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The Present and…The Marriott, Gold Coast

As Alfie’s birthday is a few short weeks after Christmas it’s usually difficult to decide what to get him for a gift as he is well-stocked from his Christmas bounty.  For this year’s birthday I just couldn’t bear to buy any more electronic gadgets that are far too expensive with the technology only to be superseded a few months post purchase.

We decided to give Alfie a weekend away with his father.  A few weekends ago they shot off to the Gold Coast which is Australia’s down-sized version of Las Vegas.

They stayed at the Marriott Hotel that has recently had a $20 million facelift.  The rooms have all been renovated and are very nice but they’re not cheap.  For a room overlooking the pool and not the boring hinterland it cost just under $300 for the night and that did not include breakfast and was purchased on Wotif.

View of the pool from their room on the 12th floor

Lagoon Pool, Marriott Hotel

The hotel has a lagoon swimming pool with a beach and tropical fish swim in the water and this is meant to make you feel like you’re floating on the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.  Adding to the excitement are the water slide and the spas.  Absolute perfect destination for Alfie.

When Carl was checking in he was served by a Japanese concierge with minimal English.  He told Carl the room wasn’t ready but there was a room he could have for an extra $95.00.  Carl told him he would be happy to leave their bags at reception, head to the pool and wait for the room that was booked.

Alfie loved the pool and immediately said this was the best place he had ever been to.  He spent the morning snorkeling with the fish.  There is a little bridge at the bottom of the pool (about 16 ft down) and Carl taught Alfie how to swim under it.  Then it was on to the water slide where he ran up and slid down at least a thousand times, threw himself in the spa, ran back into the pool and repeated this over and over until he was completely worn out.

While Alfie was running around at top speed Carl noticed there were some Balinese-style day beds around the pool and no one was sitting on them.  Carl wandered over thinking it would be a good place to recline but discovered they were all roped off with a sign saying they were available for $55.00 for two hours.  So Carl reclined elsewhere.  No one sat on them that entire day.

Carl planned to take Alfie to dinner at one of the restaurants on Tedder Avenue but Alfie loved the hotel room, (telling me on the phone, ‘It’s a very small house’), so he wanted to order room service with a DVD.  The casual dining menu that includes regular type things such as burgers, club sandwiches and beer battered fish and chips cost around $22.00.  There is a good pizza menu and they are $24.00 or $26.00 for gluten free.  Desserts are $15.00 and items on the Kid’s Menu are $12.00.  The in-room movie cost $15.50 and came with very poor picture quality.

In-Room Dining with an In-Room Movie

The next morning they headed down to the buffet breakfast.  For adults on a Sunday it is $39.00 and children aged between six and 12 are half-price.  Alfie wanted a hot chocolate but that wasn’t included but could be ordered for an extra $5.50.

This is definitely my favourite hotel on the Gold Coast because it is in a convenient location, the rooms are lovely and the lagoon pool is incredible.  But things have changed since we were last there and Carl felt like every time he turned around the hotel was trying to extract more money from him.  The hotel appears to be looking at ways to continually gouge money from it’s guests and I don’t believe that philosophy encourages Australians to holiday within their own country.

Lying poolside but not on a Balinese-styled day-bed!

But for Alfie, it was a great birthday present and a precious and memorable time away with his dad.

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  1. He must have had the best birthday ever!

    That lagoon pool looks amazing…!

  2. I’ve always said if I have a kid born in December, I’ll celebrate their half-birthday in June. But I love the idea of a trip as a present! Memories are so much better than things…

  3. Hi Charlie,
    This hotel looks gorgeous! Love their lagoon pool. But for a hotel of this calibre trying to extract money for anything and everything seems ridiculous. I don’t know why they do that, they always charge extra for the those fancy beds by the pool. I would love to use them too but not at that price.
    My daughter too loves hotel rooms and will not budge to go eat outside, she loves to just hang around in the hotel and order room service or eat in one of the restaurants there.
    Alfie is adorable and I am sure you get to hear that a lot. He seems to have had a great holiday.

  4. I can see, from the photos, why anyone, kid or adult, would enjoy a place like this hotel. But the prices seem ridiculously high to me and to charge for every little thing. You’re right. Definitely not encouraging tourism.

    I’ll have to ditto the comment above that Alfie is adorable.

  5. It sounds like it was an amazing birthday trip that he won’t forget. You are right about the extras.

  6. Sometimes, quality time is the best birthday present. Great post!

  7. Simply many good examples of resort pricing. Why do they do that? Because they can.

  8. What a fabulous birthday present!!!! He’s always going to remember this. Gorgeous pictures. And I always wonder why the bother charging for the cabanas by the pool – they are always empty.

  9. What an extraordinary birthday present idea! I must think about it next time I don’t know what to buy for some family members… The hotel looks great too.

  10. What a lovely way for father and son to bond over Alfie’s birthday. How can you count the cost of something like that?

  11. Wow, that does sound like gauging…that’s too bad, though. The pools look wonderful. Alfie is absolutely adorable. I do hope he had a splendid time away with Dad; and that you enjoyed your weekend off too (hopefully your other two kids made themselves scarce so Mum can relax!)

  12. Would you look at that hotel! Stunning. Sad that it is so darn expensive though but having Alfie say it the best place he had ever been to makes it all worth while. Happy Birthday Alfie.
    🙂 Mandy

  13. I think the best picture is Alfie laying on the bed gorging himself on tv and a movie. That shows how much he loved it. What a great present! My husband and I travel abroad because the US doesn’t have any cheap holidays anymore. Well, that is our excuse anyway. All inclusives don’t exist in the States.

  14. WOW! Seems so beautiful and happy. Great Birthday. Thank you dear Charlie, Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

  15. I’m with Rachel, the best picture is Alfie having his dinner on the bed. He is so cute!

  16. What a lovely, memory-making birthday present for Alfie. And the hotel sounds grand–and the lagoon pool so very lovely and a little different. Good choice in every way.

  17. What a gift!! But yes, sometimes I don’t understand this philosphy, if you don’t raise that much money in the day-beds why don’t you just let people have them for free?? You’ll make customers happy and they’ll come back and spend more money… I guess they have a different concept of business and customer service!!

  18. What a gorgeous pool though and a fantastic idea to have one on one time with his dad somewhere completely different. I quite liked those day beds, i think i might build myself one and RECLINE. I can even pay myself the 55 dollars or whatever it was!! c

  19. Great present which I am sure will be remembered for a very long time.
    Surprised that Marriott is trying such tactics. Charging for pool side beds while the pool is free. Its like having free use of the billiards table but paying for the stools if you want to sit:) And in room dining rates seem reasonable while breakfast seems bit less reasonable. Seems there was no bad service, which is worse than the pricing issue.

  20. I love that he stayed in for dinner and a DVD:) Beautiful photos – Have a Great Day!

  21. What a chique bithday for your son: expensive too! Lucky kid! 🙂

    The hotel & surroundings look cool & fab but pricy though! Waw!

  22. First, let me say that Alfie is absolutely adorable! And how fun for son and dad to go on their own little weekend? The pool looked like so much fun and I can only imagine how fun it was for Alfie to snorkel right there!!I took my son to Disneyland, just the two of us, for his 13th birthday. I couldn’t believe how much fun we had!

    I hear you about the hotel prices. My husband travels most weeks so when we travel long distance we are usually able to stay at a Marriot for free because he’s earned so many points. Our last trip to Hawaii was 9 nights free in the Kauai Marriot (except tax which I think was about $400). Had we not stayed for free, our piddly room overlooking the “laguna” style pool and ocean inlet would have cost us $495.00 a night. Craziness. And the breakfast buffet each morning cost us about $40.00. And let me just say, Kauai isn’t known for their 4 star restaurants.

    A couple of years prior to that we traveled with my husband’s entire family to Kauai and stayed in Bungalows RIGHT on the beach on the naval base. Absolutely gorgeous and secluded. Total amount? $800.00…. for 12 days. Did I mention we had our own two bedroom bungalow for that price? Huge kitchen, huge living room, queen bed, two single beds, washer and dryer, etc. I loved that the Navy was kind enough to make it affordable for people to come for a visit. There were 8 of us in all and because we didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg on accommodations, we were able to spend a pretty sum in the local towns buying Christmas gifts and trying out restaurants.

    Vegas charges for pool side “beds” as well. Shame on Marriot for trying such ridiculous tactics on their customers. Booo!

  23. For such a classy hotel it seems like tacky tactics to charge such huge amountsf for all little extras. I also hate paying a huge amount for a hotel room in Sydney, only to be charged another $50 bucks or so for the privilege of parking there.
    Glad the boys had such a lovely time together, much better than a camping trip! 🙂

  24. What a beautiful pool and place. But yikes! That really is gouging. Seems like when you pay what was paid for the room, you ought to be able to enjoy at least the amenities without paying more! Glad Alfie had a great birthday though.

  25. Judging by the photos it looks like Alfie had an amazing time!

    I know what you mean though. We were thinking of going up north to the Great Barrier Reef for our honeymoon but it was actually way more expensive than going to Thailand which is what we’re doing.

    I wonder if anyone has ever actually paid to lie on those daybeds. What a con!

  26. I agree with one of the commenters, sometimes quality time is the best. And that place just looks amazing. And that pool… yup I want to be in that pool right now lol

  27. That’s a great idea to give Alfie an experience like that instead of more gadgets…kids have too many! I love the photo of him sitting up in bed like a prince with his food all served up to him 🙂

  28. Ooh, what a pampering experience with the in-room movie and munchies. My kind of vacation. 😉

  29. Wow! Everything about the place is absolutely stunning! Unfortunately, that includes the prices – gouging if ever there was such a thing. Best part of it all is that Alfie didn’t “miss” anything. He had a fantastic birthday spent with his Dad, one that he’ll never forget. $55.00 for 2 hours? Yeah, right.

  30. wow! what a fun place to stay!

  31. We had a family holiday at the Surfer’s Marriot when our boys were around Alfie’s age. Our boys loved it too. One evening we rented an in house video and the following day the boys watched it several more times. We thought the hire covered 24 hours. It didn’t and were horrified when we saw our bill at check out. To their credit the hotel cut the bill back to a single hire. My husband and I stayed at the hotel last year when we attended a wedding on the coast. We weren’t told when we made the booking about the renovations in progress. A little disappointing to find out on arrival.

  32. It’s a shame when hotels are like that. It’s a very short sighted way to think 🙁

  33. Alfie will never forget this birthday! I love the picture of him eating in bed…with a DVD–heaven! The hotel, grounds and pool are really lovely and inviting, and I don’t now why they think they can exact such fees for amenities so many hotels just provide. Maybe they enjoy making their guests feel they are in exclusive settings. I probably was a bit expensive at times, but it was a one-of-a-kind experience, even if repeated again. Alfie will only be this age once! I loved reading this, and give you lots of credit for imagining such a special birthday for your sweet son. Debra

  34. Your boy looks so adorable, handsome little man I must say….
    You know Vegas is like that every hotel is into getting some more out of their clients… LOL
    Anyway I am glad he enjoyed his time with his Dad, thats what counts in the end right.

  35. the Lagoon Pool looks amazing…. i wouldnt mind a swim!

  36. The Gold Coast definitely does well with impressive hotels. These photos look amazing!

  37. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Trust a kid to want room service! Its a shame hotels try to get as much out of you as they can. It puts me off and is a bit tacky I feel. But is probably a sign of the times. Nice pool though!

  38. I love this idea for a birthday present! So much fun and wonderful bonding time. I think these memories will last a life-time. My daughter and I tried to start an annual mother-daughter trip but things get in the way as they often do! Great hotel, eh??!!

  39. What a beautiful place, lovely pictures, I would love to have the same for my birthdays present….just great!

  40. Oh that’s a great present and never thought a little kiddo like Alfie would enjoy himself so much ~ Hope my nephew who’s only 2 now will be willing to go on a weekend away with Mr Bao and me when he grows up hehe I totally agree that kids nowadays get too many gadgets and toys 😀 They need to get out more hehe How come you didn’t go Charlie 😀 You deserve a weekend away too!

  41. oh wow, that is one bday he wont forget… what a lovely idea 🙂

  42. What a really nice idea for a boy to go away with Dad. It looks really nice like all things Queensland however I don’t agree with the extra charges for everything. it is the privilege off the guest to be able to use the facilities …. or at least it used to be. I agree, that it doesn’t encourage us to holiday in Australia!

  43. Ha, we went to stay in some poncey hotel in Stockholm which had similar room-service and minibar prices. €4 for a tiny pack of potato chips from the minibar (we went around the corner to a small store and bought the same chips for €0.90!). We considered ordering some food from the room service menu but it’s outrageously expensive and really not worth it at all – bet it was a great present though – that pool looks awesome!

  44. What a fabulous birthday weekend for Alfie and Carl scored too. I think I might have to offer this to my kids, except I had better go and keep an eye on them 🙂 xxx

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