We stayed a night in Hobart at the beginning and end of our week-long tour of Tasmania, the first at the Henry Jones Art Hotel and the last in the Grande Vue, in both cases in the 'best' water-view suites. There is no question that the Grande Vue is among up there with the best, with large, beautifully-appointed and thoughtfully furnished rooms that the Ritz might envy. Everything has been thought out carefully, from quality pillows and linen to the toiletries. The water-views too, are superlative, overlooking the yachting marina rather than (as in the case of the Henry Jones) the fishing harbour. But, sadly, all that glisters is not gold. The couple who run the establishment did little to make us feel welcome and even after we made a special effort to reach out to them, we felt almost as if they were hostile. When first we arrived and I rang the bell I was greeted (I use that word loosely) unsmilingly with a "Yes?" in the tone of voice Australians seem to reserve for itinerant Jehovah's Witnesses. "G'day," I said as cheerfully as I could, "We have a reservation." This too, was met with a "Yes", this time matter-of-fact. "Um, may I bring our bags in?" Again,a stern "Yes." This was our seventh night in Tassie, and the sullen welcome was an altogether new experience compared to the warm friendliness we encountered everywhere else. But that clearly seemed unintentional, for John (I had to ask for his name) kindly carried one of our bags up to our room and a few minutes later brought us two freshly-baked muffins. But it wasn't as if that broke the ice. The house has a curious rule that breakfast for the following day must be ordered before 4.30 p.m. on the preceding day. Well, we checked in at 5, and when I discovered the breakfast rule on the counter top and asked at 5.45 if it was possible to order breakfast for the next day, I was told this was impossible: we would have to fend for ourselves. And what is additionally surprising about this is that there are no options or choices on the breakfast menu: it is a set menu with no boxes to tick, and only $12.50 (very reasonable considering what is on offer). Indeed, given the $250 per night room cost, it would be almost trivial for them to include this as standard and simply add it to the room price. But no, rules are rules and must be obeyed. I would like to be generous and think that all of this was somehow intentional but I cannot imagine that they are oblivious to the fact that their attitude is unusual, especially in Australia, where just about everyone is helpful and cordial, especially in the hospitality industry. By contrast, the previous night we spent in the far more modest Addlestone House B&B in St Mary's was a far superior and memorable experience thanks largely to the warm reception we received from its proprietor, Peter Troode. Grande Vue should be up there with the best in Hobart if only Annette and John simply reach out a bit more to their guests. They clearly (and justly) take a lot of pride in their beautiful house; a smile, a word of welcome and empathizing with their guests would make a huge difference to their product (e.g. when it comes to breakfast: how would they feel if they were deprived of breakfast? This bizarre rule, after all, is not made known to guests beforehand, e.g. on their web site). My wife and I discussed their attitude a good bit during our stay and would normally have put it down to racism or John and Annette simply having a bad day (which couple, after all, doesn't?) except that a few other guests detail similar experiences, and so it is perhaps worth mentioning here. Grande Vue deserves five stars but it is important to realise that the hospitality industry provides a SERVICE, not a good (viz. the room). And if service is not cheerfully given, it is not really worth giving at all.
- Also Known As:
- Hotel Grand Vue Private
- Grand Vue Private Hotel Hobart, Tasmania