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“Disappointment with accomodation at Pandanas”

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Pandanus Apartments
Reviewed 17 April 2013

We would highly recommend against staying at the accommodation at Pandanas. We were very disappointed with our stay at Pandanas, especially considering the costs of this accommodation at over $350 per night.

To note the quality of the Pandanas restaurant and service was very good, however this is run by different people (apparently an independent lease) and although we had looked at some of the reviews for Pandanas before staying there, I think the good reviews were in relation to the restaurant and not the accommodation.

Whilst we don’t normally stay in accommodation this expensive, I had been very sick in the earlier stages of my pregnancy so thought we’d stay somewhere nice for our baby moon (last holiday before our baby is due to arrive in 2-3 months), and most accommodation on Lord Howe appears relatively expensive. However, I would far prefer to have stayed in a big impersonal hotel than be treated so rudely and end up feeling so ripped off by the service of the manager of Pandanas. I normally prefer staying at small places as they have always been more friendly and had a more homely feel, but have felt far more comfortable staying at big impersonal hotels than at Pandanas.

The facilities provided at Pandanas were very basic (far more basic than most other places I have stayed in that are less than half the cost), for which we weren’t surprised (considering the island), but it was really the services and communication that was very poor.

Initially we thought it was nice that the manager (query owner) offered us transport to different restaurants (the restaurant usually provide transport home at night as there are minimal other transport options available especially when raining), however any service at Pandanas was certainly not friendly. Examples include: after 1st night (we needed to change rooms, as a single bedroom unit was not available for the first night, so we stayed in a 2 bedroom unit the first night and then a single bedroom unit the other 6 nights) we were told in the morning “ we need you out in 15 mins”. We were already nearly ready for the move, however there was no simple friendliness – “like how are you?”, “how was your stay last night?” Etc, or polite request like “do you think you could be ready in 15 mins?”. When i worked in the hospitality industry, we never spoke to guests like this.

Following this, of the 7 nights we stayed there, the only additional service we requested were a change of beach towels and other towels once during the 7 night stay (as they were wet and did not dry well overnight), and transport to two restaurants. On any attempt to book transport (as offered on the first day), we were greeted with a blunt “whats up”. The first one, on my birthday, of which she was about 20 mins late to the time we had agreed (missing the sunset as planned).

Otherwise, we loved the island. All but one of the restaurants we attended had great food and excellent service, although some a bit expensive, no more expensive than what we’d expect to pay for good quality food at any normal Aus city. In general, the other services offered on the island were great, although we were surprised that some of the “tours” that we advertised were not offered at all during the whole week we were there.

Room Tip: Overall, I would suggest booking very early for any trips to Lord Howe Island. If there is no accomm...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Kath C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 - 27 of 31 reviews

Reviewed 24 February 2013

We loved our 5 nights at Pandanus.
Liz greeted us at the airport and was a wonderful host. She went above and beyond to ensure we had a great stay. Initially she gave us a comprehensive tour of the island, took us to the shop to get our food, tracked down our suitcase when we had wrongly picked up one that was the identical but not ours from the airport. When it poured with rain for a couple of days she offered to drive us to where we going.
On the nights that we went out to restaurants, Liz dropped us off.
Our accomadation was great and had so many little extras, ponchos and umbrella for the rain, a torch for returning home at night, a picnic set back pack complete with picnic blanket, plates etc for BBQing at the fabulous beach BBQ s.
Great to have a laundry facility to wash and dry cloths.
Really appreciated the free Wifi
Liz also dropped our hire bikes back for us on our last day when it was raining.
Would highly recommend staying here

Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Candy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2013

After deciding to visit Lord Howe we spent a loooooong time deliberating on where to stay.

We certainly couldn't justify staying at the two $1200+ per night options, but couldn't decide on which of the 'cheaper' apartments looked better (not that anything's remotely cheap). Certainly there is a lack of information or ability to book online. A lot of the apartments looks a little too chintzy for my liking - there's something about floral and wicker that makes me shiver!

We enlisted a travel agent, which is a rarity for us these days, and eventually decided on the Pandanus - it wasn't in the lowest price bracket but it looked comfortable, modern and relaxing. Just what we needed. And it was.

We were met at the airport by Liz, with her broad Australian accent and initially slightly gruff attitude. She drove us around the island on a little tour, which was great to get bearings, and by the time we reached the apartment she'd proven herself delightful, fun and so helpful. Couldn't do enough to make us feel welcome. And so she remained for the rest of our stay.

The apartment itself is clean and lovely, nicely furnished, clearly refurbished not so long ago, very white and relaxing. Massive bed, good shower, TV, Foxtel & DVD (not that these really were needed or used), well-equipped kitchen and picnic packs. Nice big patio with comfy wooden reclining chairs to spend the week reading with a glass of wine, looking at the Kentia palms. Perfect for what we wanted.

It's about a 15 minute walk from the 'town centre', or a 5 minute bike ride - a bike is a must when you are on the island. Beware that Pandanus is at the top of a hill, and to get to/from it you need to go up steep hills on either side. Having said that, Liz is happy to drive you somewhere, and most restaurants are happy to drive you back in the evenings. Great service!

The Pandanus restaurant is lovely - they do an asian menu on the weekend and a more standard modern menu during the week. Nice food, friendly service, nice atmosphere.

It's hard to compare with any of the other accommodation options on the island, as we didn't see them. But we thought Pandanus was a really good option for a stay on LHI - especially for the relative price! Recommended!

Room Tip: We were in room 4 which was nice, room 3 is also one bedroom and looks to be the same size, but has...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Chris W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2012

We were very happy with our stay here. Picked up at the airport and given helpful info on what was what around the island. Our room was clean, spacious, tasteful and a pleasure to come home to after a day of swimming, canoeing and cycling. Gardens are beautiful, and we spent a lot of time on our deck playing backgammon surrounded by palms and tropical plants. Made great coffee in the restaurant, highly recommend.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Julie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2012

I honestly couldn't have asked for more! We were greeted at the airport and our bags were collected (without having to ask), we were given an island tour enroute to the apartments, and we were made to feel incredibly welcome. The accomodation was simply gorgeous! It's incredibly spacious and tasteful. The apartments have everything one could possibly want on an Island getaway, right down to big deck, barbeque, and kitchen! I don't think I've slept so well-ever, or at least since the time before my four year old was born. The beds are enormous, the apartments sunfilled and fresh, and the gardens surrounding the apartments are incredible! It was terrific being able to access wifi from the restaurant balcony, particularly as there is no mobile reception on the island itself. The apartments are well located away from the main street and with access to a wide range of the island's stunning beaches, but don't forget to arrange a bike, or better still hire a car if you have kids as there are hills and the islands bigger than you think. I definitely would stay here again..and again....and highly recommend it. Pack light!

Room Tip: The two bedroom apartment has a particularly big deck.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Lisha12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2012

We were very happy with our accommodation on Lord Howe Island. We stayed in a one bedroom apartment. The apartments are surrounded by green palms and a nice garden so it is a pleasant environment. It's not a 5 star set-up but we found it comfortable and was perfect for our needs.

The apartment had a spacious feel to it and was nicely decorated. We wanted to be able to cook our own food so this is why we primarily chose Pandanus Apartments. We had a BBQ most nights. Each apartment has its own BBQ on the deck. If you can, bring in as much food as you can from the mainland (we froze meat etc and brought it with us). The local stores are very pricey. Alcohol is also expensive so bring it in if your luggage allowance allows. Otherwise you'll be paying $30 for a very average bottle of wine.

The kitchen was well stocked. It didn't have a stove top but an electric fry pan was supplied so that was fine for our needs. There were good supplies of cutlery, crockery, wine glasses etc so cooking and dining were easy. There was a large fridge and microwave.

There were DVDs, books. magazines and pay TV in the lounge room. We had bad weather while we were on the island so the apartment was well stocked to entertain us indoors. The sofas were comfy and the bed was huge. The bathroom was basic (no bath) but again, fine for what we needed.

The accommodation does not have a view of the beach but neither do most places on Lord Howe. You have to cycle or walk to get to the beach. Other people have complained about the hill but this didn't really bother us. We just got off our bikes and pushed them up the short distance - or ride the long way round if you want to stay on your bike.

Even though we had average weather, we still had a nice relaxing time on the island. We were there for a week and I think that is more than enough time to see everything. We also went to the Pandanus restaurant and had a very nice meal there. Overall, a great stay. The locals were very friendly and we enjoyed seeing the island.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Travelbuddy010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2010

Accommodation
Stayed in a two bedroom apartment, adequate, old building that has been "renovated". No cook top, BBQ outside on verandah. Beds are perfect. Found spiders inside the bedrooms and the beds, don't think this place has been sprayed to avoid bugs coming inside. Bathroom adequate, again it has been "renovated". Big enough, clean enough. There are some dvd's, beach towels, picnic backpack, some cable television. No air conditioning, no ceiling fans, just one portable fan, which can be a problem as it can get quite hot. There is no mobile reception in the island. There is a public phone next to pandanus restaurant. There also is free wireless in the restaurant. There is no pool in the place, so if you need to cool down you have to go to the beach, which at times, due to the hill it seemed like a chore.
The manager picked us up from the airport and offered rides to places if needed, however it felt more like protocol rather than she really wanted to help so we stack to the bikes.
Because of the weather we were in our cabin a lot and other people NOT the manager suggested things to do, I thought this was a shame. We missed carols near church as we didn't know they were on. We only found out about the museum as an option on a rainy day, thanks to the Pandanus restaurant manager; We found out about Santa on Ned's beach from the hair dresser next door to our accommodation. When we got there we realised people from other resorts got a lift in the mini buses, however we didn't, and had to ride our bikes in the rain while pandanus mini bus sat on the driveway.
It was no secret we had small children, it was no secret it rained a LOT of the time we were there, however we felt we were left to our own devices. A little bit of help and friendliness would have been appreciated. The couple of times we got rides it seemed like a favour more than customer service.

Location
The place is at the top of a hill (somehow no one told us this!), everyone told us we should hire bikes but with two small children we ended up walking the bikes up the hill. If you have small kids or are travelling with an elderly person I would hire a car (there are about 5 for hire in the island so get in quickly).
The island is truly a gorgeous place, but be warned if it's raining (which it was for 4 out of 7 days we were there!) there is nothing else to do. No cinemas, no shopping centre. The only place to go to is the Museum which is very interesting but not very amusing for small kids.
The weather in the island can be unpredictable (something no one told us before we got there either!) However it is a beautiful place.
Everyone talks about feeding the fish, and yes it's a fun thing to do and it's pretty cool, the kids loved it. Weather providing, there are plenty of beaches to choose from.

The Island
This is a strange place where only a few people own most of the businesses, one guy owns the bike hire and car hire, another owns the cafe and a "hotel", and so on. Someone must be making a lot of money, however most services seem to be ran down and average, food is extremely expensive, because there is not a lot of competition (only 3 stores, payed 9 dollars for a jar of vegemite!!). Service is awful, people seem to have an attitude and a sense of "you should be thankful we allowed you in here". It seems to me that in the islander's quest to pocket in money they're running the island down to the ground. We were told by several people that there is a drinking problem in the Island, not surprised. We were also told that people who try to open businesses or come up with new ideas are quickly silenced by the "board of islanders" (more like mafia to me), Islanders don't want new people or businesses coming along because then there is more people to share the cake with. To be able to own a property you need to marry an islander and even people that live and work in the island, aren't considered to be islanders and are discriminated upon by the "original" residents. For a heritage listed place all these retrograde politics seem like a lot of rubbish and very BAD press. It's a real shame that this is the way this place is being managed.....if it continues it will eventually die, I would imagine it's already happening, you just need to look at the state of the facilities. The place looks neglected. What a shame.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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13  Thank misumbini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pandanus Apartments

Address: Lord Howe Island, Australia
Region: Australia > Lord Howe Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Lord Howe Island
Number of rooms: 4

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