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“Amazing setting but value for money? Hmmmm...” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Moondance Lodge

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Moondance Lodge
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
139 reviews
137 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“Amazing setting but value for money? Hmmmm...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2009

I have just returned from a two night stay at Moondance Lodge, Yallingup. The Lodge is in a beautiful bushland setting and is very tranquil. The setup is a "Lodge" which houses reception, a large lounge area (which we never saw anyone use) and the restaurant (where breakfast is served).

The "Villas" are situated away from the lodge and consist of one communal lounge area with four suites coming off this. Each suite has a bedroom, very large bathroom with separate spa and shower. Further there is a large deck area with views across the bush and furnished with a day bed and seating. Overall the rooms are lovely and large. The fitout is modern with some asian touches. There is also a small LCD TV and a DVD player (a small selection of DVDs is available from the Lodge).

The staff are very friendly and very helpful. We never met the owners but did not see this as an issue. On arrival the staff meet you at your suite and walk you through the facilities.

I noted that the restaurant is not operating at present (even though the signs at the entry and the website indicate that it is). Essentially it is open for guests for breakfast. The food at breakfast was excellent. A continental selection is available as well as cooked options. If you wish to dine in, a very limited selection of options is available. If you wish to enjoy this you must have placed your order by 5:00 pm of that day.

We decided one night to select from the menu. Although we very much enjoyed the dinner it was delivered about 40 minutes later than the agreed time. I believe that the staff were involved in their own celebrations (we could hear them from our villa) and forgot about the dinner. When we rang to ask as to its whereabouts were were told it was 10 minutes away. There was very little apology or service recovery. My belief was that dinner should have been complimentary. At $450 a night you expect things like this not to happen. It really detracted from the stay.

Overall, it is a beautiful setting but I am not convinced that it is value for money. The toiletries and towels are pretty low quality. Further, a suite would imply proper seating in the room. There was one armchair and an odd bed which we think folds out to become a larger bed. The quality of the food was excellent but let down by some service issues.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank wockinwod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
69 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2008

My wife and I recently had the pleasure of staying at Moondance Lodge, and we were extremely impressed. We've both travelled extensively, and this is one of those rare properties that delivers a unique experience.

Off of our bedroom (Sundance) was a private deck overlooking gum trees, upon which was a double size day bed, which was great for relaxing on during the day while reading a book, or for looking at the stars at night. The spa bath in the room also looked out over the trees, and was a fantastic way to relax at the end the day.

Geraldine & Richard, the owners, are strong believers in the importance of personal wellness, and offer a range of experiences and treatments to help with mental and physical well being and relaxation, some of which call on the local Aboriginal customs. Unfortunately we didn't have time to try any of the treatments/experiences on this occasion, but we did take some time to enjoy a relaxing walk in the small orchard, and to learn a little about the local Aboriginal culture.

For those worried about indulgence don't be! The restaurant was excellent - my wife said her starter of scallops and duck was one of the best things she's ever tasted, and both the barramundi and the braised beef cheek were excellent. The wines were delicious, and the setting overlooking the lake is great. All of the herbs and were sourced from the orchard, which we thought was a nice touch, Breakfast was also very good, and the waiting staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

Moondance is located back off the road, which gives a sense of tranquility, but it is very close to both the wineries and the beach. I would recommend taking your own car, as it makes it easier to get around, but a number of the local tour operators do pick up from Moondance (we used Bush Tucker Tours for a day of wine tasting).

Overall the location was great, the rooms very comfortable, the staff were friendly and welcoming and the passion of the owners really shone through. We would certainly recommend it and hope to go back again in the future.

  • Liked — The overall experience and the passion of the owners
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank DaftAussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 September 2008

My partner and I are frequent visitors to the Margaret River region. This was our fifth trip down from Perth in the last two years. Our preferred accommodation options are always at the higher end of the market and we chose the Moondance Lodge because of their affiliation to Conde Nest and in the belief that Moondance is a “Luxury Retreat” as the marketing and website imply. At $475 a night, the price certainly suggests a certain standard of accommodation and service could be taken for granted. We have stayed at Yallingup Luxury Retreat (about the same price as Moondance and a million times better) and also Quay West Bunker Bay which was considerably cheaper but a much higher standard of service and accommodation.

Our initial disappointment at not being welcomed by the owners was overshadowed by the lacklustre Sundance “suite”. Our chief complaint, that is frankly inexcusable, is the fact that the bed was not a kingsize bed but two single beds pushed together. The “Jim Thomson Thai silks” were missing altogether and replaced by plain white sheets and flat pillows that would not have been out of place in a hospital.

There are a number of other areas of concern that are unbefitting a supposedly 5 star luxury retreat. The furniture such as the wardrobe, the desk and the fridge cabinet are old and tired and look cheap and mass-produced. There are black marks on the wall that need to be washed off or repainted. It was clear that the sofa in the room was only there to serve as a third bed and the green cover and cushions only highlighted how stark the main bed looked in comparison. The bathroom was basic at best and only cheap complimentary toiletries were offered for guests’ use. There was also an unpleasant smell coming from the drain in the toilet cubicle. Like the room as a whole, it needed refurbishment in order to modernise it and bring it up to the standard offered by real luxury hotels in the area. The towels and dressing gowns supplied were of exceptionally poor quality – certainly not what one would expect from a 5 star hotel. The toilet paper was of the cheapest variety and what I would expect to find in a freeway service station; really not a place to be cutting corners.

The owners were conspicuously missing during our entire 4 day stay - at no point were we asked by any member of staff if we were enjoying our stay. It makes such a difference to have friendly and attentive staff paying the guests some attention and ensuring that their stay is comfortable.

I will give credit where it is due say that the food offered at breakfast was very nice. We also had a good meal at their restaurant Harvest Moon on Friday night – the food was well cooked and tasty. I would also like to give particular credit to our excellent waiter (unfortunately I didn’t catch his name but he had dark hair and a goatee beard) who made the evening that bit more enjoyable with his friendly manner and attentive service.

I am frankly amazed that this place has good reviews from anyone becuase it is so overpriced. If I was paying $300 a night, I still would feel agrieved but at $475 a night, it must be the biggest rip off in history.

  • Liked — Breakfast was nice but so it should be at $475 a night
  • Disliked — The total misrepresentation of the hotel on its website- no way a luxury resort. Be warned.
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank CJM275
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Margaret River hotels

Perth
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2008

Dear Traveller,

I stayed at Moondance for my partner's birthday. I have some experience of travelling and staying at many places; from the best such as Huka Lodge to the worst, such as guesthouses in NWFP Pakistan. In all cases, I am easily pleased - I just look for the place to provide what it suggests it provides.

According to the company website, every room has "private outdoor area with seating" and a "garden view spa bath". When I called to enquire, the staff assured me that all of the rooms were the same, as per the images shown on their website(http://www.moondancelodge.com/villas.php).

Upon arrival, it took only seconds to see that the room was not as represented.

Our villa faced onto a common car park. From the day bed, the view is directly to the carpark only a few metres away. Not quite the serene view shown on the web site (and verbally confirmed). (Please refer to accompanying photo - not my car in the photo). On the plus side, it was only short walk to the car park - but this was not why I chose the lodge.

Our bathroom, and in particular the bath, had a view to the common entrance to the villa. Again, not quite the garden view represented on the web site (and, again, verbally confirmed). People can see into the bathroom as they enter the villas. (Please refer to accompanying photo).

On the second day, we politely requested if we could change rooms. They advised that no one had checked out. I pointed out, that from my day bed, I was looking at the car park, and could see people packing. They then adjusted their response, and said that there are in fact people checking out, but that we could not change rooms.

It is understandable that there are only so many things that can be done to address the situation (apart from not making misrepresentations in the first place) as there are a finite number of rooms. However, providing misinformation should not be the first response. And, as a secondary response, they offered for the proprietor to call. I never received a call.

It is very disappointing to have such uniform misrepresentation around decisive facts (such as the view from the room and the bath - and as such, the environment of the room).

I recommend that either you consider an alternative choice, else you request for the staff to send you pictures of your exact reserved room. It is not enough to ask direct questions (as I did); you need to go to the next level of verification.

Go well,

Justin

  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Laoye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2008

We recently spent 3 nights at Moondance Lodge at the end of our honeymoon (for a change of scene after a week in the Maldives at Reethi Rah) and had a wonderful time. Flying into Perth International, you can pick up a hire car and drive down directly (3.5+ hours), or alternatively arrange a charter flight to Busselton which takes about 40 minutes plus 30 minutes transfer by car at each end. We took the charter flight (A$1200) and had no regrets, in fact it was a lot of fun and very easy.
Richard (who owns and runs the lodge with his wife) collected us at Busselton in his Land Rover and we arrived about 6pm to be greeted by a very curious kangaroo about 20ft away from the lobby - this certainly reminded us that the lodge really is out in the bush! We immediately felt relaxed. A short distance from the main lodge, there are 2 'villas', each with a cluster of four large guest rooms and a small common area with basic amenities. Each guest room has a large sleeping area, spacious bathroom with jacuzzi, and enormous balcony with a big daybed for lounging on. Nice views and private from the other rooms; the only time we saw other guests was at mealtimes, one other honeymoon couple. A short walk back to the lodge where we had excellent dinners and breakfasts, (the food was at least as good as Reethi Rah and the wine was better). Walking back to the room after dark, we looked up to see a sky covered in stars and the Milky Way clearly visible - breathtaking. Ambience overall was extremely peaceful and calming without making you feel like you're cut off from civilization. It was a good base for our 2 days of winery tours, the tour company collected us directly from the lodge, and the one taxi we took from Margaret River town was A$50. For a longer stay a hire car would be wise though as even the winery next door is too far to walk (and the property is surrounded by some of the best). Unfortunately we didn't try the spa treatments as they were temporarily unavailable.

  • Liked — Ambience, location, free internet
  • Disliked — Spa was closed
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank redbaronSingapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2008

This extraordinary (in many ways) place was booked for us for Christmas towards the end of a 3 week trip. It is incredibly hard to describe and looking again at it's own website, I think they might have the same problem! The Christmas package was great, though. We had two wonderful rooms with the best hotel beds I have ever slept in and great bathrooms. We had one of the roofed decks on stilts and the kids had an enclosed terrace. The Christmas breakfast at Yallingup Beach was delicious, Christmas lunch was even more so and the hampers with picnic supper were thoughtfully put together. However, what we hadn't really gathered was that in many ways what you are doing is renting a rather upmarket villa. The two accommodation wings have four room suites each with a shared kitchen which, if you were aware about it, you should use especially as the lodge (as the hotel is called) restaurant is only open for supper towards the end of the week. We arrived late on Christmas Eve and missed the canapes and appeared to flummox everyone when we asked about supper - thankfully one of the owners, Richard, managed to rustle up a pizza for the kids. Apart from that alarming start, it was lovely. The gardens are gorgeous, the place is designed to within an inch of its life but doesn't lose anything in the process. The deck furniture was almost sleepable on and the kookaburras and shooting stars were great - although they were free! You definitely need a car and you definitely shouldnt' go if you're expecting a "hotel" type stay. It is anything but! We would definitely go again - particularly as we now know how it works!

  • Liked — The fantastic location
  • Disliked — The difficulty in describing it properly!
  • Stayed December 2007, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Norfolkexplorers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hampshire
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 January 2008

My Husband and I spent a few days at MoonDance in Dec, and in the past
we have spent a bit of time at 5* hotels, so not that gives us the best judgment of course, but it does give us a fair idea of what constitutes as good service.

When we arrived we were told to drive to our room and we would be met by the receptionist. First impressions were good... the room was a good size, clean, and very pleasant. However our guide to the room, failed to tell us anything about the region, the hotel facilities or recommendations..... we were left to our own devices. As we arrived late that evening, we thought it would be easier to dine at the Moon Harvest their in house restaurant. The food although no doubt very fresh..was very over complex than it needed to be. Maybe thats why it took quite a while to be served.!

In the morning we went back down to the lodge for Breakfast and we were promptly ignored for 20 mins, finally when asked our order my husband asked if they could perhaps do a main breakfast without the mushrooms.... 40 mins later.. out came a plate of breakfast with mushrooms. (and the same again the next day, and the next).! Maybe the
chef didnt like to deviate from the menu?? generally we were ignored throughout our stay. One afternoon back from the vineyards I phoned to
inquire about booking a massage... the response "its a bit late to book now, maybe we can organize something for tomorrow", I said yes please and could they call me back and let me know what time..... no one ever called.

Generally the Moondance experience was a 4* room with 2* service. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I think perhaps the Australian laid back attitude or the Yoga oriented life style may have sneaked in and taken over a bit.. and forgotten that the host are generally their to support all their guests, not just the ones who are on a hippy trip.!

Stayed December 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank mrandmrssmith01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Moondance Lodge

Property: Moondance Lodge
Address: Spencer Rd, off Caves Rd, Margaret River, Western Australia 6282, Australia
Region: Australia > Western Australia > Margaret River Region > Margaret River
Amenities:
Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 53 Speciality Lodging in Margaret River
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Moondance Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Moondance Lodge is the award-winning international five star luxury boutique retreat in the heart of the Margaret River Wine Region. Dedicated to soulful travel, Moondance offers inspirational wellness experiences that nourish the soul and let your spirit soar. The contemporary Australian designed and Asian inspired boutique hotel has a main lodge, eight luxury Moondance suites with private decks and a communal villa lounge and restaurant, plus a cozy loft suite. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Moondance Hotel Margaret River

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