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“A genuine HEALTH retreat” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia

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Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia
Ranked #2 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney
Level Contributor
34 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A genuine HEALTH retreat”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2010

I have stayed at Golden Door Elysia 3 times now and after reading some of the negative reviews, I thought it best to dispell some misconceptions.

First and foremost, Golden Door is a HEALTH retreat - not a busy, cocktails by the pool, martinis in the bar kind of place. It's a place of peace, quiet, and reflection - and a lot of fun.

Yes, there is no meat.. big surprise. What else would you expect from a health retreat? You aren't forced to eat tofu and mungbeans all day - there is plenty of delicious health cuisine including lots of seafood. I think tofu was served in two meals during the 7 days I was there on my last visit. (2 out of 21 meals total ain't bad). There are plenty of fruit and nuts for snacks throughout the day too!
Health retreat = no meat, no sugar, no caffeine, no salt or pepper, no bread, no chocolates, no alcohol... just good quality, health foods!

The accomodation is excellent - the rooms are large and airy, have great views, excellently appointed, and yes, there are a few spiders along with the kangaroos.. you are in a bush setting after all. And it would seem kind of odd to run around killing every other living insect at health retreat...
ps - the spiders there are all small and non-venomous and more scared of you!

There aren't lots of staff running around because this isn't a traditional hotel. But between the front desk and the Wellness Centre, you can always get hold of someone to help you.. The Wellness Centre will make all your bookings in the Day Spa for you and the girls there are always more than happy to help

The trainers on site are all fantastic - some of the best in the industry - and they have all been there over the 3 years I have been going.

You choose what you want to do - pamper in the day spa, be active and particpate in activities, or just sit in the lobby lounge.. it's all about what you make of it

Golden Door is a Health Retreat. Before going, have a look at their website and know what you are signing up for - all the information is there - then it won't be such a surprise and you might understand why they serve no meat, why they don't need hundreds of staff standing around, and you may just get something more out of it.

That "something more" is the life-changing part of Golden Door

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sydney_CJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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369 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    322
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    7
    9
    6
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (101)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
sydney
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2010

If there's one thing you don't expect in an expensive hotel, it's spiders in the living room, spiders in the shower, spiders in the bath towels and finally spiders in the day spa! So if you are afraid of spiders, then approach this place with caution.

It's a lovely spot for a relaxing weekend away - the beds are comfy, the showers powerful and the view calming. However the rooms are over-priced for the money - clean but showing signs of age. The restaurant is average and very expensive for what you get - it took us 45 mins to receive our meal. As other people have noted, the service is not good, however it's on par with country hotels in Australia. Waiting staff need to learn the art of waiting, not stalking their customers like a prison warder.

Amenties are reasonable. (Didn't try the day spa - the spider scared me off as it scuttled across the marble floor!). We were locked out of our room on two occasions due to a mal-functioning door lock - staff were friendly but it still took too long to repair given the room price.

If you come expecting great things, you'll be disappointed but if you can get a good price for the room, then you'll be quite happy.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank suitgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 22, 2009

Save yourself a headache (and plenty of money) and avoid this place.
This place offers the worst service I've encountered staying anywhere. They're rude, remarkably unhelpful and dismissive. Case in point - calling to book a massage took a dozen phone calls on 3 days before anyone answered the phone (or returned a call).
Trying dialing their reception before you book and you'll see what I mean.
Other than that, the place is fairly ordinary. Doesn't stand out or live up to the hype.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank trvlr81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2009

Went here when I was pregnant wanting some pampering/relaxation and left early, disappointed and angry. I've been to health retreats before and enjoyed them. Given Golden door is double the price I've paid before, so I was hoping for something special. But the bottom line is the cost just ISN'T WORTH IT.

Service is terrible. There aren't enough staff around. Our rooms weren't made up until after lunch every single day. They skipped turn down or when they came, it was so late we were in our rooms and we didn't want it anyway (around 8pm).

6am wakeup calls came without being requested and continued even after we asked for them to stop.

Food is great if you want to lose weight, for all the wrong reasons. It is tasteless, portions are too small and you can't choose your meals - there is just 1 thing every night. Breakfast included inedible, cold tofu and cold cuts which had turned brown. Even after paying over $500 per night we were so hungry we had to go out and get bread, cheese and other treats.

We've stayed in cheap hotels and been perfectly happy but for this price, you should get more! Save your money and go elsewhere.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Lucy12345Sydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
98 reviews
96 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 4, 2009

We spent a weekend on the property. It was given to us as a gift and my original thoughts were, "not the hunter valley again", I ve been to the hunter numerous times in the past year and not being a drinker can get quite boring at the Hunter.

Upon arrival at the Golden Door, you have to go through a set of private gates. It highlights the exclusivity and privacy of the resort which I enjoyed. The lobby interiors were magnificent and tranquil.

The rooms were well equipped, bathrooms with superior amenities and the view will blow you away. Alive with singing birds and wildlife. You feel relaxed and miles away from city life and other resorts in the areal.

The food was excellent. Meat is available on weekends. Everything was organic. I do feel the lunch servings were a little on the small side.

They boast the 'Best Spa in Australia' voted by Luxury Travel Magazine. I have tried my spas in many countries, this is in deed a good spa but calling it the 'BEST in Australia' is a little overstated. No doubt the best in the Hunter.

We did not join any of the programs as we were simply there to relax, read a book, listen to the birds, lay by the pool and get a massage.

One negative is that all room furniture were almost new and styled, however, the beech coloured cupboard look cheap and didnt go with the rest of the colours in the room. In modern hotels, all rooms should also have flat screen TVs and not the old school style.

Overall, my original thoughts of "Not the Hunter Again" has turned into my best Hunter experience.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jcjchung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
47 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2009

We visited for a weekend as independent guests. We have been a number of times and have always enjoyed our stay, however this time we noticed a real change. In particular the restaurant experience is nowhere near as good, staff and program options over the weekend seemed a bit thin. I'm sure as a program guest you would still have a good experience however for the discerning traveller over a few days it was disappointing.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank peppersnaps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
122 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2008

Recovering from six months of one illness after another, I took off to the Golden Door for the 5 day program, hoping to regain my health and to lift my attitude to life. The retreat is located on a rise with stunning views for 360 degrees around the property. All the rooms look over lovely Hunter Valley vistas, and each has a balcony where kookaburras visit, and grazing kangaroos can be watched. The decor is understated luxury. Crisp linen, good doonas and pillows. Bathrooms have a bath and separate shower with massage head. At turn down each night, aromatherapy oil burners are lit for you. The program is pretty full-on if you want it to be. There is a wake up call at 6 am and Tai Chi on the lavender covered hill at 6.30. This is a beautiful experience, magnificant views over the Hunter, and a gently way to start the day. Next you choose a 5km walk round the lovely golf course or deep water running in the pool. Breakfast, a stretch class, then a lecture on a health related topic follow. And so the day goes on. You can exercise all day if you like. There are cardio classes, yoga, pilates, spin, bush walks, tennis...but you have to leave time for at least one per day of the many gorgeous treatments on offer. Some of these are a little "alternative" such as pranic healing where you can have your aura cleansed (surprisingly theraputic even for a sceptic), but there are many indulgent massages and wraps. This is really a detox experience. There is no caffeine here, the food has very little salt or sugar. You can't smoke. Many people suffer bad withdrawl headaches, but these seem to pass by day 2 or 3. Every day you feel better and better. The food here is very healing with emphasis on unprocessed foods - lots of pulses and grains, nuts, fish. Mostly it's delicious. Most people lose weight and feel cleaner and clearer by the end of their stay. Despite my initail reticence, I embraced the Golden Door experience, and to my surprise really, I felt fantistic at the end of 5 days, and ready to go back to family and work newly enthusiastic for life. I went alone, like many others here, although there were 5 mother/daughter couples in our group. People are all friendly and we had fun as a group. I highly recommend this experience.

  • Liked — salubrious healing experience
  • Disliked — I missed a cup of English Breakfast tea before bed
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank louloubelle
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 
Also Known As:
The Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia Hotel Pokolbin
Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa Elysia Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin

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