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“Beautiful building but thats all”

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The Convent Hunter Valley
Ranked #11 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Beautiful building but thats all”
Reviewed June 6, 2011

The building is stunning and the restoration work is unique in the area. So it was lovely to be staying in an original restored buidling rather than a reproduction.
We booked in for the Romatic weekend package for my husbands birthday.

However the disappointined service started when we arrived and continued throughout the weekend. Firstly upon arrival we had to go hunting to find some who worked there which took 15 mins.
The social pre-dinner drinks lacked a sense of welcome and in fact when ordering a second drink it was frowned on.
The rooms require updating as they are very tired, with no working TV, music system or clock and moldy shower curtain.The beds are so uncomfortable, we both required chiropractic treatment the next day in Sydney. We also suggest you bring your own pillows as they are extremely lumpy - oh and we are both 40 and in good health! So goodness knows if you are older and not in good health.
The staff looked and behaved bored and unhelpful.
For the cost of the weekend I suggest go elsewhere.

Room Tip: Don't bother
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Matisse44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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244 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
74 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2011

So our weekend break came to a halt whilst staying at the Convent. It's an obvious review already...as we checked out a day early. I will be as frank as I can be.
We booked the Convent well in advance. The service over the phone was excellent. Sarah in guest services was exceptionally efficient and helped with pretty much everything we wanted to book for our stay from restaurants to massages. From a service perspective, we were impressed...which is rare these days if one has high standards.
The property excited us as we drove through the long driveway edged with beautiful trees and vineyard. In the far distance, the water fountain splashed about in front of the historical building we were about to encounter. First impression: pretty
We checked in and took our luggage up a creaking narrow stairwell. Note to future guests, "this is a guest house, it is not a hotel". The very lovely lady who checked us in offered to help with the luggage, but...we declined...that hardly felt appropriate as she was not...a man...nor built for heavy lifting.
So we walked into our room and instantly learnt that indeed we would be spending some very close moments together. The room was only big enough for a bed and a round table. There would be no walking around happening in this room. Tiny. With a shared long balcony with 2 other rooms who could walk past and see us making love if they chose to what with the only window opening out at the shared space. With thin walls, there were no secrets between the guests anyway. Also, there are no remote controls in the rooms for the tv. No. And no in room movies. And no room service. Not unless you want some toast and tea.
It was breakfast that sent us packing however. It was just boring with boring food selection. With a self serve coffee pod machine at which you had to line up like peasants for grain. Not good at all.
So, in summary, the Convent is bad. Service is great. Convent is bad. Location is terrific. This is more like visiting an old aunt's home who you dont like much.
My partner and I are old souls and adore the old world charm however this stay was not charming.
Sarah, with your exceptional service levels, you are fit for a 5 star establishment.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank PDAX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leigh-on-Sea
Level Contributor
85 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2011

Peppers Convent, which as the name implies was once home to an order of nuns. Apparently the building was transported over 300 miles from its original location to where it now stands, in the Pepper Tree Vineyard (no connection).
The building was in an ornate French Baroque style, and looked stunning in its setting with a very long straight gravel drive from the road, passing through vines, roses, and ornamental trees. The surrounding countryside was stunning, very Cotswold like but on a much larger scale. Our room was very comfortable with a huge balcony overlooking the grounds and vineyards.
The Convent is in a truly beautiful setting, and is within walking distance of the justly renowned Roberts restaurant. The breakfast room at the Convent looked pretty uninspiring, and the cost of the breakfast seemed outrageous, so we took our early morning refreshment at a very pleasant outdoor restaurant about 3 minutes drive down the road.
To summarise, the Convent is ideally situated for touring the Hunter Valley, it is an impressive building, with comfortable rooms, but it seems to lack any atmosphere. However, with so many alternatives on the doorstep this shouldn't really matter.

Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank ArthurWinkle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
125 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 299 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2010

Stayed for two nights end August travelling alone on business. Check-in quick and friendly, room itself (#16) comfortable with nice balconies for sitting in the sun catching up on paperwork. Evening drinks were a little pathetic, request for a refill of local white wine was met with a hardened stare and much mumbling. Still, serious drinkers will not be denied.
Dinner on both evenings was at Roberts, a short walk from the hotel. Fresh food well presented, overall very good.
Worst aspect of whole stay was breakfast. Dreary packaged cereals and preserves (whatever happened to the excellent produce available locally?) and absolutely dreadful eggs. OK, maybe not the eggs themselves, but the cooking.
Worth another visit next time? Probably not. Kudos though for adjusting a package rate to suit a solo traveler.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Richard D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Level Contributor
85 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2010

First of all, THANK YOU to Peppers Convent for not insisting we had to stay a minimum of 2 or 3 nights over the weekend! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. On reception, though we were early and our room wasnt ready, the lady was very helpful and when she discovered we had not made dinner reservations she called around until she managed to get us the last table at Amanda's on the Edge (Which we highly recommend! Really good food, nice staff, good wine - obviously!). Peppers is gloriously olde-worlde but with all the comforts and in quite a French-country-style chic kind of way. Our room (16) was beautiful - sofa and chairs, view out over the drive and vines, shared balcony but large enough for some personal space to be achieved, with lovely wicker furniture and creeping plants.
Nice bathroom with good range of toiletries (very good!! I'm such a pedant - drives me mad when there's no separate conditioner - I now call ahead to check! Worrying really!) that smelled yummy, excellent shower, robes, etc. Tea and coffee. Nice little simple but nice sounding room service menu for those who prefer to stay in of an evening. It was tempting....
Breakfast could have been better - it was served til 10 and we got down at 930 so a lot of the fresh fruit etc was gone. This is something that IRKS me in hotels - particularlly smaller ones. If breakfast is til 10, serve properly til 10! Or tell guests 930!! OR manage your food/guest ratio better! It's the weekend! We're on holiday! We've paid good money for a breakfast with our bed! However, they did make us our cooked breakfasts to order, as promised, and it was delicious. Not huge, but actually, just enough for me! Breafast staff - one was really miserable. The other was overbearingly nice. I think she was trying to compensate for her sour-faced friend. Service was otherwise good though. I loved this place. I would go back in a heartbeat. And in fact, most definitely will (and as you can probably tell, I'm not easily pleased!) PS> We ate at Robert's restaurant for lunch. Obviously, it was quite a treat; more of a special occasion or dinner place. Beautiful setting, great food, fab wines, and nice staff. I recommend. And it's within staggering distance of the Convent. Nice. But probably best to get the Convent to book ahead. They asked me when I booked the room but they werent pushy about it at all. In hindsight would have been better if we'd booked when we made our Convent reservation.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank S_G.UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2010

My husband and I returned to the Hunter last weekend and even though we wanted to stay at Tower Lodge again, it was booked out so they suggested that we stay at their sister property The Convent.

It is a Peppers place that is just past Tower and the building you see on Farmer Wants a Wife.

We arrived and were looked after by the lovely lady at the front desk. You know before you enter the front door that it is going to be a magnificent place.

We were shown to our room and right away we were relaxed.

We spent the afternoon going to a few wineries for some tastings before heading back to the Convent for a shower and relax before a pre-dinner drink and then off the Roberts for dinner. That was one of the best dinner ever.

We wandered back to the Convent and had a glass of wine on the veranda before retiring for the night.

The room was large, clean and beautifully decorated and very homely. I hate going to places where you could realistically be anywhere in the world. At this place you know you are out of the city and somewhere special.

Breakfast was fantastic as well as the staff.

Highly recommended.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wickedweekender
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2010

My wife and i stayed here at the start of our honeymoon. The loaction of the hotel is perfect for wine trips out and also Roberts restaurant is only a short walk from the hotel.
I do not think there is anything bad to say about the hotel itself other than it has no soul which matches the staffs approach. In the evening they serve canopes with some wine between 6-7 pm and sure are eggs are eggs they were clearing th place up so that at 7 you would never have thought there had been anyone there. The waitress serving the food was devoid of any conversation and when asked about the food would simply respond its base ingredient as either its cheese or its meat. It is also very uncomfortable when they cleaning up around you at 6.45 so that by the time 7 comes they can all go home. Check in and check out was pretty much the same.
They do offer treatements although you have to travel to the sister hotel to get these which is a bit of a bind.
We have stayed at a few places within the Hunter Valley and this was unfortunately not the best experience of such a friendly nation.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jamesthefirst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Convent Hunter Valley

Property: The Convent Hunter Valley
Address: 88 Halls Road, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320, Australia (Formerly Peppers Convent, Hunter Valley)
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Pokolbin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Pokolbin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — The Convent Hunter Valley 4.5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape to the famous Wine Country and enjoy luxury boutique hotel accommodation at The Convent Hunter Valley. Just 2.5 hours drive from Sydney CBD, The Convent is nestled within one of Australia's premiere wine regions - Polkobin. Our unique location offers expansive acreage views of the glamorous boutique hotel - The Convent, Pepper Tree Winery and Circa 1876. All venues are located on the estate and surrounded by rich, produce filled kitchen gardens, creating a tranquil culinary treat pleasing to lovers of both food and wine. Whether you are planning a romantic getaway, a weekend with the girls or your mates, or a fun-filled family holiday, our intimate and boutique Hunter Valley hotel offers something for everyone. Unwind and enjoy renowned local wines at Pepper Tree Winery and share the passion for organic produce and farm to fork dining at our hatted restaurant at Circa 1876. Explore the Hunter Valleys with the whole family and sample the region's many attractions. With an onsite function room, a spectacular backdrop and a relaxing atmosphere, The Convent is the ideal venue for weddings, corporate events and celebrations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Peppers Convent, Hunter Valley Hotel Pokolbin
Peppers Convent Hunter Valley Pokolbin
The Convent Hunter Valley Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin

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