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“A little tired and worn around the edges, but great location and staff” 2 of 5 stars
Review of The Reef House Palm Cove - MGallery Collection

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The Reef House Palm Cove - MGallery Collection
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, Queensland 4879, Australia (Formerly Sebel Reef House)   |  
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Ranked #8 of 13 Hotels in Palm Cove
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“A little tired and worn around the edges, but great location and staff”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for 4 nights recently after reading about the venue on TripAdvisor. Despite the mixed reviews on TA we chose Reef House because of the "heritage" look of the place, wanting to stay somewhere that felt was built in sympathy with the tropical location and not just another generic apartment-style complex which Palm Cove has plenty of.

We got what we expected, which was a relaxing well located place to stay. The place could be outstanding though with a few basic changes, and some money spent on room renovation. We preselected room #405 based on TA reviewers recommendation and glad we did. It was located on the sea frontage in the old building and so felt genuinely holidayish amongst the swaying tropical trees and garden. At the back of the site is a 4 storey newer building with rooms.

Our room was large, with a king bed with bug net plus effective aircon and ceiling fan. Floor was terracotta tiled, with a small kitchenette , tv, DVD, CD player, iPod station, small fridge. Nice bedside and floor lamps combined with white shutters over the sliding doors to the balcony gave the room a nice tropics feel. Bed was nicely decorated and comfortable. Two room chairs were comfortable and fitted the decor well. Room and balcony views from level 2 were very good, out to the sea frontage and relatively quiet front road. Hope you like sleeping to the sound of waves hitting the beach! For us it got a bit noisy at some stages and earplugs became necessary to fix a first-world problem.

The balcony was large and had 2 sit up chairs and 2 sun loungers. A few early evening cocktails were enjoyed people watching with a few tunes playing. Outdoor furniture was a bit worn and stained but functional. TV worked ok, usual range of FTA stations and a few pay tv as well which was a surprise considering. The room also had one of the best wireless receptions I've ever experienced in any hotel or resort! Anywhere!

Looking further, after a couple of days we noticed the tiled floor was dirty, and was for the entire stay which made it hard to keep feet clean. It needed a good mopping, however as the access to the room was from an outside corridor that was absolutely filthy and never swept or wiped in our stay, I guess cleaning the inside floor would have been pointless?

The bathroom was a joke, with a badly stained and chipped bath with shower over it. The double hand basins were old but functional and above them a water stained mirror so badly marked that had to be seen to be believed. This bathroom was a good candidate for a tv reality makeover show!

However the bathroom was spacious, and it did have an new toilet, thank goodness. Shower water went all over bathroom floor, every day, hence it got cleaned up by us daily and sparkled in comparison.
So in summary, the room had excellent bones and could easily have been 5 star with a new bathroom and cleaner. Was not good value for the room rate though.

Pool was clean, nice and deep (I'm tall) not heated so a little startling to begin with. Sun loungers were not taken in when it periodically rained and so were damp and unpleasant to use. The area was not so private with rooms from the back block looking over the pool and a very big water fall adding nothing but a lot of noise to a possibly tranquil setting. A functional but old heated spa pool bubbled in a corner. Pool gardens were tired and needed a lot of attention/replanting, as they could have looked a lot better.

An enjoyable cold breakfast was included in the room rate and involved a selection of cold meats, cheeses as well as fruits, cereals, juices, toasts and pastries. We didn't stay on site for any other meals so cannot offer any advice there, however we did note not many other people used the venue either, so perhaps that says something? For breakfast, the restaurant staff were very good, very pleasant to deal with. On the other hand reception staff were quite irreverent and operational, on several occasions. Some smiles and interest in the well being and enjoyment of our stay wouldn't have gone amiss.
Hotel push bikes were a nice thought.

Reef House is very well located , making walking to the beach and the many other eating and drinking venues too easy. Walks through Palm Cove don't take long, with a bottle store 15 mins away and a few overpriced stores very closeby.

Would I stay there again? No thanks.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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534 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
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English first
Cairns, Australia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

I have stayed here a few times with friends and family and it is always a lovely place to relax and unwind right on the beach at Palm Cove. Last time I stayed we checked in later at night and it was no problem. We asked for a a beachfront room and was told none available till next morning which was fine. We were moved next morning and nothing was a problem for them as there was a message left at reception regarding our move so the staff knew about it which was great. Breakfast and dinners are all very good and its a lovely place to sit and stare at the ocean. Although some rooms are a little dated this place is a lovely place to stay. It has a homely feel and I love the vintage white bikes you can ride for free. 3 pools and one is salt water. All up a nice vintagey feel with a small boutique style. You wont find the big chain style of hotel here and who needs it???

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Townsville, Australia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

All lovely - we enjoyed the spa, friendly staff, the location and the breakfast, The bed was comfortable but just check the batteries on the safe are working properly. It beeped through the night. Not good!!!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

Great location and ambience. Rooms, restaurant and facilities could not be faulted. We'll be back!! Weather was perfect and that helped. My hausband swam in the ocean after seeing the nippers in there. I stuck to the lovely pool.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

What started out as a nice week away with my wife to FNQ to escape the winter down south went downhilletty quickly upon our arrival at reef house. We secured what we thought was a pretty good rate for a verandah room through Accors advantage plus rewards program. N arrival we were places in a room at the rear of the hotel in what could be best described as a cell - yes it had a verandah but this was fully enclosed and did not look out on the ocean or the pool but the back of the hotel's spa. What's more the room was not as presented in all the promo brochures being smaller and somewhat rundown, especially the bathroom.

The Staff did move our room the next day to a beach front room, but this was to the lower floor corner room overlooking both the beach and the northern carpark and accompanied by four airconditioner fans etc. Luckily for our stay (6 nights) no one used them, so it was OK but I imagine that had the hotel been full of southerners then the aircons would have been running flat out and it would have been very noisy. Oh and as for the attitude of the man behind the counter - it was somewhat begrudging to say the least. Given that I had made our booking some 6 weeks prior tour trip, it was not peak period by an means and I had identified that it was our wedding anniversary, I would have thought the staff would have been more accommodating.

As for the hotel itself - it has seen better days. Our second room was claimed to be newly renovated but it looked like a quick finish and the attention to detail was not there. Not even a picture on the wall to break the starkness. The bathroom was ok but both the bath and the sink were well worn and the fittings far from befitting a 5 star establishment. And don't be bashful in the bathroom - Louvre windows freely visible from the street and no other form if ventilation. And the beds are hard, very hard. We don't understand why hotels in Australia seem so reluctant to use the topper styles of mattress which are both comfortable and robust.

The facilities of the hotel are OK but we found it a hard place to relax in. And the littlthings eem ti be missing - for example, if you are going to have an oil burner in the room, then surely there should be a packet of matches, replacement oil and candles. Instead it just looked half finished unclean and lacked attention to detail. Not having a bar on site is also a bit of a disadvantage, although there is a 'help yourself bar fridge behind the bar which you can access on a user pays basis. The highlight is the gardens, especially the giant paperbarks out the front of the hotel.

On checkout, the same bloke who agreed ti change our room checked us out of the hotel. Not even a half attempt at a smile, enquiry about our stay or a "thank you for staying, we hope to see you again". Thank goodness for the girl who started our checkout process but was obviously new and knew something about what it means to work in hospitality.

In all a disappointing experience but we have certainly stayed in worse.

Room Tip: If you want a beach front room be prepared for early morning wake up calls from tour buses, rubbish...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
australia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

We stayed at the Reef House for 2 nights after a week in Port Douglas. This is our 7th trip to Palm Cove/Port Douglas and we thought the Reef House is the best place that we have stayed. It is not as modern and pristine as Mantra Amphora or Peppers but it has much more personality. We stayed in an upper level Brigadier Room overlooking the pool. The swing on the balcony is so relaxing and it was so sheltered from the strong afternoon Palm Cove winds. After dinner it is a beautiful place to sit back and enjoy the sounds of the sea and have a night cap. The room doesn't have a couch but we thought the swing was much nicer.
The restaurant has arguably the best view along the esplanade and breakfast was good and not overpriced. One of the pools was heated which made the winter experience so much better as we usually freeze getting into the Palm Cove Pools. Staff were very accommodating but maybe not quite enough of them but the resort was quiet when we were there. A special thanks to Brenda who showed us around and was lovely. We are already looking for our next available dates to book our next escape and it is certainly to the Reef House!

Room Tip: Really loved the Brigadier Room with the swing on the porch. We had room 117 on the upper level ove...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

We stayed at the Reef House for 4 nights to celebrate a 30th birthday. The staff couldn't have been more helpful or friendly, and happily organised transfers and tours for us, along with a bottle of sparking wine to celebrate. The hotel itself is perfectly located in the centre of Palm Cove on the esplanade, with the beach just across the street. There are also a couple of lovely pools and the spa is amazing (if a little pricey, but worth it as a treat). Whilst it doesn't have the 'wow' of some of the larger chain hotels in the area, this is more than made up for by the relaxed atmosphere, location and charm. Our room was a tiny bit tired, but still charming in its own way, with a big comfy bed, robes and a lovely balcony overlooking the pool. We'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Reef House Palm Cove - MGallery Collection

Address: 99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, Queensland 4879, Australia (Formerly Sebel Reef House)
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Palm Cove
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Palm Cove
#5 Spa Hotel in Palm Cove
#7 Family Hotel in Palm Cove
#8 Luxury Hotel in Palm Cove
#8 Romantic Hotel in Palm Cove
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Reef House Palm Cove - MGallery Collection 5*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located just 25 minutes north of Cairns in the secluded Palm Cove, an upscale boutique beachfront experience awaits guests at Reef House Palm Cove - MGallery Collection.The resort offers a warm, personalised service for all guests and together with its comprehensive range of resort facilities, The Reef House is the perfect getaway for couples seeking romantic bliss or simply a holiday in sheer relaxation. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Reef House Hotel Palm Cove
The Sebel Reef Hotel
Sebel Reef Hotel

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