Firstly, I'd like to thank Hilton for a complimentary upgrade to a city view 2brm suite. It was much appreciated.
Initially I booked with the in hotel booking office & was informed of the upgrade then & there. As a diamond HH member, I felt I was treated very well & found the booking process fantastic. I later extended our stay via the USA based diamond desk. The booking went through seamlessly in the same room for the whole stay.
Arrived to a mediocre welcome that soon changed when the receptionist acknowledged my diamond status & rather comically decided to flaunt it for all its worth (on his part), still it was funny & made me smile!
The room was as expected (we had stayed in this suite type before when the hotel first opened)... a lovely large 2 bedroom suite with kitchenette & gorgeous bathrooms (2). Amazing floor to ceiling windows with sheer curtains & complete block-out electronic blinds. Large sofa, 2 flat screen tv's, stereo, dvd & table/chairs in lovely warm tones & lovely muted natural decor. However the beds were not made up to our long standing request of no synthetics (daughter has an allergy) but that was very quickly rectified. The Hilton dream beds are just that - glorious clouds of fluffy feathers/down. Beds are so comfy I intend on purchasing the bed-toppers.
Our trip to Melbourne was a special trip for my young son who adores the trams & who was turning 9 the next day. Upon returning to our room after dinner on the first night we found a lovely birthday card from the GM Brett Christ, a large bag of sweets & a small birthday cake with candle. Needless to say it was a lovely gesture, much enjoyed by the kids! :-))))
Concierge are a wonderful bunch of blokes - so knowledgeable & very attentive. We were given complimentary tickets to the Grand Designs expo next door which was fantastic as we had planned to go anyway & I'm a huge fan of Kevin McCloud :-) Must make a mention of Chris, Sam & Daniel. They really know their stuff. Chris recommended we try a French restaurant he frequents and we are so pleased we did - so memorable & will definitely be on our must do again.
I used valet parking for our whole stay - whilst it's very convenient, I feel it is priced well above what it should be. Most other Hiltons charge approx $30 - $35.
The executive lounge is huge (compared to Adelaide & HOP)... fabulous service, good variety of breakfast offerings, nice evening canapés & friendly staff (especially Nitin, Claire & Alice) Thank you for making our stay that little bit more enjoyable.
The only downside I have are the restaurants: Sotano is just ok, passable but nothing to write home about. Cocktails were drinkable but bland. When paying an average $25 per drink you'd expect some bling or decoration. My cocktail looked like sloppy mud in a martini glass - no effort put into it at all. Wines are a hit or miss... again nothing spectacular, particularly as they market themselves as a tapas & wine bar!!! The tapas was blah & you could tell most of it was pre-packaged. I doubt anything was freshly made in-house. Cheap supermarket quality tomato sauce, mayonnaise & mustard - laughable! How hard is it to make mayonnaise??????
Now for the big one.... Nuevo 37.... ummmm. If I really let loose this review would not get printed.
Service is a joke. 15 minutes to be given a menu, another 10 minutes for a drinks list (which was comically basic), 30 minutes to give me an extended cocktail menu, another 20 minutes to actually receive my drink (after our entree's had been served). I was getting very irritated & reviews below highlighting the extremely poor state of service is true.
We ordered Pate as an entree - we did not get freshly prepared pate (it was defrosted, as evidenced by the cracks & discolouration). My daughter is training to be a chef & I'm a diehard foodie so we know when something is frozen & thawed. The waiter reckoned it was made fresh that morning - I told him it was not & showed him why I said what I did. He backed off with his tail between his legs (or so to speak).
Next fiasco... I recommend staying clear of the steak as the cook (no way are any of the kitchen staff fully trained chef's) absolutely butchered mine. Medium rare ended up being an over cooked, unrested, blood spurting mess. I felt ill looking at it & lost my appetite instantly. A part of the steak had been over cooked so it was chopped off & plonked on top of the other piece of steak!!!!! My daughters fish "n" chips were ok, just - fish horribly overcooked. Sons spaghetti was good - he's a connoisseur of spaghetti bolognaise & loved it.
A waiter noticed my response of my dish & casually wandered over to enquire "if everything was ok" to which I said in a definite manner no it was not! He asked what was wrong & I didn't hold back... I let him know what I thought, that I wasn't paying for my meal & how dare someone destroy beautiful food in such a disrespectful manner. He went to 'discuss it with the kitchen' and returned to say the kitchen was sorry! Yeah right! I thought it was gutless for the person responsible to not show his/her face to apologise in person!
About 30 minutes later I was offered a sad looking fruit salad plate. My reaction was.... well.... no way was I going to eat anything ever again from that kitchen! The waiter seemed genuinely concerned that I had not had dinner (the only time I felt it was true concern).
The last point of contention was the bill. I was presented with someone else's bill (another guest - so a blatant no-no in guest privacy), when I mentioned this the same waiter muttered something under his breath & went to rectify. The bill he presented was only for my cocktail. I wanted to pay for the meal minus my steak. He argued (another mistake) so I simply added what I thought the bill should be as a tip.
Upon leaving we mentioned our experience to concierge when requesting a late booking be made at one of the Grossi establishments - where we were treated well, with excellent late night food & service.
I definitely recommend you stay away from both Sotano & especially Nuevo 37 until such a time management decide to hire competent & fully qualified chefs.
I would like to add, when chatting to the lovely GM, Brett Christ, I mentioned what had happened & he was most concerned & waived our entire bill for that meal (despite my requesting he didn't). I only hope he does something about the poor quality of both food & service because it's damaging to the hotels image. A good chef in a hotel says a lot, especially when Melbourne is revered for its food.
On a whole though Hilton South Wharf is a lovely hotel & we will definitely return.
Higher floors give amazing views of both Melbourne city or the bayside.
The executive lounge is won...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
I am glad you enjoyed your stay with us. I appreciate your detailed comments and will discuss them with my senior management team.
We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.