Lodging and food is crazy-expensive in this only (multi-motel) resort in town. But worth it at Desert Gardens is the extra $40 or so to have a room where you can lie in bed and look at the spectacularly changing light on Uluru.
- Free Parking
The hotel itself is OK; the rooms are large and well equipped and the bathrooms spacious. The level of cleanliness was good. What let the place down was the general attitude to their customers. The reception was officious and patronising, why is it that hotels do not realise that first impressions matter so much, we arrived at 2pm and were told guaranteed check in time was 3pm, there was no attempt to check if our room was ready or not. We were then told where to park our car, it could only be parked in one place, and we then found some pleasant porters who kindly transferred our luggage to our room. Another gripe is that if a credit card is used a mandatory 1.5% is added to the bill, and whilst we are on a run you have to pay to use the computer, this was irksome as we had just come from a budget hotel where computer access was free. The hotel is excellently situated for Ulura and the Olgas, but we felt that the place could have done a lot better.
This hotel is billed as "four and a half" star, but it really isn't even close.
There were a variety of niggles, each individually too small to bother bringing to the attention of reception, but underwhelming altogether, and would just never happen in a real four star.
Windows that need cleaning inside and out, lampshades with fly swat marks, a kettle with yellow and brown age marks and corroded heating element, air con that doesn't cool at all, only 2 watchable TV channels - the rest with interference, some yellowed tile grout in the bathroom, cobwebs on the ceiling, cheap thin MDF wood furniture... nothing absolutely major, but doesn't give a good impression.
Breakfast is $35 per person. We waited until the last morning for a 'treat'. It was buffet-style, and the food was cold - it really isn't acceptable to serve cold food, especially for that price. Eggs, bacon, hash browns, all luke warm. We weren't even after the main breakfast rush, and I'd say around 40 people were having to eat it. Basic fail.
The saving grace is the staff - one of the reception staff really made our day by going the extra mile to organise a tour for us.
Some of the staff are exceptional - this place may be considered four star given the remote location, but compared to the conventional definition of 'four star', it leaves a lot to be desired.
The hotel is one of several in the Yulara complex, which exists to service visitors to Uluru (Ayre's Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). The rooms are in blocks spread through the hotel's grounds and they can be a few hundred meters walk from the car park - awkward if burdened by much luggage. The room was pleasant, well decorated, clean, had a decent bathroom, and provided comfortable beds. Dining in the hotel's restaurant was a pleasant experience, with fairly good food at - for the remote location - an acceptable price. Breakfast was another matter, being expensive for the average food on offer.
Don't be fooled by the name "resort", this was a motel type accommodation, pleasant surroundings in the middle of Australia. I realise it must be difficult to get staff to work in remote areas however the organisation/management of this place leaves a lot to be desired. As a group booking we could check in at 3 pm. It took more than an hour for our bags to be delivered to our room on arrival and on check out one case was left in the room despite it being placed alongside two others. The bar service was very disappointing, one evening we stood at the bar, the bar was empty, the barman asked us to take a seat and we would get a waiter who would serve us as they did not take orders and do drinks directly across the bar. While we waited for a non existent waiter more people arrived who walked to the same bar man at the same bar and got served! This was the first of many similar incidents. We were not impressed with service at all and the staff attitude did nothing to improve our impressions by the time we left. As residents we could not get a dinner booking despite the restaurant being half empty and the following morning breakfast was only available after 930, again the restaurant was empty and other people just walked in at any time and got a table. As I said, highly disorganised staff management and very disappointing for us as first time visitors.
Dear Stephanie M
Thank you for your review.
I am sorry to read of your disappointing experience at Desert Gardens hotel. Please be assured your frustrations are isolated and definitely not a normal reflection of the product and service we provide.
As you may have noticed all guests generally arrive and depart at similar times. This scenario can create congestion in reception and with several group arrivals create a few delays with luggage. Our portering team do plan as best as possible and endeavour to deliver your bags efficiently as possible.
The open plan of dining rooms can create an impression the restaurant is quiet. The Arnguli team are dedicated in providing the best possible experience to all guests. During peak season it is highly recommended to book in advance. If our restaurant is full there are 6 alternative dining options within 5 minutes on our free resort shuttle.
I believe you may have been misled regarding breakfast timings. Occasionally we recommend to groups to dine at certain times to reduce congestion at breakfast to ensure all guest receive the best possible breakfast experience. If 9:30am is not suitable you are more than welcome to dine anytime between 6:30am -10:30am.
Please know that a mandatory Service Excellence training is currently being implemented to all staff across Desert Gardens Hotel ensure the highest standard of customer service is delivered at all times.
I would like to wish you all the best on your future travels.
Desert Gardens Hotel
Ideal location to visit Uluru and The Olga's, with some great (if expensive) restaurants. Michael the Concierge made a real difference to our stay, driving us to dinner, and getting cases delivered to/ collected from the room. (It can be quite a distance from reception to the room).
Pay a visit to The Sails whilst you are there. A lovely pool bar awaits.............