For our latest hotel review, Wanda and I decided to head on up to Bannisters Lodge in Mollymook NSW. It was also a good excuse for us to treat ourselves since we both have birthdays within a couple of days of each other and some rest and relaxation was definitely in order. We also wanted to try out the ‘Rick Steins at Bannisters Restaurant’.
Bannisters Lodge is about a 3 hour drive from Canberra and about 3 1/2 hours from Sydney. It is located in Mollymook in Ulladulla on the NSW south coast.
We took advantage of the Escape package which includes 3 nights for the price of two plus complimentary Continental Breakfast so it cost us around $180 per night. This was an excellent deal as the hotel normally charges $275 per night for weekdays and $330 for weekends at this time of the year. During peak season the hotel charges even more at $395 per night.
As we were sharing a room we took the Ocean Deluxe room. As far as we can tell this is the only room type in the hotel with two beds – one queen bed and one king single. We’ve found this to be a pretty standard bedding configuration along the coast if you want two beds in the room. So if you are travelling with a friend, be prepared to fight over who will get the queen bed and who will get the single. We travel together so much that we have a system worked out whereby we take turns with who gets the bigger bed.
Finding the hotel was fairly simple with the help of our GPS but even without it, it is not difficult to find. It is situated on a street surrounded by houses and right on the edge of the peninsula overlooking the ocean. The views of the ocean are simply spectacular but just remember that although the hotel faces the ocean you won’t be able to walk out of your hotel room directly onto a sandy beach. The beach is further up the road.
On arriving at the hotel I noticed the motel like appearance. I had heard from people I know that this was an up-market hotel so to see the typical motel style look with hotel rooms facing out to the car park was not what I was expecting.
The room itself was also not what I was expecting. I must admit that from the photos on the Bannisters website that I was expecting something better.
However, when I stood back and considered it then this was pretty spot-on in terms of price…at least for the price we paid. You have to remember that any room with an ocean view is going to cost more, but even so, I can only imagine that anyone who pays the full price would be a little disappointed.
The Room in Detail…
On entering the room there is a double wardrobe and kitchenette area. We were hoping for a microwave but it wasn’t to be found. Considering that plates, glasses, knives and forks are included you would think that a microwave might also be provided.
Also included were a range of T2 teas including peppermint, chamomile and a basic black tea. We love our tea so it was nice to have these really nice quality teas on hand.
There is a standard mini fridge with enough room to include our own water bottles.
In the wardrobe are an iron and ironing board and two robes, hair dryer and ice bucket. You can get ice at reception. It also contains spare blankets and extra pillows.
The Main Room
We had a twin room with one queen size bed and one king size single. The beds are comfortable and there are plenty of comfy pillows. The coverlets are a honeycomb weave.
As the single bed was facing a different way we ended up moving it to face in the same direction as the queen bed. That way I could watch tv in bed. (it was my turn for the single bed)
The staff left it that way for our entire stay so we didn’t have to move it back each day.
We do like the fact that there are two bedside tables which is not something you see in a lot of hotels.
The room has a large flat screen tv and has all the free tv channels plus a few paid tv channels. These include:
- Movie One
- Movie Extra
- Movie Greats
- Fox Sports
- Fox Sports Live
- Music Max
Note however, that the Room Guide does state that the channels can vary from room to room. Not sure why that would be but be prepared if your favourite channel doesn’t show up.
It also includes a DVD player and the hotel has a range of complimentary DVDs which you can get at reception. They have an extensive range including some of the latest movies like Avatar for instance.
It also includes a mini-stereo system to play cds.
There is a rattan table and chairs and extremely large circular mirror.
The room opens out to a small balcony which has two chairs. After taking photos of the room we sat on the balcony to enjoy the stunning ocean view.
The bathroom is fairly small and doesn’t include a bathtub, something I really like to see in a hotel room so that was a little disappointing. The shower is a good size however and the water pressure is pretty good with lots of hot flowing water.
We both found the soap holder in the shower really annoying as the soap kept falling through the gaps. There is also nowhere to hold the shampoo and conditioner.
The toiletries include shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hand soap and a nice block of handmade soap which smells beautiful.
The condition of the bathroom overall is pretty good except for the drain hole which looks rusted and also the tiles at the entrance of the shower which are chipped. These aren’t the sorts of things you want to see when you are paying $up to $395.00 a night for a room.
Our room was situated next to the restaurant and quite close to the pool area. As we arrived during the off peak season, it was fairly quiet however we could still hear peoples voices from our room. Outside of our room are two smokers trays which obviously means that anyone who smokes is going to congregate there and chat away to anyone else close by.
I can only imagine that during the peak season when the restaurant, pool and cocktail areas are used a little more that the noise factor may increase.
We were in room #1 which was on the ground floor and the view was spectacular. We didn’t have a full 180 view of the ocean as trees were blocking some of it but even so it was wonderful to sit out on the deck and take it all in.
The view to the right
The view to the left
We rely on the internet to run our online business so checking out internet access at the hotels we stay in is one of our top priorities. The hotel offers three different types of internet access:
- In Room –dial-up access. We didn’t use it during our stay but you can’t expect quick speeds with dial up. It is charged at 70c per pulse meter…whatever that means.
- Billiard Room – in the billiard room are two computers. You can get free access to the internet from these but need the password which you can get from reception. We used this during our stay and it was quite quick.
- Wireless Access – this is available in the Pool Bar and Garden Room (library section of the restaurant). You need the connection code from Reception for this.
The computer area also included a printer and paper ready to go.
We were quite impressed with housekeeping. When we came back for the day, the room was clean and tidy and a beautiful little flower was left in the bathroom along with another cake of handmade soap. This was a different ‘flavour’ to the one left the day before.
The Day Spa
Unfortunately we never got around to trying out the day spa so can’t really provide any review of it. However, it does provide a variety of services at typical hotel prices like:
- Body Treatments from $75 to $590
- Facials from $135 to $250
- Massages from $55 to $185 with a couples massage for $590!
- Foot and Hand Treatments from $60 to $320
We were very impressed with the staff. Everyone was friendly, happy and extremely helpful and they looked like they enjoyed their work.
The Billiard Room
While our room was being cleaned we took a stroll around the hotel. We found the pool area which included a pool overlooking the ocean. Towels were included free of charge and there were plenty of deck chairs.
We also found the Billiard Room and had a quick game of pool – not that we know the rules but it was fun anyway. It was probably the longest pool game in history because we are both pretty hopeless at getting the balls in the pockets.
In the same room is a treadmill are two computers that offer internet access which is free. To access either of these you need to go to reception to get the appropriate key.
Each unit has a car space directly outside their room but unfortunately they are not allocated so you may arrive back at the hotel and find your space has been taken. The hotel doesn’t have separate parking for those using the Rick Steins restaurant so it was always full at around dinner time. However, a second car park is available on the top level.
Other Things You Need to Know
The Pool Bar is open from:
- Mon-Fri from 12.00pm
- Sat –Sun from 10am
- Pushbikes and helmets are available for guest use from reception.
- Spare blankets and pillows are available in each room. Electric blankets are fitted to each bed.
- Check in is at 2pm and check out at 10.30am.
- The hotel no longer has a guest laundry. Instead, housekeeping will do the washing for you at no cost.
- The hotel rooms are all non-smoking.
Despite a slightly disappointing start, by the end of our stay, we were feeling really good about the whole experience. Yes, the room wasn’t quite what we were expecting but despite that it had a really good feel to it and with the wonderful staff and the overall facilities of the hotel, we ended up feeling refreshed and relaxed and feeling like we could have stayed forever.
Even so, I’m not sure I’d recommend this hotel at the full rate price. At the price we paid, yes definitely but any more than that and I would feel ripped off.