Port Fairy is on the Great Ocean Highway. The seascapes along the Great Ocean Highway are spectacular. We liked the breathtaking drive along it much better than our later trip to the Great Barrier Reef.
Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel is a nine room boutique hotel. To get there, you turn off the Great Ocean Highway onto the main drag through Port Fairy, drive on that street all the way through town to where it dead ends and then turn right. It is about two bocks after that turn on the left hand side. The entrance to the hotel is not easy to see from the street, because there is just a small sign for it and you enter through a small metal gate leading into it. You find it by the street number. The problem is that the street side of this hotel is really its back. There is a river that runs in front of this hotel (i.e., there is no street in front) and the hotel actually fronts out onto that river. The building is painted bright white and obviously was once someone’s elegant mansion.
Our room was palatial. It was very well decorated and was very roomy. In addition to the bedroom, we had a large well appointed living room that had a gas fire place. The bathroom was spacious and immaculate. There was a small, but adequate television in each room. The hotel had a lounge and a sun room, which looked out onto the river, that also served as the breakfast room. Coffee, tea and short cake cookies are available there all day. So you can sip, munch and watch the small boats go up and own the river to your heart’s delight. There is a boardwalk that runs along the river in front of the hotel a long way in both directions. A stroll on that boardwalk along the river is a wonderful, relaxing experience.
Of course, no place is absolutely perfect. Our room surprisingly did not have a writing desk or even anything that would serve as a writing desk, which is to say that there is absolutely nowhere in the room to use a laptop computer. All surfaces in the room were either too high or too low. I had to solve this problem by taking my laptop out to the breakfast room in the morning where I set up on a breakfast table to compute. I did not get thrown out, but I did get the evil eye from the owner, who scowled darkly and made an under the breath comment that I could have set up somewhere in the lobby. I had checked out the lobby first and had not seen a writing desk or table of a useable height there either. I had only found one place in the breakfast room where there was enough free space below the electrical outlet to accommodate my power adapter. The outlets that ran along the baseboard were located just above the floor and there was not enough space between the floor and the outlet to plug in my adapter in any of them. I was probably in the way of breakfast service, since my power cord stretched from the table to the wall. So, I probably should not have been totally surprised that the necessity of using that location was causing the management some undisguised annoyance. Still, in that wonderfully appointed bed room and adjoining living room, it is remarkable that they did not add something as basic as a writing desk close to an outlet. We can't be the first guests who ever stayed there who routinely use a laptop. Ironically, I was sitting there writing a glowing review of his hotel for this posting when that happened.
There was wireless internet available in the office for $5.00. I did not use it, because I had already been on the internet at a pizza shop in the nearby downtown area of Port Fairy for a couple of dollars and had nothing else to check at the moment that the owner mentioned that I could get on line on the premises.
We were also somewhat disappointed with the included gourmet breakfast. When you see that something is going to be “gourmet” on menu, that often is the code word to tell you that there will not be much of it and the food will be a bit strange. There was plenty of breakfast cereal and fruit juice. There were several choices for other items on their menu. I could have gotten regular eggs and ham, but I ordered the omelet, whose only ingredient besides cheese turned out to be small tomato pieces (i.e., no meat item) and was less than tasty. There was toast, but no jelly or jam on the table or offered. There were no breakfast pastries.
The coffeee they served suffered from the normal residue at the bottom of the cup. Over and over again in Australia, I found that there would be a lot of residue at the bottom of the cup when you finished a cup of coffee. Sometimes coffee was outright gritty. When it is not included with the meal, it is also quite expensive, running three to five dollars a cup, with no free refills. I solved this problem by buying a small jar of instant coffee at a streetside convenience store for about six dollars and just made my own in our hotel rooms – no grit, no residue. Every hotel where we stayed had a microwave, a pot to heat water or both. It is probably because it was what I was used to, but I liked that instant coffee better than anything I ever bought in a restaurant in Australia.
As mentioned, the drive along the Great Ocean Highway that runs through Port Fairy is fantastic. However, the downtown part on Port Fairy does not sit on either the ocean or the river that runs through it. As also mentioned above, the hotel does sit on a boardwalk that runs along a river that is lined with sail boats. The boardwalk certainly creates the opportunities for some pleasant strolls. Port Fairy itself is a nice little town to walk around. It has many nice little shops and many restaurants.
For supper, we first tried to go to the Stag, which other postings had recommended, but it was closed. We next tried the Merrijig, which is right down the street from Oscar's. However, they turned us away, because we did not have a reservation. The owner of Oscar's later said the reason was that it was Good Friday which made them unusually busy. That was also the reason the Stag was closed. Easter seems to be a much more important holliday in Australia than in the United States. One Australian asked me how we could possibly stand to be away from our family on Easter -- like that was unthinkable. We ended up eating at Wisharts at the Wharf, which was right down the street from Oscar's and at the end of the boardwalk along the river. It was not the sort of place that uses table clothes, but the food was alright, the prices modest and the service prompt and friendly.
This account is more than a bit long winded concerning the problems we encountered at Oscar's, which actually amounted to a very small hole in a very big and delicious doughnut. No place is perfect. Oscar's is a great place to stay. We recommend it highly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The prestigious property of Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel has become a well-known weekend retreat and idyllic destination for national and international tourists alike.Located in the town of Port Fairy at the end of the Great Ocean Road, close to the 12 Apostles, Grampians and Coonawarra wine region, Oscars continues to thrive under continued ownership spanning 14 years. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Oscars Waterfront Boutique
- Oscars Waterfront Boutique Port Fairy
- Oscars Waterfront Boutique Hotel Port Fairy, Victoria