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“New and trying hard” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Kiama Blue Hotel & Apartments

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Kiama Blue Hotel & Apartments
4.5 of 5 Condominium   |   31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama, New South Wales 2533, Australia (Formerly Grand Mercure Kiama Blue)   |  
Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
76 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
“New and trying hard”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2008

This hotel is brand new. Some of the faults include:
*There is no sign out the front so it was hard to find
* the reception area is also hard to find
* there is no where to put your bathroom to put your toiletries more shelf space is needed
* The soap dish is a wire dish so the soap falls through
* The large breakfast was ridiculously huge and was bland tasting - it could have been half the size

However they are trying hard given that it's a new hotel, the room was huge and it's in a great location.

  • Liked — Very modern and good location
  • Disliked — Hard to find due to no sign, some teething problems still
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2008

We stayed at the hotel for 2 nights 18/5-19/5/2008 - brand new and we did forward our comments to management. There was 1 coathanger in the wardrobe - we requested a couple more on day of check in - we were still waiting on our departure. Gorgeous room & bathroom - but not user friendly - you have to get out of bed to switch off the main lights, TV between longe and bed, so have to move, but it is not on swivel - so hence furniture is scratched. The bathroom is lovely, but there are are no solid shelves - only wire grids - hence no place to place your spectacles - ladies must do there makeup in hall, where the lighting is no that great.

We booked thru Wotif - good rate - however use this as a tool. The hotel was practically empty but although we booked in for a superior king room, they gave us a room overlooking the railway track - have a bit of thought - an upgrade would have cost nothing and perhaps a return client!!!!

  • Liked — Everything new - Great
  • Disliked — Not Guest friendly
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2008

In summary; good quality accommodation (but partly due to its newness), fine location, great parking, some question marks over the value, some questionable design decisions, distinctly mediocre dining (generally) and internet connectivity. But yes, I'd stay here again.

Kiama Blue's located in a mostly residential area just across a street and a park from the ocean, and a couple of blocks down from the town's main shopping strip. The nearby waterfront doesn't have any sandy beaches (it's a rocky harbour), but you'll find some only a few minutes drive away; a walkable distance if you're feeling energetic. There's an ocean rock pool in the park opposite the hotel if that's your thing.

It's described as being on the corner of Minnamurra and Shoalhaven Streets, but technically it's a three-way roundabout with Pheasant Point Drive. (The difference confuses some GPS systems.) Don't drive into the parking bay in front of the old school building unless you're looking for a little frustration; that's not where reception is and you won't find any signs to point you in the right direction. Reception and the entry to the 4 level, sparkling clean car park are both on Minnamurra Street. Traffic on the street is light and you'll have no problem turning into the car park from either direction. You don't have to check in before you park. (That may change in the future; there are boom gates, but they aren't currently in use.) Also you DO need to have checked in before you can use the elevators, since they're activated by your room key card. You may therefore want to park on the top level when you arrive, since you can walk straight through to Reception (which is on the same level) from there. (The car park even has a set of traffic lights to ensure that the way is clear when you enter or leave the lower levels. Probably overkill, but very cool.)

Incidentally, there are no major petrol stations in Kiama, though an auto repair shop in the town has a pump. (I'm not sure whether it sells diesel or PULP, though.) If you're running low on fuel, I suggest refuelling in Albion Park Rail (if approaching from Sydney) BEFORE you get to the hotel.

Kiama Blue's more a hotel complex than a hotel, with four main buildings; three recently built, and a sandstone heritage one which was once a primary school and which now contains function facilities. (I was told about these but didn't see them, so I can't comment on them.) One of the recent buildings holds (most of) the hotel rooms, reception and the car park, a second (linked to the first) contains the Blue Diamond bar and bistro and the Nirand Thai restaurant, and the third holds the 2 bedroom apartments and the "standard" rooms, parking for the Blue Diamond and a further café named Sugarbag.

I've tried to give an overview of the complex in one of the gallery photos, though you can't really get one clear shot covering all of the buildings. One of the most prominent features is the huge sign in front extolling the sale of "Platinum at Kiama Blue". As far as I've been able to determine (the staff were equivocal, and although I did take a look at the equally ambiguous web site I wasn't going to waste my time or his by calling the salesman), this isn't a sale of the hotel but rather of an interest in the apartments in the third block. If you buy one it becomes available for your personal use but may still be managed by the hotel. To my mind this is a distraction that the hotel could do without; it can make you wonder whether they're running a time share or a hotel, and consequently where the management's focus is. Perhaps it's just me, but I prefer to see a hotel being run AS a hotel for now and the indefinite future. In that way the management has a vested interest in ensuring the long term viability of it, which means that they have more interest in making their guests' stays good ones.

When I looked at the Platinum Apartments web site, it said that you could "unwind and spoil yourself by visiting the hotel's health spa". OK, but... it doesn't have one. Or if it does, it's remarkably well hidden from the guests. This is one of the design decisions that I found odd. Kiama's not a centre of excitement; it's a place to relax and recharge unless, maybe, you're going there for some deep sea fishing. A spa and health and fitness facilities would seem to be a natural compliment to a hotel in this location and yet... there they aren't. And this is also where there's a question mark over the hotel's value. You'll often be paying as much or more here as you would for 4+ star metropolitan hotels, and yet you have significantly fewer facilities. No gym, no health spa, no pool unless you count the rock pool in the park opposite. (And I don't because the only living things I want to share a pool with are other guests, and preferably not too many of them either.)

A quick summary of the room types on offer is:
- Standard rooms: Located in the apartment building, these have no dining table or desks, and can be linked with the 2 bedroom apartments to make a 3 bedroom one.
- Superior rooms: Double the floor space of a standard according to the web site, these contain a kitchenette, dining table and lounge, and look over the residential areas around the hotel. The surrounding housing is mostly renovated heritage buildings, so a "residential view" is not unattractive.
- Superior room with balcony. I had one of these on my first stay in February 2008. These are similar to a superior room but have no kitchenette (or mine didn't anyway) and have a balcony which faces out onto the street.
- Deluxe room. These are on the lower floors and look over the old school building and courtyard. They have a kitchenette and balcony.
- Deluxe ocean view room. I had one of these on my second stay in April 2008. These are located on the upper floors, have a balcony, dining table and fully equipped kitchenette including a microwave oven.
- 2 bedroom apartments. Apparently these have a full kitchen and laundry, 6 seat dining suite, lounge suite, DVD player and so on.

The hotel is completely non-smoking, but the balconies seem to be an (unofficial) exception.

I'll review the two rooms that I stayed in but have to leave the other types to other reviewers. Both of mine were in the main hotel building which consists of a ground floor (containing only reception and one level of the car park) and three floors of residential rooms. Because of the way the land slopes, the level 1 rooms (such as my Superior room with balcony) are in fact almost or at street level even though they're one level above the reception area. There's a wide nature area buffering you from the street, however, and the rooms feature a double door to the balcony (an inner lockable one and an outer sliding one), so there's no problem with being at that level in terms of either privacy (you can't see in from the street during the day with the mesh curtains drawn) or noise (the double door easily blocked out the sound of a lawn mower across the street).

In fact, the balconies of the ocean view rooms on level 3 offer less privacy than the Superior ones do. The Superior ones have a solid partition between the balconies, while only a couple of plants in ornamental pots separate the balcony areas of the three ocean view rooms as you can see from the photo gallery. All of the balconies contain a stainless steel table and two chairs for sitting outside. You can get ocean glimpses from the Superior room balconies on the Minnamurra street side.

The double doors also help with sound insulation on the far side of the hotel, which has a train line running past it. My ocean view room was on that side, but I rarely noticed trains going past.

I made the living area of my Superior room to be 9.5 metres long (including hallway and the bathroom which is indented into the room) by 3.5 metres wide. The ocean view room was more spacious, at a little over 10m * 3.5m, with the bathroom (which didn't intrude into the main room this time and therefore provided the living room with more space) being about 4.5metres by about 2 metres. Note that that's this PARTICULAR ocean view room; not all of them have the same design. When I booked I requested a room with a bath, only to be called by the hotel and told that those rooms don't have baths. When I got there I was told that I HAD been given a room with a bath, and that some ocean view rooms had them and some didn't because they didn't have the space. If you want one, remember to ask for it and don't take "they don't have baths" for an answer.

(This is the second odd design issue. I'd have thought that some of the ocean view rooms would have spa baths to cater to the "romantic getaway" contingent. And yet... there they aren't. Again.)

The furniture doesn't exude quality or craftsmanship (lots of laminates), but both it and the furnishings are clean, comfortable and not unattractive. However they're relatively new and I'm not sure how well they'll age. (There was a small stain on the couch in the first room, but I'm not going to hold occasionally sloppy guests against the hotel.) I was impressed by the presence of a small dining table with two chairs in both rooms. Probably less impressed by the generic brand 51cm CRT television, which had a very noticeable blue light surrounding the main power switch when it was in stand by mode. (I found this distracting when I was trying to go to sleep, and had to switch the TV completely off. Also, in the first room the TV could only really be watched from the bed. The TV offered free to air and the usual array of cable channels.) I was not impressed at all by the absence of a safe.

The beds were comfortable; there was a slight difference in level between the two mattresses that made up the bed in the second room, but even for someone like me (who tends to flop all over the bed during the night) it wasn't particularly disturbing.

I didn't find the air conditioner to be either whisper quiet or excessively noisy, and it worked very well. It's controlled by a remote with a digital thermostat.

The kitchen equipment in the second room was generally good, though there was very little storage room in the (small) fridge; you'd need to shift out the mini-bar beverages if you wanted to store any food in there. There was only enough dinnerware for two, but that's about as many as an ocean view room can accommodate anyway; families would be better served by the apartments in the other building.

In the bathroom, thumbs high for the narrow bath which means that you can get a full bath with a reduced water load, though it would probably get cramped in there if there were two people. But thumbs less high for the ergonomics of the hand basin. Notice anything missing in the first room's one? Like a place to put your own toiletries bag, toothbrush, etc? Someone didn't think that one through. There's a small rack just to the left, but it's VERY small and already fully occupied with the hotel's toiletries. This is also why you'll find the hair dryer sitting in the main wardrobe instead of in the bathroom. The second bathroom, being spacious to the point of being cavernous, was slightly better served since there was one spare rack over the end of the bath. Still not hugely convenient if you want to put down your can of shaving cream and pick up your razor, of course.

The hotel offers both dial up and wireless internet access. Currently the latter is free, probably because it doesn't always work. I couldn't get a connectable signal in the Superior room. I got a very good 54Mbps signal in the second room... most of the time, and as long as I stayed close to the windows. Go to the side of the bed with the telephone and it would drop like a brick. There were also some periods when I simply couldn't connect; the hot spot would be visible, but it wouldn't assign an IP address. The connection speed was generally good when it worked, though.

There are three and a half eateries within the complex; the Blue Diamond Bar and Bistro is the main one which also supplies room service and the breakfast buffet, the Nirand Thai on the level above the Blue Diamond, and SugarBag which is in the apartment building. The "half" is the breakfast buffet area, which is on the lower ground floor of the hotel room block; it's really the far back end of the Blue Diamond. It looks onto the courtyard which has the old school building on the right and the main Blue Diamond on the left. You need to take the elevator that runs through reception, not the one that goes to the car park to get there. (Either that or enter through the courtyard.)

You may or may not get breakfast as part of your package, and that breakfast may or may not be continental or full. It seems that a full buffet breakfast is only available on the weekend; it's continental only (cereals, juices, pastries, toast etc) during the week, though you can order a cooked breakfast from the kitchen. My second stay included breakfast, and on the Friday I was able to "upsize" the continental to include a cooked plate for only $6.50. The serving size was generous. The weekend full buffet breakfast is of the kind that you'll normally find in a hotel of this type; nothing exceptional, but well done and enough variety to satisfy most people.

There are some restaurants that you really do need to try before you die. The Blue Diamond is not one of them. It's more a bar which serves food than a true restaurant; you order and pay at the bar at the time of the order. No waiters supply water or bread, or ask if you want another drink; you do all of that at the bar. At night the lighting is a little subdued if you want to read anything, but I assume that this is to allow the night lights of the harbour to be seen through the panoramic windows. The TV has music videos running; the playlist consists primarily of popular, middle of the road tracks.

The Blue Diamond would also be the source of the in-room dining, since the menus are identical. Which is to say, sparse, with the vegetarian offerings even more so. Homemade pizzas in the $15 to $17.50 range make up about 1/4 of the menu, and a further 1/4 are light meals (such as a Thai beef salad) in the $13 to $16 range. About half a dozen mains are on offer, costing from $17.50 for sweet potato and asparagus risotto to $27 50 for char grilled scotch fillet topped with prawns and béarnaise source. Add $5 per tray for in room dining.

I had the scotch fillet delivered on the first night of my first stay, and in the restaurant on my second stay. The delivery time on the first stay was around 35 minutes and while I was grateful for the steak knife that came with it I would have been happier had there been a fork as well. Happier still had there been pepper and salt since the steak was unexceptional and could have done with some seasoning. However the salad size was very generous and the rosemary potatoes were the absolute business. The apple and rhubarb crumble was also exceptionally good. The tray wasn't, since it was cheap and flimsy and flopped all over the place under its two dish load. I'm willing to bet that one of those trays contributed to the stain on the couch. I had the fish delivered on the second night; only 20 minutes wait, and on a solid tray this time. It was OK, but unremarkable. The steak that I had on my second stay was also unexceptional. It was very well cooked, but the meat itself was fairly mediocre. After that I started trying some of the other restaurants around Kiama. There are several in Collins Street just around the corner from the hotel, and others in the main street. I'll discuss these further when I get around to writing a Kiama Go List. In short, don't rule out the Blue Diamond if you just want a snack or a light meal, but if you want truly fine dining go elsewhere. Remember that I haven't tried either Sugarbag or the Thai restaurant; those may be to your taste as well.

Both check in and check out ran smoothly, and the staff members were friendly and helpful.

On balance I enjoyed my stays here, and I'd be happy enough to stay there again if I felt that the price was right. It's just a pity that it doesn't live up to its potential. It only just sneaks through with an "above average" rating from me.

  • Liked — Location, views, room quality, cleanliness
  • Disliked — Lack of health facilities, limited dining options in the restaurant.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2008

We have just stayed at the Grande Mercure Kiama Blue Resort. The room, though the decor was of a good quality, was a disappointment, as we had been lured by the great views promised, but not delivered by the website. The hotel continues to display notices in the lifts and foyers advising that it has recently been constructed and problems are still being experienced - despite it having opened at least 6 months ago. We experienced numerous faults with the room within the first half hour, all rectified by staff, however one would have expected these issues to be resolved within 6 months of the hotel being opened. The price, $325 for a one night stay without breakfast was a little steep - and you would have expected a few extras for example a spa bath, better view, breakfast or better decor for that price - especially for the area.

Stayed March 2008
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2007

We recently stayed at this "resort" for a much anticipated four day break with our two young children. Very disappointing overall as there have been development problems resulting in the entire property being for sale.
The build quality of the units was marginal at best and sliding doors where coming off tracks and the tap to the kitchen sink was loose and wobbly. This, in an expensive and new development.
The apartment was dirty and, while serviced daily, was not vaccumed for the duration of our stay. The facilities were incomplete and on our last night we asked to use the advertised out door barbeque and were informed it was for use of the pub restaurant to purchase steaks and "grill your own" during the summer months only. We, were, therefore, requested to use our cooktop in the unit. This resulted in the fire alarm going off and the local fire department responding to the call and evacuation of the entire building while they cleared the alarm system.

We would encourage anyone considering a visit here to confirm with management beforehand that the facilities have been completed and they are open for business.

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Auckland, NZ
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2007

Highly recommended.

Great location overlooking the sea and harbour. 5 mins from the centre of Kiama but it was a very peaceful and quiet location. 10 min walk to the Blowhole. We stayed in a 1 bed appt and it was excellent. Very modern and very spacious. It had all of the luxuries of a hotel room. There's a cafe and also a bar/restaurant nearby.

We paid $130AUD through Wotif for 1 night mid-week.

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Additional Information about Kiama Blue Hotel & Apartments

Address: 31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama, New South Wales 2533, Australia (Formerly Grand Mercure Kiama Blue)
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Kiama
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 7 Specialty lodging in Kiama
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Kiama Blue Hotel & Apartments 4.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kiama Blue overlooks beautiful Kiama Harbour and the Pacific Ocean. Ideal for a weekend getaway, the resort is located within a short walking distance to the famous Kiama Blowhole, historic terrace shops and the beach. Acommodation at Kiama Blue ranges from Standard Rooms through to Deluxe Rooms and self-contained Apartments, all featuring ensuite bathrooms, mini bars and tea and coffee making facilities. ... more   less 

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