Australia is a great country, with lots to offer the British tourist. This includes some really good guest houses. Sadly Yarra Valley Guest House is not one of them.
Whilst staying there we all went on a tour of some local wineries, driven by a local professional, very helpful guide. We told him of our concerns. He said the guest house had had a good reputation, but was said to have gone downhill since a change of ownership, and he would remove it from his website's list of recommended accomodation.
Look at Tripadvisor's reviews and you will see a bewildering spectrum of reports. Look back to August 2004 and you will find a glowing report mentioning the then owner, Ted.
But the present owner is Anthony De Pasquale. Look at the review of April 25 2011, "Relaxing and Tranquil", and you find a positive eulogy praising the qualities of this establishment. Look more closely and you will see a photograph of Anthony De Pasquale in the start of the report. You will also see the name "Dale" in the seeming e-mail address quoted, along with "Steels Creek". Dale was the name of the only other member of staff we met, and the address of the guest house is Steels Creek Road. Surely Anthony would not have had the temerity to claim to have been a guest in his own guest house, and to make such wild claims about his business. Although, if you look at the quality of his presentation you can see this is typical of his lack of attention to detail, and also of his lack of command of the English language. To me he sounded very much more Italian than Australian. It would be interesting to know when the ownership changed, and when the place started going "downhill".
The four star rating claimed by Anthony is also suspect. Sure he had a four star certificate on display at reception, but closer inspection revealed that this had been issued some four years ago, and was had been invalid for the past two years..
Our "King" room was terrible. There was no wardrobe to hang our clothes, just a rail attached to the wall above the fridge, with insufficient height to hang a full length dress comfortably. The fridge had a very thick layer of ice engulfing the freezer compartment. A notice in the bathroom informed us this was not drinking water, but there was no bottled water in the room. One major light was not working. There was only one chair between two of us. The picture on the small elderly looking T.V. was so poor it was not worth watching. When we eventually met the owner to pay the bill my daughter complained to him about her terribly uncomfortable pull-out bed. As she turned away from him he put his thumbs to his ears, waggled his fingers and pulled faces behind her back, before insulting us and our country. This modern-day Merchant of Venice was adamant that he would receive his pound of flesh, or in this case fistful of dollars. We were charged $500, or about £350, for two uncomfortable nights in an unclean, underfurnished, poorly illuminated "King" room, and two ridiculous breakfasts. He also said he prefers Japanese guests as he can charge them more.
I departed feeling a very strong sense of injustice, and that we had been cheated by this avaricious little man. I don't know why he is allowed to carry on in this way. I don't think he would get away with it for long in the U.K.
So there you have it, Brits. Check the name of the owner before you book here. If it is still Anthony De Pasquale avoid it like the Plague. Under a good owner this could be a great place once again. As it is it tarnishes the good image of Australia and Australian tourism
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- Also Known As:
- Yarra Valley Guest House Yarra Glen, Australia