I recently stayed at this resort for 3 nights in a Garden balcony room. My experience was a mixed bag with some quite nice experiences tarnished by some extremely frustrating ones.
Firstly the resort is split into a north and south end which is connected either by a rainforest and a boardwalk. The south end is focused at the day-trippers and has a pool, minigolf course, watersport centre, a few shops, bakery and tavern style restaurant. As a resort guest I mostly ignored this end which was empty and not as nice as the resort end.
The resort end is a sprawling complex of accommodations and buildings. Some of the buildings look quite old from the outside however are generally nice inside. Our room was clean, spacious and well thought out. There was also a lovely view. It was nice however for the price of almost $400 a night for 3 people I found it expensive. All I will criticise in the room was that the balcony is very small and can't really be used for much.
The reception area was large and fairly nice with a bar, shop, activity office, restaurant, coffee shop etc. Surrounding the reception hall is a man made lagoon with a variety of rays, sharks etc. Most tourists would find this exciting however due to my personal preference as a lifelong Scuba diver I dislike seeing large marine animals restricted like this.
From the reception hall there was a series of pools heading towards the beach. These were all very nice and clean and there was a pool bar about half way along. This bar took forever to get a drink during busy times. I once waited over 20mins. This is because the poor bar staff also had to serve a dry bar around the corner. I feel that there needs to be a dedicated staff member serving the pool bar. Additionally the pool bar shut at 4:30pm on the Thursday and at 5:30pm on the Friday despite there being 30+ people still drinking in the pool at the time. I found this to be quite bizarre which was a theme that will repeat itself later. Surely the resort is there to meet its guest’s needs and people on holiday will probably want to stay in the pool and drink past 5:30pm. In fact most people would be having their first drink at that time??
At the north end of the island is a small beach with a number of sun recliners (with shade), an activity hut and the a-la-cart restaurant Mermaids. The sunchairs were great, my favourite place at the resort. The activity hut is almost redundant as there is a small window of opportunity to use kayaks etc due to low tides. The beach is fairly average by the standards in the area (pebbly sand, small) but had a bit of charm.
Mermaids restaurant is the lowest priced option to eat at which does not mean it is cheap (I’m not counting the pool bar which served simple food like pies etc, or the eating options at the south end of the island as these are not easy or desirable to go to as they were 1.5kms away). A simple burger or Fish and chips were about $25. I had dinner here twice and also found it expensive. An average main was mid $30 and was quite small in size which left me hungry the first night. The second time I got a 3 course option which cost $52 but at least filled me up. The food here was tasty but not exceptional. The worst thing about dining here was the time it took to get food/drinks. One afternoon with only 20 or so people in the whole place it was taking 15+ mins to get a beer. The second night we booked for dinner at 5:30pm, ordered at 5:50pm and got our mains at 7:30pm. It was simply unbelievable how long it took for orders to come out. This was not during a busy time either which further confused me with what could possibly be taking so long.
The main bar at the reception hall also had a funny incident on the Saturday night where they closed the bar at 12 midnight despite there being 2 large groups of people there drinking. I questioned this with the duty manager at the time and was told that we weren’t drinking enough to justify leaving the bar open. I was in a group of 12 people drinking double shot mojitos worth $15 a pop. I estimate we were ordering a round every 10-15 mins. There was also another group drinking at the time....I'll let you do the math??
My general impression of the staff through my time at the resort was that they were slightly bitter and sick of dealing with people. I had interactions at the activities desk, reception, pool bar, mermaids and main bar where I was spoken to in a condescending, fed up tone. I find this hard to accept given the exorbitant cost of staying at this place. I would expect staff in a supposed 4.5 star resort to go out of their way to satisfy guest needs. I don't know the reason behind this discontent but maybe the management needs to look at the working conditions of their staff as something is obviously making them unhappy.
And that leads me onto the cost...I found the price of absolutely everything to be mind-boggling expensive. A can of Coke was $4, a 600ml bottle $6, 1L water $8, basic tea $4, Pure Blond Stubby $8, late checkout $20/hr, buffet dinner $56, Snorkelling gear hire $25, Sausage rolls were like $7. Everything was basically 100% more expensive than then mainland which is hard to understand. This place is in desperate need of a low cost dining option, something like a noodle box or the like where you can get a satisfying feed for $15 or so.
In summery I don't understand how this place competes in the value for money stakes. The amount I spent for 3 nights would allow me to live like a king in Indonesia/Thailand for over a week. I won't be returning which is a pity as I feel there is a lot of potential in this resort.
Top floor is better
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.