Monday, April 9, 2018

Hotel Review: Wyndham Ramada Shoal Bay Resort

Photo from Wyndham Hotels website
Before I begin with the actual review of Ramada Shoal Bay Resort, just a not-so-brief intro:

Beginning of April marked the start of my official housewife life being on maternity leave. I spent the first week catching up with the tasks of clearing up the mess that had accumulated in the house - piles of clothes for folding, greasy stove, messy tall boys. It kept me busy which was good and satisfying at the same time because the house is starting to look and feel more cosy now. Just in time for the baby's arrival. 

One morning while I was taking my coffee break, I got a call from Wyndham Hotels offering us a promo at Ramada Shoal Bay. The offer sounded great. $189, 2 nights for One-Bedroom Deluxe Waterview which could accommodate 2 adults and 2 children aged under 12 was cheap enough. But the greatest deal was that we'd get a $100 Coles/Myer card or $100 worth of voucher we could use for consumables in the hotel. So effectively, we will only be paying $89. We just needed to attend a 90-minute presentation at the location while the kids are minded by their staff at a creche. There were no obligations required either. What luck! I've been wanting to take the kids out before the baby comes as an early wedding anniversary celebration for the family.

During that week though, I would be 37 weeks into my pregnancy. I went into a lot of forums to see what other moms would do. Is it safe to do long drives at 37 weeks? Shoal Bay is 3 hours away from us. Some moms were fine but most were cautious. But ultimately, during my check up last Friday, I was discouraged by my doctor to go. It is not normally advisable to travel longer than 1.5 hours around this time. In saying that, my pregnancy is not really high-risk but I did have a history of pre-term as my first daughter was born around 36 weeks. Besides, I do feel heavy now and exhausted especially from afternoon onwards. I've been having lots of Braxton hicks and the baby's movements are so painful. Sadly, I had to turn down the offer :(

The offer was part of their promotion to guests who have recently spent holidays with Wyndham hotels. Back in early December 2017, I booked a holiday for the whole family after months of a horrible ordeal with the first trimester morning sickness. The girls needed a time out too and I wanted to finally spend quality time with them all after I felt better. 

My friend Dax was the one who recommended the Ramada Shoal Bay Resort to me. In Groupon, they were offering a discounted price of $229 for same nights and room. The deal was more than 50% savings compared to normal booking however it covered certain dates only. We were flexible with the schedules anyway so that wasn't really a problem. In fact the dates we got were perfect because the resort wasn't very crowded at that time.

The experience

Ramada resort did not disappoint. Reception was very nice and checking in was quick. They even give guests complimentary wine at the check in counter. Not that we drink but it was a very gracious gesture. Parking wasn't a hassle either as they have a spot allotted for each room. 

When we went into the apartment the girls were very excited. It was very clean and spacious with a balcony that overlooks the beach. The kitchenette has complete amenities: fridge, stove, oven and microwave. The cupboards have plates, utensils and cooking pans so it's really convenient for families like us who prefer to cook our own food. There's a few dining onsite too for those who can't be bothered cooking. 




The combined lounge and dining has a very minimalistic approach with one couch, a small dining table for 4 and a TV unit. The carpet was quite clean and when we were not outside, the girls would rather play with their toys on the lounge or on the balcony. 




Side note: Meanwhile my friend at work told me it was pouring in Parramatta while we enjoy the sun in Shoal Bay hehe


The balcony has a table and 2 chairs and a clothesline where we dried the clothes out and still has space for moving about. The hotel has a common laundry services for a fee but we didn't need this as we had brought enough clothes for the short stay.

On our 2nd day, we went to the beach after breakfast. From the hotel, there are several access routes that stretch from the front of the resort and farther up. We went farther up so we took the car. The beach was okay that day there was hardly anyone. I was quite scared of the waves though as they were very strong. Nilo kept watch but I still had to remind the girls to stay close to the shore. 


We stayed only for a bit as the waves were tiring and the sun was getting too hot. Before noon, we went back to the resort and tried the indoor pool. It was empty when the girls went swimming but the water was too cold they didn't like it. There were 3 spas beside the pool too. We tried them all but I couldn't go on one because it the temperature was too hot for pregnant women.


Adjacent to the indoor pool, there is a ramp that leads to the outdoor one. We let the kids had a few more minutes splashing on the kiddie pool while dear and I sat on the loungers scattered on the sides.


After a tiring day of swimming and exploring the area, we headed back to the room for lunch and relaxing. The kids played with their gadgets and toys. Wifi was the best! Never had a problem with connection during our stay even when all 4 of us were using it at the same time.

In the evenings, the girls soaked in the bath with fizzers before bed time. The bedroom has a sizeable king bed but Dear and I decided to sleep on the lounge on the 2nd night so the girls could stay up and be noisy to their heart's content while we sleep in peace. The excitement kept them up late hehehe.

Location

Although Shoal Bay is almost at the tip of the peninsula, the nearest Town Centre was  just a short 12-minute drive away from the resort. Salamander Bay Shopping Centre has got the 3 big Supermarkets: Aldi, Coles and Woolworths. It's also got Target and our favourite Kmart :)

Top: Demi going nuts over Pusheen hehehe
Bottom: Nice giveaway mugs at Target :)

Amenities 

When we go on holidays, our main concerns are usually cleanliness, space and wifi. I'd say Ramada Shoal Bay Resort excelled in all 3 among all the other accommodations we have tried before.

After our brief short stay, we went to Newcastle and stayed overnight at Jesmond Executive Villa. I shall be writing about this one on another post though. 

Overall, Ramada Shoal Bay Resort has been the best we've tried. The beach itself wasn't the best I would recommend as I don't find it too child friendly as described above. Nevertheless, I would like to go back there if given the chance again, this time around with the newest addition to our family, Darla Jenn :)


At that time my bump was just growing and my dear husband won't even let me lift a finger ❤❤❤

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