and could not adjust it was dissapointing. The breakfast spread is very nice but no one person could eat all of it, so I would strongly suggest that you have breakfast outside of the hotel and save a lot of money!!

  • Stayed June 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
AdrianWilliams, General Manager at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, responded to this review, June 8, 2010
Thank you for your review. I am sorry that your check out was not as smooth as you would expect and I have address that with my team. You will be interested to know that we have relaunched our breakfast and now offer a range of fixed priced and a la carte options designed to meet any budget or taste.

I hope to welcome you back to the Pullman again.

Warm regards,

Adrian Williams
General Manager
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Additional Information about Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

Address: 35-41 Wharf St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Cairns
#1 Spa Hotel in Cairns
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cairns
#2 Romantic Hotel in Cairns
#4 Family Hotel in Cairns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Pullman Reef Hotel Casino 5*
Number of rooms: 128
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Cairns city, Pullman Reef Casino overlooks Trinity Bay and the departure point for the Great Barrier Reef. The hotel features 128 rooms and suites, all with spa baths and private garden balconies. Enjoy innovative and award-winning Thai fusion cuisine in the exquisite setting of Tamarind, or any of our eight other restaurants and bars. Other facilities include a well-equipped gymnasium, spa and rooftop swimming pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pullman Reef Hotel Cairns
Accor Reef Hotel
Sofitel Cairns
Cairns Sofitel

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