Last month Wanda and I took some time out to head off to Melbourne to see The Jersey Boys at the Princess Theatre. Fantastic show by the way, but that’s for another blog post.
While we were there we stayed at the Best Western Atlantis Hotel in Spencer St.
We also wanted to do a bit of shopping so we ended up staying three nights all up. We got a pretty good deal through Expedia that included return flights from Canberra and 3 nights accommodation for $672 for the two of us so we were pretty happy with that. It’s a shame we weren’t as impressed with the hotel.
I just can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something about this hotel that just doesn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite clean and modern and the staff are okay, but there is a subtle feeling of shabbiness about it. And there were constant little issues that we kept noticing – on their own, these issues are negligible but when they started adding up, it created an overall negative feeling, with us, abut the hotel.
For instance, one of the staff, and I’m not sure what his role was, would always appear with his shirt hanging out and he was always dressed in a very scruffy manner and one of the reception staff looked as if she had just gotten out of bed. Others were much more presentable, but first impressions of a hotel are what tend to stay in the customers mind.
There didn’t appear to be a service elevator for the staff, and one time when we were coming down in the lift, 4 staff members got in with the wheeled laundry hamper…nothing wrong with that of course…but one was eating an ice cream…not something you would expect staff in a hotel to do in front of the guests.
And so to our first impression of the the hotel. The front step was broken the entire time we were there and the metal frame kept falling off every time we came in or left the hotel. It was stuck together with tape but that didn’t help much. The hotel has a feel about it as if nobody really cares.
That aside, we do have good things to say about this hotel. The location for instance is excellent…at least it was for us. We didn’t come with a car so we needed to use public transport and the free tram that circles the city was within a stones throw – it was literally only a minute or two walk to get to the tram stop. And even better than that is that the airport shuttle bus stop at the Spencer St station is only about a 5 minutes walk from the hotel and its in the same street. So we didn’t need to wait around to get a transfer to our hotel – we just walked up the road.
The hotel is by no means in the absolute centre of all the action but being so close to the free tram makes it easy to get to the Princess Theatre where Jersey Boys was showing, to get to Southbank and to spend some time shopping at Docklands. It’s also within easy walking distance of the Ethiad Stadium if you happen to be seeing an event there – although you can also get on the free tram if you’d rather not walk. Just bear in mind that the free tram doesn’t run late at night so for any event that is finishing late, you will need to walk home.
There is the added convenience of a Coles supermarket just across the road – only a couple of minutes walk away – plus there is a coffee shop, newsagent, chemist and a DFO outlet. Very convenient!
Checking in to the hotel was quick and easy. The staff were friendly and professional so we had no problems there. The lifts were another story. For most of the time we were there, one of the lifts kept breaking down. So this meant a bit of time waiting – one lady who had just checked in wasn’t impressed. At one point, none of the lifts were working but fortunately while we were waiting a couple of guys had turned up to fix them. Neither of us felt like hiking up the 15 stories to our room.
We had booked a twin room with two single beds and our first impression upon entering the room was pretty positive. The room looked modern and clean and the beds looked comfortable. But again, the shabbiness aspect reared its ugly head – the covers on the bed were creased like whoever made up the room was in a rush and just never got to the point of running their hand along the cover to iron out the creases. We understand that things don’t always go quite right but when these little things start adding up, it starts to create an overall impression of the hotel.
While we were in our room a maintenance man came in to fix the window. Not a problem – we understand these things have to be done and it gave us the opportunity to have a nice chat about Melbourne and travel in general with Lisa, one of the staff who accompanied him. As a result of his work, particles of dust and paint flecks fell to the floor under the window. Again, not a problem as we knew it would be vacuumed up the next day and it wasn’t terribly noticeable. However, these flecks weren’t vacuumed up the next day. Again, just another thing that added to the list of minor issues that created a negative impression of this hotel.
The room itself was pretty standard for a 4 star Melbourne hotel. Melbourne hotel rooms are usually quite small so there were no surprises there but this one is large enough for two people to easily maneuver around without tripping over each other.
We found the beds to be quite comfortable although Wanda didn’t like the fact that there was no top sheet so rang down to ask for one for her bed. The response was pretty quick although the staff member did bring up a queen size sheet instead of a single bed sheet.
The room has a standard flat screen tv which had a few extra Foxtel channels along with the free to air channels. There is also an extensive range of pay movies, with plenty of choices available.
In one corner is a desk and chair and the room has a double cupboard to hang clothes and a small safe. The safe isn’t large enough for a laptop but will fit most cameras, mobile phones etc. The cupboard had extra pillows and bedding, an ironing board and iron. So everything you need if you want to iron clothes when you unpack.
In the same spot as the safe are some shelves where we found a jug, cups and saucers, tea and coffee provisions.
The bathroom was fairly small but you really don’t need anything bigger. Unfortunately there was no bathtub and just a shower. I love having a nice hot bath after spending all day out sightseeing…nothing better! Even so, the shower was quite large and the water pressure quite good. The only problem was that the water temperature kept changing – one minute it was nice and warm and the next minute the temperature would drop a a degree or two….not enough to get anywhere near cold so it wasn’t annoying but it was definitely noticeable.
We run our business online so we need a good internet connection. Unfortunately most hotels don’t provide this and in Australia it can be expensive. The Best Atlantis Hotel internet access was fairly good. We had to pay for it via the TV menu which is simple to navigate. I can’t quite remember the cost but we did purchase it for three days. It was shaped however, so if you did go over the limit, the speed slowed down.
There is a swimming pool, gymnasium and the breakfast room, so everything you need is located in the hotel. We didn’t take advantage of these facilities and opted on going out for breakfast, Docklands on day one and next door to the Italian Restaurant, Il Sole, the next.