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Love_travel_france
Montpellier, France

Soul searching

3.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed Mar 6, 2024via mobile
The Southern Ocean Lodge could be one of those emblematic hotels where all great travelers dream of staying at least once in their lives: isolated, on the edge of a cliff swept by the winds and waves coming in from Antarctica, its lengthy architecture gives it an undeniable charm, reinforced by a magnificent reconstruction after the dramatic fire that completely destroyed it.  Comfort is absolute, and the decor sumptuous. The young naturalist guides are very committed to their work and show us around the island with passion.

But there you have it ...a magnificent  lodge in an exceptional setting (with an equally 'exceptional' nightly rate) deserves the same level of service, which unfortunately we didn't find.  If felt as that extra touch (of soul ?) was missing, the one that leaves an indelible memory of a hotel. 

It all started at the gym ... where, on my way to a morning session, I discovered some particularly untidy and messy sports equipment (mats full of dust, floor covered in sand, lots of sweat stains from previous users on the treadmill if you must know ...).  These things happen, I was not  going to make a big fuss about it - even if it is quite annoying for a hotel of this caliber, usually there are wipes for everyone to clean up after themselves. So I hasten to gently point this out to the front desk, suggesting that they clean and  put in a box of wipes.  And just for the fun, I took a photo of the device.  In the evening, when I get back to the room from dinner, I'm curious to see if it's all been taken care of.  Well, guess what: the same stains in the same place!  After taking a second picture,  I sent a message to management via the website to report the incident.   The next morning, just before check-out, I tell myself that this time they've cleaned up... Wrong ! (And still no box of wipes). I took a last photo because I thought my wife would not believe it. And several days after writing, I did not receive any reply from management! 

And when it comes to stains, we were not at the end of our surprises.  We discussed with other hotel guests about the restaurant waiters' outfits, some of which were covered in stains or simply had holes in them... That's what you get, for a room costing over 3,000 euros a night ! 

Add to this the uneven food served throughout the stay (the Sunday 'brunch' was a bit of a farce) and all of these are no longer 'details'. 

Is management really interested in customer satisfaction or in something else: their wallets, maybe?   

We stayed there for  3 nights : no one ever asked us if we were enjoying our stay !  There was no document left in our room to review our stay. 

So we're going public, maybe we'll get some attention from them. 

With the hotel 92% full, what's the point of worrying about such 'details'? 

And I can already describe the response that will inevitably  follow  my review : 'we are sincerely sorry... this situation does not reflect  the standards we have set ourselves... We will carry out an investigation and speak with the team...  We note, however, that you found the S.O.L. magnificent and that our naturalist guides delighted you ... Give us another opportunity to prove...blah, blah, blah. '. Too late!  In a hotel such as this one,  you only get ONE chance to make a good first impression.  (And even more so if you've been kindly alerted to a problem ... Because there will always be problems: it's how you deal with them which makes a difference!).

Date of stay: March 2024
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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6 - 11 of 800 reviews
Reviewed February 20, 2024 via mobile

This was our 13th visit to SOL and our first to the newly rebuilt lodge. We weren’t disappointed. All the great aspects of the old lodge, prior to the fire, have been replicated down to the smallest detail. The food was wonderful and the staff provided a level of hospitality and friendliness that makes a visit so special. The new rooms are slightly different but still make the most of the incredible views of the Southern Ocean. We will certainly be back for visit number fourteen.

Date of stay: January 2024
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank Russell M
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed February 16, 2024

The Lodge has the advantage of the most spectacular location possible. The suites are suitably luxurious and tasteful, and the small gym and spa lovely. The overall experience could be improved, however.

The staff are very junior, particularly in the restaurant; service is mostly enthusiastic but sometimes bordering on incompetent, with long waits to take our first orders (including for drinks) at dinner (forty minutes from the time of sitting to the first drink, with a planned night tour), occasionally forgotten requests. As a small example of service quality, one of us asked if it would be possible to ask the kitchen for a simple banana split instead of the proferred dessert (we specified just a banana sliced in two with icecream would be great) - the waiter said he didn't think the kitchen could do it, and said there were no bananas available. I pointed out there were bananas in the fruit bowl! He then offered to bring a banana from the fruit bowl to us, and icecream in a separate bowl. It would have been nice if he could have just asked the chef/kitchen staff, rather than blanket-refusing.

This would be fine at a 4-star hotel/middle-of-the-road restaurant, but Southern Ocean Lodge prides itself on being special. At similar level accommodation in Australia (including Baillie Lodge's own Capella on Lord Howe Island), we have encountered much more positive hospitality. We have never ventured asking for anything more than a banana split or steamed greens, and these have become one of our benchmark tests for hospitality!

We returned feedback via email as requested, and received what appeared very much to be a generic reply from the managers (who we never met. I think John was hovering on our day of departure). Perhaps the leisurely/unreponsive service at least is a teething problem.

Lovely spot, worth returning just for the location, but the sort of place that is very special without ever having made us feel particularly special. (We can cope with this, of course, realising our place in the world, but it IS nice to feel special!) Southern Ocean Lodge is 'Very Good' by virtue of its location, history, and construction, but it is unfortunately not quite 'Excellent' in its execution.

Date of stay: February 2024
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Visitor037
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Baillie Lodges, Owner at Southern Ocean Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2024

Dear Visitor 037

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay at Southern Ocean Lodge. We’re thrilled that overall you had a lovely time at the lodge and could freely praise its spectacular location.

Naturally, we’re sorry that we missed the mark in some respects and your considered feedback is welcomed to help guide us on what’s working and what’s not…

We appreciate your frustration with your experience in the restaurant. Having reopened to an extremely busy time, the lodge team is still finding its feet and many aspects of the guest experience including the nuance of Baillie Lodges’ service style continue to be refined. Your comments have been immediately taken onboard for improvement.

We hope to have the chance to redeem your opinion on a future stay and to fulfil your expectations with flying stars.

Best wishes
Team SOL

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2024

Our stay was an absolutely wonderful experience. Lodge is stunning; rooms gorgeous with breathtaking views. Food excellent, lived open bar & wine pairings. Tours great with very knowledgeable guides - saw incredible Kangaroo Island & lots of wildlife. Outstanding!

Date of stay: January 2024
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank hakp823
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed December 28, 2023 via mobile

We had an incredible family vacation at the Southern Ocean Lodge. The rooms are modern, comfortable, and simply stunning. We stayed at the Osprey Suite - it is spectacular!
Some of the highlights: the open bar, the delicious food, and the superb tour guides (Tash and Katlin in particular were super knowledgeable, professional, and friendly). I highly recommend a treatment at the SPA with Georgia who is the best masseuse I have ever had. My husband also had a massage with Georgia and he said the same.
We loved the Wonders of KI, the nocturnal tour, the e-bike ride to Hanson cove, and the southern sundowner experience. I highly recommend the Southern Ocean Lodge and can’t wait to come back.

Room tip: Kids love the Little Sahara. The Toboggan is probably safer than the sand-boards.
Date of stay: December 2023
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank Danna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed January 23, 2020

I (as well as others in my group) was so excited to visit the Southern Ocean Lodge (SOL) for my third time. Our main reason for visiting Australia is to stay here, to enjoy this lodge and see Kangaroo Island. We arrived on January 2 and really enjoyed the afternoon hiking some trails and walking the beach. We enjoyed the evening visiting with kangaroos and kanapes, then a wonderful dinner.

At least we had one day to experience the beauty that we had enjoyed in previous visits. None of us could believe that such an amazing place could be devistated by the bushfires.

I have to say that the staff (Allison and John and many others) did an awesome job during a time of unbelievable stress. The employees are definately professionals. They made sure that all of the guests were safe and taken care of. My hopes and prayers are that Ballie Lodges does rebuild, so many more people can experience this magical place.

Date of stay: January 2020
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
6  Thank mgdevine
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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