Firstly...sorry for the long review...but i have just come back from the snow and am still buzzing with excitment...so writting this review is fun in hat i am reliving my experience.
I first found Guthega Alpine 10 years ago when i was skiing by and stopped for lunch. Ever since i have wanted to stay there. However after reading all the negative reviews on tripadvisor, i was scared off and decided it was not worth the risk. We have skied for the last 25 years and stayed in most of the 'best' accomodation in Australia, including Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Perisher Valley Hotel, The Denman, appartments and many lodges, and i believed these were a 'safer option' based on this websites reviews.
Last year, i decided to take the plunge, and try GAH. We booked and paid in full, but after finding out my wife was pregnant, we decided to cancel. The management could not have been more understanding, and although within their right to not provide us with a refund, they happily did.
So, when we were to book this years accomodation, i booked at Guthega again. We arrived on the Saturday and rang the lodge as we passed through Jindabyne. When we reached the Guthega carpark, Nick was there to greet us, load our bags into the oversnow buggy and drive us to the lodge. As we had arrived early in the morning and our room was not ready, an area was made available for us to change into our ski gear and store our bags.
After our first day of skiing we returned to GAH to check into our room. The rooms are not resort rooms but they have everything you need. We had a beautiful view across the mountains and a balcony on which to sit. There were nice touches such as fresh lavender and classic european ski posters which made the room feel warm and homely.
There is no TV in the room and mobile phone reception is only 2 bars. As someone who needs to be 'connected' i felt a bit out of touch, but this is probablly one of the best things. In hindsight i was glad to be disconected for a while. There is a TV room and wi fi available, but i was pleased not to use them and enjoy the mountains.
We went downstairs and sat by the fire, drank quality european draught beer, and warm spiced wine. The three course meal was incredible, and the convienience of breakfast and dinner being included made our holiday more relaxing and enjoyable. Between our party of four we tried every entree, main and dessert offered, and all were of high quality. We didn't go to bed hungry.Meals are varied and included beef, chicken, pork, salmon, pastas and risotos...a great selection. Upon speaking to Jenny, i was told they have a farm in Jindabyne where they source a lot of their produce and meat...so it is fresh.
After dinner we continued to sit by the fire and talk to guests. Nick and Jenny both made an effort to talk to us and make us feel welcome but didn't impose themselves.
We went to bed every night by 9. This is not the place if you are after the party experience. It has a warm homely lodge feel. Guest talk to each other. You get the feeling that it is a family of guests that are regulars, but we never felt on the outer, even though it was our first time. There was a varied mix of guests, several couples of different ages, a family or two...a good mix. The kids all played board games at night and special kids meals were made.
The Guthega area is great for kids to play in the snow, make snowmen and toboggan. If you want to put the kids in ski school, and escape, its probablly not the place as it is a fair way from Perisher and would be a pain getting there and back. We will be taking our 3 year old next year but talking the mother in law who does not ski and getting one of the bigger rooms. That way we will be able to ski half days and play in the snow with her for the rest.
I could go on and on, as every experience i had of Guthega Alpine Hotel was a good one. In fact, i didn't bother going skiing on the second day as i was happy just sitting next to the fire and reading my book. I was very relaxed.
Looking back, i can say that GAH is without doubt the best on snow experience i have ever had in an Australian resort. It is true ski in, ski out. If i won the lottery i would not bother buying my own chalet, i would simply go to GAH every year. It is relaxing and homely. It has exerything you could want, including a great chef, great staff, and management who are happy to assist you. I felt as though it was my own personal chalet and i had my own private staff.
So, having said all that, I find many of the comments made on tripadvisor perplexing, as they are in stark contrast to what i have experienced. Part of me wants to not write a good review and keep GAH 'a secret' so i can always get a room, however i am almost angry that such scathing reviews have been written about a lodge which gave us our best ski experience ever. In addition i found the comments about Nick and Jenny almost offensive as they did evrything they could to help us. I feel the comments are spiteful and misleading.
Upon reading them again i realise that many of the comments are made not by guests but by people from nearby lodges and i believe their motives in leaving negative reviews are questionable. Regardless, although i always read tripadvisor comments before staying anywhere, i am pleased i chose to visit GAH regardless.
In response to some of the previous comments made...I will say that Nick and Jenny try to make the experience the very best for their guests. There are some house rules that we were told on the first day and i think they are more than reasonable and only there to ensure all guests enjoy their stay. As a result the couch by the fireplace is reserved for guests only. I realise that may offend visitors, but as a guest i was pleased that day trippers were asked not to sit there so i as a guest could read my book by the fire. We were politely asked to not eat our own food, or drink our own drinks in the bar, and i apologised and stopped. I can see their point...they are not running a charity, they have only a couple of months a year to make some money, and i think that is a reasonable request. Drinks are expensive if you compare them to an RSL but they are pretty standard for the slopes...particularily when GAH is so out of the way. A draught Peroni was $8.50, and i was more than happy to pay that. Ski Boots were allowed anywhere on the bottom level and in the bar. There is a sign on the door requesting you remove snow of your boots before you enter...i would say that is standard courtesy.
There are very basic rules. It is definately not a nanny state, its just some basic courtesy which should be no problem for any civilised human being.
Overall...amazing experience. As long as you leave Sydney in Sydney and relax and be respectful, this will be the best place you have ever stayed on snow.
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