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“Wedding on July 13, 2013 - The Good and Not so Good”

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Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Bowral
City of Greater Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Wedding on July 13, 2013 - The Good and Not so Good”
Reviewed July 18, 2013

I travel a lot on business and have had my fair share of 4 and 5 star hotels so was quite excited to try out the 2 day package offered by Milton Park knowing only a little of its heritage. The price was approx. $1,400 for 2 nights (incl breakfast) which is way above what we would normally spend but decided to hang the expense and enjoy the luxury. We were encouraged to get a tower suite at time of booking since we had 2 children staying with us.

My nephew was being married with about 160 guests and we expected something quite special which it was...location amazing, grounds stunning, rooms impeccable and hotel service generally excellent. David was very accommodating in managing to carry nearly all our luggage to our room at the top of the stairs.

There were 2 weddings - one Friday night and my nephew's on Saturday night. The Friday night revellers returned to our building and were quite noisy until after 1am which was quite disturbing.

Service at the wedding was reasonable but a few "must mentions" in chronological order:
1. After the wedding service we were asked to stand in the waiting area next to the dining room which was extremely crowded where drinks and canapés were served. It was way too cold to wait outside so it was very cosy and not easy for the elderly who struggled to find a seat. We were told a 30 minute wait but it seemed more than 1 hour
2. Table service was very average and wine was served by waiters with no bottles of wine or water on the table so you had to wait until they were ready to serve you. Another nephew of mine asked for wine just prior to entrees being served and was told to wait until entrees had been served and still nothing. We tried to get the waiters attention after half an hour and some speeches then they said "we are about to serve mains so you have to wait!". We spoke to the head service person (a short blonde lady) as my nephew (cousin to the groom) didn't get his wine until a 3rd request after mains with total wait time probably 90 minutes since the 1st request. This is unimaginable when we understand the total cost for such a large party in such an exclusive establishment.
3. The function room was totally sealed and became a sauna once music and dancing began and really needed a couple of open windows or forced ventilation. All windows were covered in condensation. The absence of water on the tables was especially noticeable once people finished on the dance floor.
4. Breakfast the next morning was buffet style and I decided to ask for an omelette instead of the scrambled egg and eggs benedict on offer as they had run out. I was told to order an omelette would cost an extra $12.50!!! Every 4 or 5 star hotel I've stayed at have done this without question or added cost especially with a room rate of $700+ per night...this was again stated by the same "service" lady as at the wedding. I then had to ask them to provide more eggs benedict as there were none left while I waited and watched the rest of the family finish their breakfast.

The fact we spent good time with family from the wedding was the best part of our stay but if we had been their on our own this kind of service would have been more appalling.

Now that I've ticked this place off my list, I don't think my wife and family will need to visit it again.

Room Tip: Ask whether there are any weddings on the nights you are staying as the after party noise can really...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank 61LouReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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373 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
sydney
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 15, 2013

I have never written a review on trip advisor before, but feel compelled to share our great experience at Milton Park. It was a very easy 1.5 hour drive from Sydney. The hotel was charming with fireplaces in the main rooms. I cannot say enough about the exceptional staff - Daniella, Vincent, Auriela, Kelly and David. Everyone worked very hard to accommodate our wishes. The room we were in was a bit cold and they immediately rolled in additional heaters until the central heating was turned up. The food was outstanding. My partner, who said it was one of the best meals he has had, had Beef Bourguignon which we were told took 36 hours and 4 bottles of wine reducing to make per serve. Vincent, the food and beverage Manager from France, put a special cheese tasting plate together for us and took the time to print out a list of other cheeses he would suggest we sample. After dinner it was lovely to play cards and sip wine in front of a roaring fireplace. We had massages at the spa which was fantastic. (next time we will bring our swimsuits to enjoy the oversized hot tub on offer or the heated swimming pool.) The grounds are gorgeous and well maintained.
Overall, the staff, the food and the atmosphere at Milton Park made this a perfect weekend getaway. An afternoon walking through Berrima and the local town of Bowral offered an enjoyable escape from the city.

Room Tip: The Forrest rooms seem to offer more space and a better outlook.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank tf212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 14, 2013

Have been here before (on a Thursday night) and it was nice even if the service overall is a bit 'hit or miss'. BUT, forget a quiet or romantic time if there is a wedding on! In our case there were TWO weddings -- one on Friday and one on Saturday -- and guests partied until after 1AM in the bar /snooker area. Staff cleaning up after them could be heard complaining while working. All of this might not have been a problem if our room had been on the other side of the hotel -- and upstairs. When we complained we were given a small discount on the room and a decent apology. Might be better if the hotel required the wedding goers to book out the hotel completely.

Room Tip: Do NOT, under any circumstances, take the 'assisted access' room near the check in desk -- e...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JohnnJayne_00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vaucluse, New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
44 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2013

A pleasant surprise in the beautiful old home on a very rainy Sydney week!

I gave them a 5 star, but was really a 4.5 but that’s not an option on Trip Advisor and I felt 4 was probably too low. From reading the reviews, I was a little unsure staying there for 3 nights to celebrate my fiancee’s 50th Birthday, so I rang and glad I did. I spoke to the manager Danielle and she was lovely. She mentioned if something wasn’t working or not right, to let them know at the time and they will do their best to accommodate. Well seemed like a good solution, plus she upgraded us complimentary for the first two nights from a standard garden room to one with a fireplace...it was not avail on the 3rd night. Will say upfront for the first 2 days, Thur and Fri there were only 3 other guests, so we felt like we had this lovely mansion to ourselves, all the lovely rooms with open fireplaces and lounge room chairs, plus the billiard room, all great, service, impeccable!

The Customer Service
From the moment we drove up the beautiful driveway, to entering this lovely old home, greeted by a friendly staff, we felt this stay was going to be great. As it was my fiancee’s 50th Birthday on arrival the presented us with a lovely bottle of champagne to celebrate....this really was a great experience! And in all fairness it was great in so many ways, except for the 3rd day, the Saturday...things fell apart due to the larger volume of people that the staff needed to service and unfortunately were under staffed, but to Danielle’s credit, she did an amazing job, fixing all of our issues that cropped up, from us thinking the room heater we changed too was broken, but it works on timers and goes on again from 5pm. We requested a DVD player and it was broken, the phone in the room we changed too was broken, we couldn’t get into the restaurant on Sat night, so we selected to did do in-room dining instead.
The Restaurant Food
Have to say the food was great. We ate in on the Thur night and couldn’t really find a fault, the portions maybe a bit small, but the more fancier the restaurant the smaller the portions.
On Sat night we ate in our room as we couldn’t get into the restaurant. When it finally arrived, we got all 3 courses served at once...We had one entree - The French Onion Soup....that had been sitting under a warmer for some time, tasty but warm. For main it was duck and the other a steak, both were lukewarm, now we tested it before finishing the entree, so it didn’t go cold waiting for us to finish our entree. And they forgot the bowl of steamed veggies. So as I was starving I ate dessert first - Creme Brûlée - now that was delicious! We rang once again and Danielle was a “Super Star”, she took the cold food away and brought us new mains, which now were served under stainless steal domes, instead of plastic one’s and the food was hot! So she redeemed the restaurant there.
Breakfast during Fri was nicer than the buffet over the weekend. It was ok, cereals, oats, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, sausages, potato, tomato, mushrooms...but the best was the freshly baked breads....mmmm and they have a Nespresso...but no George C. to be seen.

The Spa and Gym
We booked into the spa on the Friday morning for the Friday and had no problem getting in, but I’m sure the weekend would have been a different story. We found the girls a little pushy on the products (I know they have to do their job and sell) but after we said no thanks but we really wont be buying this brand, they tactfully said well I’ll just run through products used on you...relaxed I was, so I let her, with no intention of buying. The gym equipment was great, all clean and modern, the gym was cool, but that’s ok. It also had a great big yoga/stretch room which was great. The massage itself was expensive and not great for the price, but was nice and I guess in resorts you gain comfort over the best practitioners. Not saying they were bad, I’ve just had great practitioners in Sydney. The spa temp was good for us. Not too hot and comfortable to relax in. The Sauna and Steam rooms were Fantastic.

Overall Staff are great - just understaffed on weekend
Danielle was the :star of the show” she fixed the DVD, the phone, the cold meals, the heater issue, the hairdryer, she upgraded our room and all with a smile and never made us feel bad for complaining, Free Champagne too :)
The other staff were just as helpful, there was a lovely gentleman, forget to get his name, dark hair, he was fantastic with his communication, pleasant smile and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure we were happy. Very smart man....someone might snap him up for their business elsewhere :) French I think he was.
The gardens are lovely and even in the rain, we still wondered around with umbrella’s provided by the hotel. All beautiful.
We are glad we had a couple of days with not many guests around as we completely relaxed in most of the rooms and gardens in peace and tranquility, before the place got busy for school holidays and weekend travelers and their children.
The garden room was spacious, very comfy bed and clean. The bathroom was a little old and could do with a spruce up, but that just added character to the place.

Thank you for a lovely 3 days, the staff did make up for the hotels short falls of age! We will come back, springtime looks like the time to see the full appreciation of the garden

Room Tip: Go midweek if you can and it will be great
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Maree Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Terrigal
Level Contributor
61 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

Perhaps my expectations were a little high but I certainly did not come away from this weekend impressed with Milton Park.
The grounds and surroundings are beautiful and the hotel itself is exquisite. We were checked in no problems despite a bit of a wait and staff showed us to our room and explained everything. When we asked for a dinner reservation for 6 people they could not accommodate this but had a table for two at 9pm. So we decided to ask our friends who live in Bowral to come to just have a drink with us. However the staff informed us this is not allowed unless they were dining at the restaurant. So we told our friends not to come and asked the staff to let us know if there were any cancellations in the restaurant.
The phone in our room was broken so they wouldn't have been able to call us anyway, we had to call downstairs on our mobile phones. No effort was made to fix this.
When we got to the restaurant at nine there were four tables all empty. The staff informed us that they had forgotten to set our table??? and we should go and have a drink at the bar. This we did, however the bar was not staffed and we waited for twenty minutes before finally going to find someone to get us a drink. When we got our drink the bartender proceeded to offer the couple next to us some nuts, and completely ignored us. Not that I even wanted nuts but it would make sense for him to offer some to us, there was only two couples there and we were both sitting at the bar!

Obviously our friends could easily have fit into the restaurant so that was upsetting.
The food was exceptional and we really enjoyed the dinner.

We invited our friends to come and have breakfast with us as they didn't get to come for dinner, and for this we were charged almost $50 a head for a breakfast that could only be considered ordinary and little more than cereal, a bit of fruit and some mushrooms and sausages. A total rip off.
We then wanted to sit around the fire and have some champagne but staff informed us the bar didn't open until six. By this stage we were totally fed up and we checked straight out and left.

The staff were nice enough just seemed out of their depth and not of the calibre that would be expected at this type of establishment. There was also nowhere near enough staff to get any service, and for what the place costs we expected a lot better. I would not return despite the beauty of the place, they need new management and more staff!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank loverofred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
59 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Having read the previous reviews, my husband and I had tempered expectations for our Winter weekend getaway. From the moment we walked through the door we were looking for faults, and despite this, we ended the weekend wondering what all the negative fuss is about.

We spent two nights from Friday the 14th of June in a Forest Suite. The website description and the photos do not do these suites justice. We were expecting a large, but single room suite, and instead were greeted with a vestibule, bathroom, lounge with bay window and fireplace, and separate bedroom with balcony. Two flat screen TVs, a large bathroom with huge spa and candles (!!). The bed was a large king sized four poster bed with fresh crisp linen, and the whole suite heated not only with the fireplace which the staff kept on all weekend, but also hydronic heating. All furnishings and finishes are of the highest standard, which must be an enormous task for such a lavish hotel.

Due to a late arrival on the Friday night, we chose Room Service. Always a risky move, but they nailed it. Gorgeous food, delivered with aplomb, and arriving neither too early or too late. Breakfast the next morning was included in our room rate, with hot dishes made to order with very friendly service. Dinner that evening was in the Horden's Restaurant, which we enjoyed, almost as much as our cocktails at the bar before and afterwards.

The gardens are gorgeous, regardless of whether you want to walk them, photograph them or get married in them, and are worth a visit aside all the other benefits of a stay.

I'm usually inclined to find fault when writing reviews, in order to provide insight for potential guests and the hotel management. After all, we don't learn too much from success. But I'd really only be nit-picking and that wouldn't be fair.

If you're thinking about staying here, don't be put off by the negative reviews. It was one of the most romantic, treasured weekends away I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tough_Job
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
Reviewed June 24, 2013

My husband booked this as a surprise for the second night after our wedding and we stayed in the bridal suite. Service almost faultless and nothing seemed too much trouble. This even included lighting a fire for us when we asked to stay for a snack before driving back to Sydney. We are aware they are working on customer service and that rooms need some updating, so for this reason it is probably a little overpriced. One big negative is the spa. Our package had been marketed as giving access to the spa, which is closed most of Sunday. We booked a massage which was very average for what was charged, and ruined by relentless promotion of Payot products while we were trying to enjoy tea and sit quietly. I was then told that we couldn't use the spa facilities (sauna etc) because we weren't guests (we had checked out an hour earlier). That lack of goodwill/service unfortunately undermines my overall impression, but I couldn't fault the hotel service, especially by Vincent.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Geebs75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa

Property: Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa
Address: Milton Park Country Hotel 200 Horderns Rd, Bowral, New South Wales 2576, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Southern Highlands > Bowral
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Bowral
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Milton Park Country House Hotel & Spa, the Southern Highlands leading luxury hotel, crowns its own private estate. Considered by many to be the finest regional hotel in Australia, Milton Park offers luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and impeccable service in an atmosphere of relaxed sophistication. The hotels facilities rival some of the greatest Country House Hotels of the World. Both American Express Travel & Gourmet Traveller Magazine have recently voted Milton Park amongst their top ten luxury escapes. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Milton Park Country House Hotel & Destination Bowral
Milton Park Country House Hotel And Destination Spa
Milton Park Country Hotel Destination

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