We stayed at the Mountain View Hotel in Whitfield in the King Valley on Thursday the 10th of July.
We chose to stay there because we found a deal on Groupon titled “King Valley: From $179 Hotel Stay for Two with 3-course Dinner, Golf, Bottle of Wine and Late Checkout at Mountain View”. This is equivalent to $350.
After further investigation, in addition for the room, for the amount of $179 we would receive;
- Sophisticated three-course dinner in the gastro-pub for two
- 9 holes of golf including club hire
- 1pm late checkout and,
- a bottle of red or white wine to take home
You can see the ins and outs of the deal here.
Although this deal is no longer available, there is this one available for $79 now which is one night stay with the golf and checkout. So this would mean that we paid $100 for the food and wine inclusions of the deal.
I did my research before we left, I looked at their website and trip advisor. It was our first time staying in the King Valley and we were excited because the deal looked great, and after looking at the Mountain View Hotel website, we had high expectations. The site indicates that there are beautiful gardens surrounding the property, an immaculate dining room, and cheery staff. Unfortunately, our experience didn’t include any of these features.
When we arrived at the address, we were hesitant to get out of the car as we were truly questioning whether or not we had arrived at the correct place, as it appeared on face value – it looked nothing as advertised. It looked like a muddy caravan park cross motel with a vacant looking pub with previously white plastic outdoor furniture (you know the type I’m talking about).
When we arrived we had to park in an unpaved car park, which meant that we needed to walk through mud to navigate our way to the bar area to check in – which was a mission to find with no visible signage. The staff seemed disorganised and frazzled when we arrived and no one seemed to know what our deal actually included.
After we settled into our room (which was actually rather lovely!), we went and ordered drinks at the bar. The staff member became confused about which deal we had, and mentioned something about a 10% discount on food and drinks. After much discussion, we clarified the situation, but this indicated that the staff were rather unsure about what the deals they offer actually include. In addition to the confusion, at no point during our stay was our deal properly confirmed or explained.
We turned up to dinner for our one year anniversary, dressed up in shirts and lace up shoes, and we expected to be seated in the dining room, which looked lovely through the windows. We were a bit taken aback when we shown to a huge 6-seater outdoor setting in the “gastro-pub” indoor area. Although it may not seem like a big deal, we weren’t anticipating to spend our anniversary surrounded by paint-stained tradesmen, families playing guitar poorly at the bar, and a group playing the newspaper’s daily trivia. Having said that, the food was a little hit and miss, but was largely very satisfactory, with the calamari being our favourite.
As part of the deal, it stated that we were to receive a bottle of red or white wine on departure. There was also confusion surrounding this, as there was a bottle of each in our room – however we were advised that we were not to drink those. We were subsequently presented with our ‘take home’ wine at dinner. This ended up being quite fortunate, as given the lack of staff when we left in the morning, I doubt we would have received this ‘on departure’.
We had a reasonable sleep, the bed was comfortable (despite the lump in the middle of the bed where the two singles had been zipped together) and the bathroom facilities were acceptable.
As mentioned earlier, it seemed like the staff had very little idea of what our Groupon deal included, and this became glaringly apparent when we attempted to check out. We woke up early in the morning looking forward to our 9 holes of golf, which we had eagerly told all our friends and family about, only to find that the pub/reception was locked, with no apparent way to check out. The only person present was the maintenance man, who was tending to the fire. He advised us to leave our room key in the door (however unsafe that may have been) and that he could go and grab the golf clubs from out the back if we “really wanted” them.
Due to the lack of organization or explanation upon our arrival, or at any point during our stay, we weren’t advised that reception opens after 11am (which is unusual in itself for a hotel) and thus we had no way of knowing that if we wished to play golf prior to this time, we’d need to organize it the night before. I’m glad that we got our “departure” wine at dinner, or we may have missed out on that too. Although the rain and mud would have made it quite difficult to play, we would have liked to speak with staff about perhaps organizing an alternative or a refund for that aspect of the stay. As a bare minimum, we would have preferred to play the golf in the rain rather than leave with nothing, which is what we ended up doing.
We selected this deal on the basis that it was a 4-star hotel, as it is depicted on various sites (such as their Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urban Spoon and Google Reviews). We understand that this is not a self-rated classification, however we can only go by the information we are able to source online. According to the AAA Tourism site, 4-star accommodation is meant to have “Superior” facilities and services. This includes features such as a telephone in the room, a restaurant available to guests, 24 hour reception, room service and laundry facilities, none of which we had access to.
Keeping in mind both the Hilton and Hyatt hotels are rated as 4-star, and there is no way that the Mountain View is comparable to these two, even if you are lenient given its motel-like nature. If we were staying at a 4-star motel, we would have been surprised to see unsealed milk in the fridge, Wi-Fi that did not work in the room – despite the hotel being in a location that has no mobile phone reception, spiders in the bathroom, and a large window that opens onto the public and eliminated any privacy, should you wish to have the blinds open. I’m unsure what we would do in the case of an emergency, with no staff, no phones and no Internet.
All in all, our experience was disappointing. We feel like we have been misled, in that we did not get what we paid for, and the hotel is not what is depicted on their/other websites. We contacted the hotel directly to advise them of what happened during our stay, but at this point we haven’t heard anything back. We have also contacted Groupon to advise that we didn’t get what we had paid for.
I will update this when I hear what happens next!
Update: We heard back from the accommodation and were sent two bottles of wine and a voucher for their restaurant. We feel as though this was a nice gesture. We didn’t use the voucher (we gave it to someone else) as we live very far away from here.