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Spicers Balfour Hotel
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573 - 578 of 700 reviews
Reviewed 3 December 2013

There is a group of major hotels that has the laudable philosophy “You come as a guest, return as a friend and come back as family”. Spicers Balfour manages somehow to short circuit that with ease.
My wife and I spent just one night there and left knowing that we had immediately acquired a new and entrancing extended family of smiling experts in hospitality. It starts with the ball of enthusiastic efficiency that is Willie Smuts, the affable South African GM and extends to every smiling, can do, member of staff whom we encountered.

Everywhere there is evidence of attention to the smallest detail and the quest for excellence. From the charming rooftop bar with views over Brisbane, where we had canapés and cocktails before going to our table nestled in the trees where we enjoyed a splendid dinner and truly excellent service.

Our room on the main floor had a veranda, also amongst the trees, with comfortable easy chairs and a dining table. We were delighted to see a spout dispensing filtered, very hot or cold water at a touch and a Nespresso machine for our use. We mentioned that there were no Ristretto capsules, but when we returned to our room there they were, along with the extensive breakfast menu, a turned down, very comfortable king bed, chocolates on the splendid pillows and our veranda table laid with good linen ready for us in the morning.

When we rang to have our brekker things cleared it was Willie himself who came to do it. No wonder we cannot wait to go back to see our new family and for a longer stay and to sample some of the other fascinating establishments in this delightful group.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank John B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 November 2013

I booked for 2 nights after seeing such great reviews for this place. I had high expectations after looking at all the beautiful pictures online. However when I arrived, I had extremely difficulties finding a car park. This alone ruined my holiday as we had already driven a long way to get here, and we were definitely not in the mood to be searching. Also, I agree with the other comments on the closeness of the restaurant, although I am not sure what could be done about this? Would not stay here again.

Room Tip: If you plan to stay, don't plan on driving.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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7  Thank aubrey l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 10 December 2013

Dear Aubrey

I am really sorry to hear that you could not find a parking space with us. Usually if that happen our guests will just park at the front of the hotel and mention that they could not find a park and we will park their car for them as we have 2 properties in the street. I would love to talk to you regarding your parking experience and just find out if you asked the team about parking your car. All our guest that stay at Spicers Balfour hotel knows that if they are not fully satisfied with a service or situation to just ask and we will do everything in our power to set it right. This is not just because we pride ourselves in our service but because we genuinely care and I am sorry if you were made to feel any different on your stay.

We take all feedback on board and I will just take the opportunity to thank you for your feedback as this gives us the opportunity to potentially deliver a better service to our guests.

With the restaurant in mind I thought I will shed some light on your feedback. This is not your traditional white wall hotel where you have to walk 5 min to just get to reception and you are just a number and have a key to open a room. We are a small intimate boutique hotel and while it’s busy during the day it’s extremely peaceful at night being outside of the city and that is why we chose to close the restaurant at 09:30 pm at night that it stays peaceful in the hotel when it comes to bed time.

I would hate not see you back at the hotel just because you could not find a parking space, if there is anything else you would like to share that myself and my team can improve please let me know.

My private email number is gm.balfour@spicersgroup.com.au and my personal mobile is (0)427 144 506. Please feel free to contact me at any time convenient for you. I would really love the opportunity to set this right and hopefully be a part of your travels in the future.

Warmest Regards
Willie Smuts & Team Balfour

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Reviewed 24 November 2013

There's a lot going on at Spicers Balfour Hotel and maybe not enough square footage to accommodate it all, especially with the high volume of non resident guests. A previous review describing it as a 'Restaurant with rooms out the back' makes a good point.

Having spent a few days in the area, we did get to realise that staying at Spicers Balfour Hotel was a good opportunity to stay in a restored Queenslander house. The verandah, which is used for dining, is very pleasant. At the top of the house, configuring the bar to view the Storey Bridge is inspired, fantastic view.

Arrival can be a bit anonymous (we were all travelling so no previous phone call) but once contact is made the welcome is very warm and you are shown round. Throughout our visit the staff were always friendly and accommodating.

It's a boutique hotel, but it's also bijou - the rooms are small, possibly emphasised by the dark tones of the decor. Bed comfortable, lovely linen, but not king size. Nespresso coffee machine and automatic hot/cold water machine (why no kettle we thought at first, but now want one at home). Plunge/cafetiere available, also coffee bean grinder machine if you travel with your own beans. No fridge. (An instant Pot Noodle was included in the 'mini bar' in ironic (?) contrast to the surround tastefulness!)

However...the layout of the hotel is such that we doubt any room will be truly peaceful. The bar, restaurant and kitchens are the core of the hotel and the rooms are shoe-horned around the edges. Night was quiet, but long days are busy at Spicers Balfour Hotel...In addition to Breakfast, Espresso and Afternoon Tea, the Balfour's Kitchen now does Dinner, so all day there is a high volume of non-resident business. Very enterprising, but servicing this generates a fair amount of activity and noise.

The Balfour breakfast seems to be a destination item, particularly at weekend. Residents are guaranteed a place but for us last Sunday it seemed touch and go. We also had to wait a while for the food to arrive which was a bit tense as we had to check out, thankfully one of the team appreciated this and put us at our ease.

Overall a lovely contrast to larger 5 star chain hotels, but volume of non resident business can make things hectic.

Room Tip: Pay proper attention when you are shown how things work in your room - it's dark fittings on a dark surface so not always obvious which switch is which later on.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank LondonVectis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 9 December 2013

Dear LondonVectis

We are happy that you enjoyed the lovely contrast of Spicers Balfour Hotel and it’s always nice to host personalities from all over the world.

Thank you for your feedback, November is traditionally a very busy month for us and with the Ashes week in Brisbane it all adds.

With the hotel being busy we will always ensure we look after our in-house guests and I hope you enjoyed the team.

Thank you again for your valued feedback, we ensure we use this information to train our team, make changes where possible to ensure your stay is truly memorable.

Warmest Regards
Willie Smuts & Team Balfour

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2013

Three days planned at the Balfour turned into two. Our previous experience of the Spicer's Resort near Cunningham's Gap led us to expect a five star experience. While it was not possible to fault the staff we found that the experience was more like being in a restaurant with rooms attached out the back. The parking was inadequate for the hotel guests (only five or six cramped spots) but by evening when the walk in trade for the restaurant arrived we, the guests, had to cruise the streets to find a parking place several streets away. Booked massages paid in advance never happened. There were apologies but the experience of being pampered was lost. 'Private' balconies from our room were inches away from restaurant diners. The rooms, while well appointed, were very tiny, almost closet sized, and the ambient lighting gloomy. Neighbours were only meters away and unscreened. Breakfast in our rooms was ordered in advance but still 90 minutes later was still in the kitchen. The evening restaurant meal was no better than three star and we chose to dine out elsewhere on the second evening. This spoiled the sense of a quiet secluded retreat experience. The friendliness of the staff went some way to making this an occasion to remember but not necessarily one to repeat.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Graham W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 20 November 2013

Dear Graham W

I can only apologize for your experience at Spicers Balfour Hotel as this is not how we operate. The email below was sent to your wife and I have been talking to her over email the past week. My team and I really can’t wait to host you again. Your wife said that she will email me directly when you make your way to Brisbane again.
Have a beautiful week.

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts & Team Balfour
Dear Elegance Family

We really enjoyed hosting you at Spicers Balfour Hotel. We strive for perfection and what you had experience was surly not how we operate. We are glad that you enjoyed our team and the $150 per night room upgrade that we provided complimentary before you arrived at the hotel. When staying with us we like to think that all our occupants become family and my team loves looking after all our guests. They say in life that honesty is the best policy and I can only sincerely apologize that everything did not go to plan. With your massages we sometimes rely on external therapists and it was unfortunate that their car broke down. I have since your stay contacted the design team and they have fitted a blind to the outdoor terrace to ensure the sense of privacy for our terrace room guests as we take feedback seriously and on boards straight away.

Given the opportunity I would love to discuss your feedback in detail and host you again on your next visit to Brisbane.

Please email me directly on gm.balfour@spicersgroup.com.au , I would love to discuss your stay to ensure we do everything to ensure your expectations of the hotel is met.

Warmest Regards

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

Booking on the net was easy. The website is friendly and informative and since we have stayed at Spicers Gap in the past we were looking forward to a few days at the Spicer’s property in New Farm in Brisbane – Spicer’s Balfour.
We were rung on the day to ask about a time of arrival and to talk about a dinner reservation. We called back when we realised we were a bit lost and help was readily and cheerfully at hand. So far so good.
We were able to park our car on the property – great. We entered the reception area and a sign directed us up some poorly lit steps. That’s when the first thing went wrong. I fell over the bottom step. Dusting myself off and reassuring staff that I was OK we proceeded to our room. We were impressed that our booking had been upgraded and we had a Terrace Room. The room was small but beautifully appointed as we found after we hunted down the power switches. It was difficult in the gloom though once illuminated each switch had a tag nominating which light it would power.
Nothing was too much trouble for each and every member of staff.They were polite, enthusiastic and keen to please. We enjoyed our evening canapés on the rooftop earlier than scheduled so that we could attend a previously arranged function. Arriving back at the hotel at ~ 8:30 we found no parking. We had to leave our car on the street more than a block away. Dinner was pleasant but not of the standard that we were expecting given our previous stay at Spicer’s Gap. Our verandah was a lovely spot to eat but there was no real privacy. Just a few metres away we overlooked the verandah of another property. Inches away fellow diners could be seen and heard. The slatted screen was ineffective – superfluous since it filled no function.
We slept well in and next morning anticipated breakfast. We waited more than 90 minutes after we had ordered breakfast to our room. Meanwhile we were quite aware of other guests who appeared in the dining area on the other side of the slatted screen being served.
Our host asked about the problem we had with the car the previous evening and very kindly offered us a bottle of wine to enjoy after our scheduled afternoon massages.
We arrived back to our room in the early afternoon – 15 minutes before the scheduled massage. The room door was propped open with a stool and there was no-one in the room though clearly someone was in the process of cleaning. I wondered about security of our valuables left in the room.
Next came a phone call that the massage therapist had a flat tyre and was delayed! Another call to explain that he wasn’t able to come. Another call with the message that no-one was coming.
When we first arrived at Spicer’s Balfour, we had a serious discussion amongst ourselves about staying longer. We didn’t have to be anywhere else for a couple of days and we anticipated a wonderful experience. By the second evening we had decided that we would head home as planned on day 3. It seems such a pity since the place is lovely, the staff are involved and keen to serve. Something mitigated against a serene time. It is difficult to say just what that something was. Overall we couldn't fault any member of staff nor the facilities. I guess even hotels have 'bad hair days'.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
6  Thank elegance535
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM_Spicershotels, General Manager at Spicers Balfour Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 November 2013

Dear Elegance Family

We really enjoyed hosting you at Spicers Balfour Hotel. We strive for perfection and what you had experience was surly not how we operate. We are glad that you enjoyed our team and the $150 per night room upgrade that we provided complimentary before you arrived at the hotel. When staying with us we like to think that all our occupants become family and my team loves looking after all our guests. They say in life that honesty is the best policy and I can only sincerely apologize that everything did not go to plan. With your massages we sometimes rely on external therapists and it was unfortunate that their car broke down. I have since your stay contacted the design team and they have fitted a blind to the outdoor terrace to ensure the sense of privacy for our terrace room guests as we take feedback seriously and on boards straight away.

Given the opportunity I would love to discuss your feedback in detail and host you again on your next visit to Brisbane.

Please email me directly on gm.balfour@spicersgroup.com.au , I would love to discuss your stay to ensure we do everything to ensure your expectations of the hotel is met.

Warmest Regards

Willie Smuts
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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