I stayed here for two nights in January, 2012 with my relatives in a Family Room. My relative had made the booking through Flight Centre. At first, I wasn’t sure which hotel he had booked and when I heard that it was this property and saw the ranking and past reviews on Tripadvisor, I must admit I had my doubts.
The reason we still went ahead was mainly due to the fact that there were children in our party and the Seaworld Resort was seen as being more suitable for them, as it had its own water park and was also directly next to the Sea World theme park. In any case, children usually aren’t too fussy about the standards of service offered or the state of the rooms or indeed whether the property is luxurious or not.
We arrived by bus transfer from the Gold Coast airport and the bus took almost one hour to get here and the weather was overcast on the day so that didn’t look too promising and seemed to change the entire character and mood of the Gold Coast as well as the hotel.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by an attendant who at first seemed to look strangely at me for no known reason but the staff members helped with our luggage as well as directing us to the reception check-in area, which was spacious with a high ceiling in the lobby. The reception attendant was reasonably friendly and the room was available. It was quite a long walk to the room and our luggage arrived soon afterwards.
The Family Room
Once I arrived in the room, I could see that it was very basic and looked very ordinary. The Family Room consisted of two almost-identical rooms located next to each other, one having a kitchenette. I don’t think we had a refurbished room, as the room didn’t look renovated in any way and I only found out later that some rooms are refurbished through the Tripadvisor reviews. The furniture was quite simple and in an older style; it reminded me perhaps of what you would find in the 1980s in Australia.
As the luggage porter came in and dropped off the luggage, it also became apparent that there was really nowhere to place or store the luggage; there was no luggage rack to be seen.
The chairs also looked a little worn and were not coloured nicely, being in a sort of peachy hue which didn’t really look very fresh or nice.
The room looked dusty in parts and I suppose the cleanliness aspect wasn’t the best. The paper brochure in particular was quite dusty and I have a video showing the brochure, which can be accessed through my profile section. The TV was a small 26-inch Panasonic which gave reasonable picture quality but certainly wasn’t the best that could be expected in a hotel of this range.
My room (which was one of the two rooms provided as part of the whole Family Room) was located on the ground floor and faced the garden, the sliding door could be opened to a sitting area of sorts but once the door was opened, it seemed like it could be a security issue as it was not possible to lock the door while in an open position.
The kitchenette was quite small and offered no genuine cooking facilities because even a toaster wasn’t available and basically in terms of heating food only a microwave could be used. There was no real cooking allowed in the kitchenette.
The bathrooms were just ok but were certainly not luxurious and could have done with a renovation but they were quite passable.
There was a lack of attention to detail as the batteries for the remote to use the air-con were dead and had not been replaced.
I have videos of the room, which can be found through my profile section.
The location of the resort was really not convenient for visiting other parts of the Gold Coast and perhaps the only selling point in this regard is that it’s next to the Sea World theme park and also closer to the other theme parks run by the same group, being the Wet ‘n’ Wild and Movie World theme parks, although bear in mind that if you’re going there through the bus transfer service, the bus actually stops off at a very large number of other hotels in the morning (some of which were actually further from the theme parks in terms of absolute distance) to pick up other passengers before going off to the theme parks so whether this resort’s proximity to the theme parks helps in getting to them faster is actually questionable, although on the return trip we were amongst the first to be let off so it may have balanced out in the end.
The hotel’s location next to the Sea World theme park was quite helpful. We went there by passing through the shop in the lobby area, which then went straight through to the monorail station in Sea World or else it would be possible to just directly access Sea World through going down a flight of stairs instead of going on the monorail.
The resort was quite far from the bus stop which can be used to travel down the coast basically. The walk would be about 10 minutes and that’s out of the question in the heat or the rain, both of which we experienced during our stay. There were no shopping provisions or groceries very nearby and no supermarket basically so you would have had to catch a cab to get basic provisions, it seems. Our package included unlimited rides on the Surfside Buslines network but that didn’t turn out to be good value, as the bus stop was too far away, especially with children in tow and I thought that Flight Centre should have notified us of the location more explicitly.
Public Areas and Facilities
The public areas in the hotel were quite large and spacious with a large lobby area, which was simplistically laid out and quite bright and airy. The walkways and public corridor areas in the resort looked quite run-down and had a motel-look about them but it wasn’t a major issue, as we didn’t spend a huge amount of time onsite. The lobby at times was quite crowded as this resort appears to be quite popular with tour groups, particularly from mainland China, which the Gold Coast tourist industry no doubt hopes will make up for the shortfall in tourists from Japan to the area.
It was raining on our day of arrival and I’m quite sure we were told that the pool area was closed. However, later in the day, we saw that it was open and weren’t sure whether the reception staff members thought that the pool area we enquired about was the one actually in the Sea World theme park or whether they understood it as being the one on the resort premises. It’s likely that the pool area remains closed when it is raining as long as the Sea World theme park is open and then opens when the theme park closes, as mentioned in a previous review. I didn’t try out the pool facilities but my relatives found them to be quite fun.
We tried the dinner at the Shoreline restaurant once and had breakfast there twice. The dinner was quite exorbitantly priced at about $60 per adult but children could eat based on their age, so the cost would be equivalent to the child’s age but it was still a very expensive proposition all round and the food wasn’t the best quality but it wasn’t bad; it just didn’t justify the cost. The breakfast was more reasonably priced at about half the cost per head for an adult and again children were charged according to their age. The variety of the buffet spread during breakfast and dinner was quite wide but the quality wasn’t great and there weren’t too many options in the way of healthy food apart from the salad or fruit bar but you wouldn’t really expect to pay such a sum just to eat salad or fruit so the food generally conveyed a sense of catering to what children would like to eat if they were free to do so but would not usually be allowed to eat all the time with offerings such as pizza and nuggets. The breakfast and dinner times at the Shoreline were both quite busy, the second morning for breakfast being particularly so as I think they had a conference quite early in the morning, which defeated the purpose of turning up early as we usually like to do and the environment was not really relaxing or comfortable and it was also quite difficult to get the dishes and then move back to the table.
We had dinner once at the Japanese restaurant there (the Hatsuhana), which was ok but the only offering in the evening was buffet and I don’t think that Japanese food is well-suited to a buffet layout because it’s better when it’s freshly prepared. It’s not really ideal to have the raw fish or sushi just laying out in the open for too long and also the food isn’t the type that should be combined in a buffet fashion but usually requires individual preparation both in the best interest of food presentation and taste. There was a sushi counter available, though, but most of the food was already prepared.
We also tried the bar and cafe area for a drink in the evening and the service was quite poor because we were standing around for a while and the staff members didn’t really bother attending and then when we ordered our drinks, it took about 30 minutes to prepare and arrive.
The staff were generally friendly and efficient, except in the case of incidents mentioned above. However, it was actually after check-out that the staff members seemed to fall quite short and it was related to an incident on the last day here. We decided to visit the Movie World theme park but couldn’t arrange the hotel’s own transport shuttle back since it didn’t pick up from the theme park early enough but we arranged with an external tour company, which was the Con-x-ion coach transfer service to pick us up from Movie World. It was arranged through the tour desk at Seaworld Resort. Unfortunately, the shuttle bus arrived around five minutes early and we could see it in the car-park area of the theme park but it waited about ten seconds with the driver not really looking around to see if he could pick anyone up, before taking off.
My relative called the hotel, who then arranged with Con-x-ion for another pick-up but unfortunately, by the time the next pickup arrived, it was too late to catch the connecting bus from the resort to the Gold Coast airport once we got back to the resort. The Seaworld resort kindly offered to recompense the cost of a taxi cab to the airport, which was taken in place of the bus transfer.
The taxicab driver seemed a little odd and the drive to the airport ended up costing $70, which is more than what I’ve read the cab ride should cost and the driver wanted to round that up to $80, as the resort had agreed to pay the cab fare. The driver, originally from New Zealand, didn’t give a very good account of himself in the end, although he did give a good tour and explanation of the Gold Coast while we were onboard and while I’d previously thought that New Zealanders had received a fairly rough deal from Australians, my thinking may have changed a little as a result of this incident.
In any case, I e-mailed the Seaworld resort the taxi receipt with details of the incident, on the address they’d provided but they didn’t respond even after ten days so I sent a reminder e-mail after ten days and they still didn’t respond after I waited for another week. I then sent another e-mail that mentioned that I hoped I would not have to mention too much about this incident in a Tripadvisor review after which they agreed to compensate the taxi fare. Now, the taxi fare may have been a little high and didn’t seem to speak well of the tourist industry in the Gold Coast but the resort should nevertheless have replied to the initial e-mails, given that I had included full details of the incident and a scanned copy of the taxi receipt. So, it really didn’t come across as being the best customer service that could be expected.
The resort provided on the whole a good experience, especially if there are children in the group. However, the rates for the Family Room were high at the time (around A$750 per night) and I expected more from the room and public areas. The service was alright, apart from the incidents mentioned above but never really rose to an exceptional level. It was typically solid and quite-friendly Australian-style service but never exceptionally good and although some might disagree, I thought that when the rates are particularly high, exceptional service could be expected. Overall, the location next to Sea World and a child-friendly environment would have to be the main focus for a guest staying here.
NOTE: Videos of the hotel room can be found through my profile section.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Take your family on a journey of discovery and adventure at the award-winning Sea World Resort. There's so much to explore including an aquatic adventure playground, cuddles with your favourite Nickelodeon characters including the awesome new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a fun filled Kid's Club. Go on a behind the scenes sneak peek of a dolphin training session with Sea World Resort's exclusive Dolphin Discovery Presentation, free when you stay two nights or more. It's a wonderful experience the kids will never forget. Then join everyone's favourite sponge and his nautical friends in your own underwater adventure at the amazing 'SpongeBob SplashBash' aquatic adventure zone. Your kids will adore the bright and colourful water-play areas themed around SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, and Squidward, plus a few jellyfish of course. And just try and keep the kids away from the spectacular nightly light show at the musical water fountain. Home to four restaurants and two bar areas, you'll never have to leave the comfort of the Resort. Dine on at the Shoreline Restaurant and experience an amazing new menu that features live interactive cooking, and enjoy delicious Japanese cuisine at Hatsuhana, all family friendly of course. Plus, spoil the kids with an evening in the Resort's newly upgraded Kids' Club with specially designed Nickelodeon activities and programs that they'll love. Sea World Resort is perfect for your family with direct monorail access to Sea World and family friendly service all with Gold Coast beaches and famous theme parks on your doorstep, not to mention free WIFI around the entire hotel and free in-room broadband. The Resort also offers a host of seasonal water sports, plus massage, beauty and a gym. What will you discover today at Sea World Resort, the heart of fun and adventure? ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sea World Hotel Main Beach
- Nara Resort Sea World
- Sea World Main Beach
- Sea World Resort Gold Coast/Main Beach, Australia