I stayed 2 nights in the hotel complex at this resort which I chose primarily for its location on the western (bayside) of Fraser Island. It seemed like staying here would provide a good balance to our planned exploration of the interior and western beaches. Indeed, the bayside location proved the right choice for amazing sunsets and a quiet beach where it seemed like you could walk forever at low tide without seeing another soul.
Despite these advantages, the “resort” suffers from significant shortcomings which seem related to a shortage of staff and poor training. On arrival, we waited 15 minutes to check-in at reception as only two staff were on duty. This seemed odd given that we arrived on the 12:30 ferry from the mainland with a number of other guests. Reception staff provided little in the way of orientation to the resort despite its considerable size. After inquiring regarding dinner, I was informed that we could have a buffet dinner at Maheno restaurant or order a la carte at Seabelle, the fine dining restaurant. We opted for the latter primarily because we did not want to eat at a buffet since we were both vegetarians and were uncertain whether it would have anything for us. When we later learned that Maheno was NOT a buffet but rather served dinner a la carte and in fact was also offering a special (2 courses for $40 or 3 for $50), we felt as if we had been duped as Seabelle offered no such deal and was considerably more expensive.
On our second night, we decided to have dinner at Maheno. After being seated, we waited approximately 15 minutes before 1 member from our group offered to go up to the bar and order our drinks. On his return, we had still not been waited on and it took us another 5 minutes to flag down the manager and request to place our order. She said that she would “send one of the girls over” and while this happened I could not help but wonder why she did not take the order herself. Of course, there were a number of other issues that needed her attention as I observed numerous tables with dirty dishes left to rot long after parties left, a long line of customers waiting to be seated, frowning diners who were fetching their own drinks and tap water from a spigot on a sidebar, others getting up and walking out of the restaurant in an attempt to obtain their check, and a confused server meandering around the dining room with an order of steak and salmon which she seemed clueless on where to deliver. When we inquired regarding the deficiencies we were observing, we were told there was a shortage of staff due to a stomach bug and no replacements were available. While this seemed feasible, it did not excuse the situation and it was curious that nobody from management was assisting the staff.
In addition to problems at dining and reception, housekeeping was also a disaster. On arrival, our television and screen doors by the porch were covered in dust and the bathroom was filthy and looked like it had not been cleaned since the last couple left (hairs all over the floor, fingernail droppings, toilet paper that was falling off the roll and another that had clearly been re-rolled). The closet door seemed like it had not been cleaned either as there were grease stains and splatters all over it which became even more evident when the sun hit it. There were also no pool towels or instructions on where to obtain them. Despite requesting it, we did not receive any room cleaning during our second day and no fresh towels.
Overall, this was a very disappointing stay in an ideal spot. There is a lot of potential as the facilities are good but Kingfisher must hire more staff and do a better job of training. Management also needs to be on-hand to fill in gaps when they appear.
If I had it to do over again, I would stay at another resort on the eastern side of the island. There are a number of options to choose from and in close proximity to each other. If you feel like you must visit the western side of the island, you can easily do so as part of a day trip as it is only a few kilometers away.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the bush overlooking the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait, this award-winning ecotourism resort on World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the perfect base to explore the world's largest sand island. The resort incorporates the 152-room Mercure Kingfisher Bay Hotel, self-contained two and three bedroom villas and houses, and a 174-bed Wilderness Lodge for groups. Resort Rangers also guide a variety of four-wheel-drive coach tours or personalised tours of the island. Access to Fraser Island is by ferry only. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mercure Kingfisher Bay Resort Fraser Island
- Kingfisher Bay Hotel Fraser Island
- Kingfisher Bay Fraser Island