We were so looking forward to spending part of our honeymoon at Thala. The reviews looked good and the pictures were amazing. Unfortunately we were quite disappointed. The Mrs. and I are accustomed to staying at five star resorts. This did not come close. The most accurate review was the one that said something along the lines of Thala is like glorified camping.
The drive up to the main house is certainly pretty enough and we were pleased with the warm greeting and cold welcome drink we received. But all pleasantries stopped there. After eating an overpriced, mediocre, lunch, we were pointed down a trail in the direction of our room. A 5 star resort would have had someone walk us there and present the room and all it's amenities to us.
We opened our room with an old key attached to a large cumbersome keychain. 5 star hotels have magnetic key cards. The second key we received was an old skeleton key for the safe. Yes, a skeleton key. The safe was located in the back of the closet on the floor. So to open it we had to get down on our knees and practically crawl. A 5 star hotel has a digital keypad safe located at eye level. We were also supplied an adapter to charge our phones and cameras. We were charged a $20 deposit for the adapter. Not 5 star standards.
The floor of the room, we must say, is finished very nicely. Just beware of the hairclip sticking up and embedded in the floor of Room 31.
The sheets and blankets are old and tired. The 4 pillows were lumpy, hard as bricks and mismatched. We asked for more (there were no extras in the closet as is typical in a 5 star), and were brought 2 more mismatched, uncomfortable pillows.
The bed was not a King as advertised, but rather two twins tucked together. There was a ridge right down the middle. Again, not 5 star standards.
Two drinking glasses had lipstick stains on them. The "clean" glasses were smudged and cloudy.
The bathroom fixtures are cheap, gaudy, and old. The shower head in particular was among the worst I've ever used.
The television is tiny with terrible sound. It's set to monotone as opposed to stereo, so it sounds like someone is talking thru a tin can.
There is no WiFi available in the rooms.
The cheap alarm clock went off mysteriously in the middle of night 3. I can only think housekeeping did something to set it off (certainly unintentional as it may be).
Housekeeping only comes every other day. They offer every day if requested. In a 5 star resort one should not have to request housekeeping everyday. Not only is a room made every day, but in a 5 star resort a turndown service is also part of protocol.
We had a dead bug on the dresser for the entire time we were there. Housekeeping must have never noticed it.
The air conditioning is good. But the battery on the remote unit died on our last day.
The biggest spiders I've ever seen in my life were located in the open windows of the lobby area. I understand Thala is eco-friendly. A 5 star resort does not put spiders before guests.
The pool is a nice, interesting design. And the water is generally clean. But the area around the pool is dark, dank, and dirty. The natural growth and forestation runs right up to the edge of the pool, so even on a sunny day, there's no sunshine at all. To get from one area of the pool to another you have to trek around thru muddy areas. The gate was covered with little spiders and some kind of green ant.
The towels are located a walk away, up in the bar area. I think this was because the pool area is too dirty for towels. The first day there were no towels at all.
Every 5 star resort I've ever been to has some kind of poolside drink service. Thala has none.
The beach is a long walk away. It's very pretty, but that's it. You can't swim because of the stingers. But I saw plenty of other beaches that had stinger nets set up. Any 5 star resort would set up a stinger net.
Transportation is an overpriced $32 round trip into Port Douglas. And grossly unreliable.
The morning we were scheduled for Breakfast with the Birds at the habitat center, our shuttle was 45 minutes late.
The last night we were at Thala we had reservations in town for dinner. The shuttle was a no show. We sat in the lobby for over an hour without one staff member saying a word to us. We expressed our disappointment to guest services and returned to our room. Without dinner. Guest services offered to make a reservation at the Thala restaurant. A reservation? That's the best they could do? These are not problems or solutions that one encounters at a 5 star resort.
The night before we wanted to have dinner at Thala. We showed up at the restaurant at 6:50pm. There were 3 tables occupied. The hostess informed us they would not have another seating until 7:30. What the heck is that? A 40 minute wait for an empty restaurant. Not 5 star. And dinner was very expensive for average food.
The wait staff is underdressed and uninformed.
On a positive note, Diana, from the Sales department was a pleasure to deal with. She was accommodating as she booked 2 excursions for us. And we did receive a bottle of champagne in our room on arrival. A very nice touch.
Thala is an ok place to get away for a night, especially for those that don't get away often. But if you are looking for a true 5 star resort, find somewhere else..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a family owned 58 hectare nature and wildlife reserve 15 minutes south of Port Douglas. Get there from Cairns via a spectacular 45 minute drive along Captain Cook Highway. Elevated on stilts, 83 eco designed timber bungalows are discretely concealed within the forest canopy, blending in with the natural environment and feature ocean, mountain or forest views. Panoramic views are enjoyed from open-sided Osprey's Restaurant across the forest canopy and beyond to the Coral Sea. Guests and visitors dine amongst birds in the surrounding treetops, whilst enjoying modern Australian cuisine with friendly and attentive service. Granite boulders, waterfalls and overhanging trees create natural swimming pools blending discretely within the environment. Paths wind through rainforests and woodlands, connecting with secluded coves and beaches, passing through habitats for endemic birds, wildlife and flora. Guests enjoy complimentary guided nature tours by onsite rangers including tree planting, stargazing at an outdoor observatory, beach discovery, wildlife walks and bird-watching tours. A completely organic 650 tree coconut plantation is home to a unique coconut odyssey tour highlighting the extraordinary qualities of the 'tree of life'. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Thala Beach Hotel Port Douglas
- Thala Beach Resort
- Thala Beach Lodge