This hotel, alas, has seen better days since its heyday (most recently) in the hands of Mietta O'Donnell and her partner, sadly killed in 2001.
We were offered a rather pitiable room (presumably, converted servants quarters for $270 for one night. Asking if we could look at other rooms, we were shown the grandest room in the hotel, with the implication this was the only one available.
The room itself was grand and rather gorgeous; the wallpaper and curtains in particular had been expertly chosen. The carpets and furniture are beginning to show their wear and tear, and frankly look a little vintage shabby-chic in these grand surroundings, especially as the mixture of vintages is so eclectic (from Victorian to Federation and Art Deco).
What lets down the hotel in its current incarnation, run by one taciturn and one browbeaten European, is most of all a lack of finesse and a lack of hospitality - rather killing in a hotel. This was evident in touches of stinginess such as the half-used products in our room (yes, really), the cheap toilet paper and tissues, and the scratchy and thin bathtowels and robes. In a hotel with almost no mod cons and selling itself as a lusiours retreat into yesteryear (rooms boast not even a kettle, hair dryer or phone, let alone a minibar, TV, internet or even phone, forget it), a plentiful lack of luxury is near-fatal. One assumes the present owners suffer the 'bidders curse' of having over-paid for the hotel, and now gouging guests on value to try to make ends meet.
The slap-dash service continued when the milk for our tea at the communal facilities turned out to be past its use-by date. Mein host at first offered me 2 litres of milk as a replacement, then condescended grumblingly to provide me with a pot of milk. But he airily postponed replacing the milk upstairs, preferring to retreat to chat with the maid/waitress/whatever, and deal with this potential hygeine issue later.
Dinner was mediocre - overcooked duck and marlin, and clumsily un-Anglophone service.
The setting is magnificent - or should be - this building is of the best of its era. But under the present, incompetent and inhospitable management, it is, sadly, to be avoided. Mietta would be spinning in her grave.
- Also Known As:
- The Queenscliff Hotel Victoria