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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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