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I just couldn’t bear to buy any more electronic gadgets that are far too expensive with the technology only to be superseded a few months post purchase.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.
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.
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.
But for Alfie, it was a great birthday present and a precious and memorable time away with his dad.
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