I stayed in January 2013 – this was a last minute decision. I saw a special deal and booked. They self rated at 4 stars so my expectations were fairly high. I wrote the following that night with the exception I had to add my bed was very comfy to sleep in.
How they describe the room on wotif
“This room comes with a Queen bed, ensuite with a wide range of bathroom amenities, mini bar, complimentary tea & coffee. Sky TV. Superior Rooms have high ceilings with outdoor views & Victorian Decor to provide a comfortable stay.”
“Hamilton City Oaks is considered as one Hamilton's most prominent landmarks. Step back in time and experience Hamilton's rich history, radiating all the history and class Hamilton brings. Hamilton City Oaks is a boutique Hotel that offers a unique accommodation experience complete with large, spacious rooms with meticulously decorated interiors providing an elegant classical ambience. Offering well appointed rooms ranging from elegant Deluxe Queen Rooms, to the luxurious Terrace Suite - complete with private terrace. Hamilton City Oaks is an ideal choice for a variety of functions and conferences, catering for up to 350 people across our 5 well appointed conference rooms”
I could not find any details on the web site about parking given that the hotel is at the corner of a main intersection so I had to pull over when I got there and call them. Access is from the back street and hotel parking is a series of old otherwise unused buildings – don’t expect anything fancy or a bell hop. The spaces are odd shaped but at least they are there and included.
Once parked you can enter the back area and head to reception. Once checked in you need to return to your car and put a paper notice on the window – somewhat irritating but better than being towed. I’d have preferred them to take the rego and leave it at that! Check-in was easy – the staff were really nice and friendly. However, they neglected to tell me that after taking the lift to my floor I would have to get my bags down a set of stairs. Warning for anyone coming at night - the driveway is not lit once you have parked your car the drive up to the back of the hotel is not even. For any ladies is heels – mind your step.
The room is large – 45sqm. But wasted space. It is badly decorated and styled with most of the faux Victorian (sort of) furniture pushed up to a wall. The layout of the room though is all wrong and there is so much wasted space. There is not sofa or easy chairs despite the room size and that fact there is ample room. There are three dining chairs around a decent sized round table as you enter the room. A desk and chair was placed between the two large window that look out the back of the hotel (more on that soon). Unfortunately the desk is nowhere near a power source and there is no light for night time use. The nearest power outlet is about 2.5 m away. Nice to have the free wifi but the only way I could sit at the desk and plug in my laptop was to relocate the table to closer to a wall light and power source next to the mini bar area.
The outdoor views in this superior room and the manky carpark at the back of the hotel so either I did not get what I advertised or the author has not taken a look out the window. I guess at best we can agree that there are windows and I can view outdoors. While we are on the window. Floral curtains do not Victorian decor make. The curtains are must and if you are someone who like your room dark at night this is not the room for you – the light comes in from the top and sides when closed. The net curtains on the window are not only dirty and smelly they are ripped and torn. The window they are covering seriously need some cleaning and at least one of the windows needs to be repaired. As the for 1980’s floral border along the top of the wall – all wrong. As are the two tiny pics on the walls – they at least should be together and not side by side! The mirror about the writing table (well it will be when I put the desk back) is nice - maybe a bit small for the wall it is on.
The TV is a decent size but sitting on a coffee table in an odd spot. God knows who laid out the room but it’s one of the worst I have seen and I’ve stayed in a few hotels – up and down market! The TV sound is uneven and the sound and picture drop in and out on all channels (some SKY channels are included)
In the room is a queen bed which is very low and saggy and decidedly un-Victorian. The apron on the bed doesn’t fit and it looks messy. The mattress is cheap but when I pulled the bed apart it was clean for as much as I could see. Did I mention saggy? There is a single bed is in the far corner which is great for a family. Both beds are too low for the room. The single is firmer. The linen on the bed is crisp, clean and fresh with a decent thread count. And I have to say despite my reservations I had a comfortable night in the bed.
The room is supposedly air-conditioned but it doesn’t really work although it makes a lot of noise. Clearly they know this because there is a dirty pedestal stand in the large cupboard which I have had to resort to.
The walls are fairly clean but there are skuffs and scratches that need attention. The carpet is not particulary appealing colour wise and the lack of style in the room doesn’t use it to its best advantage. It seems clean and I could not see any stains.
The bathroom is very large. The grouting around some of the tiling needs to be cleaned properly and there were some chipped tiles. Housekeeping clearly don’t think they need to clean the floor and wall around the toilet – it is all dusty. There is a shower over the bath. Water pressure is ok – not great but not awful. Now I am 5’4” and with the fixed shower head I had to bend to get my head under to wash it so if you are taller than me then be warned. That said it was a nice shower. If you have trouble climbing in a tub then make sure you ask when booking or checking in (as with the stair situation)
Turns out this is the Le Grand – since the receipt and internet slip and sign on the door say Le Grand there is clearly and identity crisis. This property was for sale in 2012 and when I asked at the desk I was told the new owners have been operating about 5 months. I think they should have at least sorted out who they are before reopening but let’s hope that renovations are in progress and if I was to be generous I’d say it is possible that this poorly appointed room is the fault of the old owner.
And last but not least - Why do hotels continue to charge such extortionate prices for a chocolate bar or a little tub of Pringles or a can of Fizz? Shame on you. But a large round of applause for the free wi-fi – as it should be. As for the price – this is currently a $99 room. It is a long way off being a $390 room which is what they say a Superior Room (which I was supposedly upgraded to) is worth. My room was on the first floor. There is clearly a nightclub or bar near hear because I can hear a lot of noise over the top of the TV and the fan – I can also hear quite a bit of car noise. I know this is an older hotel and if they do nothing and charge $99 then it might be a bargain. If they tried to charge $390 for this room it would be a rip off. The sloppy housekeeping the bathroom has put me off a bit and right now I think they are over promising and under delivering on the rooms if this is an example. I would give the hotel a second chance if the price is right. Maybe I have a pre-renovation price but why say all that other stuff up front?
I have photo’s to load later when my phone is returned to me (left it in another town yesterday)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- VR Hamilton Hotel is located within a stunning heritage listed building in the heart of the Hamilton city. With its beautiful surroundings, VR Hamilton Hotel continues to impress and satisfy its guests through providing the warmth and genuine hospitality that has become the hallmark of the Hotel. A versatile set of function rooms, comfortable and high quality accommodation, combined with our attentive and friendly team makes VR Hamilton Hotel a great venue for business or leisure. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Le Grand Hamilton