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“Really, really great”

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Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Really, really great”
Reviewed 15 January 2008

This trip was amazing - please, please don't worry about some of the negative reviews! All the hotels are in one big complex, and the hotels and restaurants cater to a wide range of travellers. We stayed in the Lost Camel part of the Resort. The rooms are cool, clean and spacious. A hotel room for this price in Perth, Melbourne or Sydney is not this nice. The resort is quite spread out and we were lucky enough to be near the pool - request this. There are pools for each hotel and you can go to any restaurants. The roads are quite twisty, but you can walk from Sails through Lost Camel to Desert Sands in under 10 minutes by cutting through the grounds. There are also regular shuttles. Coming from Sydney, we were pleasantly surprised by the exceptional quality of the food, particularly in the "middle range" restaurants - dinner at the desert sands restaurant was really wonderful, 5 stars. Compared to Sydney, food was cheap, which is quite a feat considering how far produce comes. All was fresh and really top quality. Alcohol was what you'd expect to pay in a cafe in Sydney. There is a neat little grocery store at the resort. The staff were friendly and helpful and delat with with a huge range of international travellers. We went on the dawn camel ride, which was really fun, the silence under the stars dinner (a must, but grasshoppers jumping everywhere!) and a walk around the rock. I would recommend this to everyone, and I don't understand why there are so many bad reviews of this place. The only thing I can think of is that people expect it to cost the same as staying in a coastal town, with those sort of amenities - its a desert people!

  • Liked — Nice rooms, good food
  • Disliked — You could be far from a pool
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Happy_Camper2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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St. Marys
Level 4 Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 January 2008

The facility itself is well laid out and all that you expect with a four star hotel. Now the problems, of which a lot of it boils down to being understaffed.
1. Beware of wakeup calls for the sunrise tour. Ours came at 9 pm that evening and then 4 am the morning following the tour and we weren't the only ones. Lucky I woke up at 4:25 am and had everything ready or I would have missed an experience of a lifetime.
2. Don't eat at the restaurant at the Desert Gardens if you expect timely service. It took almost 2 hours to get our meal and this was only after I asked if they had to kill the cow first. Also make sure you have your hostess explain the menu and pricing, because most people we spoke with had the same problems we had when it came to the bill..Save yourself from the surprise. By the way, the food was excellent.
3.Overall, the facility is severely understaffed and is understandable as it is in the middle of nowhere. The staff do the best they can, but I am sure the resort could do better if they had more staff.( ie.) Five busloads arrived at the same time and the hotel only had 2 staff for checkin and 1 busboy to handle all the storage of luggage as the rooms were not ready at 1 pm in the afternoon. Even I would have thought to pull my hair out. if I had been this staff.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — service needs to be number one
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank wnethercott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Yulara hotels

Milton Keynes
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
84 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2007

Stayed at Desert Gardens for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon. I would normally check the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking but didn't with this one, which was just as well as I think I would have been put off Desert Gardens by some of the previous comments!
We booked a deluxe room which was kitted out very nicely; clean, comfortable and exceeded my expectations for the middle of the road hotel within the Voyages Resort complex. Massive bed, sofa, table and chairs, plenty of space and a bathroom to die for (with a bath, shower, nice toiletries and plenty fluffy towels). We also were lucky enough to have a blacony view of Uluru which was great and unspoilt.
We used the hotel restuarant just once for breakfast which wasn't included in the price of our accommodation - it was a little on the pricey side for my liking (about $60 for the two of us), particularly if you don't eat a large breakfast. It's buffet stye, hot and cold, a wide selection and food quality was good. For evening meals we chose Gecko's cafe in the little town centre on the resort complex which is about a five minute walk from the hotel. Offers a relatively small menu, but well priced and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere We ate there three times and each time the quality of food and service was excellent. Also in the town centre, there would normally be a takeaway which was closed for renovation during our stay, and there's also a handy supermarket along with a couple of gift shops and a post office.
It is correct on previous reviews that Voyages hold the monopoly on Uluru accommodation. We felt very confined to the resort without our own transport and that for me was the downside, but you can't blame that on the hotels. If we did it again, we'd probably hire a camper van and drive from Alice Spings to make a proper trip of it. And we'd only stop 2 nights, 3 was a little too long - you could combine it with a trip to Kings Canyon that way.
We booked a couple of trips using the Visitor Information Centre (definitely worth paying them a visit), they're a short walk from the hotel, just at the top of the steps aside from the front of the building.
Overall, our experience of the Desert Gardens was very pleasant and worth the money.

  • Liked — Very spacious, clean and comfortable
  • Disliked — Nothing in regard to the accommodation
  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
8 Thank MissV-MiltonKeynes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Midlands
Level 6 Contributor
71 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 December 2007

Stayed at the Desert Gardens for 2 nights in November on our Australia trip. Flew into Ayres Rock and the hotel is just a short hop away.

Our room was in a block close to the pool but not overlooking it.
The room was fine, had comfortable beds, tea and coffee facilities and a fridge. The bathroom was quite spacious and had a nice large shower. It was pleasant rather than luxurious. We could hear other guests going past our room at various hours of the day and night.

Used the restaurant on the first night, staff were very pleasant - food was fine but again nothing spectacular.

Were up at 4am to watch sunrise, so spent the afternoon by the pool, there were no mattresses for the sun-loungers which meant that you got a bit uncomfortable. There were towels available by the pool. Didn't use the pool itself.

Reception staff were polite and did a good job, spoke to another guest who had a few problems with spiders - including one in the bed!! I guess it's not surprising considering the location.

The hotels are all on a 'complex' with shops, restaurants etc. In our opinion the food options were not great, but had a nice chicken caesar salad at 'Sails In The Desert ' hotel. There is a little supermarket on site for necessities. Things in general are expensive as tourists on the complex are a captive audience also everything needs to be transported there.

I think the hotel did the job, but it lacked atmosphere as guests were generally only there for 1 or 2 nights and there was nobody around in the evenings. Would use it again.

  • Liked — Convenient location, good bathroom
  • Disliked — Lacked atmosphere, relatively expensive
  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Mary S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2007

Please realize when you read this that we loved visiting Ayers Rock (Uluru) and The Olgas and luckily you aren't there for the hotel. However,t this hotel and its "complex" are a complete tourist trap. First, you have to beat the huge tour groups to the hotel to get to your room. Our room was as others have said a mediocre motel room, but we had an added bonus. Our bathroom floor was one big drain- no real shower edge. When we used the shower the entire bathroom was flooded until it drained. We actually got over that and after a long day of traveling and hiking settled in to sleep when around 11PM a bird started sqawking. The bird did its bit until 5:30 the next morning and did this both days which is NOT charming when you actually want to sleep. The hotel is also part of the Voyages complex and it appears to own all things out there and the restaurants/shops etc. are all under one central area where you get to pay around 30 AUD for breakfast. Again, we decided to take the attitude that its supply and demand until we found out there is a very nice bed and breakfast nearby! Finally, while the tour guides we used were fantanstic and really knew their stuff (Ecotours) the staff at the hotel were rude at best. The front desk girl that we seemed to keep dealing with could never be bothered to look up from her paperwork and snapped at my husband when he asked her a question. Remember, this hotel charges between 350-500+AUD (325-550 USD/night) for this low-budget service. Bottom line- go to see the sights and stay somewhere cheap or at the Bed and Breakfast place- I don't know the name. This hotel is not worth your money or annoyance.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — the shower flooding the bathroom with each use
  • Stayed November 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank soleildoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
myrtle beach
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 November 2007

Went on a Globus tour of Oz so had to stay there. Bedbugs in one of the beds. And the restaurant service is awful!! Go at 6AM if you want to get breakfast.

Stayed October 2007
Helpful?
3 Thank drpoundsign
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
91 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 November 2007

We spent one night here in mid Oct 2007 and found the hotel to be more than adequate. Although the room wasn't ready when we first arrived (3pm), which was a bit of a pain, when we did get in later in the evening, it turned out to be a lovely room. Extremely spacious and comfortable with 2 double beds and adequate storage for suitcases etc. Nice warm, earthy coloured decor. The bathroom was also beautiful and massive with nice cream-coloured tiles and a proper walk-in shower (not in bath as is often the case).

As already stated, the hotel is not a high rise, but rather, ground-floor bungalows spread out in a campus-like setting. We ate the breakfast at the restaurant there (from memory it cost around A$ 29 per person) and it was very nice. We didn't eat at the hotel for dinner...but elsewhere in the resort are various other restaurants and we chose the Gecko's Café at the main resort centre. It's one of the cheaper options but has very good food in a pleasant setting.

The staff at the hotel were ok, but not overly helpful...and the 10am check-out was a bit rich, considering we only got into our room quite late the night before. I know quite a few guests were caught out by this early check-out time.

If you want to see the rock, I would suggest doing the Uluru Express tour (which someone on the TA forum recommended to me)...we did the sunset tour and found it to be a good option for those not wanting to exert themselves too much!

We took the resort shuttle to all the hotels in the resort and think the Desert Gardens was probably the best option for people wanting a comfortable stay (the Sails in the Desert was also nice, but obviously more expensive). I would recommend this hotel.

  • Liked — Comfort and cleanliness
  • Disliked — 10am check out
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Loquita23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort

Property: Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort
Address: Yulara Drive, Yulara, Northern Territory 0872, Australia
Region: Australia > Northern Territory > Red Centre > Yulara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Yulara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 218
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is a superior hotel at Voyages Ayers Rock Resort. Magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs are the setting for this hotel. Voyages Desert Gardens Hotel is centrally located to all resort and touring facilities and offers a range of accommodation, from shaded poolside rooms to deluxe rooms overlooking the desert.You can relax in the comfort of your own private balcony or courtyard, or unwind in the hotel's pool, sipping cocktails from the Bunya bar. It's only a short stroll to the Resort's numerous lookouts, where you can view what is arguably Australia's best sunset, with the spectacular play of colours across the face of Uluru and the surrounding desert. Once the sun has set, dine at Arnguli Grill and savour an a la carte flame grilled menu. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Hotel Yulara
Hotel Desert Gardens
Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort Australia/Yulara

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