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“Don't mention the ghost”

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Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel
Ranked #3 of 18 Toowoomba B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane
Level Contributor
40 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Don't mention the ghost”
Reviewed September 26, 2011

Vacy Hall is a beautiful old building, well maintained, with sweeping corridors and antique furniture, an ever-present smell of beeswax and feel of Australian history. So old by Australian standards -- halfway through our history -- you accommodate things like the noisy turning of keys in distant keyholes and heavy footsteps on floorboards in the early hours of the morning, as some other guest moves from his/her bedroom to the separate bathroom/toilet.
You may expect even more. Vacy Hall was built by a man named Gilbert Cory. His grandmother had been a lady-in-waiting to Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine. And his son, unhappy at the prospect of returning to boarding-school, shot himself (with his father’s gun) on the verandah of Vacy Hall: there are rumours and reports that, on quiet and dark nights, his ghost haunts the verandah and corridors. All very romantic, … but don’t ask the owner about it, … as we did: he dismissed the myth peremptorily, aphoristically and petulantly. His response, though, may have had something to do with the fact that we had booked our room through ‘Wotif’; and that, believing the Vacy House breakfasts were overpriced, we decided to find something more reasonable in one of the many cafés in downtown Toowoomba

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank TheOldiesBrisbane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GrahamAlfred, Owner at Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, October 6, 2011
Dear Tripadvisor Reviewer,

Thanks for taking the time to write a review on your recent visit to Vacy Hall Historic Guesthouse. I am glad you enjoyed the sense of history and charm during your recent visit.

I’m also glad you enjoyed one of the stories about the "ghosts" of Vacy Hall.

However I don’t think it’s fair of you to be critical of me because I have a different view of ghosts to you. I agree that it could be perceived as a romantic story but in my opinion it is also a very sad story. I have known people who felt so disconnected from their family and friends that they felt the need to take their own life, and know first hand the sense of loss of the people left behind. Whilst the thought that these tortured souls may linger in a ghostly form appeals to some people as some sort of romantic idea, I am not one of them. On the contrary I would say I am a cynic when it comes to these matters but I appreciate that others are believers (and I am totally respectful of your right to believe).

As a former journalist I enjoy story-telling and I have had a few “stories” told to me over the years. One of them was most insightful and I’ll share it with you. Several years ago a very spiritual man stayed at Vacy Hall. I was told by some of his friends that over the years he has assisted a number of priests to banish evil spirits that had attached to them after they had performed exorcisms. So you would expect that he would be aware of any ghostly presences at Vacy Hall. When I asked him about the spiritual energy around Vacy Hall he said “Vacy has a very positive feel, there are no bad spirits here.”

I have had no personal ghostly expereinces after nearly 8 years of ownship and Lizzie who has been part of Vacy Hall for the past 28 years - after living here with her young family has no experiences either - so apart from the fact that it is a good story, it is very hard for me to give the ghost stories any credibility.

I don’t agree with your perception that our breakfast is expensive and I would like to shine some light on that comment. We have a two-tiered approach to breakfast because we believe this gives people more flexibility to choose what suits them.

Continental Breakfast is $15 and includes the following;

Choice of cereals including Corn Flakes, Wheat Bix, Sultana Bran, Our own Swiss Muesli and our famous Hot Porridge with a dollop of brown sugar (made the same way for over 25 years). Choice of Fruit Juices including Orange, Pineapple, Tomato, and Apple Juice. Choice of Beverages including a range of Teas including herbal options (served in beautiful antique silver teapots) and Fresh Plunger Coffee (with Decaf and Soy milk options too). Bakery Selections including Thick White Toast, Thick Wholemeal Toast, Thick Raisin Toast, Oven fresh Croissants and Gluten Free Toast options. A selection of spreads including Strawberry Jam, Honey, Vegemite and Mrs Barlow’s award winning Marmalade. Our breakfasts can be delivered to your room on an antique trolley or served either on the verandah off your room or the verandah off the guest lounge (tables have fresh flowers and beautiful napery). Most guests who have had our breakfast comment on how wonderful it is and what great value it represents.

The Full Cooked Breakfast which costs $25 per person and includes all of the continental options above with the addition of the following hot cooked meal options which can adapted to accommodate guest preferences or food intolerances:

Vegetarian Scrambled Eggs light and fluffy with spinach, and melted fetta cheese, served on Turkish toast and garnished with roasted pine nuts and fresh chives.

Button mushrooms sautéed with fresh herb butter served on Turkish toast to mop up the juices. Herb butter includes Australian garlic, fresh thyme, sage, & parsley from our own herb garden.

The Full Monty – Two soft fried farm fresh eggs served with a bacon rasher, a country style pork apple and sage sausage and oven roasted tomato.

Eggs Benedict – Two lightly poached eggs served with a thin slice of leg ham atop a toasted split English muffin and covered with a rich homemade hollandaise sauce

In my experience, if I was to purchase this at any nearby café I would probably pay between $32 and $40 (for all the components listed above) so I don’t believe our breakfast is expensive – on the contrary I believe it is extraordinarily good value for money and served in a beautiful setting.

Thanks for your feedback on Vacy Hall and I look forward to your next visit.

Best wishes
Graham Higgins
Owner – Vacy Hall Historic Guesthouse
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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260 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 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 (100)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
Reviewed September 25, 2011

Thanks for a lovely, organized and pleasant stay, Graham. The combination of atmosphere, great service and a lovely location/setting made for a very enjoyable experience.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Thenewvee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lismore, Australia
Level Contributor
135 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed September 25, 2011

We chose Vacy Hall due to its Tripadvisor reviews and we enjoyed our stay. The major positives were: a comfortable bed, a good shower and a quiet room. I also enjoyed sitting out on the lovely verandahs which had plenty of tables with chairs and a lovely swinging bench with a back - we enjoyed our breakfast on the verandah on our 2nd morning there. The location was central - it only took us about 8 mins to walk to a restaurant in town for dinner.
The negatives were: the hair dryer was on a shelf under the towels in our room and could not be seen - I had to ring to find out where it was; no phone number for reception on the room phone or in the info compendium; the bathroom was very small and there was nowhere to put our toiletries. But all of these were small annoyances, not major issues. I mentioned them to Graham who said he would take this feedback on board and that our room was the only one with no shelving in the bathroom and that he had been trying to source a suitable bathroom cabinet.
We didn't appear to have electric blankets on the bed but maybe they had been taken off as the weather had warmed up. There was no airconditioning or ceiling fans but we didn't need them when we stayed.
Overall, this was comfortable accommodation in lovely grounds. We would stay again.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 11 which was off a short, quiet corridor. Room 12 seemed to have its own entrance...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kerilou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Black Mountain, Qld.
1 review
Reviewed September 22, 2011

I booked over the Internet not knowing what to expect. When my wife and I arrived at Vacy Hall is was a wonderful surprise to be able to experience an outstanding Historic Guesthouse beautifully maintained and presented to guests. We had a good nights sleep and feast of a breakfast in the sunshine on the verandah outside our room.
We have stayed in Historic Guesthouses in many parts of the World and rate Vacy Hall as one of the best.
Congratulations to the owner and staff for keeping alive such as exceptional piece of Toowoomba's History.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 6 but from the look of other rooms all appear to be of an excellent standard
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Derek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southport, Australia
1 review
Reviewed September 20, 2011

Our stay at Vacy Hall was definitely a memorable one. We were charmed by the hall and its history, its rooms, the gardens and the accommodating staff, not to mention the central location. The little bygone relics placed appropriately around the hall helped to feel as though you had gone back to the 1850's. Recommended without hesitation. Nicole, Nathan & Madi

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nicole f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 11, 2011

My husband and I have been staying at beautiful Vacy Hall for over 20 years now, and we held my husband's 50th party there, booking out the entire place. Our friends were charmed by the history of Vacy Hall too. We also use it as our private getaway for those special weekends and we always find the rooms to be so clean (they smell so fresh with wood oil and polish!) and always snugly warm with the central heating. Gotta love a historic accommodation bedroom that boasts your own fireplace!

Graham is always a generous host, welcoming us and making sure every is just so.

You must try the porridge; it's divine! I love how it's been decorated and furnished, with each antique piece lovingly dusted and polished; it's our home away from home. One time we went there and I joked to Graham that I loved Vacy Hall so much "I'd even polish your silverware!" and when we returned from our lunch, there was a beautiful old silver teapot, complete with polish and rags. I laughed so hard! (and yes, of course I polished it!) Loved the sense of humour.

Love Vacy Hall. You’ll love it too!

Room Tip: OUr favorie rooms are the 2 front rooms, love the bay windows and curtains.
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Patty B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2011

Just a word of advice when making a booking on the internet for this B&B. If you are under the impression that you are booking a particular room because there is a "book this room" button next to each individual room description, you will be sadly disappointed.

My husband and I specifically chose a particular room for our anniversary only to find that we had been allocated another room. I only discovered this after ringing them directly to clarify which room had actually been booked as it wasn't stated on the printout.

We decided that this was a type of false advertising and rang the owner/manager to cancel our booking. I explained to him that the website needs to be amended, but he was quite dismissive and rude. He made no attempt to apologise or admit a problem. Frankly, if that's the way he speaks to guests who have constructive criticism, I'm happy we're not staying there now.

We also thought that having to spend extra for breakfast was a bit rude too. As far as we were aware, when you advertise a B&B, the price of the room should actually include the cost of the breakfast. Obviously, this owner doesn't have a problem selling his rooms to guests. These guests perhaps didn't book via the internet.

His attitude has left a bad taste in our mouths. We will be telling everyone we know about his rudeness and advising them to stay elsewhere.

Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
7 Thank fluffyboots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grazzza, Owner at Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, September 7, 2011
Feedback is always welcome – we thrive on it. It’s the only way we can attempt to meet guest expectations. We are constantly responding to little suggestions like this one from guests about elements of our service offering that might need to be tweaked to improve the experience for others.

Our commitment to exceeding customer expectations has been recognised by our inclusion in the book “Great Australian Historic Hotels” by Barry Stone published by Allen and Unwin in 2010. We are also proud of Lonely Planet’s recommendation of us as their Pick of the places to stay in Toowoomba and our ongoing high ratings as an accommodation provider in Toowoomba on www.tripadvisor.com

Over the last 25 years we have sold over 50,000 room nights of accommodation to a diverse group of guests ranging from people escaping the kids for a quiet night away through to heads of state, billionaires and academy award winners actors and no-one else has found the way we sell our rooms online “misleading”. I feel the unhappiness of this guest may stem from the fact they couldn’t get the specific room they wanted because someone else had booked it first – but we had allocated their reservation to a comparable room. Sadly it was not what they wanted – and they were not willing to compromise.

Like every other accommodation provider who has multiple rooms we group rooms by type for online sales to avoid having a huge long list from which to choose. 60-70% of our room sales now occur online. This reviewer chose not to stay and called to cancel their booking after speaking to a new junior reservations staff member taking one of her first calls. They did not seem interested in discussing the issue - they called to cancel. Unfortunately it is not possible to please all the people all the time.

We consider ourselves to be a Historic Guesthouse but there isn’t a category for our type of accommodation so some people incorrectly assume that because we are listed under the B&B category, that we include breakfast. Breakfast is unbundled so people who want a light breakfast can pay less than those who want to start the day by relaxing on the verandah with a full cooked breakfast and those who don’t require breakfast don’t have to pay anything. This is made clear at the time of booking.

Please be aware this review was written be people who did not stay and did not want to stay. I do appreciate them drawing to my attention their perceptions of the website booking process and will attempt to remove the elements they found confusing with the new website which is currently under development. I wish them well.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel

Property: Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel
Address: 135 Russell St, Toowoomba, Queensland 4350, Australia (Formerly Vacy Hall Historic Guesthouse)
Location: Australia > Queensland > Toowoomba
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Toowoomba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Vacy Hall Toowoomba's Grand Boutique Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vacy Hall is like a time capsule that offers guests the opportunity to step back in time to a space where things were slower and less complicated, people had more time for each other and the world was more gracious. Built as a wedding present for the daughter of a wealthy squatter and pastoralist in the 19th century, Vacy Hall now provides travellers with a romantic experience reminiscent of the glory days of the 'squattocracy' with the convenience of a CBD boutique hotel. ... more   less 
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