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“Clean, comfortable, what more do you need?”

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Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Reviewed May 6, 2010

We stayed here for 3 nights as part of our Australia/New Zealand tour. We flew direct to Uluru and having picked up our hire car had no difficulty at all finding the resort – a 10/15 min drive from the airport.

What particularly impressed us about not only Desert Gardens, but the whole Voyages resort, was how unobtrusive it was. If it had not been well signposted, we could easily have missed the turning.

Desert Gardens is a busy hotel and there seem to be quite a number of tour groups that use it. This did lead to some congestion and queuing in the reception area at times, but both check in and out were efficiently handled. On check in, there did not seem to be any porters or bell boys to help with luggage, so we were left to manage on our own. As rooms are arranged in 2 story blocks across the complex – with no lifts, this was rather trying! Whilst we were there, the area was plagued with locusts and flies, a result of recent weather conditions, so face nets proved essential. The door to our room was covered in locusts, which I found a little off putting to start with, but to which we rapidly became accustomed. There was no problem with insects inside the room, at all.

We were in a standard room, on the top floor of a block, facing a sand dune and a view of the desert, none of which were a problem as we spent very little time actually in the room. The aircon was reasonably quiet and very efficient, the bed very comfortable and the bathroom and plumbing more than adequate. The balcony was a pleasant place to enjoy a quiet drink and snack before heading out for the evening.

Having read reviews of the hotel, we were prepared for food to be pricey. However, we balked at paying AU$26 each for a continental breakfast and similarly ridiculous prices for other meals. The problem was easily solved by walking the short distance to the ‘town square’ and having breakfast at the Red Rock Deli (fabulous fruit salads and filled croissants) and evening meal at Geckos (excellent pizza and pasta dishes) both of which were very reasonably priced.

Unusually, Desert Gardens not only has a guest laundry – they make no charge for the use of any of the machines AND provide washing powder for free. The swimming pool was a good size and well maintained although actually used very little. There were plenty of sun loungers and chairs around the pool, and towels were provided free of charge. The hotel has a small gift shop which had some rather nice pieces, but seemed to open at odd hours, so we never did get to buy anything there. Although quite a large proportion of guests had cars, there were always plenty of parking spaces available.

All in all we had a fantastic time at Uluru and would not hesitate to recommend Desert Gardens with the caveat that food prices really are ridiculous.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SunL0ver57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,230 - 2,236 of 3,013 reviews

Reviewed April 30, 2010

Good, comfortable rooms. Excellent service, the staff were very helpful. We only ate breakfast but that was good too. Our only complaint is that, despite being expensive to start with, pretty well everything you look at is a chargeable extra. You even have to pay extra to get a properly made (ie coffee machine) cup of coffee with breakfast!

Tip: book for the 'Sounds of Silence' dinner - it's memorably good.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank brabb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2010

Stayed here for 4 nights during our tour around Australia. Had a room overlooking pool area. Good sized bedroom and bathroom. No safe in room. Complimentary laundry facilities which was very handy as we were on a long trip. The whole resort is owned and run by Voyages who have the monopoly here. All restaurants and shops etc were very expensive. Still a great place to stay but be prepared to pay over the odds for food, drink etc. Good pool area very clean. Plenty of pool towels available. Staff very friendly.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SouthportRaws
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2010

Stayed here for one night in April with a friend and we both really enjoyed this property. Large spacious Rock view room with double/double bedding and nice large bathroom (shower over bath). Shower head was a bit strange and the Tv was very old but this is just nit-picking.
Of course being apart of the Voyages Monopoly (coupled with Qantas' Red Centre Monopoly) the prices are very high but this is a very worthwhile experience.
In my opinion much nicer than the "5 * " Sails resort.
Had no issues with service nor with baggage storage (did the other posters even ask reception to store it?)
Also did a guided Uluru walk with Discovery Eco tours which has sadly gone under recently and the awesome Sounds of Silence dinner. Both were definite highlights of my Red Centre trip and those along with Desert Gardens made the experience very enjoyable and memorable.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank wric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 4, 2010

An average stay for an over-the-top price. Just another example why monopolies are only good for the owner: below average house-keeping, low on maintenance.

Restaurants: White Gums: overpriced too and overdone staff (No, you're not working in a Michelin star restaurant, so don't act like it). Brekkies in cafe in the "town-centre": nice and better staff.

They rank themselves as "superior" and 4,5 stars: no way!

We stayed at a few other places during our stay in Australia (and yes, some also remote) but this was by far the worst on price/quality.

But the location is a must and you don't want to drive a few 100 k's and only stay one day at Uluru, so you're stuck to the Voyages company and I have to recommend them compulsory.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Edgar-NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2010

We stayed in an upgraded room at the additional cost of AUS$40 per night. This was very good value as the rooms were larger with fantastic views over Uluru from the full wall picture window. There was a short walk back to the main reception but this was a small matter compared with the view.
The site has various levels of accomodation and we decided against the Sails in the Desert Hotel following comments on this site and we felt we had made the correct decision. All trips were arranged from reception andthis was very efficient.
The flies were horrendous with most tourists buying the rediculous looking fly nets...but they work! The early morning start (5.30 am!!!) to see dawn over Uluru is a must,

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Craig_Harrison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2010

As a lot of other reviewers have mentioned, value for money is not the selling point of ANY of the hotels at Yulara – they really do have you over a barrel if you’re going to stay at Ayers Rock! I would definitely recommend doing a bit of a web search though as we got about 30-40% off the rack rate being offered on the Yulara website by going through a last minute booking website.

However, value for money/ star rating vs cost arguments aside…we had a good time at this hotel and thought – if, like us, you can’t afford the Longitude 131 option! – this is the best of the Yulara hotels as it is the only one to offer rooms with a view of the rock (albeit at a distance). Definitely worth paying extra for them, particularly if – like us – you get rained out while you’re there! You can eat at all the restaurants across the resort and are not restricted to those in your own hotel so better to go for a room with a view (although bizarrely we found the alcohol cheaper at Desert Gardens than at the backpacker option!!)

We also had room service one night and watched the ‘sunset’ from our sheltered balcony and the hotel staff were really accommodating about letting us pick and choose options off different menus from around the resort (not just the room service menu!) We found all the staff across the resort really helpful and friendly actually, particularly the bar staff at Desert Gardens.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank TravelBug1319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Address: Yulara Drive | Ayers Rock Resort, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia
Location: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > Yulara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Price Range: $219 - $410 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 218
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is a superior hotel at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs are the setting for this hotel. Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is centrally located to all resort and touring facilities and offers a range of accommodation, from shaded poolside rooms to deluxe rooms overlooking the desert.You can relax in the comfort of your own private balcony or courtyard, or unwind in the hotel's pool, sipping cocktails from the Bunya bar. It's only a short stroll to the Resort's numerous lookouts, where you can view what is arguably Australia's best sunset, with the spectacular play of colours across the face of Uluru and the surrounding desert. Once the sun has set, dine at Arnguli Grill and savour an a la carte flame grilled menu. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Hotel Yulara
Hotel Desert Gardens
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort Australia/Yulara

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