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“Not 5 Star”

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Spicers Vineyards Estate
Ranked #1 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Not 5 Star”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 April 2008

In summary, not a 5 star property by any stretch of the imagination. I’d consider it if you can get a good, cheap last minute rate but don’t count on being able to use the open fire, check restaurant opening times and cancellation policy before booking.

We booked a spa studio via a last minute website (www.wotif.com.au). The price seemed reasonable for the room description but like all things in life you get what you pay for.

My wife became ill the day before we were due to travel and I contacted the booking agent to review the cancellation policy. We were more than 24 hours before our check-in time and the agent tried to see if there was some flexibility with our booking (not to cancel but the change the arrival date by a few days.) According to the booking agent these requests were flatly turned down by the property who weren’t prepared to entertain these requests in the slightest– in fact we were told they suggested we give the room away to a friend or neighbour to avoid losing our money - so we decided to go anyway!

The location is ok – I’d have preferred something a little more central but this isn’t really a big deal. Check-in was painless and we were shown to our room straight away.

The room itself had all of the features described – spa bath (big enough for two), open fire and four poster bed. First impressions were – very dark and very cold with no effort shown at all to make the room feel welcoming (this lack of warmth and no sense of hospitability sums up my thoughts on this property). Even at 3pm with all of the lights on and curtains open it was gloomy. The location of the rooms is very poorly though out and there is certainly no privacy due to the walkway – unless you want to close the curtains and make the room even darker.

All of the features advertised were there and working, the décor was more three star however. There was a large LCD TV with DVD player and they had gone to some lengths to try and simplify the process of switching on the TV by labelling each of the three remote controls and giving instructions – together with a warning that if you messed with any of the equipment you would be charged for someone to fix it!

As it was about 6 degrees c in our room I decided to light the open fire. I asked for some firewood but was told that it wasn’t the fire season yet (even though it was the last week of April and every other place we visited without exception had their fires lit) so the marshmallows I’d purchased were left unopened . Fortunately the reverse cycle AC heated the room up quickly.

The restaurant on the property (Splash) looked promising from the website and the menu provided in the room had our mouths watering. Sadly, it wasn't open on Tuesday and I felt this could have been made clearer when booking.

I wouldn’t stay there again or recommend this property. There are a lot better options for the same sort of money (or similar rooms for a lot less).

  • Liked — Good size room
  • Disliked — Cold, dark and no privacy
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank PhilandKate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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829 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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See reviews for
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5
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (97)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
sydney
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2008

I have extremely high standards in hotels and I have to say that although the website looked good, the reviews on here made me quite apprehensive on our way to this hotel. But what a fantastic surprise it was. Well organised arrival check in (we arrived late - no problems), best dinner (free in the package) that we had the whole time we were in the Hunter (Roberts and Esca have NOTHING on Splash's chef!). The rooms were fantastic (lacking privacy but that was expected as the glass doors in the room open out to the front of the hotel). Breakfast was amazing (the poached pears in cinnamon were a real treat) and the service and facilities the whole time just fantastic. Everyone was friendly, helpful etc and the location is great as you're pretty much central to everything but far enough out to be away from the vineyard traffic. I would highly recommend this hotel based on a great price, excellent service, amazing food and a great little hotel with everything you need! We will definately be going back.

  • Liked — The dinner!!
  • Disliked — No internet access
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Sarahadi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 March 2007

We agree with the earlier comments about guests being an inconvenience to the staff. We have had better service at a 2 star motel.
Room service? Don't arrive late on a Friday night on an empty stomach as when you call the restaurant asking about options to eat you can hear the crickets on the other end of the phone. Eventually you will find out that you can order from the restaurant menu ... only to find when you check out that the dishes cost $40 each.
Breakfast? They tell you it is served between 08:30 and 10:00, but if you arrive later than 08:35 (or so it seems) they will not offer you a hot breakfast.
Oh, and there is no DVD library ... just some old videos in a cupboard. We have stayed in much better places than this for a lot less money, both here in Australia and overseas. Will definitely not be staying here again and will be telling all our friends to steer clear as well.

  • Liked — leaving
  • Disliked — run by people that have never travelled before - do not know what a guest needs
  • Stayed March 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank TCSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management_7, Manager at Spicers Vineyards Estate, responded to this review, 3 August 2007
We do appreciate feedback, however there are some inconsistencies with these comments. The guests arrived after the kitchen had closed on the Friday evening. The chef reopened the kitchen and made the guests a main meal each. The main meals were $35.00 not $40.00. The room rate they were on included only a continental breakfast not a cooked breakfast, however there was plenty of opportunity for them to ask for a cooked breakfast. We have over 200 dvds at reception. Due to a large loss of dvds they have to be signed out. If they had read their room compendium all this information was available to them or they could have enquired at reception.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scotland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2007

Lovely place, one of numerous options amongst the Hunter Valley vineyards in the Pokolbin area. The website is a good starting point, being fair and honest; the welcome is warm and friendly and food and accommodation is excellent.

Pool - small and naturally-set amongst rocks and plants - we saw wallabies hopping in the distance from it! Sun loungers and some shady trees make it a lovely spot after a hard day's wine tasting.

Gardens / estate - lots of opportunities to wander round and admire the vines and the grounds. There's also a 9-hole mini-golf course in good condition and a smart-looking tennis court.

Rooms - lovely; spacious, cool and well equipped (full-sized fridge, toaster, kettle, crockery, etc plus a supply of proper coffee and good biscuits). Large, firm bed; good bathroom with nice smellies; settees; huge TV; log fire though I can't imagine it ever getting cold enough for you to need one.

Restaurant - Splash restaurant is very good, leaning to seafood but offering non-fishy choices too. The wine-list includes the estate's own wines. Friendly service. Only a short stroll from the rooms. Lovely views over the vines. Breakfast is part of the deal and is taken in the main house - excellent cooked breakfast plus all the usual extras and some especially nice poached fruits.

In summary, this is a lovely, peaceful, calm, grown-up kind of place in an area which has lots to do, mostly around wine-tasting but plenty of other things too (eg., cheese tasting). We went in a horse-drawn cart and bumped happily round 5 of the vineyards, tasting as we went. Love the Aussie approach to wine-tasting - free, lots of good advice and tutoring, and no pressure to buy.

  • Liked — Peaceful and relaxing
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Runcible-7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Munich
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2006

We stayed at the Vineyards Estate as part of our honeymoon and I have to agree with one of the previous comments - it really does not deserve 5 stars. Ok, the bed is big, there's a bath for 2 people, fireplace and big tv. However, that feeling of being somewhere special is definitely missing. The pool and loungers were dirty, breakfast wes served only between 8:30 and 9:30 and frankly, we felt as though guests were an inconvenience to the staff as all our questions/requests were met with blank stares and perfunctory answers. They do tick the boxes for 5 * amenities - but not for 5* service.

  • Stayed December 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank newtotheplanet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bellbird
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 November 2005

We just stayed at The Vineyards Estate in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley. It was for our 10th anniversary. We wanted to have a romantic getaway and were not dissappointed. From the the wonderful two person spa bath, the King size bed and the romantic open fire place it was great. The rooms also have a widescreen plasma tv. The outdoor pool was superb. We also had lots of fun on the 9 hole mini golf course.
The dinner was great, the staff must have been told that it was our anniversary because they gave us complimentary glasses of champagne and even had roses on the table for us. We couldn't possibly have had a better time. We highly recommend it.

Helpful?
1 Thank lc4507
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 May 2003

We stayed at the Vineyards Estate during late May 2003. The place ranks itself pretty highly "...small, 5 star, award winning, luxury retreat..." but we were disappointed. In our view the rating and the price simply weren't justified. The general standard of the place is OK but falls well short of 5 star luxury. There must be better accommodation in the area for the money.

  • Stayed May 2003
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Spicers Vineyards Estate

Property: Spicers Vineyards Estate
Address: 555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320, Australia
Region: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Pokolbin
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Pokolbin
#1 Spa Hotel in Pokolbin
#2 Romantic Hotel in Pokolbin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Spicers Vineyards Estate 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Personal service & attention to detail in every way! A luxurious Guesthouse, Spicers Vineyards Estate is set amidst its own private vineyard. Every suite features king beds, lounge area, open fireplace, spa en-suite, flat screen TV with CD/DVD and IPod dock, whilst the property boasts gourmet dining experiences at onsite Restaurant Botanica, Salt water pool & spa, guest lounge & boardroom, free wireless broadband and every guest is greeted on arrival with complimentary wine. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Spicers Vineyards Estate Hotel Pokolbin
Vineyards Estate Pokolbin
Vineyards Estate Hotel Pokolbin
Spicers Vineyards Estate Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin, Australia

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