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“Exceptional Service, Delightful Stay & Delicious Food!”

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Hunter Country Lodge & Shakey Tables Restaurant
Ranked #15 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Reviewed 16 December 2013

My friend and I travelled up from Sydney to go to the Alicia Keys/John Legend concert. We stayed at Hunter Country Lodge Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night on Dec 13,14,15. The accommodation was lovely, perfect for our weekend getaway. We didn't spend too much time in the rooms as we were out exploring the Hunter, but the bed was extremely comfortable, the rooms were very clean, and beds were made and amenities replaced every morning. We brought along our dog, a Japanese Spitz, and the staff were very accommodating and welcoming. The girls in the restaurant at Shakey Tables were absolutely incredible. The service was above and beyond. They went out of their way to accommodate us and make our trip extra special. My friend is a Vegan, and they had prepared a delicious variety of foods for her to eat, without any trouble. We also arrived late on Friday night due to traffic, missing the dinner times, but it was no trouble for the kitchen staff at the restaurant. They had an amazing 3 course meal for us and we didn't have the wait long at all. It was much needed after the Friday traffic drive! The location was perfect! About a 10 minute drive to Pokolbin, the Hope Estate, the Hunter Gardens and Cafe Enzo. It isn't 5 star accommodation, but it's comfortable, clean and has a warmth about it that made us enjoy our stay! I would definitely recommend staying there and i will be back again next year - if only just to visit the wonderful staff! The food was delicious at the restaurant! Thank you Hunter Country Lodge and Shakey Tables staff for making our first trip to the Hunter Valley so memorable, welcoming and an overall awesome experience away! Miss you guys already!! :)
Cheers & Merry Christmas,
Genevieve, Hilary and Suzanne (the Japanese Spitz).

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Genevieve H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 - 39 of 71 reviews

Reviewed 9 December 2013

The location is great, dinner was good but pricey, breakfast was poor. The rooms are dated and need maintenance. More cheap motel than country lodge and many things needed painting or fixing. Same could be said about the pool area and the marquee.
So call it what it is and price it appropriately. About half the current rate would be fair.
That said the location is great and the hosts were charming so hope they get it right.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank Peter Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2013

My partner and I researched on nice affordable accommodation for a romantic weekend in the hunter. We where very disappointed to say the least, the rooms and establishment where nothing like what was advertised on their website. We went to open our cabin and the door handle nearly fell off. Walking inside the room we noticed it was neither clean or secure. We could see the outdoors through holes in the walls, the walls were very dirty and the windows and blinds have obviously never been cleaned. After the journey I was busting to go to the toilet, I then found out their was no handle on the bathroom door, there was mould all on the walls and window. The window also had a large hole and cracks throughout it. The bathroom I'm pretty sure is made from asbestos. The front balcony was in desperate need of repair and we could hear absolutely everything from either cabins and guests walking past. One of the staff I found to be very pushy and rude and was quick to bad mouth other local establishments. Overall for $220 a night it was a huge disappointment and when we asked if we could transfer rooms or have someone come to do some maintenance it was not even considered. We were told their was nothing they could do. I would not recommend anyone staying here.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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5  Thank Ethicacoffeehouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2013

We travelled from Sydney to attend the Leonard Cohen concert held in the Hunter Valley on November 23, 2013 (fabulous!). We stayed for 2 nights at the Hunter Country Lodge. We were a little concerned because the reviews for this Lodge were very mixed and overall it was near the bottom of the accommodation pecking order. Presumably reviews are about expectations because our stay was just perfect.

The Hunter Valley Lodge is a 16 room complex located on a green, grassy hill. The large rooms are deliberately “rustic” with old doors and walls of logs fronted by long wooden verandahs overlooking two lovely vineyards and a large stand of tall eucalyptus trees. There were all the comforts of home including a large very comfortable bed, generous hot showers, digital TV, tea and coffee facilities and the ubiquitous minibar refrigerator. If you want a rural retreat this Lodge is far preferable to the many extravagant hotels scattered through the Valley.

The very well informed and friendly proprietors Simon and Paula Rengger also offer a very sophisticated restaurant known as Shaky Tables which also overlooks the vineyards. We really enjoyed the so called “continental” breakfasts which included ham and other meat slices, cheeses, great toasted bread, an array of cereals, croissants and other pastries. Sadly the coffee was disappointing as it was siphoned from a large vacuum flask. Maybe espresso coffee machines have yet to reach the Hunter Valley (they reached far flung Tibooburra 20 years ago!).

Dinner at Shaky Tables is quite superb thanks to chef Paula. As is unfortunately common in the Valley, the prices of both the food and drinks are high and gave us Shaky Knees. However the Pinot Noir Shiraz wine produced from vine to bottle by Simon himself, and served in huge polished glasses, was so good we bought 2 boxes at very reasonable prices for our 50th wedding anniversary.
(we are real people and have not visited the Hunter Valley for over 15 years)

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank james l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2013

We were very unsure when we booked this place but it was one of the only affordable places that allows you to stay for just 1 night on the weekend! The 2 night rule annoys me somewhat as most times I do not have time to take off work or to travel after work on a Friday... so thumbs up for that for starters.

This place is right in the heart of the wine region, make no mistake. You can't get much better on location - and such a short drive (less than 2 hours) from Sydney. On arrival we were met with a rustic and log cabin-y looking reception that I felt excited about - when I go to the country, I like to know that I'm there!

Our room was basic - there were no pics on the wall, the bed wasn't out of this world but was fine, and the decor was dated. There was chipped paint in a few places and I can understand reviews saying it needs a bit of an update/some TLC. But non of this bothered us at all. It was incredibly clean and the views from the cabin are lovely- even in winter. Would love to come back in summer when all the vines are full and take a dip in the pretty pool.

Possibly the real selling point for this venue is the on site restaurant Shakey Tables where the food pushes the boundaries, is excellently presented and tastes fabulous, The service was top notch and the staff went out of their way to make up for a late arrival of our main course -due to a mess up over bookings that basically saw everyone arrive at once! We were given our wine (which was, I have to say, sensational) for free and the food was worth the wait.

The next morning for the inclusive breakfast we were pleased it was a lighter buffet - not cooked but pastries and home-made preserves (loved the rhubarb jam) etc. This was ideal after such a filling dinner the night before.

If you're the kind of person who prefers your luxury accommodation with everything modern finished and slick then this isn't the place for you. if you like to just relax, be given great service and enjoy yourself in the beautiful countryside without remortgaging to do so then book a room here. We loved it and would go again.

I do think they should invest a little in making the place look a little less tired. It would give it less of a feeling that they don't care about the guest or are ripping you off as some people understandably seem to find.

Room Tip: All rooms look out to terrific views -you can't go wrong.
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Polly O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2013

I was a single female traveling thru the hunter on my own so thought the seclusion would feel safe , when I was given my room key it was just on dark and had to park behind the room on dirt and walk a distance to my room with a poorly lit verandah . The room was ok size but very dated the blinds were dusty and broken so with the lights on inside and tv on people walking past on the verandah could see in ,so every time I heard someone walking on the verandah I felt insecure .plastic wine glasses disappointing and very small coffee cups . The receptionist very pushy about restaurant or room service so when I said I was right for food she was not interested in talking to me further . Not recommended to stay her if yo were on your own or if it was raining .

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled solo
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3  Thank Deanne S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2013

Do not take anyone here if you are aiming to impress them. This place has dirt everywhere you look. Rotten floorboards at the entrance came as a bit of a shock given that the cost of a room here is 180 dollars. The hotel room is open to the outside with a verandah entry that is in need of urgent replacement . The windows and blinds it would be fair to say have never been dusted. My partner and I had no choice but to stay here as every hotel in the area was booked due to the Hunter Valley Gardens chocolate festival - Beware pictures on the internet site for this hotel are vastly different from the run down state of the actual rooms at this lodge, It is complete misrepresentation. The hotel is in major disrepair and the housekeeping is the worst I have ever witnessed in OZ or overseas. i travel a lot and am not fussy but expect premises to be clean and safe. somone will go through one of the verandah floorboards soon It is a physical hazard.
The state of the hotel is something that I would expect to see in a farmers backyard shed not on an entry hotel door. Rustic doe not cut it. The owner should be ashamed to be inviting anyone to stay in such a disgusting establishment. If you are the owner and reading this for goods sake Fix it and clean it up - buy a duster and sack the housekeeper or pay him/her more. Steve and I laughed it off but if you are taking a new love to this hotel be warned - it is awful.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank ozadventurers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hunter Country Lodge & Shakey Tables Restaurant

Address: Cessnock-Branxton Rd | Rothbury, Hunter Valley, Pokolbin, New South Wales, Australia
Region: Australia > New South Wales > Greater Newcastle > Pokolbin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 15 Hotels in Pokolbin
Price Range: £56 - £218 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hunter Country Lodge & Shakey Tables Restaurant 3.5*
Number of rooms: 16
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Also Known As:
Hunter Country Hotel Shakey Tables
Hunter Country Lodge & Shakey Tables Restaurant Greater Newcastle/Pokolbin, Australia

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