Although we stayed here back in early November, I needed some time to simmer down after our very disappointing stay before I wrote a balanced review. That should give you a hint....
I have generally been very pleased with the Novotel chain (I stay with them frequently on business) and booked three nights in an Executive Suite over the Melbourne Cup weekend.
Our room appeared to be very well furnished (2 plasma screens, huge bed, large spa) but the kitchenette was woefully equipped. No cutlery, no crockery (not even a plate!), and just a microwave and fridge. We spent an entertaining few minutes working out what you could cook with that. Nuked baked beans in a mug, anyone? No list of charges for minibar drinks and snacks.
There are blackout curtains in the living area, but not in the bedroom, and consequently we were awoken by bright sunlight every morning at around 6.30am. We also had major problems with airconditioning, which did not work our whole stay.
We asked front desk repeatedly to have someone attend to it and let us know what was happening. If we had known we wouldn't have airconditioning for the entire stay, we would have asked for a different room. This was only offered on the final night at around 9pm, and by this time our belongings had taken over, and we just couldn't be bothered.
We perused the menu of the restaurant on our first morning, and with all the delicious things on offer decided to book for the following evening.
When we arrived, we were greeted with the news that a revised menu had been decided upon "because we are so busy" (the restaurant was about 1/2 full). It had about half the range of the regular menu, which meant slim pickings for my vegetarian husband.
The food was only adequate - especially at city hotel prices, and although I enjoyed a very good chocolate dessert, it was one of only three on offer, and as we left, I heard the wait staff apologise to a table of 10 that they'd run out of that one. You also need to walk all the way past the restaurant to get to the pool and gym, which feels poorly designed. I don't need to see dripping people as I'm trying to eat, nor do I like feeling like I'm intruding on someone's romantic dinner on my way to the gym!
The pool area is small but nice (overrun by unsupervised children when we were there) and the gym is next to that, and although well-equipped, we encountered unsupervised children "playing" on the equipment here too.
The parking situation does appear to be a problem during peak periods, and the drop-off area could be better supervised during this time, as we found several people overcame the issue by parking overnight in 15 minute zones.
The spa was small, but reasonably equipped. I paid for a 60 minute massage, and spent about 5 minutes in the room, on the bed, waiting for my therapist, and was putting my watch back on five minutes before the hour was up. The massage was just okay.
Creswick itself is charming - a short drive into the town offers some great food. We had three excellent pub meals (that's how much we loved it!) at the American Hotel, and a delicious brunch at a delightful cafe on the same side of the road, about half a block down.
I can also highly recommend Golden Nugget tours - the brochure is at the hotel. Take the Avoca winery tour if you like wine - it was exceptional value and loads of fun.
Check out at the Novotel Forest Resort also proved trying, as we were charged for our last night, despite the whole thing being prepaid. It was fairly quickly rectified, but sadly based on poor service at high prices I don't think I could go back. I wanted so much to like it!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on 150 acres of state forest in the Victorian Spa Country, the Novotel Forest Resort Creswick is a 4.5 star hotel perfect for a holiday or weekend getaway, with a conference centre for up to 600 people making it ideal for meetings and events. Located 11 km from Ballarat, near Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, the resort features a boutique day spa, gym, outdoor heated swimming pool, an a la carte restaurant, bar, and a Tony Cashmore designed championship 18 hole golf course. All 143 rooms and suites feature balconies, king beds and spa baths. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Novotel Forest Resort Creswick Hotel Creswick
- Novotel Forest Hotel Creswick
- Accor Forest Hotel Creswick
- Creswick Novotel
- Novotel Forest Resort Creswick Victoria