Stayed in room 124 on the 14th June 2012 after several days business in the region. Foyer looked reasonable and at the time ex NSW premier opened the place in 1984 it was probably worthy of the 4 star rating. Unfortunately, it appears to have had minimal maintainance since that time.
The visual impact of a dark line about 1 metre high running the entire length of both sides of the hallway makes me think that the place was subject to flooding in the recent past. On opening the door to Rm 124 I immediately noticed the piece of 'gaffer' tape holding the carpet down across the doorway, I subsequently noted that all the doorway carpets were taped in the same fashion. The walls and doors appear grubby, and since when did having green towels in the bathrooms come into fashion. The shower curtain was old and mildewy (yes, a shower curtain with shower over a bath, great for older folk who might want a 'tub' 'but in 2012, time to move on). The sheets were so threadbare I suspect they were there when Premier Neville WRAN opened the centre back in the 80's. However the bed was reasonably comfortable, the curtains blocked the light out and there was minimal road noise. For this, my company was charged just under $160 for the night, supposedly 4 stars.
As it was the last day of a working trip with 7 colleagues, we decided to eat in the restaurant and avoid any temptation to drink/drive. 'Charades' the dining room should in fact be called 'Facade' because that is the only semblance to a quality restaurant it has. The chairs are that old I felt my posterior was going to fall through the seat. So I swapped with one at another table, it was the same, and all my workmates agreed the chairs at which they were seated had a use by date long passed. The air conditioning outlets on the ceiling were filthy and the decor was a very long time ago considered new.
Putting this all aside I felt as it was the last night of a long work week I would treat myself to a nice meal. All 'Mains' on the menu were priced between $32-$35 (Aus). I thought it fairly pricey, as a good meal in an up scale inner city restaurant would be similar cost, but I threw caution to the wind and ordered the 'Paella'. I was absolutely gobsmaked at the rubbish that was presented. I am a poor cook myself, but a very accomplished world traveller and eater. The 'stuff' they called paella was at best a pathetic attempt to create something from a 'New Idea' cookbook and a dish even I could have bettered. Two of my colleagues also ordered the Paella and the contents on each plate was a markedly different size. For this gunk I paid $34.
Why did I not complain at the time? It was the end of a long week, my colleagues and I were enjoying each others company liberally doused with overpriced drinks and our firm was paying for it. It was only next day that I really contemplated the rorting that this place seems to engage in. I know there is a mining boom in the Hunter region, and accommodation may be tight but to partake in wholesale pillaging of corporate accounts will only last so long.
On the up side the staff were reasonably friendly, but, no I didn't have the $20 breakfast of cereal and coffee, I went down the road and found a delightful bakery and cafe and had 'breaky' for $7:95. I will tell everyone of my stay at Charbonnier
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