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“Not a five star resort”

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Certificate of Excellence
Port Jefferson Station, New York
Level Contributor
148 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Not a five star resort”
Reviewed 17 March 2014

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..

Room Tip: The Eucalypt room means "no view".
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank kmcg21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thala_management, Manager at Thala Beach Nature Reserve, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
We are so disappointed these clients did not enjoy their stay with us however Thala Beach Lodge can not be compared with a 5 star inner city, corporate hotel, complete with magnetic key card and digital safes.

Thala is a deluxe nature retreat, where a passionate team creates amazing guest experiences in one of the most beautiful regions in the world.

However these clients have raised a number of valid issues that do not at all reflect the guest experience we endeavour to deliver. We can assure readers that every item of concern has been passed onto the relevant department heads and service providers for immediate rectification.

We thank these guests for the positive feedback with regards to Diana in our Adventure Desk and hope that one day they might return to experience the Thala we pride ourselves on.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Brisbane
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 March 2014 via mobile

Thala Beach Lodge resort is the PERFECT place to get away from the daily grind. Celebrating 25 years together my husband enjoyed our very 1st break away from not only our hum drum everyday but also the typically all consuming & often arduous lot of parents. We spent 3 glorious nights for the 1st time in a long time being utterly spoilt and indulged. NOTHING was too much trouble & we were made to feel that making our stay as perfect as possible was their primary focus. What an alien novelty to be waited on and served instead of the other way around for a change. We were completely spoilt for choice with the many intimate secluded spaces within the resort in which we could reconect as a couple. This place is idyllic. You are constantly serenaded by wind whistling through trees & distant waves crashing on the shoreline. The waterfall rock pools and numerous lookouts along the beautiful pathways that wind their way through the surrounding tropical rainforest that lead to the private resort owned beach are all purposely designed to take full advantage of the majesty of the location & serve to enhance and heighten enjoyment of your experience. Our cabin was divine! Surrounded by nature & situated slightly away from others, it was the perfect sanctuary. We couldn't have been more comfortable. It had louvered screened windows throughout with stunning aspects of the surrounding flora & fauna plus airconditioning for when it got a little sticky. We did miss having screens on the front door (mosquitoes are fierce as is to be expected in a tropical rainforest setting) though that minor inconvenience paled in comparison to the overwhelming pluses we experienced at Thala. We are still baffled as to how housekeeping managed to keep our home away from home in such pristine condition in the MIDDLE of a rainforest?! As a Queensland resident I appreciate that's a seriously difficult task to achieve AND how they were also able to keep all the nature (critters & creepies) strictly OUTSIDE of the cabin is still a mystery to us? Not one ant, not one spider!? Amazing. Thala is a short drive to both Port Douglas proper & Palm Cove so we ventured out, in our hire car, many times easily & enjoyed experiencing the markets in Port Douglas & beautiful meals in both locations. We also got to spend a magical day snorkeling on the outer reef, ex Port Douglas, thanks to Posiedon adventure tours (which we thoroughly enjoyed & highly recommend). We ate at Ospreys, Thala's onsite restaurant for brekky and dinner several times and contrary to other reviews, all our meals were excellent and priced appropriately. One of our very favourite things about Thala was the valet service. We loved the door to door pick up & drop off included within the accom price. Being collected by FRANKIE in a golf buggy as & when we had a whim to head up to the main lodge for a weather or activity update from the beautiful ROSE or to experience one of RAYS fantastic cocktails by the pool was one of the highlights of our stay ;D Sure made a change from our everday roles as Mom & Dad taxis back home ;) In fact he whole stay could not have felt more decadent!! A huge thanks to all the Thala staff, for whom meeting our needs seemed to be their highest priority, despite having 40 other guests onsite who no doubt were made to feeel just as special! Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!! We shall never forget how our time at Thala made a milestone celebration, for us, so memorable & special. If you havent been, what are you waiting for?? :D

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank ShabsH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 March 2014

we had a lovely time here. really comfortable room, nice and clean, felt private from next door neighbours.
The restaurant was quite nice as well. It was nice to be up on a headland and away from the toursity port douglas but with easy access to it. WE hired a car and the free valet service was really helpful too. Reception staff were friendly and helpful- they gave us great tips for snorkeling on the reef. The pool is really nice. We also had a lovely time swinging in the hammocks on the lovely private beach were they have a sunset bar. If we are ever back in the area we would certainly stay here again. we stayed in a room with a cheaper rate and it was totally lovely.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank palco81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Huntingdon, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 March 2014

Third day with same wet and soiled towels folded,dead flowers in the vase in bathroom,$54 for two for a very basic continental breakfast and have to wait 45 minutes for a table for dinner. Internet sucks big time for a first class property and distances and hills are not suitable for persons with any disability.
dinner.

  • Stayed March 2014
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Helpful?
Thank Ian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thala_management, Manager at Thala Beach Nature Reserve, responded to this review, 12 March 2014
We are disappointed that the client felt compelled to voice his concerns via this forum, while still staying with us. We would have appreciated the guest reaching out to Management and get these concerns resolved. Following this review we did speak to the client to rectify the issues raised. Important to note that the Port Douglas area is still running an ADSL1 internet connection, which is a far cry from what is offered in Canada and the USA. Upgrades to the system have been approved and will be welcomed by the whole region.
Regards
Johan Klindt
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 23 February 2014

What a wonderful trip we had to Thala Beach Lodge. We were delighted by champagne on our arrival with the host knowing we were celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. The restaurant, the huts, the serenity, the views the seclusion were just absolutely wonderful. A short trip to Port Douglas also where we snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef with Wavelength. The service also was outstanding.

Room Tip: All huts appear to be quite secluded. We wouldn't have known who was staying at the resort if n...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Sharyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
60 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2014

We stayed at Thala lodge for a week, the position and seclusion of the lodge is really first class and it was a pleasure to stay. The pools and beach areas were lovely and it was a perfect environment to unwind and relax in. The service and staff were fabulous. On two separate occasions were had 'picnic baskets' delivered to our bungalow and on both occasions the food was very good and portion size very substantial. The Ospreys restaurant was a delight to eat in both for dinner and at breakfast. We also spent New Years Eve at the Lodge and had the 6 course meal which was delicious and the staff were extremely friendly and attentive for the evening. I also had a massage at their day spa and this was very good.

The bungalow that we stayed in was in need of some maintanence. The shower head was clogged up, the soap rail in the shower was loose. The taps in the hand basin were loose and missing one of the H or C signs. The wooden floor at the side of the bed had some very deep scratches on it and needed to be re-done. The fridge also need to be defrosted. This was extremely disappointing as we had been looking forward to spending the week and had been wanting to stay at the Lodge for some time. While we did not have a top of the range bungalow the one that we had was not cheap and we were there for a week. I would expect that the bungalow would be well maintained and would have anticipated the above concerns to be addressed as a matter of priority as they become noticeable. The cleaning staff should have noticed these maintenance requirements and notified the appropriate people.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank gill d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Romford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2014

We were lucky enough to spend 3 nights in a deluxe timber bungalow (bungalow no.1) right on the edge of the rainforest, overlooking the Coral Sea. Initially, we were taken aback at just how remote our living quarters were, with a handful of small geckos sharing our accommodation it was a bit of a shock....but after the first night, we settled in to this slice of paradise and it just got better and better...the bungalow was beautiful, nestled in the most glorious setting. Every member of staff was welcoming, friendly and knowledgable. The main lodge was so beautiful, with Golden Orb spiders setting up home in the eaves, geckos, green ants and beetles all passing through and birds of every variety dancing around the trees just outside the restaurant....the breakfast buffet was lovely and the evening meals were perhaps the best food I've ever tasted....the Balinese vegetable curry was majestic and the desserts were mouthwatering....the restaurant staff were terrific and put us at ease from the second we arrived... We spent a day walking the trails around Thala and relaxing around the tranquil setting of the pool. To be honest, I could have just spent a day on the balcony of our bungalow, watching the wildlife and sea. On our last day, we went on a trip to the Low Isles and snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef....breathtaking....all in all, the best place I've ever stayed.... For wildlife and lovers of the environment, this is paradise.....I want to live and work there!!....Any vacancies for a humble gardener?

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Liam Adam G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Property: Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Address: Private Road | 5078 Captain Cook Highway, Oak Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland 4871, Australia (Formerly Thala Beach Lodge)
Region: Australia > Queensland > Port Douglas > Oak Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Oak Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Thala Beach Nature Reserve 4.5*
Number of rooms: 83
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

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