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“Inconsistent service and pricey... but overall quite good”

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Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Lovedale
Certificate of Excellence
Surrey, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
194 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
“Inconsistent service and pricey... but overall quite good”
Reviewed July 9, 2011

We recently spent two nights in a two-bedroom villa, sharing with my elderly aunt and uncle, as part of a family wedding.

Upon check-in we were a little dismayed to find our villa was up a flight of stairs - which proved a trial for my aunt and uncle. I suppose that was just the luck of the draw - my brother and his wife were in the villa below us and I suppose we could have asked to be moved to a ground floor one, but as we anticipated only leaving the place once or twice a day, we decided not to make a fuss.

The villas are spacious and clean, with comfortable furniture and good quality linens etc. The bed was a little on the soft side for our liking, but still reasonably comfortable. The decor is serviceable but very bland. Generally a comfortable experience. There were a few problems with the room however.

I was shocked to discover that there was nothing with which to make real coffee. In these days when many people have home espresso machines and most people enjoy a decent cup of coffee, it is unbelievable that Crown Plaza does not provide even a small cafetiere (plunger / coffee press). I phoned reception and the woman who answered confirmed that cafetieres were not supplied. I expressed my dissatisfaction, making the point that I was paying $400 a night and that this accommodation was purportedly 'luxury'. I said that my day would be starting off badly if I could not enjoy a decent cup of coffee in the morning - and one of the reasons we chose the self-contained option was so that we could relax over breakfast at our own pace. I was advised that I could walk back to the main hotel building and purchase coffee in the restaurant (of course paying $4 or $5 for the privilege, and having to get dressed and ready to face the public... not to mention the difficulty of aunty and uncle having to climb the stairs again). Alternatively I could order room service - again, at $4 or $5 per cup and with a room service delivery fee of $10. That's one pricey cup of coffee. I questioned whether I could borrow something - anything! - from the main hotel - eg. cafetiere / drip filter machine... I was told in very unfriendly terms that there was nothing that could be done. To me, this just isn't good enough. I don't expect Crown Plaza to supply the coffee - I had brought my own. But I do expect the basics in terms of kitchen facilities - one lousy cafetiere is not an unreasonable expectation, in my view.

Also, I discovered early the next morning, when I went looking for the complimentary bathrobes, that we had none in our room. (We knew my aunt and uncle did have two hanging in their wardrobe but had not checked for our own the night before.) So I tried to phone housekeeping using the phone in our bedroom - it did not work at all (neither did the wireless internet, we discovered). Thus I had to stand out in the loungeroom in my pyjamas, trying to whisper so as not to disturb my aunt and uncle in their room, and phoned reception. This time I was lucky enough to speak to the Duty Manager on Reception - I advised him of the bathrobe and phone issues, and just as an aside mentioned that, combined with the lack of coffee-making facilities, I really was not happy with my stay so far. The Duty Manager was very sorry about my experience and immediately dispatched housekeeping to deliver bathrobes. He also said he would find a solution to the coffee situation - 5 minutes later housekeeping delivered a small, single-serve cafetiere to our villa, together with the bathrobes. What a difference to speak to somebody with an understanding of customer service!

In terms of the hotel's facilities generally, they seemed very good. We had a drink in the hotel's bar the night we arrived. It's a nice environment with one of those modern gas 'faux' fireplaces. We also enjoyed the breakfast buffet on the Sunday morning (day after the wedding, which was held at another venue). The quality of the breakfast buffet was very good, as was the service. Only one disappointment - the poached eggs my partner and I had as part of our Eggs Benedict were way overcooked (hard-boiled, effectively).

Overall, we enjoyed our stay however the issues I've mentioned took the gloss off our experience, particularly the unhelpful person on reception the night we arrived. Because of these problems and bearing in mind the fairly pricey rates, I can only rate this accommodation as average.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mareepsasja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting with such great detail!

The management team at the hotel have discussed your review with vigour and we acknowledge our shortfalls on this occasion and are in the process of installing procedures and systems to ensure this does not reoccur. It is only through your feedback that we are able to improve, so thank you once more for taking the time to post a review.

I have also passed on your feedback to my Reception Team, particularly Matthew, the Reception Manager, who you spoke with early one morning during your stay.

We would like to put the 'gloss' back into your next experience at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, so I urge you to please contact me direct via 02 4991 0923 or my email ben.nesbitt@ihg.com next time you wish to stay in the Hunter Valley.

We would thoroughly look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back to the resort,

See you soon!
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (326)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 6, 2011

We originally checked into a standard hotel room but after a few hours, realised it was too small for us and a toddler for a weekend. D'uh. Housekeeping were very friendly & tried to help us make the room more comfortable but in the end the hotel staff were more than happy to help us move into something larger. The 2br villas are self contained, spacious & comfortable. Modern, all the comforts of home. Some of the villas could be noisy as they face a road but ours was fine. Can't wait for our child to be old enough for kids club and the weather to be warm enough to swim and we'll be back. The WiFi is pricey.

Room Tip: Villas are best self contained option, away from the road is better
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LoveHappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting!

Our Two and Three Bedroom Villas certainly are popular with our young families who stay at the resort.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the resort, in the warmer weather where you can lounge by the pool (and perhaps a relaxing massage in Tea Tree Day Spa) as you treat your children to the magnificent Water Dragons Kids Club.

See you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toowoomba
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 27, 2011

We recently stayed at the Crowne Plaza with extended family to celebrate our Mum's 60th Birthday. As 6 couples and 1 baby we stayed in a 3 bed villa, a 2 bed villa and a hotel room. The accommodation was lovely and clean. We could not fault the service by staff from the reception to the restaurants. Nothing was too much trouble and they were cheerful and pleasant - whether it was our room service request for a yummy item we had had in the bar but was not on the room service menu, or a table in a quiet area to accommodate all of us - we were offered a smaller room at the rear of Red Salt. The food was delicious - we ate breakfasts and lunch in Red Salt, and a wonderful dinner in Star Anise. We toured the local wineries, strolled through the resort and relaxed in the hotel lounges beside the fire. Our hot air balloon ride with Wine Country Ballooning was a highlight. It was a spectacularly clear early, albeit cold morning - but the scenery was stunning as we watched the fog lift. A fabulous experience. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Betsyandted
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting- what a cracker of a review!

We can't write much in response, except that we look forward to welcoming you back for "another fabulous experience" where "nothing is too much trouble"!

Thanks again for taking the time to post,

We look forward to seeing you and the family again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2011

I had a 3br which was remarkably spacious for 2 couples and 2 infants. The outside greenery was simple divine to wake up to as well as a fully functioning kitchenette. I agree with the other comments about the restaurants available onsite but the buffet breakfast was truly sensational with fresh juice to boot.
I will certainly be recommending this place to all my friends as its centrally located and I thought quite good value for money.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nudels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting!

Our Greenskeeping and Gardening teams will be pleased to hear the 'outside greenery was simply divine to wake up to' given they have been outside in beanies in negative temperatures over the past few months- it will be music to their ears!

Glad you enjoyed our ever popular Redsalt Buffet Breakfast, and that freshly squeezed juice!

Thanks again for posting, we look forward to welcoming your back to the Hunter Valley.

See you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
123 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2011

We've stayed here in June 2009 & June 2010 as part of a conference package. The 2 bedroom apartments are very well appointed. You could easily stay for a week. The apartments are a short stroll from the main hotel, which is a nice touch in terms of getting away from the main complex.
The restaurants and bars in the hotel all serve great food and wine, albeit a little pricey. However, you're staying in luxury in the Hunter Valley - so expect to pay a bit more.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DJR68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting!

Fantastic that you've been able to conference with us over the past two years, and glad you've enjoyed your stay each time- we love looking after our conference groups, the highlight often, is our signature dinner in our very own marquee, right on one of the oldest Semillon vineyards in Australia.

We look forward to welcoming you back for another leisure stay... maybe even for a week...

See you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wahroonga, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2011

Nice hotel, great setting, nice atmosphere. Just don't eat at Star Anise. Food was ordinary. Spring rolls cold, pork belly over cooked and was like leather. Beek stir fry was dry as was the rice. The only good thing was the service which was slick.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank IJC238
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for posting!

We are glad you enjoyed the hotel, setting and atmosphere... but we are disappointed to hear that on this occasion your Star Anise experience was not up to our usual standard.

I have shared your posting with the Executive Chef Michael Bell, and our Food & Beverage Director Andi Julias, who I know share my vision of a great dining experience for all our guests.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the hotel,

See you soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2011

The Hotel itself is great, friendly service, clean and nice rooms.
But I have to say how much of a disappointment Red Salt was. It is like a bistro setting which I'm not a fan of. The food wasn't nice at all. Reading from the menu was what got us there, but actually receiving the food and tasting it devastating.. When you are at the Hunter Valley you want to experience nice hotel, nice food & nice wine. Unfortunately, we didn't experience the nice food at Red Salt.

We just got back on Monday (Queens B'day) from 15 nights of overseas travel, fine dining every night, coming back to home land and dining at a restuarant that quotes Luxury Dining, it is FAR from that.

Sorry will not dine here again, will stay at hotel, but will pass this restuarant.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rockyrocksalt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenNesbitt, Rooms Division Manager at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, responded to this review, July 25, 2011
Thanks for such a detailed posting!

We are pleased you enjoyed your stay at the hotel, the friendly service and the nice clean rooms, but our main take out from this review is our Redsalt restaurant food quality.

I have shared your comments with our Executive Chef Michael Bell, who redesigned our menu just before your stay with us. Michael has encouraged you to contact him direct on 02 4991 0945 or via email on michael.bell@ihg.com as he'd love to discuss his menu with you and the shortfalls you experienced on this occasion.

We would enjoy the chance for redemption, and would look forward to welcoming you back to the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.

See you soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Property: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Address: 430 Wine Country Drive, Lovedale, Cessnock, New South Wales 2325, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Cessnock > Lovedale
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Lovedale
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley 4.5*
Number of rooms: 414
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by picturesque vineyards and golf course greens and framed by the rugged Brokenback Ranges, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley epitomises the best in award winning hospitality and deluxe accommodation. Just two hours drive north of Sydney and ideally located on Wine Country Drive, the hotel offers easy access to wineries and attractions and is the perfect place for a carefree break or stimulating meeting. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley offers deluxe king or twin rooms, spa suites and two and three bedroom self-contained villas, allowing plenty of room for you to relax. To complement your stay, why not enjoy our extensive range of on-site facilities? Rejuvenate your body at our Tea Tree Spa, reward your palate at one of our restaurants or bars, enjoy a round of golf on the 18 hole golf course, or relax in the 25 metre outdoor heated pool. You can enjoy the full range of our on-site facilities while the kids are entertained by a selection of supervised kid-friendly activities in the on-site Water Dragons Club. Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley's premier location and dedication to outstanding personal service has secured its reputation as the hotel of choice in the Hunter Region. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Hotel Lovedale
Crowne Plaza Lovedale
Crowne Plaza Hotel Lovedale
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Greater Newcastle/Lovedale

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