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.
- 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