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“Beautiful experience”

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Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 21, 2013

Lord WOW island is fantastic location. Arajilla is in our opinion is 5 star location, accommodation, amazing food/preparation, facilities and the fabulous staff who made us feel so at home. Will be recommending to all. One of our best holidays ever, definitely will be returning.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ian P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded October 5, 2013

Dear Ian P
We are so pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us. Thank you for your comments. I have passed them onto the staff.
We would love to see you here again in the not too distant future.

Kind regards
Janne & Bill Shead

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143 - 149 of 237 reviews

Reviewed May 5, 2013

Having read mickp99s (my husband) review I would like to make a few amendments! The rooms were so lovely and were located in an idyllic rainforest setting which was only a short stroll down a boardwalk path to Settlement beach; the best beach on the island and the place to go to swim with turtles. Arajilla is also conveniently located to the village shops and an easy walk to churches, bowling club (island social hub) the museum and Ned's beach. No mobile reception on the island makes for a more relaxing holiday but each room also has a landline if needed. The lack of internet in the room was a definite plus! The slower pace at Lord Howe and limited Internet made it easier to unwind and enjoy the peace and beauty of the island. The food and dining experience were excellent and I always found the staff willing and able to assist with anything we required. Many other accommodation options are a walk or bike ride up and down hills. Only a commited bike rider or someone fortunate enough to hire one of the few cars on the island would choose to stay at Capella lodge. The view might be stunning but it is at the farthest end of the island from the key amenities and activities; unless your idea of an island escape is golf rather than swimming and snorkelling! Few other places on the island are as conveniently located as Arijilla. Tranquil Arajilla would definitely be MY first pick for a return visit to beautiful Lord Howe island!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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9  Thank Shellp99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear Shellp99,

We are so glad you took the time to write such kind words. Our staff works very hard to make sure your holiday as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Reviews like yours make all our hard work well worth it!

We totally agree that the lack of phone and internet reception make for a more relaxing holiday. We are so happy you got to experience an unhurried and relaxed lifestyle on Lord Howe Island.

Like you, we also appreciate all the wonderful activities close to Arajilla. We often hear that our location is perfect for exploring the Island on foot or bike.

We have also passed your kind words onto our restaurant staff who will be thrilled to hear you enjoyed all of your dining experiences.

We are so glad Arajilla is your number one pick for accommodation on Lord Howe Island and we very much hope to see you back at Arajilla soon!

Kind Regard,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Reviewed May 2, 2013

Lord Howe Island is a beautiful, beautiful island. The scenery is stunning - the classic volcanic atoll - much better than it appears in brochures etc. Old Settlement Beach is great for swimming, snorkelling and playing with the turtles. Fish feeding at Ned's beach is awesome, and there is some fantastic snorkelling on boat tours about 5 minutes from shore. If you are thinking of visiting - do it!

The only downside is that it is hard to get around by foot. Bikes are great, but even then the hills can be very difficult to get over. But wherever you are going, it always seems worth the effort when you get there.

But I am here to review Arajilla, rather than the island itself.

Despite only giving it three stars, Arajilla may be the best accommodation option on the island for some. There aren't many places where you don't have to cook for yourself, and all of them are expensive. Arajilla is the best located - if you want to swim at the best beach and generally explore the island by foot or bike. The resort is also set up to help you enjoy yourself, with bikes, snorkelling equipment and fishing tackle all provided. They also provide magnificently generous BBQ packs for you to cook at the many wood BBQ's scattered throughout the island. Our 10 yr old son said it was the best holiday he had ever had, because of all the fun things you can do.

The food is very good - by far the best available to the public on the island. OK - it is very fussy food, with two or three unnecessary items in every dish, but it kept things interesting and I'm happy to give the chef marks for effort, if not execution. The menu is quite limited, with only three main courses each night- one vegetarian, one kingfish, and one other. But we were there for five nights and only saw one or two dishes repeated over that time. The chef was also happy to leave ingredients off to cater for my wife's allergies or my son's tastes. The pacing of the meals are quite slow, but if you would prefer to be in your room the friendly staff are always happy to deliver it there- breakfast, lunch or dinner. The only gripe I had was the way bread and pastries were so jealously guarded. A strict limit of one roll each at dinner. One plate of pastries for breakfast (1 for every 3 people), that was never replaced once finished, and toast could only be done by the kitchen, was a 15 minute wait, and came one piece at a time.

So why only three stars? The main reason is that I didn't think you got a lot for the money. The rooms are fine, but are in the forest with not a lot of light. You wouldn't ever choose to spend time in your room. If weather confined you to the retreat, it would be a very average holiday. Compare this to Capella, which has one of the best views in Australia from the rooms and restaurant and appears to be a genuine five star resort.

Staff were all great - but always very busy, and we often had to wait for service. There often seemed to be one staff member less than was necessary. And the final straw for me (which cost them an extra star) was the lack of promised Internet access. You could only connect to wifi in the common areas - and the wifi was only connected to the Internet for about 5% of our stay, which was very inconvenient for me. Staff said you needed to go to the museum and pay if you wanted reliable Internet.

So I would highly recommend visiting Lord Howe Island. But be aware that catered accommodation is very expensive. If the price doesn't bother you and you don't want to spend time in your room Arajilla is great, but when we return to the island we will stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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12  Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Hi Mickp99,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an extensive review.

We always appreciate hearing from our past guests and were glad you gave us so much constructive feedback to help us improve our services for our guests.

Of course, everyone has their own preferences and we are realistic that we might not be able to please everyone 100% of the time – as much as we try. So we will take your comments into consideration.

We are sorry you felt the rooms were too dark. This is not a comment we have received before. We believe that the canopy of trees above the rooms create a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere within the retreat. Saying this, many of our rooms are going through renovations this winter season, so if you return you may find you’d have a different experience.

Like your wife’s review above, we believe that our location is great for exploring Lord Howe Island. With Settlement Beach, our “CBD” and many other sites and attractions in within easy walking distance. Other accommodation options Lord Howe Island do not have this luxury.

Unfortunately internet is an on-going issue for us here at Arajilla and across Lord Howe Island. We do advertise on our website that WIFI is only available in the guest lounge. Most guests enjoy the rare break away from technology while staying with us. The Island’s internet access is via satellite which sometime makes it slow. We will have to wait for the Australian National Broadband Network to be rolled out for the situation to be remedied. Something we wish as much as you would come quickly. We are continuing to look at how we improve the situation in the meantime of course.

We like to think guests staying at Arajilla are receiving good value for money given our unique location, service level and high calibre of accommodation. All of our rates include full breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea, selected pre-dinner drinks, three course dinner with menu changing daily, tea and coffee, room service till 10pm, return island airport transfers, beach towels, beach bags, beach chairs, light fishing rods, snorkelling gear, backpacks, mountain bikes, DVD and book library.

We do hope to see you back at Arajilla one day!

Kind Regards,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Reviewed April 15, 2013

My partner & I spent several nights at Arajilla last week. It is a beautiful retreat set in a perfect, private & peaceful location. The meals at the restaurant impressed us immensely on every occasion. The attention to detail & personal service from the owners and the staff make this an absolutely first class choice for a perfect holiday destination.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Nerida G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear Nerida G,

Thank you for taking the time to give us such a fabulous review here on Trip Advisor. We are so happy we could make your stay at Arajilla first class!

You summed it up perfectly with the term “perfect, private and peaceful”. Our staff work very hard to make sure every detail of your stay is all of those three “P’s”!

Once again, thank you for your kind words. We hope to be welcoming you back to Arajilla soon!


Kind Regards,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Reviewed April 14, 2013

I recently stayed at Arajilla Retreat and words cannot describe how amazing this place is. It's absolute perfection in luxury accommodation, food and it was the perfect place to get away for 5 days from our busy lives and really unwind. The whole place is a credit to its owners Bill and Janne and its staff. Everything was perfect and attention to detail impeccable.....not to mention how beautiful Lord Howe Island is.....truly one of the most beautiful places in the world! From the personal greeting at the airport to the first name basis by the entire staff who always remembered my food and beverage choices throughout our whole stay. Our stay in the Banyan Suites was very luxurious and comfortable with everything we needed in the suite and more. It felt like a home away from home! I loved walking through all the tranquil pathways of the retreat that were lined with Kentia palms, amazing tress and other beautiful plants...probably one of my favourite things to do each day....to either the beach which was only 50 metres away, or to the lodge. The food was amazing! I felt like I was dining in one of the world's best restaurants every morning, noon and night, and all the different tastes and the presentation of the food was incredible. Well done to Dennis the Head Chef who also came out from the kitchen each night to greet the guests and explain what we were eating. I had several treatments in the Ayurvedic Spa by Scott which was extremely relaxing. Make sure you have the Shirodhara treatment whereby Scott pours a warm oil over your third eye for 30 minutes. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

I cannot fault my entire experience at Arajilla Retreat and cannot wait to go back there again!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank AdrianC67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear AdrianC67,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review us here on Trip Advisor! We are so glad you enjoyed your time with us and got to experience what Lord Howe Island is all about.

Our staff works very hard to make sure every aspect of your stay is as close to perfection as possible whether it be in the spa, on the beach or in the restaurant. We are also excited you enjoyed the Arajilla forest! We are truly blessed on Lord Howe Island to have such a unique eco-system, and even more blessed to be able to live amongst it at Arajilla!

We have passed your kind words onto our staff, in particular Dennis and Scott who are ecstatic with your fabulous wrap of Arajilla’s spa and restaurant.

We very much look forward to seeing you here at Arajilla again soon!

Kind Regards,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Reviewed April 13, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed at Arajilla and it lived up to - and exceeded - all our expectations. From the moment you are greeted at the airport to being welcomed at the Retreat, everything is done with such a personal touch that you are made to feel very special.First name terms from all the staff and such attention to detail really does put this in the premium category, both in terms of service and food. Every meal was beautifully presented with the menu changing daily - you can choose from one of the many BBQ spots on the island and the staff will deliver the food to the location for you, either for lunch or dinner, should you choose not to dine back at the resort. Bikes and snorkel gear and yours for the duration of your stay - the villa we stayed in was very well serviced, and so discreetly we never saw any housekeeping staff. It is so close to Settlement beach that you can walk there within a couple of minutes, but also at the end of the island which is close to the "CBD" as the locals call it... i.e., the pub/bar/bakery, the post office, and a couple of other stores. LHI is a unique place that is almost 'the land that time forgot'... life is slow and relaxed and the staff at Arajilla went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed every moment. The walk up Mt Gower was on my Bucket List - and so glad I did it, even though my thighs are still burning 2 days later. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Moo499
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear Moo449,

It’s brilliant to hear from you about your stay through your kind review. We are so glad you enjoyed your stay and have already decided to come see us again.

We often get feedback about how great the location of Arajilla is for exploring Lord Howe Island. We love that you were able to get a feel for the true essence of the Island.

We also believe little touches like greeting you at the airport, discrete housecleaning and catering your barbeques is all part of making your holiday as relaxing as possible.

We are so glad you experienced all the magic that Lord Howe Island has to offer.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Arajilla soon!

Kind Regards,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Reviewed April 3, 2013

I can not begin to explain just how wonderful Arajilla is! We had a 5 night break over Easter and from the time we were greeted off the plane to the time we were dropped off at the airport for our departing flight, we were treated like family! The staff are incredibly welcoming, friendly and are able to predict every need that you have. The food was absolutely wonderful, from the breakfast buffet, packed daily lunches and fabulous 3 course dinners that always included local seafood and produce. The spa at the resort is a real treat too and Elle even managed to get feeling back in my muscles after the various day treks we had been doing.
I can not recommend Arajilla enough and I only hope that one day I will get the chance to return.

Room Tip: Kentia suite is lovely
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Joby_1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arajilla, Owner at Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island, responded to this reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear Joby_1972,

Wow! Thank you for your excellent review. Getting feedback like that certainly puts a spring in our step. Your kind words have inspired the team to keep up their efforts to make our guests stay at Arajilla as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

It’s brilliant to read you used Arajilla as your base camp to strike out and explore Lord Howe Island. We often enjoy the day trek around the Island – always something new to see, even after 25 years!

We are so lucky to have such great, fresh local produce on Lord Howe Island to use in our kitchen. Our chef does an amazing job too of course.

We really hope to see you again at Arajilla!

Kind Regards,

Bill & Janne Shead

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Additional Information about Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island

Address: Lagoon Road | Old Settlement Beach, Lord Howe Island 2898, Australia
Location: Australia > Lord Howe Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Lord Howe Island
Price Range: $1,060 - $1,584 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Arajilla Retreat - Lord Howe Island 4.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Renowned for its warm and friendly service and laid back ambience, Arajilla Retreat encapsulates the very essence of Lord Howe Island, offering guests a haven of tranquillity and peace. Arajilla is perfectly positioned on the northern sheltered end of the Island’s lagoon just behind Old Settlement Beach, where meandering pathways lead through native gardens to the beach, to its serene Ayurvedic Spa luxurious suites and renowned restaurant. Explore the extraordinary scenery and wildlife of World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island. Walk bush trails, climb mountains, swim, surf, snorkel, fish, cycle around the Island, play golf beneath the mountains, take it easy on a deserted beach, enjoy a massage or treatment, savour fine food and wine. And it’s all less than a two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arajilla Retreat Hotel Lord Howe Island
Arajilla Retreat Lord Howe Island

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