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“Stunning location, service needs tweaks”

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Southern Ocean Lodge
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Kangaroo Island
Certificate of Excellence
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
87 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Stunning location, service needs tweaks”
Reviewed April 7, 2011

I first saw Southern Ocean Lodge in a travel magazine a year or two ago and knew that I had to stay there. The rooms and the location did not fail to disappoint - both are just as stunning in person as they are in the pictures. For that alone I would recommend staying here. The tours and activities they provide are also top notch. The lodge works with Exceptional KI tours who do some of the tours and their staff is just amazing. The tour guides who work for the lodge directly were also very good, maybe less experienced, but very friendly and good. The spa is also amazing - it's set away from the lodge up higher on the cliffs and the view is amazing. The facilities are rather large and very nice and the massage I had was first rate. The reason I didn't give this place five stars (ideally I'd given it four and a half) is that, for the price, they need to make a few adjustments to the service. Most of our issues revolved around the restaurant which had a somewhat disproportionate impact since you are eating three meals and day there. We often had to hunt down a waiter and at one point get water for ourselves. Some of the waitstaff was good, but we were often confused as to who our waiter was and I think the staff often had the same confusion. They need to work out a better system. The food overall was very good, but again a few problems. One dinner (we were there four nights) both of our dishes were extremely salty, really inedible, and they sort of apologized (and didn't offer anything else) but then the chef sent the waiter out to argue with us why were wrong and dishes were fine. If this was a restaurant in my home town I would have never, ever returned. That said we had a really good meal the next night - but the stress of it really sort of broke the "bubble" of vacation good feeling. Another issue we had is that we'd been communicating with what we thought was resort staff to sort out our tours for our stay and it turns out we were not, that it was reservations staff who aren't onsite and who never communicated our wishes to the resort. It all worked out and we got what we wanted, but again, it was stressful and not what we want on vacation. I wouldn't discourage anyone from going at all - Kangaroo Island is a magnificent place and we saw tons of kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and even echidnas and the resort is unbelievably beautiful - but I think they need to pay attention to some of the details a little more.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank oscarfelix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarah1971_9, Public Relations Manager at Southern Ocean Lodge, responded to this review, April 14, 2011
Welcome home and thank you for posting your review about your experiences at Southern Ocean Lodge on Trip Advisor. We're pleased you enjoyed Kangaroo Island itself and that you enjoyed what the Lodge offers in terms of design and facilities, and trust that on the whole your experiences of the Lodge team, the food and touring were favourable. We appreicate the would-be 4.5 stars, but of course we always aim for 5! We have noted your comments regarding waitstaff and appreciate that this must have been a frustrating aspect to dining at Southern Ocean Lodge; we're pleased too that dinner on the second night was more to your liking. We do aim for a streamlined guest stay in terms of touring, food and all aspects of service and will use this valuable feedback to further improve our standards of excellence.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Redondo Beach, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2011

I had heard and read so much about SOL and it lived up to all my expectations and more. Amazing location - edge of the world yet all the amenities and service you could ask for. The Spa is sensational. An excellent base to explore the nature and beauty of Kangaroo Island. We did a day tour with Exceptional Kangaroo Island upon arrival and it was the perfect way to ease into the Island - highly recommend a private tour with them. Plan a late departure from Kanagroo Island if you can - it's a pity to leave earlier than you have too. Recommend 3 nights to really enjoy and soak up this special place in the world.

Room Tip: They are all great!
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Hudson2905
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2011

What an amazing place!

The pictures on their website hardly do them justice.

The location is mesmerizing, the hotel is magnificent, the food sublime, the staff felt like old friends. This IS the most magical place that we have ever visited.

On arriving at the hotel we were greeted like family. Nothing was too much for the team at SOL. The excursions kept both my wife and our kids fully immersed throughout the day and it was just a pleasure to go to dinner each night and experience the local foods and wines.

I highly recommend the hotel, choose room 19, the view over the rugged coast line is just inspiring.

Enjoy.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Travelling_Philips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
63 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2011

The beauty, the people, the atmosphere...there are no words to describe the experience of staying at Southern Ocean Lodge. The staffs' enthusiasm and warm contribute to making this one of the most welcoming places we've ever visited. The website understates the beauty of Southern Ocean Lodge. If it were located closer to home, this definitely would become the place that we would visit on all special occasions.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank ewlibby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
35 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2011

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Australia, and Southern Ocean Lodge was definitely the high point. Kangaroo island is not easy to get to. We flew from Sydney to Adelaide, then had a 4 hour wait until our 20 minute flight to Kangaroo Island. But it is definitely worth the travel time.

When we arrived at the hotel (after an hour's car ride) which is part of the fun, we could not believe it. Our jaws dropped at the magnificent scenery and views we saw from the minute we stepped into the entrance of the lodge. The entire public space of the lodge is floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beautiful crashing waves of the Southern Ocean. Whether you are in the lounge area, the bar area or the dining room, you have this spectacular view that really defies description.

We were taken to our room, and our awe continued. We had booked the Osprey Pavilion, which is the best suite in the lodge. It too had unbroken, floor to ceiling window views of the Southern Ocean from the living room and bedroom. It truly took our breath away. The
suite was magnificently furnished in a contemporary design and was ultra comfortable. The living room coffee table converted to a fire pit, that you could turn on at will, if you so desired. The bathroom was stupendous and huge. It too had floor to ceiling windows to the back of the property which is completely private and gorgeous. There is an egg-shaped, solid limestone bathtub in the middle of the room that was wonderful to soak in.

The food is sensational. Each meal was a work of art and delicious. They also have a "classic" menu, if you want a simpler selection to choose from. One day at lunch we ordered the lamb burger from it, and it was the best we've ever eaten. All food and wine is included which makes it somehow more relaxing.

The trips or "safaris" the hotel provides are interesting. We wanted to see Kangaroos in their natural habitat and this is definitely the place to do it. The seals and other wild life are spectacular too. Their naturalists are knowledgeable and interesting.

We are not spa people, but went to look at the spa. It is beautiful and has a fabulous location on the property.

By happenstance, during our stay the Lodge's owners, James and Hayley Baillie were there. They are warm, welcoming and so friendly. We enjoyed talking to them immensely about the Lodge, its architecture, design and their amazing attention to detail. Their input and creativity in imagining and then developing such a wonderful property is quite unbelievable in today's world of corporate hotel design and management. They love what they do and what they have built. We are most grateful to them for creating this very special place.

We have been to all of New Zealand's best lodges, and we thought we had "seen it all", but Southern Ocean Lodge outshines them, as far as we are concerned.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank discerningNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2011

Ahhh… The truly amazing Southern Ocean Lodge over looking the great Southern Ocean is my choice again this year for a few days of rest and relaxation. I decided that to head off to foreign shores really defeats the purpose - I just wanted to be quiet, be still, be pampered, and be thoroughly spoilt and I knew that’s what would be waiting for me. And to my delight familiar faces greeted me and immediately I felt the refreshing and the peace of being totally immersed in the beauty of this amazing place. Making my visit even more memorable this year was meeting the newest member of the SOL team Lou and Ben’s 10 day old son Bosco Jayden. How many places could you say that it really feels like you are simply ‘coming home’.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Granny_58_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2011

We visited this establishment which cost $1000's per night at the same time as the Oprah group. Our drinks were forgotten at breakfast and dinner as the staff were busy fussing over these guests. We had no turndown service and when we complained the only reply we received was 'Can you tell us some more so we can improve it for our other guests?!' When we complained at the time and when we returned home they showed very little interest. This is a totally disgusting response at these prices. Suggested the staff to visit somewhere like Lizard Island to learn how to treat guests at such an expensive holiday destination. What was worse than the lack of service was the lack of interest in our complaint.

  • Stayed December 2010
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank CarySymons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarah1971_9, Public Relations Manager at Southern Ocean Lodge, responded to this review, February 21, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to post a review about your recent stay at SOL on Trip Advisor. A growing number of travelers (some recent statistics read 86%) now refer to Trip Advisor as well as the property and destination tourism sites when making their travelling decisions, so it’s a powerful tool, designed to offer transparency and honesty in a product or service. At Southern Ocean Lodge we encourage past guests to post reviews to this valuable platform, and promote links to our Trip Advisor reviews at several points on our website so as potential guests may read them. We’re of course pleased that the vast majority of our reviews are outstandingly positive, and acknowledge of course that a few will not be. This constructive criticism is highly valued, as it is our aim that every guest should have an unforgettably great experience at Southern Ocean Lodge. In this instance, we were aware of your concerns both during your stay and post stay, and there has been ongoing correspondence with both Lodge and General Managers to resolve these issues. Usually, attention to detail and friendly, attentive service are amongst the salient positive impressions for our guests and it’s a source of great pride for both staff and management that our guests often report feeling more like family than guests! We have retraced steps and communicated with staff in order to better understand your concerns as it’s a learning process for us all. It is unfortunate that teething issues with new staff resulted in a delayed turn down service one evening. With regards to your concern regarding drinks service during the “Oprah” visit we acknowledge that on occasion small groups can affect the dynamics of the Lodge for others and we continually strive to ensure a wonderful experience for all our guests. On this note we were pleased to receive excellent feedback from other guests who stayed over the same period.
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Additional Information about Southern Ocean Lodge

Property: Southern Ocean Lodge
Address: Hanson Bay, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Australia
Location: Australia > South Australia > Kangaroo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Kangaroo Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Southern Ocean Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island is Australia's most extraordinary luxury lodge experience. Exclusive and award-winning, the world-class lodge is sensitively designed to float amongst the coastal drama of the island's south west, offering an unforgettable blend of contemporary luxury and pure nature. Twenty-one luxurious suites welcome panoramic views of the great Southern Ocean and boundless coastal wilderness and feature lavish sleeping areas, sunken lounge and glass-surround ensuite. The Southern Spa features signature treatments with Kangaroo Island botanicals designed to relax and rejuvenate. All-inclusive rates, first name service and personalised experiential itinerary combine to offer guests the ultimate Kangaroo Island encounter. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Southern Ocean Hotel Kangaroo Island

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