Mantra Aqua, Nelson Bay, NSW

Now that the cyclone has been and gone, I’ll show you the resort where we stayed in Nelson Bay.

As we were booking at the last minute, I went on to Wotif to find accommodation.  There weren’t a lot of places to choose from or in fact, many places with rooms still available, but Mantra Aqua had one two-bedroom apartment remaining.

View of the pool from our balcony

View of the pool from our balcony

Wotif has the Mantra Aqua rated at 4.2 stars out of five and says the normal price of a two-bedroom apartment with pool views is $650.00/night but the last minute price was $289.00.  That seemed quite a good discount so we booked and pre-paid for the room.

Just after the mini-cyclone

Just after the mini-cyclone

When we arrived I saw that the accommodation is divided into three separate apartment complexes that surround the solar-heated outdoor pool.  I was surprised however, at just how many apartments there are in this complex for the size of the land.  It did seem that the 50mtr pool had been wedged between the apartment buildings with little remaining land surrounding it.

Lounge area

Lounge area

Our apartment was very generous in size with a fully functioning kitchen, two bathrooms and a laundry.  However, every window was furnished with vertical venetians and I’m not a fan of this kind of window screen.  To me they are not the sort of window furnishings you would find in a resort rated 4.2 stars.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

Another issue I had was that every single window and the balcony looked out on to other apartments so we didn’t have a scrap of privacy, particularly when we went out onto the balcony.  I also thought the balcony was disappointing in size.  Bar-be-cues aren’t provided on the balcony, instead there are two communal bar-be-cue areas close to the swimming pool.

Dining area

Dining area

Rooms aren’t serviced daily and before checking out you do have to take your garbage down to the bins in the parking area.  While the kitchen has everything you need including a full-sized fridge, microwave and oven so you wouldn’t have any trouble cooking (except in a blackout!), the resort doesn’t have a bar, a restaurant or even a cafe.

Kitchen

Kitchen

We had a very brief 20-minutes by the pool, relaxing on the outdoor lounges.  It’s a lovely pool and a good size and great that you can do laps as it is 25mtrs long however, there is very little space around the pool and not many lounge chairs for the number of apartments in the complex.  I also felt uncomfortable when sitting around the pool because every time I looked up I was staring into someone’s apartment and able to see what they were watching on TV or cooking for lunch.  It was like looking at something you know you’re not supposed to see.

The pool area

The pool area

It’s for these reasons I really don’t understand the 4.2 star rating and personally, I would rate this complex more as 3 – 3.5 stars.  It’s a shame that when the resort was being designed they didn’t think of a better balance between the amount of apartments and the size of the recreational areas.

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

I do have to say though, the staff at this resort are very lovely and friendly and keen to do whatever it takes to make your stay more enjoyable.  During the blackout that was caused by the mini-cyclone we were offered candles and an electric lantern to help light the apartment and the staff worked tirelessly to have the resort back in ship-shape order by the next day.

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

If you’re looking for generously-sized apartments and don’t mind a lack of outdoor space nor a lack of privacy, then this is a great place to stay.

Mantra Aqua:  1A Tomaree Street, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Ph:  02 4916 4777

My little guy playing under the sprinklers

My little guy playing under the sprinklers

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Comments

  1. The price, $289.00 per night seems rather a lot for a fairly run of the mill apartment. The whole star rating thing makes you wonder. The pool area looked to cramped. The lack of privacy would drive me bonkers.

  2. Interesting! $289 seems quite expensive!

  3. Pretty big apartment so I see why maybe the price tag but those big blue skies are worth their weight in gold as we suffer from sever smog in HK.

  4. It looks like Alfie is happy to embrace the tight space and not worry about the neighbours! I’m glad you got a discount deal to buffer the erroneous 4.2 stars, and that the staff were friendly at least.

  5. $289 seems quite expensive! I think so anyway! Alfie is enjoying himself, I see! 🙂

  6. I must admit I haven’t really enjoyed my Mantra stays. Actually make that stay, I’ve only stayed at one and didn’t enjoy it. I would say the one I stayed at in Port Douglas was three stars.

  7. I’m sure you’d have had a lot more negative comments if you’d had to pay the full $650 for the apartment. The sun was worth a lot though for a North American anticipating two more days of snow showers this month. Alfie does look like he’s enjoying those sprinklers.

  8. Hmmm, having to take our your own garbage, now that seems odd.

  9. In spite of the draw-backs, it still seems like it would be a great place for a family holiday. Making memories for Alfie–you can’t do better than that, even if you have to take out your own garbage.

  10. The apartments themselves are quite lovely! The pool, too. But the area around the pool does need more space and it would be strange peering into other people’s rooms while lounging at the pool….and what’s up with having to take out your own garbage?!?! For that price they should be doing it for you!! Eh, no biggie I guess, as long as you enjoyed yourselves!! xo

  11. Not a bad place except for all those apts crammed into the place. Just a way to get more out of something, as usual. I can’t comment on the price since I don’t know how much they should run there, but by US standards, it sounds about right for the size. I’d much rather prefer some privacy though. As long as you had somewhat of a good time, its worth it…apart from the whole cyclone thing.

  12. It’s too bad you didn’t have a more positive experience. Hopefully the friendly staff and sunshine made up for at least a few of the hotel’s shortcomings!

  13. It seems they may have awarded their own stars there! The apartment looks nice but yes it’s a shame they went for max quantity over other things.

  14. G’day! Sorry was not the best stay Charlie!
    Never understand how places around Australia think they can charge top dollar and not have the wow factors when people stay!
    Cheers! Joanne

  15. Sounds like such fun!

  16. Even though the apartment didn’t quite live up to expectations, I bet it was lovely to escape for a couple of days. The pool looks lovely and it’s great that you can swim laps.

  17. They were certainly packing in every bit of accommodation possible. But space is precious and I agree with your star rating, from what I see in your description.

  18. I wonder what the pool area is like during peak times? Must be mayhem and impossible to have a quiet siesta by the pool.

  19. I’ve often wondered about the star system myself, I’ve stayed in some wonderful 3 stars that were infinitely better than of the dodgy 5 star rated ones I’ve been stuck at. It’s always lovely though when the staff are nice, and I’m glad they worked hard to improve things while you were there xox

  20. My Kitchen Stories says:

    Yes, unfortunately all prices are rather high in Australia. imagine paying $650.00. I wouldn’t be happy about that. Looks a bit ordinary but Alfies having fun and thats the main thing!

  21. Having done quite a bit of traveling, Charlie, the star rating system baffles me. Sometimes I was left wondering if money had changed hands to get that extra star. Not knowing how much a room at a resort would cost in Oz, I must say that was some savings you got by booking late. That’s the rub, though, isn’t it?. Book early and pay higher prices but be assured a room. Wait till much later to get a deal and very possibly be unable to find a room at any price.

  22. Love wot if. It’s the only way to travel last minute. Looks like a good discount.
    Carolyn

  23. Yes! It seems to be a very good option for staying in NSW. Cool, spacious, healthy, interesting, as many good things about it as I can think of.

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