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“Beautiful Scenery. Horrible Resort.”

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Heron Island Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Certificate of Excellence
Kansas City, Missouri, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Beautiful Scenery. Horrible Resort.”
Reviewed February 8, 2013

I could literally write a six-page essay on how bad my experience was here, but I'll try to be succinct and give only the bullet points.

-The first day my family arrived, the water system had broken down so we could not shower or use the sink.
-Our room was not air-conditioned.
-The food was inedible, a sentiment the rest of the guests obviously shared. Fresh fruit was a prized possession and people would hover around the buffet waiting for more to come. We eventually learned to look for items that had been frozen already prepared (what you would buy in the frozen section of a grocery store).
-The staff are college students who move about with bloodshot eyes from partying the night before. You can tell they have no interest in providing a high caliber of customer service.
-The glass bottom boat was broken, and I suspect it has been that way for some time.
-You eventually learn to fall asleep to the cawing of over 100k birds.
-If you avoid getting bird feces on you, consider yourself lucky.

-The only positive was the incredible reef.

I could go on, but I hope I've made my point. I strongly encourage you to spend your money elsewhere. This is a place that takes "coasting by" to new extremes.

Room Tip: There are only a few air-conditioned rooms. But I would advise not going here at all.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank ElliottLeeScott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed February 5, 2013

When we booked, we had paid for an ocean front suite. On arrival, were shown to a room that was definitely not ocean front. There were many trees and a large grassy patch out the front of our room, and another building, blocking a clear vista to the water. The water was at least 50m away. Considering what we had paid I said something to management as I was not happy with where we had been located.
We were told there were no other rooms available and had to stay in the one we were shown to.
They did provide us with a discount though, which I guess was a positive.
Beside this hiccup, the rooms were comfortable, clean and modern.
The setting is stunning. All food was included in the price, and was tasty, and the selection was good...changing each day.
Scuba diving was the purpose of our trip, and it was fantastic. The crew who run the dive shop were professional, fun and energetic.
If you are wanting to just relax, sip cocktails and do nothing, then this would be a great place for that.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ultreya2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2013

The island & wildlife, beautiful. The resort is clearly going through hard times. A very disappointing resort & embarrassing for Australians to show to overseas tourists. I would love to return one day, but there's no chance of that whilst this resort is the hands of this company. The natural elements & wonderful nature of Heron was not enough. I need the whole package.
Lets hope!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Lucky T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2013

Wow, what to say. I am still in awe from my trip a few back. The beaches and reefs were beyond anything I could have imagined. None of the photographs I viewed before my trip did this island any justice. It was magical. Coming from a city in the northern hemisphere, at night the stars were an added bonus. The southern cross, Milky Way and even Mother Turtle herself shinning brightly as we watched turtles come onto the shores and begin the process of nesting and laying their eggs. During the day endless walks around the island and snorkeling during high tide- sea rays, lemon and black tip sharks, turtles and everything that lives amongst the reefs. During low tide you could walk out quite far- please don't walk on the reefs and be careful. We enjoyed our time on Heron however please be prepared- this is not a five star resort. It is basically camping indoors- no ac just high powered fans. The food was fine nothing that would typically come with the price of this place. Also, if you are not a bird person, Heron is NOT for you. There were birds everywhere around the clock. We were pooed on quite a bit and the smell and noise is constant. So we ate quickly and slept few hours and spent our time on the beach and on the reefs! That's why I came to an island anyway! I hope you enjoy your trip as we did ours!

  • Stayed January 2013
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Helpful?
2 Thank JEllen588
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
48 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2013

This review is long overdue. We spent 4 days at Heron Island and 3 days on Wilson Island in early October, 2012. I will be writing a separate review for Wilson Island.

The resort at Heron Island was not five star but our main focus was the beach and the snorkeling, so as long as it was clean, that was fine with us. Also, after "camping" for 3 days on Wilson Island with no electricity, no hairdryer, no private toilet, Heron Island seemed like ultra luxury to me : ) Everything that I used to take for granted but sorely missed on Wilson Island I found on Heron Island!

We picked the Reef Room and requested the second floor of the townhouses so that we could have a glimpse of the ocean. Be forewarned, there are many trees which block the view, but they provided lots of privacy.

We swam and snorkeled with stingrays and sharks everyday. It was amazing encountering the stingrays and sharks in a wild environment. It felt totally different from the guided stingray tours or the shark feeding we had in Tahiti.

The best thing about Heron Island was the reef walking. Situated on the Great Barrier Reef, there are lots of live coral, and during low tide, one can walk a kilometre out from shore. The sealife was amazing. I saw beautiful fish, seastars, sea cucumbers and all sorts of corals in knee deep water. Amazing!!!

Our only complaint - the food in the dining room. After the gourmet meals on Wilson, we had to get used to the worse than dorm food on Heron. They also served pork belly (not the great tasting kind) at breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday! The pizza and drinks at the bar were great though.

Customer service was friendly but inefficient. Our boat ride to Wilson Island from Heron was delayed for many hours, and they mixed up our reservation at Heron when we returned from Wilson, so for both islands we had to wait hours to settle in our room. The friendly reception and Marg's excellent service made it more bearable. Deidre, the Resort Manager, also took my complaint seriously and dealt with it in a sincere and satisfactory manner. I do believe they do try hard to elevate the service to standards which match the beauty of the islands.

Room Tip: reef room on the second floor near the spa was great
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank isimpo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Qld
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 26, 2013

Well this is our 17th visit but my first time to write a review. The island is still worth a visit for sure, but for those who have been before will notice some decline.

No more fine dining, no more sat night seafood buffet no more champagne on arrival in the harbour and no more gourmet breakfasts. But you will not starve.

It was very hot when we were there, only one fan was working at full speed we requested someone to look at, but alas nothing ever came of it. We had hoped to bring our eldest daughter but was told no 4 person rooms avail, if one came up they would contact us, so we were surprised to find we had a 4 person room, also surprised to find that the bed had not been made up for the 3rd person when we put her to bed that night, was fixed the next day. Housekeeping is hit and miss these days, on the last night we got the floor swept and new towels, no bed making though.

Still worth a visit for the nature, but you will need a lot of extra cash nowadays for the snorkell boats, gone are days when a family could do two trips per day, at $48 for an adult and $35 for children is just over the top now.

Sad to say that for the money, those who want the reef experience are far better off at lady Elliot islan, reef access is just so much easier !

I really hope that management will read these reviews and lift their came a bit, I can only hope the management are on a budget with the current economic climate and things will improve,

We will go back one more time this year so we will see then.

Room Tip: Room 23 was awesome close to the gantry for easy access for snorkelling
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
8 Thank bouchee2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlsbad, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2013

We stayed at the Heron Island Resort over Christmas in 2012. The experience of staying on the Great Barrier Reef was great, but the resort was a huge let down. We paid about $1,000 US per night, plus transfers (about $800) for a four night stay starting on New Year’s Eve. The resort is physically run down, poorly equipped and filled with inexperienced staff who have never heard of good customer service. The food, which was served buffet style for all but one meal, was never great, and usually was in short supply. The buffet was constantly running out of food, dishes, cups and cutlery. We had to hang around the buffet table waiting for food to be delivered so we could get some before it ran out. Tables were not cleared. Bar prices were high, even by Australian standards and an allowance for an isolated location. Forty dollars US ($40) for two margaritas anyone? The bartender had somehow never heard of a Shirley Temple for our kids.

The lack of good customer service was shocking for a resort charging $1,000 per night. As we walked from our room to the dining hall not once did a staff person every say hello or even smile. Usually they averted they eyes and avoided any contact. At the dining hall we checked in with the same hostess at almost every meal for four days. Not once did she ever greet us with hello, how are you, how was your day or make any attempt to remember us. Everytime it the conversation starter was “what is your room number”. There are only 125 rooms, how is it that some level of personal service can’t be provided? That same indifference was shown by virtually every staff member from the buffet, to the bar to the house keeping staff. It was like staying in a summer camp for kids, not a $1,000 per night resort. Delaware North, owners of the resort profess to have a customer service program called GuestPath. Either the program is useless or no one at Heron Island has learned of it.

On the check-out day we are asked to vacate the rooms by 10 am, and catch the boat at 2 pm – but were advised by letter that lunch was not included. We were told we could buy it in the dining hall. There was a last minute change of heart and it was provided. From 10 am to 2 pm there was one set of public toilets available. I have attached photos of the condition of the men’s room. The toilets were like this at 10:30 and didn’t change (only got worst) until 1:30. How can this be a resort that charges $1,000 day? Doesn’t anyone care?

On a couple of occasions I had to ask staff questions and was given short impolite responses. I was yelled at by a staffer after another staff told me to walk in a particular path.

The resort advertises a tennis court, and we looked forward to playing. The tennis court was in a complete state of disrepair. It was covered in bird poop, the net was ripped and partly hanging and the area was used for storage of some unrelated items. It was unusable.

Some other issues that in themselves would not have a problem, and are understandable given the remote location were the lack of air conditioning anywhere except the gift shop, lack of in room telephone or intercom, lack of room service.

Our visit started by checking in to the Ferry in Gladstone. About 8 groups rode the boat over that day. We were told the bags would be delivered to our rooms. Unknown to us the clerk in Gladstone mislabeled our bags and they were lost for a few hours on the Island. In fact they were standing outside collecting bird poop and we accidentally came across them.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Dan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Heron Island Resort

Property: Heron Island Resort
Address: Via Gladstone, Heron Island, Queensland 4680, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Heron Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Heron Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Heron Island Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 109
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Heron Island is a true coral cay right on the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Here you swim off the beach to an endless garden of coral. Activities include guided island and reef walks, semi-submersible cruises, bird watching and beach picnics, plus a Kids program. Voyages Heron Island is famous around the world for its scuba diving and snorkeling. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Heron Island Hotel Heron Island

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