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.
- 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