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“Don't go there”

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Hill Top Country Guest House
Ranked #2 of 2 Rothbury B&B and Inns
Reviewed March 1, 2013

If only I'd checked this website before booking two days there. What ever anyone does, do not book this place. If some money had been spent on the property it might not have been so bad. It really needs to be bought into the 21st century. The "deluxe" room was so small, you couldn't swing a cat, even if you wanted to. As for the bathroom, you needed to go into the verdanda (one step down then a step up) into an apricot room, which again needed updating. On entering the property the main area appeared to be "cold" with no friendlyness about the place. We left after just one night, and that was early in the morning. It could be a nice place, if some money was spent on it. There must be better places to spend one's time in the Hunter Valley. You have been warned

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Jannie1812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Margaret B, Manager at Hill Top Country Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded March 2, 2013

You made a booking direct from my web site. You asked no questions for any imformation about the room you booked. You arrived and made no comment on the room you was offered and came next morning saying that you were leaving that his place was not for you. I enquired Was there something wrong with accommodation and you replyed No the whole area there was nothing here for you,you were not wine drinkers and that you wanted to get to the coast. Had you researched the accommodation correctly and asked questions you could have ascertained what type of place it is. Many many people return each year and many request the room that you stayed in .If you wanted a room where you could swing a cat around I have one. If you want a bathroom a different colour ,I have that too , although I would like a loan of your glasses to see the apricot bathroom ,I see sandstone coloured floor, beige wall tiles to the ceiling with a beautiful mural of a sunrise and gold trim and fittings,certainly not a bathroom from a contempory style and nor is the house. A home that I open to the public,people that travel from all around the world to appreciate how we live and farm our land in our little piece of paradise that they call the Hunter Valley.It is a beautiful area It is a shame that you didnt appreciate what people see as one of the top winery areas of the world. As well as the wine, people do many other things like myself , the farming of beef cattle the breeding of horses and horse riding, then there is poultry farms, farm produce of vegetable and hay making. artists of all types work and live in the valley, and the list goes on and of course we are close, a one hours drive, to some of the best surfing beaches and of coal, black coal that gets shipped overseas. It is a very diverse valley and large, of beautiful landscapes and from Hill Top you can capture most areas of the valley .Not appreciating what you was surrounded by You then waited until you read another response from a guest of your same character to tell the world dont go there .Just because you have not done your homework and because you expected something different you lied to my face, or was that the truth , and then become a gutless wonder for the world to see. I will not be responding to any futher comments that come from a gutless wonder as my time is more valuable , maintaining, planning and further developing the property for the enjoyment of the many people who come and stay and return, enjoying the property for what it is. In my opinion and thousands of others-"it is a special place"

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26 - 32 of 35 reviews

Reviewed February 24, 2013

Our group of 8 including adults and children took the 1.5 hour trail ride here recently. 1st the good news - most of us found the horses willing and the equipment was in good repair.

At the time of booking I explained we had very varied levels of experience and asked if their ride would suit. I was assured that while there would be much walking, at designated spots the more experienced riders could choose to trot or canter. Forms filled out before the ride also asked about our gait preferences. Once mounted however, we were told very firmly we could only walk, were to remain in single file a horse length apart and not overtake. Wanting to talk to my friends, I rode abreast of them a few times and was barked at by the guide to get back in single file. So rather than a convivial time, we got to plod along with the horses nose to rear and yell if we wanted to talk. Not really a fun time, not as described and not worth $75 a head. Like another reviewer, I also found the ride was shorter than the designated time but by then I was just as happy to call it a day. I would suggest finding somewhere else to ride in The Hunter Valley.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank 2fromaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Margaret B, Manager at Hill Top Country Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded February 25, 2013

In response to your comments We have a excellent team of horses in excellent condition, nutrionally and medically.We have some beautiful schooled horses suitable for the expereinced rider and ones suitable for beginners to advanced riders. Our equipment is kept in top condition.Your group consisted of 2 that had never ridden, 5 that had ridden approx 10 times and yourself claiming to be very experienced. You signed a legal document with conditions that you agreed to. The guide verbally let you know that the horses had to be kept the safe distance from each other horse and that there was to be no overtaking .You was also told that because of the 4 inches of rain , the conditions and the riders experience in your group that you would be walking. You then decided to ride up along side the other horses and spin around.If you were an experienced rider of horses you would know that horses have a pecking order,like most animals,and that most require their own space .The body language of the horse would indicate to an experience rider that they were not happy.You kept doing this causing the horses to stress. You do not know the trail, the horse or the terrain and that is why a guide is with you to give you a safe ride.This can cause a serious accident. You did this at least 3 times even after being told by the guide to go back into line.You were putting your friends in grave danger,so as you could just show off.also the guides were put under undue pressure when they were doing there job protecting your friends You had your friends there who had never ridden before.You had already agreed not to do this.With 4 inches of water on the ground it was safe to walk but not to canter therefore it was a walk ride only.Safety is paramount and we are proud of our safety record. I would hope that you would have wanted your friends not to get injured. Your group arrived early for the ride and you were all mounted and had left the holding yard 15 minutes prior to the normal departure time and you arrived back 5 minutes before the normal arrival time, giving you 10 minutes more time than the normal ride time.

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Reviewed August 12, 2012

After telling the owner our ETA we were a bit annoyed we got a call 20mins before we were due to arrive asking us where we were. We felt like we were an inconvenience. We were given a room with a 'heater' as it was freezing, it was a desk top heater attached to the wall. The room was cold, tired, dusty and tiny. The bathroom was accessed through the 'sun room' and was tired and even colder. We we told of the lounge room we could use with the fire which wasnt on, looked more like an old classroom and not the room with the billiards table or piano in, unwelcoming. Considering the location you would think they would make an effort to offer dinner, evening activities etc luckily we had made alternative arrangements. After a freezing, uncomfortable night we got up early tried the shower but it was useless so decided to have a coffee & leave...... No milk provided with tea/coffee, so we just packed and left.

Overall, in desperate need of an update, clean, tidy up, garden needs pruning so you dont have to dodge the overgrown vines, dont expect to use the pool as it has a 'private' sign on it, gutted & a rip off at $170 p/n

Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Polly J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Margaret B, Manager at Hill Top Country Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded February 27, 2013

I respond to your comments. After being in the hospitality industry for many many years ,I am aware that arrival times vary considerably to the planned or expected arrival time. I always like to be at reception to greet the guests and as it was around the earliest time of arival and that I didnt know exactly when to expect you I was concerned after just being phoned by staff to go to another site on the property,that you would arrive to a closed door and would have had to wait 20 minutes or so for my return.I gave you a courtesy call to see if you were close to arrival and if so I would have to make alternative arrangements with my staff so as I could be there for you. The weather was warming up and the 2 wood fires were ready to light if it got cooler again as they put out too much heat if not needed. I pointed out to you that there was a wall heater in your room so as you could adjust the temperature to suit your personel needs. This is a designed wall heater that would heat at least twice the area of your suite.I had asked you if you would like breakfast as you had not indicated on you registration form and you said that you would not be having breakfast and that you had arranged to go out for dinner. Dinner is available at the guest house and breakfast was included in the tarrif as was noted on your registration form .You had paid for a single night of a weekend which has a normal 2 night minimum booking. You said that you were going out and that you would not be back till late. The computor in the guest lounge is for the guest use though most guests now have their own devices that can be used. In the room that you walked through has a 10 ft Billards Table and various games for the guests to play as well as the grand piano in the dining room which many guests have made sound like a whole orchestra is in the house .We do horse riding on site, wonderful scenic bush walks and an abundance of native wildlife. Winery tours and massages are available. Restaurants start just 1 kl up the road, with the chocolate factory and sweets to die for a little further on and some of the best wineries and we have the best views of the wonderful Hunter Valley and so close to every attraction although you can feel as though you are in the true Austalian country side
With a 100 kls wind blowing all week and two wood fires burning I certainly wouldnt denire that there could have been dust But rest assured that it was new dust and had it bothered you all you had to do was to let me know and I would have made it vanish until you happen to open the door to the west again. Coffee/Tea, along with a delicious breakfast is served in the common area where the milk is available. Had you stayed a couple of weeks later in the season you would have appreciated the vines that you wanted to prune, burst into beautiful green leaves, which shade the house during the hot summers and then in autumn turn beautiful reds and gold then fall to allow the sun into the house in winter. The garden was asleep for winter and the galing westerley winds certainly do not add to the tidinest of a garden but come spring it is beautiful again green and full of blossoms. The pool was closed. It was winter remember. I am on site at Hill Top so if there is something that doesnt meet your expectations I will always do my best to make it right.You only have to ask.

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Reviewed July 8, 2012

This is an absolute rip off. I booked for myself and 2 boys a half ride and we got 20mins but were charged $120. Margaret, was so rude when i rang to complain, the guide was next to useless. My boys came away with the worst experience.

When she says its a 30min session, its not, the time starts when you start completing the paperwork and if someone in your group is delayed the clock is still clicking.

There are other and better horse riding facilities in the area.

Room Tip: Crowne Plaza is unbelievable value, great sized rooms and great facilities especially for kids.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank Louise W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Margaret B, Manager at Hill Top Country Guest House, responded to this reviewResponded February 27, 2013

You had booked for a pony ride which was for half hour. You were asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to the starting time and if you had arrived then you would have had a full half hour experience on the ponies. School holidays and weekends are busy times for pony rides and if people arrive when they are asked to everything is fine but when they are twenty five minutes late, like you were it is impossible to give you a half hour ride when other people are already waiting for the next time scheduled People that meet there commitment should not have to wait because of someone who didnt meet there com mitment . Because of your undesirable behaviour on that day I was forced to cancell booked rides and disappoint many riders. The group of waiting riders who witnessed your behaviour were all left speechless.

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Reviewed February 20, 2012

Situated, not unsurprisingly! on a hilltop, overlooking vineyards. Our host also operates horse riding tours. Room was a bit smaller than expected but clean and functional. Good breakfast, with local figs poached for us too. Nice, friendly host. A traditional B&B, and certainly not 'contemporary boutique'!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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Thank Colin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2012

The room & everything was as expected,clean,made & this place really is a great location. The only downside to our trip was we booked on to a sunset horse ride at a cost of $75,a day ride was $50. The reason we booked on the sunset ride was to see the sunset,my family had flown from England & I had been on at them that the sun sets in Australia are amazing. we went on the ride & it was great but we was back one hour fifteen minutes before the sun even started to set. upon talking to the host in the morning at breckfast all me & my family wanted was the $25 difference per person(5 people $100) as we never got to see the sunset (well we did when we had showered got dressed & was on our way to get some food). The host was unhelpful & made us feel like we was being unreasonable for even asking. I'm not one for writing reviews but we felt so cheated that we only felt it right to write one.

Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
8  Thank Tom--Bell2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2011

We booked a room with ensuite for 2 nights to attend some friends' wedding at the Wandin Valley. The driveway is quite long and windy but by the time you get to the top, you're greeted with a wonderful view over the area. The guesthouse had all facilities and the host Margaret is such a lovely and helpful lady. The drive to wineries in Pokolbin and Lovedale does not take long at all and there are also plenty of other wineries around in Rothbury. Our bedroom was nice and comfy, although somewhat small. The bathroom on the other hand was quite large; the shower had two showerheads but the water pressure was a bit low, so we ended up taking turns, which was fine. We also had our own "private" courtyard overlooking the countryside and the woods. Basic breakfast (toast, jam, cereals, fruit, coffee/tea) was included in the price and served in the common area. We chatted with other guests whilst Margaret was making toasts and serving tea/coffee. It was a lovely weekend stay at the Hunter Valley.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JIG80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hill Top Country Guest House

Address: 288 Talga Rd, Rothbury, Cessnock, New South Wales 2320, Australia
Location: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Cessnock > Rothbury
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Rothbury
Price Range: $91 - $172 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hill Top Country Guest House 3.5*
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Hill Top Country Guest House Greater Newcastle/Rothbury

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