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“simple but intimate”

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Glen Helen Homestead Lodge
Lustenau, Austria
Level Contributor
85 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“simple but intimate”
Reviewed December 25, 2012

Part of our experience of Glen Helen resort was getting there. We rented a car in Ayers Rock, from there drove 300km to Kings Canyon and from Kings Canyon we drove more than 200km to West McDonnell Ranges and Glen Helen resort, among this 180km unpaved road. And this was really a great experience, even driving a car fully packed and with toddler strapped in the back, we felt adventurous:-). And within 3 hours of drive we saw wild camels crossing the road, dingo running along and views of wilderness that was striking color of ochra, most vibrant green and and as foreign as one can imagine Australian Outback. And we met maybe 10 other cars driving opposite direction.
Glen Helen resort is a very different place from Ayers Rock, for the few reasons. It is a small place run by a family, with several rooms that have been renovated and rebuilt from the old farm house (I think it was a farm house). It is place for people who came to Glen Helen to hike or/and spend romantic time while not in the posh hotel. Rooms are tiny with even smaller bathroom but they are squeaky clean and cosy. We stayed there for 2 nights and were perfectly happy with the arrangements. The building is shaped in the letter L, having in front a small swimming pool that was excellent for a dip.
The most pleasant surprise was a restaurant. Behind a lobby and breakfast area of the reception building, that looking very backpacker's, you made a one step into 2 beautifully decorated with local art rooms and once seated you were transported into fine dinning experience. The chef was good and although it was not a five star dining, it was definitely a 4 star and very romantic, especially in the stark contrast with what is outside, and outside is just middle of nowhere in the middle of Australia.
Summarizing, if you go to West McDonald ranges to hike or just spend few days in romantic seclusion of wilderness - that's a place to stay.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Magdalena Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, December 26, 2012
Dear Magdalena Z

thankyou for your review of Glen Helen and the surrounding region, which is very thorough.

You were able to relax much more because you had a two night stay, which is definitely recommended for this scenic region

We are really blessed to have a huge and diverse range of wonderful guests come our way, and we are so glad you had a pleasant and enjoyable experience, and had time to relax.

Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Shanghai
Level Contributor
261 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed December 24, 2012

we came by car (be aware that a rental car has to be 4WD to drive on unsealed roads) from kings canyon. accomodation is very basic. they have a good restaurant in the evening though. plenty of nice walks that you can do from the resort. staff is untrained though and have little clue about the surroundings and cant give you real tips on what to do or what tour might take how much time.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank RolandShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, December 26, 2012
Dear RolandShanghai

thanks for reviewing Glen Helen Resort. We are glad you enjoyed your stay, and thanks for the feedback about the poor information you were able to get about the walks etc

We do have a lot of short term staff, but we try hard to teach them as much as possible about the area so they can help and advise visitors.
You were unlucky not to find someone who could advise you. Looking back to September we had quite a number of well informed staff during that time, but perhaps you asked someone who had only just commenced working with us.
We also train our staff to seek out the answers to guest questions if they do not have an answer yourself.
We will continue to try and improve our information service
Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
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Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
94 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2012

Arriving at Glen Helen Gorge was fantastic in that directly behind the resort was a beautiful rocky cliff and to the left the Gorge.
Not five star but worth the visit. Take your credit card as all items are a little rich but that’s what you pay for when there are no supermarkets. Rooms are varied, we had the Gorge view and worth the experience.
We were even treated to a special visitor later that morning, a small baby Simpson Python at the front door. Certainly got my wife excited, the resort staff too in relocating it from the front door.
Getting up early in the morning 0430AM allowed us to see the beautiful sunrise on the West MacDonnell Ranges and worth every bit of lost sleep.
Great drive there as you get to call into several iconic sites that may be visited either on the way or the return journey too.
Most important tip, take plenty of drinking water, you'll need it.

Room Tip: Get the room with a view, worth the cost.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Obanini1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, December 10, 2012
Dear Obanini1

thanks very much for reviewing Glen Helen Resort. We are really pleased that you enjoyed your stay, and even got to interact with some of our unique wildlife!!

We try hard to keep our pricing fair, and regularly do price comparisons all over the country when we travel ourselves. Because of this I know we are cheaper than many Roadhouses and outback Resorts and hotels, and our bar prices compare well to city prices.

Certainly our accomodation prices cannot be compared to places whose power, water and sewage are magically processed on the payment of a monthly bill! But we know we compare well to other remote accomodation properties that do all their own utilities as we do.

It is incredibly expensive to operate out here, managing all our own power, water and waste, and so we cannot discount as some regional and metropolitan places do. Our freight out here from Alice Springs is very dear too, and we do try to support local businesses in Alice Springs for our goods.

So thanks for your thoughtful comments, and we hope we can welcome you again at Glen Helen Soon.
Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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Alice Springs
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 29, 2012

What works really well for Glen Helen is this: Location, Location! The property is located at the end of the bitumen road from Alice Springs through the Western MacDonnell Ranges on Namatjira Drive. There is a picturesque and swimmable waterhole at the back, which makes for a nice cool down at the end of a Centralian summer's day. However, all of this is natural beauty and really can't be credited to the homestead. The rooms are only equipped with the bare minimum, old bedspreads, no entertainment (eg music, tv) and are very small. The bathrooms are also very old and look like they are in dire need of renovations.
At $160.- the price is shockingly steep for what you get.
We had dinner at the restaurant, which was average.
There is a bar with a pool table and some old memorabilia, which makes for a nice homestead feel.
At 11pm some staff dragged their boombox to the pool for a party and where completely ignorant towards all guest that came out bush to experience some tranquillity in the middle of nowhere...Overall loved out bush but was a bit disappointed by the experience.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the gorge - they cost the same and have wonderful views. If you want to...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Dunja G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, December 2, 2012
Dear Dunja G

thanks for reviewing Glen Helen Resort. We are always grateful for feedback.

Firstly I must reassure you that the noisy Pool party was not our staff! Although we have been away for some time in November, I can be sure that the staff will not ever cause a disruption such as you experienced in a guest area. They sometimes have a party evening and they know they must keep this fairly subdued and in their own area.
On asking all staff about this incident, they can only suggest that there were a couple of noisy groups of young people that had to be spoken to in an evening, and one group did have a portable music system. These guests were campers and had already been asked to leave the area in front of the homestead because they were noisy!!
There was also a noisy guest incident on 10th November that we were aware of and believed we had apologised to all our guests from that night, so if that was when you were here, I am sorry we missed speaking to you personally.
So I am really sorry you were disturbed, as it is not acceptable. The pool is totally out of bounds after 10pm anyway.
Also, next time you plan a trip out our way, let staff know you are locals when you book, and we can offer you some local specials. We try to reward local support. Our costs are high, operating as we do so remotely, and we try to let guests know that the rooms are very simple, but we offer great service and atmosphere, and that is what makes us special. Room renovations are needed, we know. As leasehold owners we have only so much we can spend on this.

Finally, I am sorry your meal experience was only 'average', as most people are delighted with our restaurant, which has won dining awards this season. Perhaps you came on the Chef's night off, and had the simple bistro lunch menu, not our A La Carte selection.
We hope you will come out and have another try to enjoy our hospitality

Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
Manager
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Alice Springs, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 11, 2012

Being" locals" we have visited & stayed at the lodge Glen Helen since the 80's, but unfortunatley our recent overnight stay was not good at all, or worthy of the price ( even tho, we did get local prices...) Bed & pillows were very hard, & not comfortable at all, bathroom was dirty, shower was very dangerous, going from cold to boiling hot, and stopping completely while hubby was trying to shower........lady at reception was very confused ( I expect she was new ) it took ages just to check out!! The scenery and the beauty of the area is still as magnificent, it was just unfortunate, that the accomodation was very sub standard.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Deb c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Front Office Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, November 23, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to review Glen Helen Resort.

We are always sorry to hear when someone has not enjoyed a stay with us but endeavor to use this feedback to improve the property.

It has been brought to our attention of late that in some rooms the cold water pressure is not matching that of the hot water, this issue does occasionally come up but we do always try to advise guests how to best operate the taps to get a good mix of both. I apologise if this information was not relayed to you.

As a remote property we do rely on a lot of international backpackers for staff, we consider this a mutually beneficial arrangement as it gives the resort a constant supply of new and enthusiastic employees which is often an issue in other remote properties. It also gives young travelers the opportunity to gain new skills and build confidence in the English language. Glen Helen relies on a strong management team to support new staff and ensure guests are not inconvenienced by the learning process, unfortunately it appears that all of these managers were otherwise engaged at the time of your check out which is something we try to avoid.

Regarding our rooms, we make every effort to advise guests that we are not a luxury property and sell based on the merits of customer service, location and cleanliness but we do have a constant battle with limescale build up caused by the hard bore water in the area. We do make every effort to remove all build up but in some cases this is just impossible. Again we do try to explain this to guests on arrival to avoid any confusion.

Once again, I am very sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay as much as you had in the past but do hope that you will continue to enjoy this fantastic area in the future.

Kind Regards
Stacey Hosking
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Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
200 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2012

We planned a day trip out from Alice along the West Mac's, with stops on the way at gorges and waterholes, Glen Helen for lunch, turn around and stop back at other gorges and waterholes we passed on the first leg. The resort is situated right against/beneath a magnificent cliff face (I think you would call it?) of red rock, with the gorge beneath it. The location is worth the trip - and the trip itself with the many stops along the way is one of the most spectacular days of my life in terms of sight seeing. For that alone I would recommend you go to Glen Helen Resort, and you *must* stop at several places, if only at Ormiston Gorge.

That said, I can sympathise to some extent with other reviewers complaining about price and the 'run down' feeling of the homestead. Nothing wrong with rustic or homestead - Ross River Resort our along the East Mac's manages this to the right effect (also recommend this trip, although the sights are as stirring as along with West Mac's) - but that might just be that of the two original homesteads, Ross River homestead was just a nicer house. When we were at Glen Helen Resort it was very busy (Saturday lunchtime), and there isn't much room inside to share with so many people. But its nicer to site outside anyway and look at the view.

Three burgers and chips (inc one camel burger), one ice-cream, one coke and two beers, cost us over 60 aud. So yes it is also expensive. But for those reading reviews and concerned about the complaints about price, and hotel 'quality'- people, this is the centre of Australia. It was hard enough for us to fly in to visit, and then drive out there in a rented car - it's got to be a lot more difficult to ship in fresh food at a 'normal' price, let alone building supplies on the back of camel whenever they built this place. It is expensive to do *any*thing out in the part of Australia.

If you manage your expectations, you will enjoy this venue. The food was good quality and enjoyable, the drinks were very cold which was appreciated!. The trip out there, is beyond description. If you need somewhere 4 or 5 star to stay over, don't stay here. But if you want a day trip you will remember for a life time, Glen Helen Resort is a great middle point destination, which is very hospitable and has everything you could ask for.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rachaelOz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Dear RachaelOz

thanks for reviewing Glen Helen Resort. We wont apologise for being busy when you were here, but we do hope you did find somewhere to sit and enjoy your meal! Our ambition is to one day have a great big deck out looking at that great view with shade and heaps of room!

We regularly compare prices of our meals/drinks/icecreams to make sure we are on a par with other outback properties, and are confident that we have our prices at a fair level for our isolation, and I can see you have realized the challenges of this isolation.

We hope you may visit again one day and take a day or two to further explore the wonderful West Macs!
You will then have the chance to enjoy our excellent evening meals in our award winning Restaurant, which are different again from the daytime cafe menu.

We are continually working to improve our guest experience, so we really appreciate all our feedback.

Kind regards

Shelagh O'Brien
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geelong australia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed October 9, 2012

Looks fine on the internet, but needs a good revamp. Motel accommodation was similar to army huts; blue tape had been used to stop water coming in, one tiny bit of soap which was to be used for wash basin and the shower. I had bites all night from something in the bed. Just because there is no other accommodation it should not mean that the place should be of such a poor standard. The barbecue itself was clean but the surrounds were shocking. I am not a fussy person and am used to camping which would have been much better.

Room Tip: Better to camp.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank viewsend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
outback_oasis, Manager at Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, responded to this review, October 19, 2012
Dear Viewsend

thanks for reviewing Glen Helen Resort.
We are sorry you do not feel you had good value staying with us. We go to some lengths to let our guests know that although our rooms are very simple we love to make you welcome, and it is on this welcome and the atmosphere of our homestead and surrounds that we encourage our guests to focus.
The blue tape was placed on the window sills recently by the pest controller to mark damage by termites to be repaired. The rooms are definitely waterproof!!
As a leasehold business we do not have control over room renovations, but we endeavour to clean and prepare rooms to the very best standards possible, including excellent air conditioning.
We are right in the outback and there are a few insects that sneak into rooms, especially if lights are on with the door open for any period, but I am sorry they may have interfered with your rest.
We hope you enjoyed your meals, the beautiful surrounds and our friendly staff, but just forget to mention them!
Kind regards
Shelagh O'Brien
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Glen Helen Homestead Lodge

Property: Glen Helen Homestead Lodge
Address: 1 Namatjira Drive | West MacDonnell Ranges Via Alice Springs, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory 0872, Australia (Formerly Glen Helen Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > West MacDonnell National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in West MacDonnell National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Glen Helen Homestead Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, previously known as Glen Helen Resort is a Lodge style property with simple, compact and comfortable rooms, great scenic location with old fashioned welcome and outback atmosphere.We are renowned for great personal service, great dining in our Award Winning Restaurant and great live entertainment. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Glen Helen Homestead Lodge Australia/West MacDonnell National Park

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