On arrival, we were informed that our pre-booked and pre-paid room through Qantas was unavailable! Their solution was to inform us that they had taken the liberty of booking a room at the Sofitel instead. They had apparently over booked or 'over sold' and there were no rooms left. Unfortunately for the poor desk manager, it was obvious that new arrivals were still being booked in and there was in fact rooms still available. After a great deal of heated discussion, we challenged him on this and to his great embarrassment he had to acknowledge that there were rooms still not occupied. We demanded that a room be made available to us and we were given our room. Someone else would be turned away in our place! They kindly invited us to enjoy breakfast at their expense for the stress that had been caused. It should be noted that we had booked 1 night on our way through to our destination and another 3 nights on our return. We were keen to cancel our other reservation but informed that we couldn't do that as per the terms of our booking.
On our return, (In the mean time, we had received a call from an apologetic Hotel Manager prompted no doubt by our guest review card handed in at check out!) we were personally greeted with a flower and upgraded to a Club room and a cheese platter was left in our room. Although the gesture was appreciated and in some way made up for their mistake, we were left with a very bad taste in our mouths. The hotel was recommended both on this site and by colleagues but we were disappointed by both the service at reception and by their poor Management practices. Over selling rooms is not what you would expect of a hotel with this reputation or supposed calibre. We can only guess that we were bumped because we hadn't booked directly through their site. Something that we will address in the future.
The staff in the rest of the hotel were wonderful. The cleaning staff on the floor were incredibly polite and charming as were the staff in the Club lounge and Melba restaurant. The Club lounge is quiet with a lovely view where we enjoyed sitting in the morning and reading the paper. The food is lovely but if you are time poor it is hard to see the value of upgrading to Club if you are not able to enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea and evening drinks and canapes. It is worth mentioning that the breakfast is not the veritable feast that is available in the Melba restaurant. You do not have the option in the Club rooms to take breakfast in the Melba restaurant as your inclusive breakfast but the advantage is avoiding the massive weekend queues in the Melba restaurant. The evening smorgasbord in the Melba restaurant was fabulous but very busy and noisy. The hotel itself is wonderfully located to the Casino and Southbank restaurants which is hard to beat. We had a corner river suite which was very elegant and clean with great views and a comfy bed. I agree with other reviews that the service from concierge/porter was lacking. After requesting a porter, no one turned up to take our luggage down to the lobby and assistance in and out of taxi was lacking which certainly isn't good for first or last impressions!
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