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“Fawlty Towers in a beautiful location”

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The Queenscliff Hotel
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Queenscliff
Reviewed April 23, 2011

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.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank laurencefwhite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 63 of 67 reviews

Reviewed February 8, 2011

The Queenscliff hotel is tastefully furnished with genuine (as far as I could tell!) antiques, from the 4 poster beds to the chaise longue in the library... Each room is different and unique; it's nothing like staying in a modern hotel where every room looks like every other one worldwide.

Their website and leaflets all warn that because of the Victorian 'theme', there are no TVs, radios etc; so you really shouldn't complain if you miss your mod cons! Also, be aware that back in the Victorian era, there were no queen or king beds; our antique bed was beautiful to look at, and very comfortable, but smaller than we're used to.

Luckily the bathrooms are not Victorian-era; our ensuite was ultra clean, spacious and modern, with a lovely hot power-shower and large fluffy towels. Other rooms had claw-foot baths which looked good too.

The restaurant is fabulous. We had great service and the meals are really good value for the quality and quantity served. You definitely need to book.

The hotel rooms, on the other hand, do seem a bit over-priced.

The elderly hotel owner should probably leave the front-of-house duties to his very capable staff; his telephone manner in particular is a bit off-putting.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ozzie_reviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2011

We recently spent a long weekend at the Queenscliff Hotel and were impressed by its location, history and service.

The hotel is across the road from an attractive parkland leading onto the beach front. The park has a great playground and pathway access to the historic pier. My three children loved it.

It is a short walk to the main high street for its cafes, shops and other attractions. Again, the location was ideal.

The hotel is old and charming with great staff. The rooms were clean and both had recently upgraded white ensuites. The children had a choice of three library / sitting rooms down stairs and played an array of board games, chess and checkers. A small TV was offered to the children during a wet afternoon so they could watch cartoons and the tennis...
Small details such as the TV, an umbrella offered at reception, insect spray for the garden, a selection of newspapers, beautiful fresh flowers in all public spaces, candles lit for dinner and an effort with the children was sincere, and added to the boutique feel of the hotel.

My husband was impressed with the freshness of the linen and towels.

Finally, my daughter who received a Famous Five box set for Christmas made the gorgeous comment "Mummy this hotel is so Enid Blyton".

Well done Queenscliff Hotel and thank you for a great holiday.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Kirstie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2010

We arrived after a long day on the road to find the lobby and public rooms packed with people having a grand old time: a wedding party. "Sorry, but the wedding party will be dining in the beautiful dining room shown on our website. You did make a reservation, but that's too bad. You will be dining in the 'conservatory' in the back."

Tiny room; tiny bed; poor lighting; no hair dryer; bathrobes with no sashes (hello, world!) ...all as stated by other reviewers.

At the appointed hour, we were escorted through the bar (populated by silent, unhappy-looking guests) to our table at the far back of the building. By that time, festivities were well underway in the adjacent dining room, and one of the worst bands in memory was playing loudly for the enjoyment of the wedding party and for the accompaniment of the rest of us.

Service was sloooooow -- presumably, the staff were paying attention to the party -- and the meal was no more than adequate considering the high culinary standards we had become accustomed to elsewhere in Australia.

Coffee and newspapers in the library, as mentioned by an earlier reviewer, were impossible due to the crowd and the noise. So, up to the room where sleep was impossible until the band finally quit and the people went home in the wee hours.

Don't even think about breakfast if you're leaving at 8:00 in the morning, as we were. It doesn't begin until 8:30, and even a simple continental breakfast for early departees is impossible as there is no employee in the hotel at that hour! As noted by an earlier reviewer, they pack up, lock up and go home at night.

As I subsequently wrote to Queenscliff in a letter of complaint, they are not a Hyatt and they cannot absorb a party of that size and volume without inconveniencing other guests who are paying dearly for their primitive...oops, make that historic...accommodations. The hotel promotes itself in its brochure as "An ideal place for a peaceful stay." Weddings of this size are obviously good business for them, but we believe they have an obligation to notify regular guests ahead of time that their evening will be noise and crowded, and that they will not be allowed to enjoy "traditional dining in the grand manner" as also promised in the brochure. Their response was the usual "We apologize for the inconvenience."

It's a nice place, but don't book without querying whether there will be a function in progress while you're there. And check again before your arrival date to be sure something wasn't booked in the interim.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DrHemlock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2010

On the plus side: the hotel is beautiful - "old world charm" personified. Rooms are simply but nicely furnished with period furniture and modern bathrooms. We ate dinner in the pub (restaurant was full) and our meals were first rate, and much less expensive than the restaurant, which I wouldn't bother with. Breakfast very good as well. The hotel has a lovely feel and we enjoyed sitting out on the porch for a pre-dinner drink, and retreating to the middle drawing room after our meal to read the papers and drink coffee. All staff were very nice.

On the negative side: it was a hot day and, although we knew there would be no air conditioning, we were surprised there were no ceiling fans, nor were portable fans offered. Our room was not too hot, but we heard other people complain about the heat. They were told by the desk staff to open their windows at 5:30 as a breeze would come through then. I'm not sure if that worked but this suggestion didn't seem to please the guests. Our dinner arrived promptly but other tables waited nearly 2 hours for their meals. That is not acceptable even on such a busy night. We were given this night for free because friends were unable to cancel their wotif reservations at the last minute, but we certainly would not pay $240 to stay here.
Suggest this place is perfect for a cool weather stay when you want peace and quiet and can spend time reading in the lovely lounge rooms.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TransPacifica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2010

Paid $250 for one nights stay, the room was tiny... toilet was blocked as soon as we got there... no tv, radio or internet which wasn't mentioned before i booked. we weren't aloud to eat breakfast in the outside courtyard, only inside. ridiculous! the guy at the front desk is really creepy, and we heard from the locals that its haunted and we both had nightmares and stilling having them since about that place. its a nice old building, but they are the really stingy and try to make it seem like its an old unique vibe when you go there. their just cheap and nasty... I've stayed in better backpackers accomadation for a fraction of the price. DON'T DO IT!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank observer80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2009

we arrived from a long day of travelling, visiting wineries at approx 8 pm, and were led down a long dark hallway (felt like an alley) into the smallest dingiest room i've ever seen in my life.

we were too exhausted to complain, and spent the night in a squalid tiny room. i assumed the hotel was full, because from website pictures and from the street front, it was the most charming, beautiful old victorian hotel imaginable.

in morning we found out the hotel had plenty of empty rooms, perhaps the manager was trying to force an upgrade from the web price or he didn't like american accents.... hard to tell. this hotel should be avoided at all costs!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
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2  Thank Barbara L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Queenscliff Hotel

Address: 16 Gellibrand St, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225, Australia
Location: Australia > Victoria > Queenscliff
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Queenscliff
Price Range: $98 - $149 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Queenscliff Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Also Known As:
The Queenscliff Hotel Victoria

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