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“Overpromised / Underdelivered”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Royal Mail Hotel

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Royal Mail Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Dunkeld
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Overpromised / Underdelivered”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2012

We had stayed there twice before and had always enjoyed it. This time we found the property tired, the rooms were just average and in need of refurbishment and I am not sure that the dining experience was worthy of the three hats that the restaurant recently scored.

The dining room had a constant stream of traffic going through it towards the bistro which further detracted from the minimal atmosphere. At the prices that they charge for the degustation menu with accompanying wines you have a right to expect good quality cutlery in excellent condition and not something that has gone through the dishwasher too many times.

The food was generally excellent and interesting, if at times a trifle overworked just for the sake of complication.

The imported wines that were served were mostly sourced from obscure growers and a great deal of fuss was made of this. In the case of the Champagne it is likely that the grower will continue to remain thus.

Personally I have no preference for either well known or unknown growers so long as I enjoy drinking their product; some of the wines that were served didn't qualify; my wife left two of them in the glass. Both sommeliers could be heard reciting the same spiel at every table parrot fashion and didn't really appear to be interested in what they were doing. Surprisingly when made aware that we knew two of the wines and in fact had them in our cellar, they couldn't get away fast enough.

The continental breakfast was appalling - it was sparse and uninspiring and there weren't enough staff on duty to deal with the food. We also noticed in daylight how tired and knocked about the furniture looked.

The staff need a course in friendliness and attention to detail. Perhaps if management made them aware that they are not actually doing the patrons a favour by letting them stay and eat at their hotel the whole experience would improve and one would be tempted to return.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank GeorgesM115
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, September 17, 2012
Dear GeorgesM115

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review and for your repeat patronage of the hotel.

Please accept my sicerest apologies for not having met your expectations in some areas.

Given that you are a return guest which many of our guests are I found some of your comments surprising. Recently we have undertaken a $700,000 refurbishment to some of our rooms. A $30,000 soft face lift to the restaurant. All of the crockery and cutlery is new and of the highest standard and premuim items such as smoked salmon and meats have been added to the continental breakfast buffet which is included in the room rate.

Our 2 sommeliers Simon and Sebastian must be the most enthusiastic and knowledgable professionals that I have seen in regards to handling wine in my 20 year hospitality career.

GerogesM115 in the interests of the very highest levels of personalised customer service I would invite you to call me on 03 5577 2241 so as we may have the opportunity to work through any of these concerns.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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461 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (106)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
45 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2012

We stayed at the Royal Mail Hotel after spending 4 days driving along the Great Ocean Road. Since most of the properties along the road are "motels", staying here was a vacation by itself! We stayed in a Mountain View room, and it was modern, with great lighting and a very "hip" bathroom. No tub, but a large ceiling mounted shower head.

There was a nice desk for working, flat screen TV, well stocked minibar...but the best was the deck with 2 chairs that looked at the Grampian mountains. Breakfast was included and with homemade muffins, breads and granola, along with ham and smoked salmon.

We ate at the Bar the first night, and the food was good and a different menu than the Bistro and Dining Room. The fish and chips were excellent and I had the mixed grill with homemade sausage, steak and eggs. They offer a "take away" wine list that you can select and take back to your room, which is great since there isn't much in town for food or wine. If you are not familiar with the area, stop in Hamilton before you get tot the hotel.

The second night, we ate at the Bistro, food was excellent again, albeit a little more expensive than the bar.

They offer a free internet, but only for 3 hours at a time, but they were happy to supply us with additional passwords as necessary after the 3 hours.

There were walking trails from the hotel, fantasitc plantings, and the "footprint" for the hotel was all very natural for the surroundings. This was one hotel that I really didn't want to leave!

Room Tip: Ask to see the rooms available before making your selection. They offer more reasonably priced room...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jacquelineatl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, September 17, 2012
Dear jacquelineatl

Thank you very much for choosing to stay with us recently and for taking the time to post a review.

I was delighted to read that you had such an enjoyable experience and we look forward to welcoming you back again in the future.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 11, 2012

We had a few friends recommending this hotel as a great getaway with class. It surely delivered. At first I was hoping to stay in the main hotel building itself but there were no rooms available so we booked a 1 bedroom cottage at Mt Sturgeon 3kms away from the main building. The standalone cottage was exactly what we were after, quiet and cosy with a rustic feel to it PLUS a killer view of the mountain right outside the backyard so we had our breakfast and lunch on the tables and chairs provided outside while gazing at the picturesque view.

We liked the fact that there were extra cooking facilities so that we could prepare food for our 11 month old baby. The place was also big enough for him to crawl around for hours (inside and outside).

On the first night we dined at the Bistro and the food was very impressive...and we have dined at most of the hatted restaurants in Melbourne. The staff were extremely friendly and were accomodating for our baby and sat him in a Stokke Tripp Trapp (not the usual cheap Ikea highchairs at most restaurants!)

We would definitely visit again and recommend the cottages if you want to stay in a remote location with an amazing view.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank flamencojin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, September 17, 2012
Dear flamenkojin

Thank you very much for choosing to stay with us recenlty and for taking the time to post a review.

I was delighted to read you had such an enjoyable stay and we are certainly well set up to host families with children with our wide variety of accomodation and dining options.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
183 reviews
102 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2012

We stayed at the Royal Mail last weekend with my sister and brother in law. We booked the hotel back in January so we were really looking forward to the whole experience of good food, great wines and deluxe accommodation.

We were not disappointed. Our rooms were number 16 and 17, superior Mountain views and were extremely comfortable. We had great views overlooking Mt. Sturgeon and the only downfall was the weather. It was rained all day on Friday when we arrived and though it had stopped on Saturday the wind was extremely cold.

The rooms have apparently been updated and modernised only in the past couple of months, so it was great to have a very comfortable king size bed, a lovely bathroom with a decent shower and a good built in wardrobe. There are two easy chairs in the room plus a pouf and a chair at the desk, so the four of us were able to enjoy our bottle of champagne on Friday evening before we walked up to the Bistro for dinner.

The dinner was fine except for the fact that we were asked if we preferred our lamb rare and we did ask for medium. Unfortunately, either the message didn't get through or the chef decided that the lamb was better rare, for when it arrived it was just that. We are happy with rare beef but we do like our lamb cooked!

We spent the next day in Hall's Gap which was a lovely drive especially as we went one way through the Victoria Valley and returned back to Dunkeld on the normal highway. We also found a delightful gift shop on a corner opposite the hotel.

On Saturday night we had the Degustation meal with the matching wines. It was a lovely meal, not hurried as we were booked in for 6.30pm and didn't finish until 10.30pm. We would have preferred starting at 7pm, but the chef likes to stagger the meals and even though we booked in January, the 7pm time slot had been taken. We felt the wines certainly complimented the food and though we weren't over impressed with the pigeon, again very rare and the final dessert which to me had a strange taste, the overall meal was good but certainly not the best meal we have ever eaten. We have been to Paris a number of times and always dine at a Michelin Star restaurant on each visit and we have had some particularly memorable meals in that city.

Probably we wouldn't repeat the Degustation Menu if we returned to the Royal Mail as I didn't think it was really value for money, though it does take a lot of man power to produce such a meal. We had a great view of the open kitchen when we were having our meal and it is a credit to the Chef and his staff how well they all work together as there were no loud voices to be heard in the dining room.

The Continental breakfast was fine. We all enjoyed the home cooked fruit and great yoghurt. The homemade bread was excellent as were the french pastries and muffins. After eating a good dinner, we certainly didn't need a cooked breakfast.

The staff were excellent and very helpful. The receptionist on arrival was very welcoming. and gave us lots of tips regarding the walks etc. The wine waiter was very knowledgeable as were the food waiters. Every staff member we came in contact was friendly and sincere.

The Royal Mail is a great getaway from Melbourne and we were just sorry that the sun didn't shine whilst we were there so we could have enjoyed sitting on our balcony watching the kangaroos in the paddock below.

Room Tip: We would recommend a superior mountain view and either Room 16 or 17.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Aussiegal15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, August 26, 2012
Dear Aussiegal15

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review.

It sounds like you had quite an enjoyable couple of days. We look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2012

Booked accomodation and dinner months before and was a bit apprehensive after later reading some of the reviews on this site, and so we were pleasantly surprised to discover how lovely it was.
From the moment we arrived the staff were fabulous, informative, attentive and friendly. The room (superior mountain view) was a little tired but spacious, clean and what a view! Nothing to whinge about.
Popped into the bar with a lovely open fire and had a pre dinner drink.....nice friendly atmosphere. We had opted for the bistro dinner and did not regret it. The selection is quite limited but the food was sublime and generous. We ordered a couple of sides to go with mains to start and had planned to go on to desert but alas were too full...probably due to the gorgeous fresh bread and olives provided. Wine list was very impresive with plenty of local and overseas options. Wildlife abundant on the grounds the next morning as we took a walk of the gardens...and then breakfast. Freshly made 'chefs special' juice, selection of poached and fresh seasonal fruits, cereals, yoghurts, breads, sweet and savory pastries, ham & smoked salmon and if you really want it you can purchase a cooked breakfast at a very reasonable charge.....I have absolutely no idea what others were complaining about. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CazMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, August 26, 2012
Dear CazMelbourne

Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review.

I was delighted to read that all aspects of your stay were so enjoyable and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
57 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2012

We spent two nights in a Superior Mountain View room at the Royal Mail Hotel in July.

Our room was well designed, modern and tastefully furnished, and had a lovely view from the balcony - a stunning view of the Grampians. The heating was very effective and quiet. The bathroom was well appointed and spacious, and had a heated floor, which was most welcome on cold winter nights. The king-size bed was luxurious and very comfortable.

We dined in the restaurant on the first night and in the bistro on the second, and had breakfast both mornings.

The restaurant 10 course degustation menu was memorable and on a par with Michelin starred restaurants that we have dined at in Europe. Due to the overwhelming size of the wine list, we sought assistance from the sommelier. He was very knowledgeable and suggested a most excellent wine to enjoy with our meal.

We ate in the bistro on our second night. The menu offered an array of delicious choices and was also a wonderful meal.

The staff on both nights were excellent - professional, friendly, unobtrusive and provided a seamless service.

Just a few comments about possible improvements. The continental breakfast offered was disappointing because, while the produce was locally sourced and of good quality, the limited choices available meant that this meal was not of the same standard as that offered for lunch and dinner. We were also surprised that items such as a cappuccino coffee and a cooked breakfast was not included as part of our somewhat expensive accommodation deal. Also, the wardrobe in our room was somewhat difficult to use, as only one side could be accessed at a time, which involved pulling out the door and moving it to the side, which then blocked the other.

Aside from this, we thought that our stay was worth the expense and we would definitely like to return to enjoy another cuisine experience in the future.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Kaye D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, August 20, 2012
Dear Kaye D

Thank you very much for choosing to stay and dine with us recently and thank you also for posting a review.

I was delighted to read that so many aspects of your stay were so enjoyable.

You will be happy to hear we have just recently expanded our continental breakfast offering which is included in the room rate.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
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Sydney
Level Contributor
158 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2012

The room is spacious and tidy and the 'Sperior mountain view' room has a decent view of Mt Sturgeon. Its 3 hour driving distance from Melbourne makes it an ideal weekend getaway...BUT what's the deal with no bath in a weekender?!?!?! The beds are a small double and not great. The back balcony is a nice little space to watch the mountains and birds...but no little table for a drink/nibbles..just odd.

We'd look forward to the weekend for ages and it's just ok..there's nothing in town unless you're a hiker (Great walks in the Grampians)..but NOTHING of interest to hold you here...except the famed (and disappointing) restaurant at the Royal mail...WAY overpriced and dull (I'll write a separate restaurant review)....If you want a weekend from Melbourne look at the Great Ocean Rd, Daylesford or the Dandenongs...this is an overpriced dud.

Room Tip: Pay the extra and get a deluxe mountain view...but you only need 1 night here
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank StevenBSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scott H, General Manager at Royal Mail Hotel, responded to this review, August 20, 2012
Dear StevenBSydney

Thank you very much for staying with us and for taking the time to write a review.

Please accept my apologies that we were not able to meet your expectations in some areas. Thank you for your tip of booking a deluxe mountain view room and I would also highly recommend this as we have just undertaken a $700,000 upgrade on these rooms and stay tuned for further room upgrades that may include baths.

There is no shortage of activities here in beautiful Dunkeld and the Southern Grampians and at $170/person our 10 course tasting menu is the most reasonably priced of any 3 Hat venue in Australia.

All the very best and I trust we can be of service in the future.

Kind regards

Scott Horn
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Mail Hotel

Property: Royal Mail Hotel
Address: 98 Parker St, Dunkeld, Victoria 3294, Australia
Location: Australia > Victoria > Grampians > Dunkeld
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Dunkeld
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Royal Mail Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Mail Hotel is a unique destination set among native gardens and fruit orchards with stunning views of the Southern Grampians Ranges. Award-winning food and wine, accommodation, conferencing and wedding facilities and the nearby historic Mt Sturgeon Estate are all available for guests to explore and enjoy. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Mail Dunkeld

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