Chifley Hotel, Penrith

Well, after giving you all the news of the weekend away except for the accommodation, I thought I would set the scene for you.

After a two-hour drive crossing from Sydney’s coast heading west to the foothills of the Blue Mountains we arrived at the Chifley Hotel that seemed to be an oasis in amongst a sea of bitumen providing car parking for Penrith Panthers.

It was certainly a beautiful summer's day.

It was certainly a beautiful summer’s day.

We arrived at the Chifley Hotel and parked in the open car park.  Our advice to anyone heading to the Chifley would be to make sure if at all possible, you don’t park under a tree.

My car the next morning

My car the next morning

Because we were donating silent auction items to the function that night, we had a lot of things to carry into the hotel yet there was no staff to give any assistance.  This hotel advertises itself as a 4-star establishment however that is a major streeeeeetch and I would give the place a 3-star rating.  We struggled our way into the reception area where there was a very large woman behind the counter with an extremely bad attitude and a fed-up look on her face who greeted us with an abrupt, ‘Yes’ and no smile.  We asked if we could check in and two key cards were slapped onto the counter with not a word spoken.  We were almost startled.

We had to take the lift up two floors and with so many things to carry we had the good fortune to find, near the entrance of the hotel, a porter’s trolley (minus the porter) and so we loaded our baggage on it and made our way up to the room, taking the trolley with us.

The porter's trolley for use by the guests

The porter’s trolley for use by the guests and not the porters

We left the trolley in the corridor outside our hotel room and there it stayed.

The room was quite fine but the bathroom had endured a cheap make-over with the tiles being painted instead of replaced and the shower was over the bath with a nylon shower screen which does conjure up images of Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho.

Painted tiles and a shower over the bath

Painted tiles and a shower over the bath

There was a view from the windows and balcony but it was car park, car park, car park.

A room with a view

A room with a view

The view from the room

The view from the room

'A Room with a View'

‘A Room with a View’

What I thought was hilarious was that there was  a bar fridge and that isn’t funny in itself but Carl asked, as he unhinged the door, ‘Would you like a wine?’ and when he looked into the fridge there was plenty of beer but no wine.

The bed was queen-sized and not a king and I have no problem with that except that this mattress had unusual springs in that every time Carl rolled over or moved an inch I was thrown up into the air like I was lying on a trampoline.

Queen-sized bed

Queen-sized bed

I think the Chifley Hotel at Penrith is a hotel that you stay in when you are on your way to another destination.  It is not a place to reside.  If you are calling yourself a 4-star hotel that should come with welcoming staff on the front desk (a smile would be nice), and some staff offering to help you with your baggage.  We had an okay time, (house-keeping walking into the room first thing Sunday morning while we were still in bed was unnecessary) but I’m not sure we would rush to make another booking.

But you will never go hungry at The Chifley.   If you don’t want to order room service, just look out the window and there is a wealth of opportunities for you, all within walking distance.

There's an opportunity here for those with a sweet tooth

There’s an opportunity here for those with a sweet tooth


Everyone’s favourite

I thought the only Harry's Cafe de Wheels was in Woolloomoolloo

I thought the only Harry’s Cafe de Wheels was in Woolloomooloo
'Outback Steakhouse'.  I have never seen one of these before.  I'm imagining steak is on the menu.

‘Outback Steakhouse’. I have never seen one of these before. I’m imagining steak is on the menu.

One of the many dining establishments surrounding the hotel.  If it's not a chain, it's not there.

One of the many dining establishments surrounding the hotel. If it’s not a chain, it’s not there.

There’s not just cuisine on offer, there’s also athletic pursuits.  Has anyone every played ‘Aqua Golf’?  I thought golf was hard enough to play on land but out here they play it under water.  I wonder if under-water golf takes as long to play as golf on land and do you hold your breath or do they give you a snorkel?

Aqua Golf

Aqua Golf

We paid $160 for our 14-hour stay.


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  1. I think I would hit the cafe on wheels – looks like the best local option!

  2. Gosh…the Chifley hotel doesn’t sound like a very good hotel 🙁 I mean with no staff to help out and the bed with those unusual springs. But like you said at least you wont starve there’s plenty of food outlets to choose from ~ I’ll definitely give Outback a go they have stores in HK too hehe ~

    Either way hope you had a nice weekend away with Carl 😀 xox

  3. Sorry to hear that you just wasted so much money. I think 1 star is appropriate not three. It seems some businesses do not put much emphasis on employee training and etiquette. Anyway I wish you and your family a Happy Valentine’s Day. .

  4. I agree with Frank. From your description, one star seems a more appropriate rating. I hope you complained to management.

  5. You were generous with 3 stars, I too would give that hotel 1 star. There is an Outback Steakhouse in our neighbourhood too, ate there once. The Cafe de Wheels sounds like an interesting eatery.

  6. Oh my goodness, almost all the restaurants are American chains! I’m so sorry. As an American, I feel somehow responsible. I would head straight for Harry’s for sure.

  7. What a terrible hotel! 4 stars, really? You were definitely very generous with the 3 stars. There is nothing worse than rude/ non existent customer service. Would it kill people to smile?
    And it’s funny how all those restaurants are American chains! The Outback Steakhouse is an embarrassing attempt at an Aussie steakhouse chain in the US. I’d go to Harry’s.


  8. It’s always interesting to see what constitutes 4 stars–or any star rating. In the US, porter’s trolleys are often offered to guests to use at less fancy hotels that don’t actually have porters. The other thing that amused me was the number of American chains! Clearly, we are not exporting our best, though a big dose of Chocolate Thunder from Down Under from the Outback Steakhouse wouldn’t go amiss right now. 😉

  9. Oh how very disappointing to hear about the shoddy hotel and staff!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. What a shame about the hotel, Carl has some making up to do, perhaps something sparkly like diamonds! It’s too bad that it was rated as 4 star, as you gauge your expectations on that, and by your description I likely would have given it 1 star as Norma did. You should do a review on, it’s very important to give this type of feedback. And from the feedback that is there on Tripadvisor, it sure sounds like surly is part of the requirement for the check in staff! I never book anything without a quick review on for hotels and for restaurants. Both are very useful.
    It’s interesting that your caption under the Outback Steakhouse is that you’ve never seen one before…in North America the chain flogs themselves as an Australian Steakhouse (it’s not that good either). Another interesting note about Krispy Kreme is that they infiltrated Canada with bells on but after a couple of years closed down. I don’t think we have stores in Toronto anymore, but I think you can still buy them at certain grocery stores. I was never that big on doughnuts so I couldn’t see or taste the hype, but then again, since they are closed here perhaps it was just hype!
    Happy Valentines Day to you, Charlie, I hope Carl spoils you today.

  11. Sounds almost as bad as the hotel I stayed in last time I went to Vegas. Can’t believe they walked in on you without knocking. That would have put me over the edge.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  12. I had to laugh reading this post! I agree with you, I don’t think it’s 4 stars. And your numerous take away options, seem, well… I have no words.

  13. Oh boy thanks for the reminder never to go there. There is nothing worse than rude hospitality with bad service. It really puts a downer on your break.
    Ps I’d love to know about the details of activities surrounding the blue mountains crossing anniversary. We are history buffs. Is there a website?


  14. What a shame! You were generous with your stars. And looking at the choices of food right outside, I don’t think any of those would help lift my soggy spirits either after that kind of treatment. I’m sorry you had such a downer for a weekend getaway. Feeling doubly bad because a romantic getaway for parents like us isn’t always happening, so any ruined chance is a missed chance. Walking in on sleeping room residents? So not done.

    I hope your Valentine Day was much better.

  15. It definitely smacks of somewhere on the way to somewhere else. I probably would have chosen the Crispy Kreems but none of the options look too healthy. A hotel to forget. GG xx

  16. Underwater golf? How intriguing. I won’t be booking my trip down there any time soon. There’s nothing worse than staff with attitude is there? The trampoline bed is the worst!

  17. Oh dear. It really doesn’t sound like a four-star hotel, does it? Maybe they’ll pull their socks up after your review..

  18. On the bright side at least there were options for you to choose where to eat? Sorry it didn’t work out well, but I mean it was an adventure I suppose?

  19. The only time we’ve visited Penrith was to try the Krispy Kreme store when it first opened! Now of course they’re much more widespread, but then it was just the one store. How do they paint the tiles? I’m totally confused about that!

  20. What a depressing area with a woefully inadequate hotel! I hope you sent the link to your post to the hotel manager or even the owner.

  21. This might be 4 star for a campsite, not a hotel! Pretty crappy indeed!

  22. Outback Steakhouse is really good, they have this blooming onion thing that is out of this world GOOD!

  23. Sydney, as all of Australia, as all of the world for that matter, has ITS sides! You have written a very valid post to show the Land Down Under can have a very pedestrain side too . . . let’s be honest!!

  24. 4 star? That’s laughable. I once stayed at a roadside motel, arriving past midnight and awakening the desk clerk asleep in his chair. He still managed a smile, as well as “Please” and “Thank you.”

  25. This is certainly a well located hotel…at least for access to car parks and fast food! 😉

  26. I do have to mention that you seem to be able to find the best hotels to stay in. Can you see me laughing all the way from here?

    Looking out the window you’d think you were in Philadelphia except for that Harry’s place.

    You were away and you weren’t washing dishes and your darling husband was holding your hand so it’s still a win. I love your blog.

  27. The least you could have hoped for was a comfy bed – was breakfast included in that $160 probably not.

  28. Wow, the view, the dining options! Good to hear it was a short stay. The trampoline springs in the bed sound entertaining!

  29. Wow! This really was an uneven get-away wasn’t it! I think the whole affair has to be seen through the lens of participating in a major fundraiser, not a vacation get-away, that’s for sure! I can understand a place not having the best amenities, but there is no excuse for a rude front desk. I have had that happen before and I am always just shocked. Now about Outback Steak House. You would find it hilarious here in the States. We have them all lover the place, and as a steak house, I’d say there’s not much to brag about, but they do well. And you’d love advertisements…Aussie accents and all. I think they must have come into existence about the time Paul Hogan and the “Crocodile Dundee” movies became a hit here in the U.S. Following popular culture is a tricky thing, isn’t it! LOL!

  30. Charlie, please forgive me for laughing at your expense. The thought of you being catapulted out of bed at Carl’s every move (thanks to “unusual springs”) gave me giggle fits just now. When a hotel exceeds your expectations — fabulous! When it doesn’t (despite their advertising claims)… well, it makes for a great story. 🙂

  31. Oh dear, housekeeping must have been keen to get started on your room :0!
    I can’t believe you could see all those fast food items from your window, that’s just scary, do the people of Chifley cook???
    Oh well, at least you weren’t there for the “4 star resort” experience.

  32. Ah, Krispy Kreme. Yum!

  33. Oh dear – not ideal. Interestingly though, I’d give this article a read. I looked it up when I was curious about what a hotel needed to get 5 stars (I stayed in a 4 star place in Stockholm and while it was a great hotel it was lacking a couple of things which I’d been expecting). It seems that the starring system is surprisingly arbitrary and can be achieved simply by satisfying simple criteria, and isn’t necessarily a reflection on the quality at all.

  34. Ugh this all sounds awful! What a downer!!

  35. Oh my! It looks like you did not have very good restaurant options at all! 🙁 When we go on vacation, we usually only look into hotels, but you just reminded me that it is also important to look at the surrounding restaurants!! Especially for us foodies! 😉 Have a wonderful weekend with lots of GOOD food!

  36. Well it looks marvellous for a dirty weekend with my husband! Or maybe not! I’d have gone for the Harry’s cafe too, or brought a nice ham sandwich. Dear dear, a sharp contrast to your cruise post!

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