Sorry Peter - I know you wanted us to 'keep this between ourselves' but we are still having a nightmare time of it as a direct result of our stay at Gekos and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else so I felt i needed to write an honest review.
So - we arrived at geckos on 2nd Jan 2013 for one night prior to collecting our Campervan which would then be home for 14 nights after our gecko stay. At check-in we were disappointed to discover that the double room we booked was no longer available so we'd have to have a twin room or go elsewhere. As just for the one night, we said we'd take it and headed upstairs to Room 3. First thing that struck us was the smell - it looked like a guy was staying in the room opposite and his window opened onto the corridor and it just stank of sweaty, musty, dirty unwashed boys! Not a pleasant greeting. We'd also noticed on the way up to the room that the pool looked really dirty with very murky water and we noted that we definitely wouldn't be heading out for a swim. Once in the room we were less than impressed -$56 got us a very tired looking room with an ancient ac unit and a cracked window pane. Next we headed to check out the bathrooms on our floor and discovered that all of the showers were out of order! The loos were fine and clean though.
Feeling a little fed up at this point we headed out to gilligans for our free meal which consisted of a small bowl of pasta with some bolognese on - nothing great but it WAS free and filled the hole. Gilligans was a bit young and teeny boppy for us so we thought we'd go back to our room at geckos and Skype our families with the free wifi. After about 10mins of persevering with only hearing every other word someone was saying on Skype, we gave up using wifi and started using our mobile phone and 3G which was far better, but obviously far from free.
Just as we were finishing up on Skype, we noticed a couple of bugs crawling on one of the twin beds. Then we started seeing more and more. We questioned whether they were bed bugs but having never seen a bed bug before, we thought they were too big. Just to be safe, we googled them and were MORTIFIED to discover that they WERE bed bugs! By this stage it was midnight so no chance of checking out and finding somewhere else to stay. We really didn't know what to do - the bed was crawling with them and wherever we tugged at the sheets or peeked inside the pillow case, they were there and they were all different sizes from tiny to larger than the size of an apple pip - this couldn't have been a new infestation.
We then realised there were some bugs on our bags and clothes we'd left out of our bags - one was even on my bra! Horrified, we spent the next two hours going through our backpacks and merticulously checking our clothes - petrified that we might take them with us into our campervan the next day. I wrote Peter an email that night to let him know the situation and headed downstairs to have a shower (in one of the two available for the entire hostel!). The shower floor was filthy and I just wanted to get out of this hostel as soon as possible. We headed back to our room, climbed into our personal sleeping bags and shared the other single bed which looked free from bugs. We woke 5 hours later and headed straight to check-out. Peter had emailed back by this point and was clearly mortified himself to hear the bed bug news. He apologised for the inconvenience and gave us a full refund. He also assured us he would be throwing both beds out, closing the room and fumigating it several times.
What didn't fully emerge until later that day, however, was the extent to which I had been bitten in those 5 hours - over 60 times!! Horrible. And then yesterday the worst possible case scenario happened - we found a bed bug in our campervan 5 days after leaving Geckos!! So we have spent our day having to wash and dry EVERYTHING. All of our clothes, bags, bedding, shoes. It has cost us over $40 to do all this and there is still no guarantee that we've got rid of the pests. I got yet another bite in bed last night so now it's just a matter of waiting and seeing whether we've eliminated the pests or not. We have 10 more days in this camper before spending 3 weeks in NZ in another camper so we are seriously crossing everything at the moment in the hope we don't transport the critters with us in our bags :( just an utter nightmare.
All in all, I think there are better hostels out there for your buck! Even if Peter manages to erradicate the pests, the hostel still needs some work - it's run down and the facilities on offer aren't quite up to par. It's also a fair walk out of town, although this does mean it's quiet. For us personally, in 3 months of travelling, staying at geckos was the biggest mistake we have made.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Geckos Backpackers is a magnificent Historical, Heritage building perfectly positioned 1km west of the Cairns City centre. Beautiful Queenslander style building with very interesting architecture, all made of wood. Some rooms have 5 meter ceilings, just amazing how they built these buildings nearly 100 years ago. The property is very spacious with no bunk beds at all, large swimming pool and lush Tropical Gardens. Just across the road is Cairns Central Shopping centre including Coles Supermarket, Train Station, Transnorth bus services to the Tablelands and Premier Bus services to across Australia. Totally very quiet place ideal for those looking for a peaceful stay and also great for families as it is a totally no alcohol place. On site tour desk for all your requirements. Staff are well trained, are very helpful and very friendly. So for your budget holiday we invite you to stay at Geckos Backpackers, Cairns, Queensland, Australia - The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding World Heritage Rainforests. ... more less
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