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“Great eco-resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kingfisher Bay Resort

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Kingfisher Bay Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island, Queensland 4655, Australia (Formerly Mercure Kingfisher Bay)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fraser Island
Halifax, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Great eco-resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2008

We booked a three-night package through a travel agent that included transfers to the island, a regular hotel room, a day-long "Beauty Spots" 4WD coach tour, and breakfast daily. Upon arrival at Hervey Bay airport we were met by a bus driver who took our bags and then called ahead to the ferry terminal to ask them to hold the boat for us, as the timing was a bit tight. Initial check-in at the ferry terminal was quick and easy and our bags were taken care of to be delivered to our room on the island.

When we arrived at the actual resort, we were greeted at reception by a friendly staff member who provided us with a schedule of events for our stay and information on where and when to meet for our pre-booked coach tour the next day. The room, located a short walk from the main building, was clean and comfortable with A/C (appreciated in the humid environment) and a private patio overlooking a small pond and natural area. Our bags were brought to the room a few minutes after we got in.

The resort was quite empty while we were there (reception told us they were running at only 20% capacity) so that was a pleasant surprise. The resort offers a variety of guided walks as well as presentations on native wildlife, most of which are free, and we took advantage of several of these. In fact, we liked the "Night Walk" (a ranger takes you around the resort in the dark to view wildlife active at nighttime) so much that we went on it again the next night, with a different guide, spotting different animals - we even helped catch some cane toads.

The day-long 4WD coach tour was packed full (seems like people come over from the mainland to take this tour as well as resort guests) but the coach was comfortable and the driver/guide was very friendly and kept up a humourous and informative commentary while on board. A morning tea with coffee and muffins was included, plus a cold buffet lunch at Eurong Resort halfway through the day. Because the tour tries to pack in as much as possible we did feel a bit rushed at a couple of places where we could easily have spent much more time, but that's the price of trying to see several sights on a big island. If you prefer to tour independently you can rent a 4WD vehicle from an office at the resort.

Each morning we ate at the Maheno's breakfast buffet. The food set out was the same each day, but there was enough of a variety of hot and cold items to keep us satisfied. Because the restaurant is quite open to the outside, birds would fly in and drink from juice or water glasses left on tables, so we learned to not leave our table unattended. This didn't bother us as it seemed part of the charm of an "eco resort", but some mind not find it so charming. The only options for dinner during our stay were the Sand Bar (casual - order at a counter, then pick up your food when ready) and the Seabelle (fancy). We opted to stick with the Sand Bar, which offered reasonably-priced pizzas, burgers, steak, sandwiches, fish & chips, etc. Service was friendly and the food was ready reasonably quickly even at a peak time.

Our only real complaints from our stay had to do with communication from the island. There were no instructions in the room on how to place outgoing calls or any details on charges for doing so. We had to call reception to find out how to make a call, then we used the phone a few times to call a local number in Hervey Bay. On checkout we discovered that the resort added a hefty per-minute charge. Fair enough if they had advised us of this in advance, but we were a bit miffed to only find out after the fact. Internet access was only available from two pay-as-you go terminals in the lobby. The cost was $12/hour, coins only, and the speed was slow, so you couldn't do much in your allotted time.

After reading some negative comments in other reviews regarding the attitude of staff we were a bit apprehensive, but our experience was uniformly pleasant. Every staff member we spoke to, from the front desk to ferry crew to housecleaning to the rangers, was friendly and helpful. The rangers in particular were very enthusiastic, and spending time with them learning about the flora and fauna of the island was a highlight of our stay here. After we had left the resort and arrived back home, a closer look at our bill showed that we had been charged in error for our airport transfers (this was supposed to have been included with our package). A quick call to the resort and the cheerful person on the other end of the phone acknowledged the error and credited the amount, no problem. All-in-all, we thought very highly of the resort staff.

We were very pleased with our stay at Kingfisher Bay and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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sydney
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2008

The villa was $190/night (Wotif rate ) then I dealt with reservations direct. For that price, I was happy with the villa. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price.
Seabelles restaurant - food was great. I wasn't having a food orgasm or anything :-) but I enjoyed it. Mahenos buffet is ordinary , particularly as its $40/ head and I'm not a big eater so it was hard to see value in this. The Sandbar is well priced pub food. If you're in a villa, do some shopping in Hervey bay so you can eat in the villa as the island shop is scarily expensive and the range is not big.
We hired a 4WD and drove ourselves around for the day, it costs about $400 with everything. Lots of money but its a beautiful island.
Lastly our experience with reception staff was not good. Sorry doesn't appear to be a word they use. The portacot mattress (they charge for it) was like a piece of plywood with no padding. When I asked for it to be changed, it was like they were doing me a huge favour! And that was the assistant manager! They lost our babysitting request form and they started out denying we even gave it to them. Lastly on checkout, I got a 2 for 1 deal on the transfers which didn't come through on the bill. The guy at reception would not accept this as there "was no note on the computer". It didn't matter what I said, he wouldn't budge. I thought that was crap since we had spent $1000 for 2 days at the resort and we were arguing over $50! I have since been able to prove they did overcharge by going back to the reservations people who confirmed this is the case. I had to ring to speak to Ray the duty manager who said he'd call me back as he was very busy. Guess what? he didn't. And not once, at any time during these problems did anyone say sorry for the inconvenience or whatever. Mistakes are no big deal as long as people sort it out and do it with empathy don't you think? And empathy costs the hotel absolutely nothing!

  • Liked — That is was on Fraser Island
  • Disliked — The service at reception when there was a problem
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2008

Go and camp, or stay at Eurong (or another resort) or stay here. The accomodation is totally secondary to the wonderful island. Then hire a 4x4 and drive it up the dunes and over the beach and visit the shipwreck and go to the lakes. Definitely go to the lakes.

The island is beautiful. I imagine if you want the full island experience you should camp. But me and my other half are not Kate and Sawyer (worse luck) and I didn't fancy running into dingos whilst going to the loo so we went here instead.

Staying here is simple, the easy/lazy way to visit Fraser. We parked our car at Hervey Bay (only 4x4s can drive on island) in secure parking and got on the Kingfisher's own boat, checking in at the ferry terminal so they took our bags from there and they reappeared in our room. There was a bus transfer the other end.

The hotel is very proud of its eco resort status (rightly, if what they say about their footprint on the island is true) and that Prince Charles went there once (??). The receptionists were overworked and quite rude. The rooms were no better than a good youth hostel (we were staying in the main hotel not in a villa which I understand are nicer) but were clean and functional. The seafood buffet was great, food there generally not bad at all. There is a shop, a choice of restaurants, tours, nature walks, car hire, club, pool and more on site.

Overall, I would definitely stay here again as I loved Fraser and it is a convinient option (and I am used to bad service as I live in London:)) but if I were the manager/owner I would get some more employees, get them some customer-service training and overhaul the rooms sooner rather than later.

  • Liked — the location
  • Disliked — service, state of rooms
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2008

We booked a 2 bedroom villa for seven nights on a special standby rate of $165 a night. Having stayed at Kingfisher previously (we go to Fraser at least once a year) we were aware that each villa was privately owned and that we may or may not get certain facilities - all we asked for was a vila with fans, as it was December and hot. We were pleasantly surprised to find our villa had 3 air-conditioners AND a view of the western beach. We were only a short walk from the resort pools and restaurants. We had UK visitors with us and they did a lot of the free resort walks and talks. The Dingo talk was great. Some of the paid activities were a bit over priced, however, the Native Food tasting at the Seabelle Restaurant was well worth the $12 each. Also the guided canoe trip was interesting.

We came prepared with our own portable BBQ and cooked 3 of the four nights - including one night of fish caught that day on the Eastern Beach. We ate at the Maheno 'all you can eat' seafood buffet one night. The seafood was ok. We were booked for the 8.30 seating and 90mins later the buffet closed, except for some sorry looking deserts. We probably won't do the seafood buffet again. The buffet's the other nights lacked the variety of our previous stay so we went to the Sand Bar. Food was good and serving size large.

Some of the staff had an attitude problem but most were friendly. Reception staff should smile more!!

We brought most of our food and supplies from the mainland - including extra toilet paper, as everything is very expensive on the island. We did run out of beer and a carton of beer was $48 on the island, compared to $27 on the mainland - so come prepared. A four wheel drive car is also a must to explore the many areas of Fraser..

We will go back to Kingfisher again - when they have another good special.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — -
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2008

The whole experience of the trip was quite pleasant.
We went there for a weekend in November. originally booked one night planning to extend the stay by one more night. You arrive there by public ferry, minibus picked us up from the terminal and took us to reception. The greeting was very friendly and informative. The resort lobby and the pool areas are great (exceeded our expectations). There are 3 pools there - all very nice and modern.
Best points - pools, food at the buffet restaurant is great; there is also a very nice (expensive) a la carte restaurant. There were other kids at the resort so our little girl was entertained most of the time. friendly service.
Negatives - old smallish rooms, very uncomfortable beds
(if you have a sensitive back like my husband you won't enjoy your stay), not a lot to do unless you plan on hiring a 4WD (4WD are about $400 per day to hire, so unless you have another family to share the cost with it's quite expensive).
Overall experience was nice and our 3 yo daughter loved it. But we cancelled the 2nd night as my husband could not sleep all night on the saggy bed and the 1night away weekend ended up costing us close to a $1,000. A lot of money for a 3 star night away.
Another point - friends of ours booked a villa. The villa they were allocated was very old inside, with no air con and with filthy carpet with bird droppings on it. They requested a change of villa; there was 1 available with new carpet and air con (request those ones when booking!) but it was not cleaned. There was no one available after 4pm to clean it in the whole resort until 24 hrs later.
Hope this helps!
Happy holidays!

  • Liked — pools
  • Disliked — beds / rooms
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2007

We stayed in a two bedroom villa after picking up one of the resort's online December special rates of $170 a night (per villa). For this price everything was great value but I don't think I would return if I had to pay the standard full price. If there was another discounted rate then I would not hesitate! The villa was clean and had all the mod cons you would generally expect although the television was a little small and on a severely restricted cable TV plan (hardly ANY channels.....I didn't think you could get a plan that stingy). The website didn't say anything about air-con in the villas but ours did in fact have it. Also the resort website said villas were not serviced but someone came through and serviced ours on the fifth day. Villas were secluded and quiet which was an achievement since several villas form a single structure (I think we counted 5 villas to a building). In fact we felt like we were housed in a free standing structure.

Beware to anyone who would like any kind of internet access from the resort. In-house rates are steep ($7.50 for 30 mins) and the telephone exchange in the resort blocks personal dialup internet connections so you can't bring your own account with you. Access is also only available in the resort main building (speeds were good though).

Don't expect to be able to cook any fancy meals for yourself as the fresh food stocked in the general store is VERY limited and of poor quality. There is plenty of snack/picnic and packet food though so you won’t go hungry but it’s pretty much a choice between the resort restaurants and a "student" diet. In our opinion there was no contest.

The Seabelle restaurant was superb. We have dined out at some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and the quality of the food at The Seabelle easily made it into the same league. Prices might seem steep to some but we felt that they were typical for food of that high standard and well worth it. The service was also good and by our third visit the staff had remembered our names and were already beginning to preempt our choices. Our glasses were never empty and we were allowed to sit at our table until quite late without being hurried out the door. The outdoor seating also had a wonderfully romantic feel and left us feeling incredibly relaxed and happy.

The other two restaurants were cheaper and had more of a family atmosphere. The Maheno was buffet style and the food was OK but not amazing. In our 7 night stay we only went there once. Dessert appeared to be simply a selection of cakes from the cheesecake shop which we thought was a bit of a cop-out but otherwise the food was reasonable for the price paid (it is "all you can eat" after all). The Sandbar was the kind of place where families could take their kids and let them run amok....and there were LOTS of kids. If I had kids this is definitely where I would take them (prices were OK but not as cheap as you would initially expect) but my partner and I don't have kids so we only came to The Sandbar once during our stay.

Resort activities were numerous and reasonably priced (many were free). Water sports were disappointing and practically pointless since you have an area about 150m long and 50m wide in which to use craft. I only saw some people use the canoes once and they came back 30 minutes early out of sheer boredom. All the guided activities seemed to be restricted to a near geriatric level of fitness. There was a canoe paddling tour through the mangroves that was enjoyable but it was designed to be slow and incredibly easy (to suit even young children and the elderly). We would have preferred some guided activities for slightly more advanced skill and fitness levels (there was absolutely nothing of this type on offer).

But please do not get me wrong here. We were still quite busy and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The island had plenty to offer outside the resort for anyone with the imagination and will to do so (although make sure you are well prepared as emergency help can be some time away). In all, our villa was lovely, The Seabelle restaurant was excellent and the island itself was beautiful and not to be missed!

  • Liked — The seabelle restaurant
  • Disliked — The internet access
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2007

We stayed here for 2 nights as part of our tour of Australia but wished we'd had more time here as we loved it. Large, spacious and clean hotel room with a lovely balcony overlooking a peaceful little lake where you could sit at night and listen to all the wildlife - so relaxing. Good choice of restaurants from a very informal to very expensive, good shop where you could buy wine reasonably cheaply. Staff seemed friendly enough. We went on an excellent tour of Fraser Island run by the resort which took in all the major sights on this amazing island. I couldn't fault any of it. Although fairly expensive it was worth every penny

  • Liked — The balcony
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Kingfisher Bay Resort

Address: Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island, Queensland 4655, Australia (Formerly Mercure Kingfisher Bay)
Location: Australia > Queensland > Fraser Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Fraser Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Kingfisher Bay Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 152
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the bush overlooking the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait, this award-winning ecotourism resort on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the perfect base to explore the world's largest sand island. The resort incorporates the 152-room Mercure Kingfisher Bay Hotel, self-contained two and three bedroom villas and houses, and a 174-bed Wilderness Lodge for groups. Resort Rangers also guide a variety of four-wheel-drive coach tours or personalised tours of the island. Access to Fraser Island is by ferry only. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island
Kingfisher Bay Hotel Fraser Island
Kingfisher Bay Fraser Island

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