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“5 Star Spa Experience”

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Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia
Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“5 Star Spa Experience”
Reviewed November 8, 2012

Was looking forward to our relaxing Spa treatment at The Golden Door and it didn't disappoint! We were staying next door at The Cypress Lakes Resort and got there early as advised so we could enjoy a swim, steam and Spa. The facility there is fantastic. I had a facial and it was lovely with attention to the needs of my skin. The staff were very friendly and professional. Can't wait to go back but I think next time I will stay at the Golden Door!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank clarefromthebeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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372 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (103)
Date | Rating
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English first
Melbourne
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 7, 2012

Where to start? As soon as I was off th plane and into the shuttle bus to the magnificent property I was in awe of the beautiful scenery. Then as I walked through the big Golden Door at the entrance I was immediately and continuously spoilt. The reception girls were very helpful and insightful about anything I needed to know. I was then shown through to my taken to my villa which was breath-taking. I didn't expect the big bathrooms with a big bathtub to soak my tired muscles and I certainly wasn't prepared for the view!

Every night when I came back from dinner, there was a sheet for the next days activities as well as a candle burning next to the bath and my bed turned down ready for a big sleep, this was very much appreciated after days full of energetic activities and hugely helpful and informative seminars. I never really even saw the "fairies" who would come around whilst I was out and perfectly fold new towels and place a white robe in the cupboard and make my bed for me. I still expect them to come out and I'm back at home.

The food was incredible and matched the service, the staff in the kitchen were happy to chat and talk about any recipes I was keen on learning about. I was never hungry except on my first night and the lovely girls in the kitchen gave me some nuts to take back to my room. Wednesday night dessert was just sooooo good! The cooking demonstration on Wednesday afternoon was great too with Corryne and Bec showing us and explaining to all the very eager listeners tips and tricks for in the kitchen back at home. The chefs were continuously asked during my stay for advice and recipes from the dinner and would always make time to step out of the kitchen and come and talk with us and give away some secrets which we all loved!

The staff for the activities during the day were just full of energy and these had great big genuine smiles. They were this way from 6:30am for Tai Chi on top of Meditation Hill and they were still this way at 7pm at night for the activities after dinner. I could not have had more inspiring, motivating, life changing and just a blissfully fresh group of people to coach and guide me through the week.

The girls in the spa were amazing, soft voices, beautifully placed lavender eye pillows, made me feel very comfortable throughout my treatment, the temperature of the room and my comfort level was always their main prioity. I just felt like I was the only person in the spa at the time, it was truly an incredible and relaxing experience.

Overall, I will be back! I cannot imagine how my experience could have been any better. The guests, the staff, the food, the views, the activities, the hikes, the morning tai chi, the Deep Water running, the games night, the seminars, the morning walks... I could go on and on.

Room Tip: All rooms have a great view as the villas work in a circular shape, so you are able to see all aroun...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Laura D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
1 review
Reviewed November 7, 2012

A really wonderful experience!! Set in the magnificent Hunter Valley, with a terrific team of motivated and caring staff and an array of fun activities and luxurious spa treatments.My body felt amazing,I ate incredibly well and laughed a lot! Don't be afraid to ask for certain needs around food or activities - the staff are so accommodating and cant do enough to make you feel relaxed and satisfied.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sam769
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2012

My friend and I were excited to visit Golden Door as it gets such great reviews. I have visited many yoga retreats and spas in Australia and around the world so I have a great gauge to measure the standards at Golden Door.

I would like to start by saying that it is clearly undergoing some cost-cutting exercises. Their website advertises for work experience students and 90% of the staff appeared to be young and inexperienced.

The spa is impossible to book, ridiculously overpriced and ungenerous. I had a 1 hour treatment that ended up being less than 30 minutes (this is not an exaggeration) and then had a debate with the management about whether she would give me a 20% discount or not (I said that was unacceptable and we negotiated! down to 30% - so much for a relaxing spa experience). It was so bad that I actually cancelled my free treatment. I'd rather give it up than return. The spa seems to prioritise "walk ins" rather than staying guests (the spa is open to the public) so it's really hard to get the time that you're after. All my friend and I wanted to do was have our massages at the same time and we weren't even able to do this.

Worst of all was the food and the miserable service at the restaurant. We had the one person who was serving the entire restaurant shouting across the room to us to "come and get your soup" and when we asked what it was she said "It's chef's soup". Tinned tomato would be a generous assessment.

When I complained to the manager who wandered in on Sunday night (only when asked, I didn't actually know he was the manager, no badge and, no introduction) that my food was too salty I was told "we don't have salt in our kitchens here" (oh, so you work here?). I said, "well, perhaps there's too much soy or tamari" and the management asked "soy has salt in it? I didn't know that". This from a HEALTH resort management? He went to the kitchen and sheepishly returned saying that, indeed, there was salt in the food and that the chef had said that nobody would eat it if it wasn't salty!

Location is gorgeous, the lake and the hills are beautiful and some of the classes, in particular the stretch class, are great.

Rooms are quite nice if a bit basic and there are fluorescent lights in the bedroom - be warned.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Alex_Sydney11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GoldenDoorAust, General Manager at Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia, responded to this review, November 12, 2012
Thanks for bringing your experience to our attention and I am so disappointed it was not the typical Golden Door magic that we are known for. As you said, we do get great reviews and the previous 40 reviews on TripAdvisor rate us no less than 4 out of 5. I can therefore understand your disappointment. I have noted your key concerns which will be addressed immediately.

The Work Experience Program has been operating at the Golden Door Health Retreat for the past 5 years. We only take a maximum of two Work Experience per week out of a staff of over 40. It is a professionally based program and an excellent opportunity for students (many mature aged) undertaking PE, nursing, psychology, nutrition, naturopathy etc. to gain valuable hands on experience in a health retreat environment. Our Spa has an amazing reputation, having won many awards over the years and due to its popularity we can book up quickly. We do request in house guests to pre-book so that they are not disappointed, however we are also increasing the number of therapists to ensure have more flexibility for our appointments times. I am truly sorry the times did not work for you.

Unfortunately I did not get to meet you on the Sunday night; the gentleman you met is the COO of the Cypress Group and was therefore not in a position to answer your health related questions. We have a highly professional, dedicated and passionate team who are an integral part of the Golden Door experience. We will take on your feedback and continue to grow and learn from the experience. It is very much appreciated.

Brigid Walsh GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

Had an amazing stay at Golden Door except a couple of problems. Our first meal was nice but my girlfriend had a fly in her salad, about 2 mins later the lady near us pulled a hair out of her salad! as a result i stopped eating. a tiny egg cup size of nuts for arvo tea and super tiny evening meal with a half filled vegie juice mocktail didnt satisfy. i asked for more food and the waitress told me to eat fruit - apple, pair or oranges only - poor considering we are in peak mango season. we took fruit back to our room to make a fruit salad but very difficult with no serrated knives. i ordered a protein shake in writing for the next day - it never came. the herbs used for the meal were over the top - dill on everything!!! the lunch salad was the evening garnish. breakfast was delicious and plentiful. dinner 2nd night beautiful and plentiful, as long as you dont choke on all the fish bones. our room was gorgeous and having our bed turned down each night and essential oils burning was just perfect - thank you. i dont think being fed at 6pm and no food again until 8am is appropriate. grazing is more normal for the health conscious. i am thin, super fit and live on a paleo/super food diet - happy to go vego for the weekend. i came to golden door to relax not starve. foods that could be offered all day in the lounge are; tea urns with iced tea and funky glasses, instead of dull white cups and hot tea like a hospital, vegies cut up, trail mix, fruit bowl, goji berries. stay mid week, because most wellness services are not available on weekends. classes and day spa are awesome, retreat staff gorgeous. perhaps food service could be improved by menu, hygiene and attitude. i will return, but would bring my own protein shake next time, or order the weight gainer menu.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Warodex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2012

Tired from work. Bad eating, drinking and caffeine habits taking hold.
Golden Door was a bit of a gamble - I needed to press the "reset" button so I thought, why not? It might be just what I need to quickly break the cycle.

From the moment of arrival, you are made to feel so welcome.
Nothing is too difficult for the staff.

The food - simply *awesome*. It was a life changing food event. I'm a non-salad eating foodie, and Golden Door food knocked my socks off, and has completely changed my eating habits - including introducing me to some never-seen-before salads that I simply loved.

Food quantities - most meals as much or as little as you want to eat. The ingredient quality was top notch. They do not skimp on food quality! The nature of the food is that you just don't go hungry (before then, I was always hungry!).

Within 2 days of arriving you will notice a big difference. Mentally and physically.

The accommodation - luxury. There is no other way to describe it. Far beyond what I expected.

The care taken in planning everything was astounding. Nothing was left to chance. Its just so well run and ran like clockwork.

The activities were massively varied. Without exception everyone was made to feel welcome - but more importantly comfortable - in trying everything. From the most unfit to the fit - everyone had a ball with everything.

The spa treatments were great. Definitely plan to have one each day or so. The people providing them are top notch. I experienced Lomi Lomi massage, Watsu water therapy (quite unique!), a trigger point massage (my back needed it due to my stressful life!) and a salt rub followed by an algae wrap with facial - just because I wanted to be pampered :)

Plenty of seminars to teach you about whats happening inside you when you do good things and bad - and also about people. Well worth attending.

Since coming back I haven't touched a coffee (and I was on 5-10 short blacks per day!). I haven't touched an alcoholic drink. My eating has done a 180 degree turn and is very healthy and tasty - and the difference it makes is huge.

You can do everything or nothing there. There is no peer group pressure. But don't be
surprised if you love the good attitudes around you and want to do everything like I did.

Id suggest a 5 or 7 day stay. People leaving after 2-3 days tended to regret it. Id arrive on Sunday - as most (but not all) do - and leave on either the following Friday or Sunday.

Its so good - and was such a life changer - that I am hoping to go for 5 days every 6 months now - just to stay grounded, keep it real, and reinforce just how amazing it feels to live so mentally and physically healthy.

Must do:
- Morning Tai Chi. Its an incredible way to start the day. I still wake up at 6am now every day as a result! Everyone loved it. You wouldn't miss it once you start.
- Morning walk - great calorie burner and cardio workout. And you get to know some of the staff and others well there.
- Zumba. Truly tragic. Very funny. I can't dance - thankfully neither could the instructor....we all had a ball.
- Boot camp - a great workout that was fun.
- Stretch classes - well worth it.
- Breathing and meditation. I still practice what I learned,, and it changes my whole attitude.

Richard

Room Tip: All the rooms are great. Top floor will have slightly better view, but really, you will likely spend...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Richard E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
104 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2012

I have been to the Golden Door several times and it never ceases to amaze me how revitalised I feel after each visit. There are not many places you can go to spend a week looking after yourself with some serious detoxing & exercise as well as some relaxing & pampering spa experiences.
The staff are very helpful and accommodating & the program is well balanced and enjoyable.
The food is great and the company always good fun...it speaks for itself to see the great number of returning guests each year....I am never dissapointed.!

Room Tip: All good with great views/
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 79suzannem79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia

Property: Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia
Address: 165 Thompsons Rd, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Pokolbin
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Pokolbin
#2 Spa Hotel in Pokolbin
#4 Romantic Hotel in Pokolbin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia 3*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Discover wellness, balance and vitality, reach new peaks, feel inspired to make lasting health choices and unveil a new more balanced you. The Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia is a place where tired souls can be restored, new goals set and a wealth of knowledge gained to unveil a healthier, happier and more motivated you. All in the peaceful and serene surroundings of the Hunter Valley’s rolling hills, two hours north of Sydney. Whilst our facilities, accommodation and dining are remarkable, it’s the quality and warmth of our staff that keeps our guests coming back time and again. Our all inclusive health and wellness programs, provided under the guidance of our professional team, have been developed to motivate change and provide lasting results when continued back in everyday life. A holistic blend of exercise, nutritious cuisine, health education, relaxation and spa indulgence will allow you to discover new sources of energy and vitality. Located in the beautiful NSW Hunter Valley, The Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia offers magnificent views of vineyards and the Brokenback mountain range and the opportunity to breathe fresh country air each day. Featuring 74 stylish villas with one, two or three bedrooms, this exceptional property is the only purpose built Destination Health Retreat in Australia. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia Hotel Pokolbin
Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin

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