My partner and I decided to take up the 'Merry Christmas from the Windsor' special on Wotif.com which was $199 AUD a night with free WiFi and upgrade to a Superior Room.
We arrived just on 1400 to check in and were warmly welcomed by a lovely female receptionist who apologised about us having to wait in line. We were only waiting for less than a minute but this apology made us feel like we were not forgotten and acknowledged. She confirmed the package we had booked and also explained how to use the WiFi and the times for breakfast in the dining room. Very professional and charming, no complaints here.
We were allocated room 114 which is Spring Street facing with views to Parliament House. The corridors to the rooms are wide and ceilings tall - just as you would expect from a hotel dating back to 1883.
Knowing that a renovation is in the works for late 2014, we weren't expecting to be wowed however we found the room to be mostly clean, spacious and airy due to the large window which let in a lot of natural light. The radio was on and was softly playing a classical station which was a nice touch upon entering the room.
There was dust on the tops of the pictures, tabletops had glass stains and one of the bedside tables had a glass top missing. It was starting to show signs of age. The teaspoons were dirty and we telephoned for new ones. The service recovery was quick and an apology was offered.
The bathroom was also in a similar state to that of the bedroom with cracked marble vanity, toilet flush that was loose and fell off, ageing taps with gold plating that had worn off and it had an overall musty smell which was off-putting. However, despite all this the bathroom was adequately cleaned and well stocked with amenities from The White Company of London.
The king bed I felt was very comfortable and managed to get an undisturbed good nights rest. The pillows were feather-down and were most adequate. If not there is a pillow menu available which should satisfy the most exacting of guests. The sheets were clean and well pressed.
We had dinner with two guests at 111 Spring Street utilising the $39 AUD Pre-Theatre Dinner. Excellent value as this included an entree, main and a glass of wine. Whilst the quality of the dinner was excellent it was somewhat spoilt by the service we received. I am perhaps overly-fastidious in this area as I have a background in hospitality and have exacting standards. The table was incorrectly set with water and wine glasses in the wrong locations, cutlery was not as clean as it should have been, serving and clearing happened from the wrong sides and one main was cleared from the table whilst one of our guests was still eating. However the staff were hospitable, good-natured and efficient. This could easily be rectified by some training and would result in a near perfect dining experience that one would expect at a 5 star establishment.
We checked out at 1030 the following morning and we were greeted by an efficient yet impersonal male receptionist who was more akin to a 'business hotel' than a 5 star one which is steeped in history. He didn't ask us whether we had enjoyed our stay which I found very odd but did kindly ask if we needed our bags held for the afternoon which was thoughtful.
Having worked in 5 star hotels perhaps my eye is more tuned to these smaller details and I am somewhat more fastidious in my expectations in service. However, most of these issues can be solved with appropriate training.
The rich and nostalgic history the hotel exudes certainly can be carried well into the 21st century by the refit that is planned to take place late 2014 and by the continued top quality service you come to expect naturally at such establishments.
I wish the Windsor and it's staff all the very best for the future and we will be back once the renovations are complete. It's lovely to know such a historically significant hotel here in Melbourne can still be in operation and creating lasting memories for all those that enter it's doors.