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“Gorgeous and quaint”

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Planula B&B Retreat
Ranked #16 of 34 Byron Bay B&B and Inns
Vancouver, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gorgeous and quaint”
Reviewed 5 November 2012

I would stay there again in a heartbeat! Went there as a suprise bday weekend for my partner and it was perfect. Beautiful setting, lovely rooms, and a nice main house. It's run by a lovely young family with a cute dog, so it feels like a home away from home. The only thing I didn't like was the location, but at least you aren't in the midst of the crazy party zone. Excellent value for money! I hope we can go back soon :)

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Serena B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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124 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2012

Most of these reviews are about the peace, relaxation and the friendly hosts. We were disappointed for other reasons, which would be so simple to do better. Some things are impossible to influence, such as the dust and lack of rain affecting the "lush tropical garden" and turning the frog pond into a muddy patch. Also the noisy group on our second night who kept us awake late as our room was next to the lounge/deck and also polished off all the tropical fruit at breakfast next day.

I have never, ever written a review about anywhere I have stayed in the world, so it is a big deal for me to spend time doing this and is hopefully helpful for the future and for the owners who are not there at the moment.

1. I think we paid for the best room, with the spa. The "deluxe beautiful room" is pretty basic and has no bedside table or reading light on one side. The blinds are dusty, the linen ordinary, and the curtains have marks on them which is either dirt or mould. Room is not made up during stay.
2. Apart from nice muffins, the "extensive continental breakfast" is basic, which is ok. But it is totally self serve, even for making a pot of tea or plunger coffee, and I thought to just put out everything on the table in the containers straight from the supermarket, including the Devondale spread, was just shabby. And during our stay, no-one came to check if anything needed to be replenished.
3. I did not see a "free newspaper".
4. In the kitchen the material which includes the bio of the artist is covered in dust. The table and chairs outside our room had bird poo on them, which was not cleaned off and I don't expect to do it myself or have to ask for it to be done, as this is pretty basic daily maintenance stuff. This is just too rustic for me.
The good things, such as the nice spa, location, etc have been covered extensively by others.
This might be a great place for a house party of friends, especially divers, who would enjoy the surroundings and communal living. Unfortunately, the things above, most of which are easy to improve, meant it was not as lovely as we had expected.

Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank S W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
planula, Owner at Planula B&B Retreat, responded to this review, 30 October 2012
We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay at our retreat and that Planula did not meet your expectations.

We were not aware that you had any concerns until after your departure when we read your guest book comment about other guests who had been noisy during the previous evening, and now your Trip Advisor review. We live on-site and can always be reached in person or by phone 24/7 in case of any issues that arise during our guests' stays at Planula, and we are disappointed that you did not alert us of, or permit us to address, any concerns you had while you were staying with us, particularly as we spoke several times during your stay. Room servicing frequency, for example, is highlighted upon check-in and was acknowledged by you, however we would have been more than happy to service your room if you would have let us know of your dissatisfaction with our normal operating guidelines.

We pride ourselves on paying attention to detail when cleaning and preparing rooms ready for our guests, however, we do acknowledge that wind blown dust and bird droppings can appear quite quickly in our natural bush and rainforest setting.

Nevertheless, we take any feedback - good and bad - very seriously. Our main aim at all times is to provide all our guests with a more than pleasant stay in wonderful surrounds.

Regards,
Linda & Phil

Comment from the owners:

Linda and Phil take their job very serious and we have received plenty of positive feedback from our guests in regards to them. They have proven to be extremely reliable, professional and caring people. We are sure that if you would have mentioned anything that you were not happy about they would have addressed this immediately.

As for our breakfast - we have put a tremendous amount of thought into how and why things are done over the last 12 years. Plenty of quality ingredients are served to all our guests at breakfast time with excellent quality coffee and a huge variety of teas are available throughout the day. Furthermore we do not believe in generally low quality tiny plastic containers with jam and pre-packaged mini-butter for many reasons, however we present breakfast ingredients hygienically and fresh making Planula an environmentally sound option to stay when visiting Byron Bay.

Again we could not be more happy with Linda & Phil as managers and they set very high standards for anyone attempting to fill such a position.

It seems very clear from your review that you prefer to air this publicly on Trip Advisor rather than contacting or speaking us directly, which is unfortunate.

We wish you pleasant travels in the future and we hope your expectations will be met better elsewhere.

Regards,

Tim & Wandy Hochgrebe
Owners
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 October 2012 via mobile

Had a nice stay. The staff were very friendly. King bed was 2 singles pushed together; not so good for snuggling. Nice hot shower with lovely pressure. Lots of songbirds around, nice to wake up to. The supplied breakfast was basic but nice. Overall, good!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jessicawagner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2012

Great atmosphere for those looking for a ca place away from the city noise, yet 5 minutes drive from Byrom bay. When a smiling host brings warm scones for breakfast, you know you are in a great place.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank yossimo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christmas Island, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2012 via mobile

Just reflecting on my recent stay at Planula. Had a fantastic few days. The location is perfect to relax, enjoy the outdoor setting, explore the many attractions of Byron Bay or chill on the beach. It was a special time to share with friends and look forward to my next visit.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KazCI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bendigo
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 October 2012

What a beautiful experience we had at Planula. If you love the peace and quiet and the sounds of nature then this is the place to stay. We felt like we were living in a rainforest, even though the centre of Byron Bay was only a few kms away. Our hosts Phil and Linda, who are managing the B & B for the owners at present , are two of the most friendly people we have ever met. We were happy with our accommodation which was very clean and comfortable. We could lie in bed and watch the stars and in the morning we could watch the birds flying by. Phil's white chocolate and raspberry muffins, which he bakes fresh every morning, are to die for, as is the fresh bread he bakes overnight. What we liked most of all was that our hosts were not checking in on us all the time, as we do like our privacy. A continental breakfast was set up in the kitchen each morning which we could enjoy at our leisure in peace and quiet. we stayed at Planula for two nights, and can't wait to go back to enjoy what nature has to offer at this beautiful retreat.

Room Tip: Ask for the spa room
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank bill m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fribourg, Suisse
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 October 2012

I was very disappointed with this place.
According to the website, the planula retreat is a bed & Breakfast but it’s a backpacker. I was very disappointed.
The booking
On the website, the owners are Tim and Wandy and some comments on TripAdvisor say that they are very nice. When I received the confirmation by e-mail, it was signed by Phil and Linda who are apparently the new owners. The website is not up to date.
The arrival
We arrived in a nice place, in the middle of the nature. The first impression was ok We then met the owner who just after saying hello asked us how we wanted to pay. We really had the impression that our money was welcomed but not us. We had paid for 1 night at the moment of booking and had to pay for the 2nd, 2 minutes after we arrived. That was the first time we thought we were not in a B&B. In a B&B, you see your hosts, and you pay when you leave. It’s was not very welcoming.
The Room
The room was old but it was ok. The problem was that it was very small. We were travelling for 3 weeks and we had 2 big suitcases that we could almost not put into the room. The bed need some upgrade.
The bathroom was ok.
The were some insects in the room and big spiders in the house. For Australians it may be normal but as European we were scared.
As there were a lot of wind, the house was very noisy. The number of insects also didn’t help to sleep.

Breakfast
Awful. In our trip, we stayed in many B&B and the breakfast was always the best part. It’s always a moment where you can discuss with your hosts and receive advises for the day. We didn’t see the owners. We were alone. The breakfast had been prepared the day before. Everything was on the table but there was no more juice, the butter was a big pack which was dirty. We didn’t know where the coffee was.

Price
We paid 175$ which compared to all other bed & Breakfast we stayed was by far the most expensive. It was also by far the worse.
Room small, breakfast awful, hosts there only to receive the money.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank travelfly79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
planula, Owner at Planula B&B Retreat, responded to this review, 12 October 2012
We are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your stay at Planula Retreat and we take your comments very seriously. We love to make sure that all our guests have a great stay.

The first thing we would like to rectify though is we - Tim and Wandy - are still the owners and our web site is completely up to date with recent images and a direct booking and availability button. Linda and Phil are managing Planula during our absence from the business. As you might appreciate we would only leave our business that we have built up over the last 10 years in more than capable hands. Our experience with both Linda and Phil is that they are very capable, skilled and professional people who care a great deal for our guests and our Retreat. So far we have only received wonderful feedback from our guests and it came as a surprise that your experience with them was so different.

We try to keep the indoors of Planula insect and spider free by using a professional pest control business and all our doors and windows have fly screens. Of course we cannot give a 100% guarantee that there will not be any insects or spiders inside at any time, especially considering our lush surrounds in a rainforest area. It would have been no problem to have taken care of anything that might have found their way into your room. We are sorry that you felt you could not mention it to Linda and Phil in order for them to take care of it, rather you just left a note mentioning noise and too many insects when you departed.

We serve an extensive continental breakfast at Planula - as advertised - and we ensure that we use quality ingredients only. An excellent ground coffee (or high quality instant if you prefer) and at least 10 different teas are set out in the kitchen on a table at the breakfast area for our guests to use at any time of the day, located right next to the kettle. An unlimited supply of individual fruit yoghurts, different breads and freshly home-baked muffins were available for you as well. That the juice jug was empty was an oversight indeed, and for this we apologise, but additional cold juice was available in the fridge in the kitchen area where breakfast is served.

Linda and Phil might have been busy with other guests at reception or with organising the chores for the day when you sat down for your breakfast. Just like us they generally are in and out of the breakfast area making sure all is fine, people can talk to them and ask information on tours etc, but at the same time giving our guests privacy to just quietly enjoy the start of the day, and meet with our other guests.

The room you stayed in is our smallest room. Our other four rooms are larger and people can choose to book those, but they are slightly more expensive. Our prices are very much in line with other 4 star Bed & Breakfasts in the area and in our opinion represent excellent value for money.

Taking the money up front is a standard business practice we decided on and most of our B&B colleagues in Byron Bay do the same. When people extend their stay or book activities with us they generally pay when they depart if that is what they prefer. It is regrettable this practice made you feel uncomfortable, but it is quite hurtful suggesting that we are only interested in the money.

Again, we are sorry if you expected something more traditional and felt you needed to put a review like this on-line rather than speaking to Linda or Phil about your concerns and giving them the opportunity to make sure you would have enjoyed everything we and Byron Bay has to offer. Now we have six unhappy people who all would have preferred a very different outcome.

Tim & Wandy Hochgrebe (owners)
Linda & Phil Cash (current managers)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Planula B&B Retreat

Property: Planula B&B Retreat
Address: Lot 1, Melaleuca Drive | PO Box 1753, Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481, Australia
Region: Australia > New South Wales > Byron Shire > Byron Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #16 of 34 B&Bs / Inns in Byron Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Planula B&B Retreat 4*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Planula Retreat offers beautiful accommodation set on over 50 acres amongst tropical landscaped gardens just over 3km from the centre of Byron Bay. You will love the relaxed atmosphere created in this modern B&B style retreat. We are the only true remaining oasis that close to town! Unwind on the extensive decks around the house overlooking the frog pond and enjoy the lush gardens. How about listening to the birds and frogs over a BBQ at night? Extensive continental breakfasts are included in all rates. FREE wireless fast broadband everywhere. Friendly hosts and great recommendations. ... more   less 
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