Top Pub Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Hotel)
I loved being on holiday, it was like having a pressure valve released. I felt like a new person after 12 hours of being away. I do however have mixed feelings about staying at the Great Ocean Hotel (aka Top Pub) in Apollo Bay. I guess I could start by summarizing the good and bad points : -
1. The balcony overlooks the mountains and the foreshore. And you can hear the ocean. And you can see the golf course from the balcony and out of the hotel window.
2. The beds are comfy. Good mattresses. I slept like a log every night.
3. Guest soaps and guest towels. Very cute - old world charm etc.
4. Ye-olde building, wood panelling and if you pretend hard enough, you could be in a seaside English town. Apart from the flies and the drunken a@#$holes yelling various obscenities outside the window. Except that some of the drunken a@#$holes WERE English backpackers. And Scottish. And French?!?! In fact, we may have been the only Australians staying at the pub. The noisiest and nastiest loudmouths running rampant in the street were Australian however - possibly even locals. Scary stuff.
5. Okay, I think I've inadvertently switched over to the bad points. Oops. Okay, when we turned up at the hotel, lugging bags and wanting to just crash and go downstairs and have a beer, the guy at the counter said "here's your key" with a big smile. So I go upstairs to find an unlocked room with no bedding on the bed, no towels, no soap, nothing at all. A mattress protector on the bed mocked my tired legs and brain. I thought, what the crap do we do now?
So I go downstairs and tell the guy. He acts like it's no big deal. I slowed down my speech and said "So the room I specifically requested and that you told me would be ready - is not ready. On the day we said we would be arriving." He looked blank and said "yeah?" like he didn't understand. He was about 20 years old and his arrogance was starting to get to me. "So what are we supposed to do now?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah. You can have this room instead. It's nicer anyway. I don't think the cleaner's been in this week."
Fine, I thought. Trudging up the stairs again, we looked at this room. It had no TV and no curtains and the sun was streaming in like something out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.
I ask you. How the crap could you get any sleep when you get full sun at around 6:30am? We'd wake up suntanned! So I trudged down again, quite composed under the circumstances, and told him there were no curtains. He gave me yet another key. Another guy from the hotel was a bit more helpful, he told us he would call the cleaner and try and get our original room ready for the next day of our stay.
I opened the door and found yet another room with no TV, no table and no mirror. My partner and I looked at each other and both thought "stuff it! This will do." We realised they were not likely to get it together to fix up the room we originally booked. And we were right. They did, however finally get the room ready and let somebody else stay in there instead of us. At that point, we couldn't be bothered worrying about it anymore.
6. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the bathrooms. Ha!!! The shower head in the female showers was busted. In fact, it has been that way for over 18 months - the last time I stayed in the hotel! How much trouble would it be to get a wrench and fix the dang shower head? I ask you. Here is a picture of me trying to have a shower in this ridiculous contraption:
And here is a picture of our room. It was designed for 2 people (double bed) + 2 more people in bunks. How cosy. The bunks gave us somewhere to put our luggage, I suppose!
Excuse the mess, there was hardly any floor space!
On the second night, the hotel completely ran out of toilet paper. It was getting late and we went downstairs to ask for it to be replaced. The guy we spoke to (another employee) said "I've just knocked off." Well, that's great but could you get someone to help us? I mean just because you've knocked off, and are getting pissed at the very place where you work, it doesn't mean that the problem has gone away. Around 6 people staying on the floor without toilet paper for the night? Or more? It doesn't bear thinking about. So after hunting around for ages and asking various people we finally got someone to do something about the TP situation. At this point we should have been getting paid by the hour!
Then, later that night, the same guy from the desk on the first day let a bunch of loud drunken thugs from off the street into the hotel. They proceeded to rush up and down the halls banging on the walls and doors bellowing "any good looking Sheilas here?"
1. People actually say Sheilas?
2. I'm glad I was asleep with the door locked. My partner was glad of this as well. He was on the balcony at the time, watching these thugs run rampant through the private halls of the hotel, while the guy who WORKED there leaned over the balcony yelling obscenities at people in the street at the top of his voice.
But despite all these bizarre experiences, the price of the hotel was good ($60 per night for the room) and we had a brilliant relaxing time. I wouldn't recommend this place wholeheartedly, but it was kind of ok. The 20 year old guy got a complaint from yet another guest about the obscenities and the balcony situation and ironically he said to us "what does he expect, staying in a pub?"
Hmm. Well, I suppose I expect a basic standard of accommodation. A room that is made up when you arrive, a shower that works, toilet paper in the bathrooms and a certain level of security from unhinged thugs on a drinking rampage.
In terms of the star rating system, for a backpacker hotel, I'd give it 1.5 stars.
* = Clean basic accommodation with simple furnishing and facilities.
* * = Moderate accommodation with comfortable furnishings and facilities.
I took points off for no TP, grotty shower curtain and no mirror etc. I added points for the comfy bed. That's as much as I can give them, I'm afraid. At least until they can get the place in order and take it a bit more seriously.