CHECK IN: THE SEBEL KIAMA HARBOURSIDE

A no-frills room that’s big on space, but surprisingly not on views

★★★
31 Shoalhaven St, Kiama NSW 2533
☎ (02) 4230 7500
#  Hotel Website
$ Rooms start from $199 AUD per night.
PRO ✓ Big rooms, decent beds, great breakfast
CON ✖ Simple interior, no great views given it’s close to the ocean

After getting countless emails from coupon-like websites offering often seems too good to be true deals, I decided to take one on to see if it delivered the goods.

Of course I could have chosen from the luxury 5 star penthouse in Bali, or a private Thai island resort with breakfast and massages daily, but I didn’t really feel like taking a gamble on international travel booked via a discount coupon site so I went with a very very safe choice – the NSW South Coast.

The South Coast of New South Wales is stunning – known for pristine beaches, beautiful blue skies and the sort of mesmerising views that really make you consider a sea change. Because I have a beach shack of my own down the coast I have very rarely needed to stay in a hotel in the area, so when a Groupon-style offer came up it was a pretty easy sell.

For $190 I could choose a one night stay with complimentary breakfast at The Sebel Kiama, which I didn’t know even existed until this very offer landed in my inbox. The purchase process was super simple and booking the room, via a friendly phone call with Kylie on reception, was even easier.

On arriving I was greeted warmly and taken aback by both the clean and modern hotel foyer which is not typical to most South Coast properties and secondly by the super-close location to the water. It is mere metres away and an all-glass reception showcases that beautifully.

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Check-in was a breeze and after grabbing an apple and a paper from the hotel desk I proceeded to my room. Hmm.

I’m always at a loss to understand why some hotel interior designers choose to completely ignore their surrounds when choosing colour palettes and furniture styles for a room. My room is a stark plain white with black leather furniture and deep red pillows. On the wall, a modern Japanese-Style painting greets me, along with more black gloss furniture.

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It’s a strange sight to say the least. A super plain interior that’s bold and a touch depressing, because you would have no idea that there’s a beautiful coastal environment just outside your door. I’m not saying there should be bright blue walls, vases of seashells and Ahoy Matey canvases on the walls, but a nod to the coast or nature is what I would guess most people would be expecting when choosing a beachside retreat. But maybe that’s just me.

The balcony fares no better – but that’s really not the Sebel’s fault – as I understand they inherited the building from a previous property, which oddly features more windows that face the street than they do the ocean. My balcony is knee deep in tree. A big bloody tree. Which wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t listed as an ocean view room.

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The room itself is super clean and like I said modern. The bed – eep – it’s so uncomfortable. I really would love to know if hotel managers test their own beds – this one feels as if someone’s wrapped a blanket on a BBQ hotplate. Thank god for pillows.

The room features a pretty basic mini bar with a bottle of wine, some nuts and some chips and a fridge of reasonably priced soft drinks. The bathroom is huge – in particular the shower – which is a big plus. The toiletries are another plus, one of my favourite hotel chain toiletries brands Appelles Apothecary – an Australian brand that focuses on luxe ingredients. Their amenity tray is second to none, featuring a super-cute soap dish with a clear cloche, and the quality of their products are great.

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The state of the hotel hallways makes you realise the rooms seem to be newly-refitted which is always good news, but despite a lumpy bed and some out of place furniture, it’s a spacious room with a lot of mod cons.

The breakfast – served buffet style in an adjoining building – the next morning was the real star of this stay. Which was super refreshing given my uncomfortable sleep had left me a bit hangry. The breakfast options were good – the usual Australian buffet staples of hash browns, bacon and not-so-firm scrambled eggs were there, but so were some other unusual suspects like fresh tropical fruits, a pancake machine and european-style sliced meats and cheeses. The food was fresh, good quality and the service was friendly.  The coffee was pretty tragic though, and I found myself hopping next door to a newly-opened cafe called Penny Whistlers which you’d be forgiven for thinking is part of the hotel.

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Overall, it’s a comfortable hotel room with an uncomfortable bed and offers warm service and a great location that makes it easy to explore the surrounding areas of Kiama on foot. My biggest negative on the room is the fact it doesn’t reflect its coastal surrounds, but at the end of the day when you’re given a clean, modern room at a great price, you could probably overlook the weird bits. I still wish my ocean view room gave me an ocean view though.

 

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