The Rendezvous Grand is a charming place filled with the well-preserved and restored splendour of a 19th century hotel, as you'd expect it to be.
The service upon arrival from the top-hat and tails-clad staff, through reception and check in is on par with any 5-star world-class establishment.
They have all of the appointments and trappings of any of their rivals, bar, restaurant, function facilities and so on. The services on offer are what you'd expect, valet parking, in-room dining and so forth.
Where I think that the hotel is letting itself down rests with the Kitchen and the Concierge. I'll deal with the kitchen first...
On arrival, we were hungry and went to the restaurant, which was being promoted heavily in the lobby. It was midday. The restaurant was closed and didn't offer lunch. This was disappointing so we went to the bar to see the lunch menu there. Service was outstanding and the meals on offer were tempting so we ordered there. I ordered a steak sandwich, which took over half an hour to deliver, and despite being presented well, was below room temperature cold. I was very disappointed and decided not to eat there again.
We decided not to chance eating in the hotel for any of the dinners because we were disenchanted with the bar and restaurant so far, however, we did have full buffet breakfasts on offer, which are simple to administer from a catering perspective so we took that on.
While the restaurant breakfast buffet had most of the comparable offerings of any hotel in its class, the quality of them was way below par. These are my impressions for Chef to take on board...
Microvawave scrambled eggs take the same time and effort as pan scrambled eggs but turn out far better. Grilled tomato is exactly that. Tomato that's just hot but not grilled tends to just be a mushy mess, as it was. Real pancakes are simple to make by any junior kitchen hand in any volume so having a machine spit them out (like rubber mouse mats) two at a time, taking up to 5 minutes per serve, gets on a punter's nerves.
A coffee machine that takes 2 minutes to fill a cup with dishwater is bad enough but to charge extra for a real cup of coffee that takes longer is poor form.
Finally - frozen potato gems or "tater totts" do not qualify as hash-browns in any language so please label them appropriately as the public aren't that stupid.
Breakfast was the direct result of nothing more elegant than laziness in the kitchen. It takes precious little effort to present a world-class breakfast.
There were 3 staff looking after what appeared to be around 120 guests, and were overwhelmed. There wasn't sufficient cuttlery and my breakfast went cold while I waited for more to be delivered. For everything I ate, the same volume or more was tossed. Breakfast was a pretty awful experience all 'round and nothing improved each day.
The Concierge was friendly but knew nothing about events in the hotel. When I saw on TV that the Melbourne "Open House" festival was on, celebrating the grandeur of all of the cities historic landmark buildings, including the Rendezvous Grand, and that they were all on display to the public, the Concierge not only knew nothing about it but when I asked if I could get information, looked at me with an expression of "why are you asking me?". When I asked for directions to the Yarra Valley, I got the same attitude? What's that got to do with me? It seemed that asking tourist information and basic directions was more suited to ask Google, or even housekeeping, than the Concierge.
Finally, the Heritage Room we stayed in. The ceilings were grand, the furniture and furnishings were period yet modern and it was very well designed. The 21st century ad-hock, squeeze in afterthought bathroom killed the mood of the room. 25% of the room was taken up with the afterthought bathroom, which was modern and well-appointed BUT because they tried too hard to squeeze in a bath, which was unneccessary, the rest of the bathroom was so cramped and uncomfortable that it was a nightmare to use the room at all. I don't know whether you need a bath instead of a shower to qualify for another star or not but this bathroom design detracted considerably from the potential of the accommodation overall.
I'm glad I stayed, but probably wouldn't do it again. There's far better on offer for the price.
Choose a different hotel!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Elliot K,
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I would like to thank you for your detailed and honest feedback of your recent stay at the hotel. I very much appreciate the time you have taken to clearly outline your concerns and feedback.
Firstly I would like to offer my sincerest apologises for any disappointment you felt as a result of your stay. It is clear from your feedback we have let you down in two key areas. Our food quality and concierge team are normally two areas we pride ourselves on very high standards so it was especially troubling to hear these were the two areas where we have let you down. I have had a meeting with Anthony Johnson our Executive Chef to review your comments. He passes on his apologises on behalf of the kitchen team. He has subsequently reviewed a number of hot offerings on the breakfast buffet and we will be rolling out these changes in the coming weeks. In regards to the concierge there is no excuse for the team not being up to date. With some new team members on board we are undertaking a new training program with the assistance of the local visitor bureau to ensure all our concierge team have the required knowledge to assist our valued guests.
Elliot K, again I greatly appreciate the time you have taken to review the hotel. I assure you we take such feedback seriously. I hope we can welcome you back to the hotel soon to show where feedback such as yours is used to improve services and facilities. Please feel free to contact me directly on 03 9250 1888 if travelling again so we can arrange the best rate possible for your next visit.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.