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“Plenty of Hype, but overall very disappointing”
Review of Tower Lodge

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Tower Lodge
Ranked #15 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Reviewed January 22, 2010

A group of us stayed at Tower Lodge for the weekend whilst attending a Wedding in the vineyards.

Firstly, I would have to say that in comparison to other accommodation houses in Pokolbin, Tower isn't too bad. The problem we had however was that whilst it might be twice as good as most 4 to 41/2 star properties, its actually 4 and 5 times more expensive.

We are used to paying fairly considerable money for good accommodation etc, and believe that if Tower wants to operate at this upper level, it must offer more. Better service, more attention to detail, a higher level of refurbishment, most of the furniture is reproduction faux European and the buildings are pretty tacky hacienda style design.

Basically Tower Lodge needs to start providing value for money. There are countless examples of this when you stay, especially when it comes to the wine list. We estimated that some of the wines were in fact marked up by 800%, which just leaves a bad taste in your mouth, no pun intended.

In closing, for what you pay you can get a suite at a real 5 star lodge in New Zealand or the Nappa Valley and be in Heaven. For us at least, Tower falls short and is just pretending to be like so many other world renown lodges that really get it right.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with friends
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2  Thank ParisInternational
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 - 120 of 129 reviews

Reviewed September 6, 2009

This was our fourth trip back to the Tower as we just love it and a special one, our 20th wedding anniversary. Each room is very different and it was our second stay in the Oriental Room which was fabulous ... again.
Lots of little touches make this a fabulous getaway ... things like your room being serviced whilst you are at breakfast, so when you walk back in, it is beautiful AGAIN. The staff are very friendly and happy to oblige and breakfasts were beautiful.
My only peeve was that between 5 and 7pm you are invited to pre dinner drinks and canapes in the lounge. We have previously been to this and each had 2 or 3 drinks, which we didn't consider alot in 2 hours. Now however, your first drink is complimentary and after that you pay $10 for a g&t. I guess some may have abused the previous system, however when we paid $750 per nite, we didn't think a couple of g&t's too much too ask for. Also ... the canapes were pretzels ... not canapes.
After that gripe, I would still go back time and time again, I just love it ... just take your own gin !!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank HolidayLover006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2009

We spent a fab few days in Tower Lodge - I'd echo all the positive reviews on Tripadvisor!

Stayed in both the Oriental Room and a Lodge Room (cheaper) - both were great, so much space/character in Oriental too.

Staff excellent throughout stay, very helpful in advise on trips/restaurants etc. Hotel well placed for touring Hunter Valley.

Breakfast really appealed, standard buffet, but we found the cooked breakfast especially good. Also ate in nearby Roberts restaurant - free food as part of the package we booked, worth checking out.

In my opinion, not cheap, but definitely good value for the quality it offers.

Would definitely stay in Tower again if return to Hunter Valley!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jimmyts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 28, 2009

Rooms- Very clean, spacious
Food- Yum and fresh
Ambience- Peaceful and relaxed
Location- A+ Close to everything (Smelly cheese shop,etc, Hunter Valley Gardens)
Price- Yes it is on the expensive side even for the Hunter but when you go you'll see why
it is worth it
This was our second time back to Tower, this time my husband came with his parents and brother and his girlfriend. They were very impressed and absolutely loved everything about this boutique hotel. All the rooms are gorgeous, so spacious have their own personality, but all have a 'country' feel. One of our rooms had a fireplace and double doors opening out to the grounds, not private terrace but feels it because you rarely see other guest besides at breakfast and afternoon tea. The beds are huge and so comfy and the doona is so nice. The toiletries are lovely, have a relaxing spa bath at the end of your day, the bath salts smell beautiful.
Breakfast is included, and is quite good quality. There are yum fresh breads, homemade jams, sometimes croissants or waffles and the regular stuff. On top of that you can choose something from their breakfast menu, the big country breakfast is always a winner, nice sausages. The coffee is also very good. If you like hot chocolate, ask for a strong one, it's extra yum.
Afternoon tea is very simple and I believe it changes everyday. There is just a small selection of 3 or 4 treats, but very nice, like melting moments, scones, muffins.....
The staff are wonderful, very friendly and helpful, all went very smooth.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Joli_79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2009

We have stayed at a number of places in the Hunter Valley, but the only one we will ever return to is the Tower Lodge. From the moment you walk in, you feel like you’re the King of the manner. The staff is friendly and willing to help you make the most of your stay by doing everything from making dinner reservations at various local restaurants, to helping you plan the perfect day’s activities. Yes, it is a little on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for!!! From the incredible gourmet breakfast (everything on the menu is a must try) to the afternoon tea (witch includes fresh made pastries and sandwiches), to evening drinks is all inclusive and when you take into consideration what you would have payed for the same thing somewhere else, you quickly begin to realise that your getting your moneys worth! With only 12 rooms, you rarely ever see other guests. It’s also fun to come back and try a different room each time, as they are all very different in layout and décor.
I have read other reviews by guests claiming it’s not all that... I think those people are just chronic complainers that wouldn’t be happy anywhere!
We are already planning my next visit, hope to see you there!

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank VAPS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2009

My husband and I stayed 2 nights in the Tower Lodge and wished we could have extended the stay.
When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by the lady on reception. Our room was easily accessable and had a homely feel to it. The room was large and confortable, with the bed on a raised platform, thus giving you an area like a sitting room.
The lodge itself is warn and intimate with plenty of areas to sit. you can have breakfast on the terrace in the morning.
Before we booked we read the reviews on tripadvisor and were not disapointed. We would not hesitate to recommend this to others. I felt the lodge was value for money - it is not cheap but you get what you pay for. The staff were excellent - freindly and welcoming. We can not wait to be able to visit the Hunter valley again and stay in the Tower Lodge.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SmintUAE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

Having walked out on our original hotel on arrival because we were not happy with the standard, we were able to stay at the last minute at Tower Lodge for 3 nights. With no actual booking we were lucky enough to spend 1 night in the Oriental suite and 2 nights in a 'Standard' room.

The Rooms:
The Oriental suite is absolutely divine. Its attention to detail is amazing and makes you feel at home as soon as you enter the re-claimed, convent style double entry doors. Walking into an actual hallway that runs the length of the suite is a luxury of space not many places afford you. It's set up with decor that I only wish I could find and put together myself in my own home. Walking passed the spacious bathroom you pass the wooden hot tub that is a great touch - even if you don't like tubs, it sets the mood perfectly. The bedroom has a lot of calming greens and exposed wood mixed with oriental pieces (rugs, cabinets, vases etc) makes for a homely and cozy feel.
The 'Standard' room, although smaller and without hot tub, was equally enchanting. Soft florals and vintage style furniture and rugs have never felt so contemporary and well collaborated. You really feel like you’re in another private world.

The Food:
The breakfast here is as good as anywhere. Sitting at a little (almost French style) table for two around the central courtyard & fountain, you're able to help yourself to a variety of cereals, fruits, yoghurts and toast. You can then go on to order from their reasonably predictable list of hot breakfasts which ranges from Waffles to Big English Breakfasts. I can, however, recommend the Eggs in the Hot Pot. This is a delicious concoction of chorizo & tomato slow cooked in a hot pot with an egg softly poached on top to finish. Mouthwateringly scrumptious!
We also took advantage of their picnic service that they offer (for a non-offensive charge). We were sent on our merry way with a bevy of salads, smoked salmon, cold meats, cheeses and some of there delicious brownies.
One thing that really disappointed us was Roberts restaurant. It is worth pointing out that this is not actually part of Tower Lodge, however they do recommend it. Being the next property down, it is very easy to access obviously and it is in an absolutely stunning setting. The old cottage style seems to nestle in an abundance of floral green and manicured gardens. The old convent and quaint little church nearby also lend themselves to this fairytale setting. Inside it is just as amazing. Think: small glowing table lamps, white table cloths, old farmhouse artifacts and candles! However, the food was expensive and really poorly delivered. My ‘crispy’ pork belly was completely soggy and my partners ‘medium/rare’ steak was almost well done and reasonably tasteless. Not what you’d expect for a $42 main. The home made chips were served RAW in the middle and looked anemic even when they corrected them. We’re used to fine dining and are fair judges but for the price they’re charging, Roberts needs to pull their finger out.

The Staff:
Mostly, the staff were fantastic. They were happy to do anything to make our stay as comfortable as possible. We really appreciated the effort they went to fitting us in and welcoming us at such late notice - at 5pm on a long weekend Friday night! My only criticism would be that some staff (not generally management) seemed a little inexperienced and forced. I occasionally felt like I should check that I wasn’t holding a whip!

Overall, we both thought that this is truly world class accommodation. The founders obviously constructed this out of love and it shows right through to the tiny details. We only wish that more places emerged with the same amount of personality and style.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Clumsle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tower Lodge

Address: 6 Halls Rd, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Pokolbin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Luxury Hotel in Pokolbin
Hotel Class:5 star — Tower Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tower Lodge is the only truly intimate World class luxury Lodge in the Hunter Valley region, accommodating a maximum of 24 guests at any one time. The Lodge is not only luxurious, but also offers a stage to create your own special experience, one that will become your benchmark for years to come. Located at Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley, Australia the Lodge was recognised as the best "Luxury Lodge" for 2010 at the World Luxury Hotel Awards. Tower Lodge represents all that is Unique, Intimate and Luxurious. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tower Lodge - Relais And Chateaux
Tower Lodge - Relais & Chateaux Hotel Pokolbin
Tower Lodge Pokolbin
Pokolbin Tower Lodge
Tower Lodge Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin

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