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“Needs a new General Manager”

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Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Yarra Glen
Reviewed 6 February 2014

I thought I'd seen it all after a lifetime in hospitality, but our experience here definitely took the cake. At breakfast on the second day we were treated to the incredibly ignorant display of the Hotel Manager - sitting in amongst the tables of the paying guests - loudly (and I mean very loudly) conducting an intimate business discussion with some hapless member of staff.

Not only was he sitting amongst ourselves in a very large venue where he could easily have found a more private and quiet spot to yell to his heart's content, but he was also happily bellowing away about the hotel's corporate structuring, (my goodness me the Cellar Door need to lift their game in this financial year!!) through to poor members of staff who were being discussed by their names - and all in the middle of paying guests!!! I was gobsmacked and quietly complained to the Supervisor who seemed very professional but explained that there was nothing she could do. On and on he went in his loud yelling voice, uncaringly informing all and sundry - who were just guests quietly trying to enjoy a paid breakfast - how much of a challenge Balgownie Estate had ahead of them in these trying times. And I don't doubt it.

I was informed later by very sympathetic staff that this man taking up the best seat in the restaurant during the guest's breakfast time was actually the General Manager. I was told that writing to him would elicit no response. So I have come on here to explain good sir that hospitality is theatre - you never let the guests hear or see what is going on behind the scenes, particularly when they are a captive audience at breakfast time. Choose a more suitable location for your staff meetings. (Do you really need to be told this?) Lower your bellowing voice. Choose a better time to hog the best table in the house. Don't discuss confidential business information in front of paying guests. Better yet - keep yourself out of the areas reserved for paying guests full stop.

That said, the rest of the hotel staff were superb. All very friendly and hard working, especially the reception and restaurant staff. The housekeeping in this place need to be shown how to clean - dirty plates in the cupboard, unwiped tables for 3 days in a row, a bed made by what looked like a 2 year old. But I have a sneaking suspicion the Housekeeping staff are the least of this tired establishment's worries. With a Hotel Manager like that at the helm, there's only one way this place is headed.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank RoniOO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2014

Thank you for taking the time to forward your feedback regarding a recent visit to Balgownie Estate.

I would like to apologise for the recent experience not meeting your expectations. We have taken your feedback on board and discussed them at length. Our policies and procedures have been reviewed and new ones implemented in order to avoid this situation anytime in the future

If you wish to discuss the matter further please don't hesitate to contact us on 03 9730 0700.

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Reviewed 6 February 2014

I received a red ballooning experience for my birthday which involved an overnight stay in a spa suite, 3 course dinner, hot air ballooning and a buffet breakfast in the morning. From the time of my arrival I was incredibly pleased with how attentive and welcoming all the staff were, from the young girl on reception to the people in the restaurant. The dinner we had in Rae's restaurant was delicious, I personally recommend the quail entree, it was devine!! The decadent deserts were fabulous including the chocolate mousse and shiraz estate poached pear.

The room was a great size, with a balcony overlooking the valley, with a spa bath for a romantic evening. The facilities were fantastically maintained, enjoying the pool, steam room and tennis court it was a fantastic day for both myself and my partner.

In the morning we were picked up from Balgownie Estate and taken on our hot air balloon ride which was fantastic. We had a couple of staff members on the ride also who were incredibly enthusiastic, polite and pleasant (and they weren't even on duty!).

The breakfast after the flight was delicious, I was overwhelmed by the quality and presentation of the food. Enjoying the bircher museli with poaches pear and berries. Followed by hash browns, poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, you name it! And to top it all off enjoying a coffee with jam doughnuts, muffins and croissants with a glass of champagne to celebrate a joyous occasion.

Thank you Balgownie for a pleasant stay, your hospitality was immensely appreciated...I would definitely consider having a wedding there!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank rtennent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Front Office Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2014

Wow! Thank you for such a great review about your stay at Balgownie Estate. We are really lucky to have such a great team with great customer services values and a fantastic location and property. That’s great to hear about the pool, tennis court and other facilities as well, what a great place to explore! The Balloon Flight is also breathtaking. We look forward to welcoming you to Balgownie Estate again one day soon.

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Reviewed 6 February 2014

Stayed for two nights Sat thru Mon. Tried to book on the Balgownie website for a 2 nights stay in standard room but no rooms were available. So we emailed them directly and they confirmed that they were full however the spa suites were available. After some searching online we found that they were part of the Accor group and there were standard rooms available on our 2nd night. So we booked the first night thru the Balgownie website for a spa suite at 400++ AUD prpn and the 2nd night from the Accor website at 200++ AUD prpn for a standard room. When we arrived the reception upgraded us 2 nights in a spa suite. Great! I thought the resort was fully booked because of the influx of visitors from the Australian tennis open. But nooo....on our first night there was a wedding! After a 9 hours flight from Bangkok and drive from Melbourne all we wanted was a good night sleep, that was why we splurged to stay at Balgownie. The night was HORRIBLE, we had wedding guests partying, shouting and screaming along the hallway and banging the room doors till 3 am. Breakfast area was packed at 9:30am, food was not replenished, orange juice station was empty, staff were obviosuly short handed. They serve many kinds of bread, standard juices, coffee, tea and cereal. Hot meals were buffet style, paoched eggs, scramble eggs, bacon, sausages, hash brown and baked beans.

On our second night, things were much better when all the wedding guests had left.

This establishment could be something better it just needs to know its limits. If you are having a wedding and a full house, you need to up your staff at the restaurant and separate the room areas from your wedding guests & non-wedding guests. If you do not know how to separate the rooms at least inform your guests that there is a wedding PRIOR to booking and that they should expect some form of disturbance. I have statyed at hotels in Thailand that organise weddings they do an excellent job by segregating their guests, put signs notifying people where the wedding will be held and schedule for the information of the other staying guests and even provided ear plugs for their comfort in the even they want to have an early sleep. This is what I call 'simple touches'.

Room Tip: This place has a lot of rooms, if they are fully booked do check with them if they are organizing a...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank moorish_i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2014

Thank you for taking the time to review your experience. Feedback is always welcomed and needed to ensure we deliver to our high standards and our guests expectations. We take pride in our service and customers comfort, on this occasion it has clearly not been met. We have taken onboard your comments and reviewed several policies to ensure we provide an exceptional experience in the future. We hope that you decide to visit us again in the future.

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Reviewed 2 February 2014

We stayed with another couple for our few days visiting the Yarra Valley wineries. The"Director's Suite" was presented on the telephone as a premium suite and we were told that we were "lucky" to find it available. Unfortunately it was a disappointing visit especially when compared to our previous stay a year or so previously.
There was no major failing, although it was the week with frightfully high temperatures and the air conditioning just couldn't cope with the result that our in-room temperature soared to 29 C even with all blinds and curtains drawn. The lack of attention to detail and the apparent ignorance of the Accor "Peopleology" philosophy made the stay very ordinary.
That said, it would be unfair not to exclude the housekeeping manager and the restaurant staff at breakfast from this criticism. They did their job very well and with care and enthusiasm. Front office staff, in my opinion, need more training!
Issues ranged from the waiter at dinner on the first night chasing us from the restaurant yelling "You didn't pay for the wine." after he had omitted it from the bill to be charged to our room. I was escorted back into the restaurant to sign for the wine and felt like I was being accused of theft. It was very embarrassing. My complaint was listened to by the front desk manager, nodding and then doing nothing about it. I now felt patronised.
Beware of the hidden additional costs for payment with ANY credit card. There is a 1.25% additional cost for credit cards (not just Amex) and we were not informed until we were paying the account. The explanation was "You should have been told". Fact was - we weren't!
The Director's Suite was tired and the furniture stained and in some cases just worn out. It was not equipped adequately for 4 adults in a 2 bedroom premium room. E.g. a one cup coffee plunger.
We probably won't stay here again!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank petsaloz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Front Office Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear Sir

I would like to apologise that your stay with us fell short and want to assure you that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure it does not happen again. It is through feedback such as yours that we are able to move forward, and we truly appreciate you taking the time to write of your experience. I would like the opportunity to discuss with you further, and was hoping you might be able to call me on 9730 0700, or if you prefer to email me at resortops@balgownieestate.com.au

Kind Regards
Karen

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Reviewed 29 January 2014

Where do I start?
1. We needed to book a room as guests of a wedding. We booked on the phone 3 weeks before the wedding. We were told that base rooms, put aside by the couple were all booked & therefore our only option was to book a 'spa suite'. There was double talking about 'wedding rooms', 'room blocks', all crap.
2. A week later an online voucher company advertised they had base rooms for Balgownie, that could be used the weekend we needed.
3. We rang Balgownie, they refused to match the price or offer any incentive whatsoever. Then we mentioned cancelling our booking with them & buying an online voucher, we were told we'd be charged a fee. We asked to speak to the manager and they never bothered to contact us.
4. On arrival, ours was the only room ready, even for the wedding party! Mind you they had my first name wrong and had booked us into a base room. My husband had to show them the confirmation email from the hotel manager, to get this changed.
5. There was a 1/2 drunk bottle of OJ on the table. And the spa bath looked like people had been spray tanned in it.
6. We finally received a confirmation email 2 1/2 weeks after we initially booked. The only reason we got that is because we rang to find out if breakfast was included with our prestige spa room, surprise surprise it wasn't. They begrudgingly included it after I AGAIN had to go through our booking fiasco. But, when we turned up for the breakfast we were told by the waitress it wasn't included.

Total incompetence by the manager & booking staff. They obviously can't cope with the visibility & attraction of the winery venue.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank HellCatme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Front Office Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience here at Balgownie Estate Resort and Spa. Could I ask you to call me, so that I can obtain further details from you. My phone number is 9730 0700

Kind Regards,
Karen

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2014

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with Accorhotels.com
2  Thank RaeandRob
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Balgownie-Estat... R, Front Office Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 10 February 2014

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed 25 January 2014

Our children sent myself and husband away for a night to relax, after seeing the price they paid for one night in a room with a balcony looking onto everyone else on their balconies, was not a good start, then having a wedding party staying above us and partying all night was not really a peaceful place in the country, should have stayed in the city. Called reception at 2am to advise not having much sleep, nothing was done, then when checking out told reception of the night and advised management would call us for they don’t want unhappy people... still waiting for the call. Worst place we have every stayed, we travel every two months for business and stay in some lovely places for a cost of 200 a night, to see our children get ripped off for just under 500 for the night, was not impressed, and the price was because we had a spa bath that you can sit in and see into the lounge???....BIG DEAL.
Will never be back and will tell all our friends and business partners when they visit Australia not to book here.

Room Tip: Dont book if they have a wedding party staying for they dont keep all the wedding guests in one area...
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Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank PK1234720
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balgownie-Estat... R, Front Office Manager at Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2014

Dear PK1234720

I would like to apologise that your stay with us fell short and want to assure you that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure it does not happen again. It is through feedback such as yours that we are able to move forward, and we truly appreciate you taking the time to write of your experience. I would like the opportunity to discuss with you further, and was hoping you might be able to call me on 9730 0700, or if you prefer to email me at resortops@balgownieestate.com.au

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Additional Information about Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa

Address: 1309 Melba Hwy, Yarra Glen, Victoria 3775, Australia
Phone Number:
Region: Australia > Victoria > Yarra Valley > Yarra Glen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Yarra Glen
Price Range: £105 - £275 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 70
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa is ideally located in the heart of the Yarra Valley less than 1hr from Melbourne CBD & Airport. Boasting contemporary first class spa suite accommodation with spectacular views across the valley, Rae’s Restaurant, Cellar Door with complimentary wine tasting 7 days, Health Club, Natskin Spa Retreat, modern conferencing and leisure facilities plus more! Whenever you visit, you are guaranteed a memorable stay in the heart of Victorian wine country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort And Spa
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Hotel Yarra Glen
Balgownie Vineyard Retreat Hotel
Balgownie Vineyard Retreat Resort
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa Yarra Glen, Australia - Yarra Valley

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