I recently spent some time in Jindabyne, and stayed at Rydges Horizons Snowy Mountains Resort. We were put in a lovely ground floor room with a gorgeous view of the lake, number 305. One thing I’ve noticed about Rydges previously is that their customer service is fantastic, and this stay was no different. Unfortunately in the 9 days we were there, we had a number of issues, but a few staff did a great job at resolving them and making our stay as pleasant as possible regardless of the problems. If your bosses are reading this, Kyle, Danni and the night manager who’s name I unfortunately can’t remember were all excellent!
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and stayed through till the following Sunday morning. They had a promotion on at the time, book a standard studio apartment with breakfast and receive a free upgrade to a deluxe studio apartment. This is what we did. Unfortunately the resort was booked out for the last night we needed (Saturday night) when we booked. However, upon arrival the manager was very helpful and was able to shuffle some rooms around to allow us to not only stay that last night, but to stay in the same room.
Upon arrival, the room was clean and while it was a bit tired, it was overall very comfortable, pleasant, and had everything we needed. Upon entry, the bathroom was immediately off to the left followed by the bedroom nook and then on to the open kitchen/dining/living room.
The entry way is like a long hall and leads straight past the bed, so if you are expecting visitors, maybe close the curtains to the bedroom nook (no doubt that will pique their curiousity and they will try to sneak a peek anyway).
The Bathroom and Laundry
The bathroom is quite large, and in our room included a full size bath tub with shower over it.
It also includes a full laundry with washing machine and laundry tub, which is very helpful when you are there for a week or so like we were.
The amenities are the usual, Sanctum shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, bath lotion, soaps, vanity kit etc.
The only thing is, unlike most Rydges, Horizons is not serviced. That wasn’t a problem for us as we are happy either way, but I can say with some certainty that the shampoo etc won’t last a week, so if you are staying for a while, come prepared with your own. Alternatively, you can request a room service at $35 per servicing. Personally, I’d just go to Woolworths which is almost across the road (about a 5 minute walk) and buy some if I came up short.
While some rooms are disabled, ours was not. I did notice that the bath, while a fairly standard tub, still had a handy rail to assist getting in and out of the bath/shower if required.
As it doubles as a laundry, the bathroom also has a cupboard with a lot of important items if you are staying for a while.
Depending on your luck, it might be tidy. Ours looked like something had rummaged around in there for a while, knocked everything over and then left.
The contents in ours included:
- Bucket (Came in handy when our room leaked. Also handy when using the washing machine as it takes about an hour to fill the washing machine on it’s own with the tap turned right up)
- Ironing Board
- Clothes Horse
I don’t know if you spotted it in the photos or not, but I thought the towel rack placement was somewhat peculiar. Go back and see if you can spot it.
I didn’t actually take any photos of it, but it is actually hiding next to the washing machine, behind the bathroom door. This makes it both awkward to access towels if you have just washed your hands etc, and places them the furthest away from the bath/shower that they could possibly be while still being in the bathroom.
I understand though that there is not much free wall space around the bath itself, but perhaps a small rack above the toilet would make at least the towels currently in use a little more accessible without having to traipse water all over the bathroom if you forget to put your towel somewhere closer.
Besides that slight inconvenience (and the awfully slow to fill washing machine) the bathroom is overall very good and includes all you are likely to need for a longer stay.
The laundry sink tap is missing something kind of important. Can you tell what it is from the photo above?
It’s missing the little grommet that holds the top section of the tap in while still allowing it to rotate. The result is that with almost no pressure, this happens:
The top section separates from the rest of the tap. I discovered this while attempting to fill the bucket so that I could pour it into the washing machine and speed up the filling process. As you can see, the base section of the tap points upwards, so any water pressure pushes up against the top section. When you have water running with more than minimal pressure this results in a flying faucet and water being blasted straight at the ceiling. Suffice to say I had to hold the tap together in order to fill the bucket to pour into the washing machine so that it wouldn’t take an hour to fill. A series of unfortunate events perhaps, but if the tap was actually connected properly it might not have been such a series. I imagine not all rooms have this nifty ‘feature’. I wish I’d thought to mention this to staff at the time, but completely forgot about it.
The Bedroom Nook
Heading on down the hall brings you to the bedroom nook. I call it that because it doesn’t have a door. It’s just like an alcove off the hall. The king size bed just fits in length ways with room to pull across a set of heavy curtains. Closing the curtains makes it a very cosy and private feeling space. The curtains are also very effective at blocking light, so if you have the outside curtains closed as well, it’s almost dark in the bedroom nook during the day.
The bed is quite comfortable, but it is definitely not a Rydges Dream Bed. I didn’t notice when we booked, but I went and checked before writing this, Rydges does not actually promote the Horizons Snowy Mountains resort as having Dream Beds, so keep that in mind if that is one of the reasons you choose to stay at Rydges.
The other thing to note about the bed is that while it is a king size, it isn’t a true king. It is two singles pushed together, so there is a join down the middle that is quite hard. I’ve slept on a lot of king size beds done this way though, and this is definitely one of the least uncomfortable joins, but you will definitely notice it. I don’t know if all the rooms are like this, but I guess it gives them extra flexibility to make the rooms up as twin share if needed.
As the bedroom is quite small, storage is limited. We had a 4-drawer tallboy and a bag stand in addition to the bedside tables. We were staying for a while so we settled in and made use of these. There was enough room for our clothes for the week here so not a big issue. That said, we were here in Summer. If you are going in Winter and packing a lot of warm clothes for the cold weather, it might be a bit tight.
One thing that was a little disappointing was that we can see directly above the tall boy that a hole has been patched and painted over using a different colour of paint. There is also a TV antenna socket in the wall, so we assume that at some point there was a TV mounted on the wall here, allowing you to watch TV in bed. This is no longer the case though, you can’t see the TV at all from bed. A bit of an inconvenience sometimes, but overall, I’d prefer to be on the lounges during the day where I can see the view. So it’s just at night.
Overall, the bedroom was quite comfortable and I have no real issues with any aspect of it.
The Kitchen, Dining, and Living Area
At the end of the hall, past the bedroom nook is the open plan kitchen, dining and living area.
The kitchen is a full kitchen, including a full oven, stove, dishwasher, fridge and microwave. As rooms our independently owned, furnishings and appliances are likely to vary, but I noticed that our kitchen appliances are definitely heading towards the dated side. Nothing wrong with that though as long as they are maintained, clean and work as expected.
Starting at the right, there is a standalone cupboard. Don’t be fooled by this though, it isn’t a pantry. It’s actually your wardrobe, inside you will find extra pillows and blankets. It’s also the only hanging space if you have suits, shirts, pants, dresses etc that need to be stored hanging.
To the left, the dishwasher seemed to do a good job on the dishes, but it is getting a bit dated and would not seem to do a whole wash on it’s own. I may have been setting it wrong, but it seemed to stick halfway through particular points and you could come back to it the next morning and it won’t have moved. Turning it ever so slightly would get it on it’s way again though.
The kitchen was well stocked with cutlery, containers, pots, pans and so on, we did find it odd though that there didn’t seem to be any dishwashing detergent, despite there being dishcloths and tea towels. This meant the only option for washing dishes was the dishwasher. Fortunately there was plenty of dishwashing powder. Not a huge deal as most of our meals were elsewhere, but when there are just a few things to do it seems rather wasteful to put the dishwasher on.
The kitchen was also well stocked with assorted tea bags and relatively decent instant coffee.
We didn’t end up using the stove or oven, which brings us around to the fridge. Again, getting a bit dated but still seems to do the job fine. I would recommend next time the room is vacant though that it be defrosted. The freezer and fridge were not frosted up, but at some point someone has spilled water in the freezer, and the bottom of it is frozen solid. Somehow though this appears to be slowly melting and leaking out the front of the freezer door.
What this translated to was an icicle at the top of the fridge door as in the photo, and the top of the fridge door was constantly wet with water pooling in the handle. You also had to watch your step from time to time as it occasionally made it’s way to the floor as well.
On towards the dining area, the table is setup to seat 3 people, but if you move it away from the lounge and bring the 4th chair from in front of the TV you can easily have visitors over for a meal and seat 4. One thing that I also thought was a bit odd in the room layout here was the bin. I expected it to be under the sink since it wasn’t visible anywhere. It’s actually on the other side of the wardrobe, on the carpet, making it a bit awkward to get to, especially with a handful of food scraps. Also odd, the room phone is sitting on the ottoman that is beside the bin. You can just see the front of the ottoman in the photo above. I’d have expected this to be on the desk (that also has the TV on it). My guess is though that the phone or data socket required is not on that side of the room.
I spent a lot of time on the lounges since the desk itself was somewhat impractical to use with the TV in the middle of it. They are both very comfortable. One is a pull out sofa bed, the other is a normal lounge, but both can see out the window towards the lake and mountains, making for a great vantage point to view the sunrise and the sunset. The lounge positioning goes some way to explaining the odd positioning of other things in this room. They have been placed to give the best viewing plain and simple.
Compared to some rooms we have stayed in, the artwork is sparse, two paintings in the entire studio. Not a big deal to me, but it did mean that there were some spaces in the room that felt they needed something, even just to cover up marks (such as the one where the TV used to be opposite the bed).
There are heavy curtains across the sliding door and windows to the patio, which are very effective at blocking out light if you like sleeping in. I was a bit confused about the light switch in the corner though. It didn’t seem to do anything. I’m not sure if there is a blown globe outside or if there is even meant to be a light outside. Not sure on that one.
The TV is an average size one from a cheaper brand (Palsonic), but it is modern and works fine, so no issue for us. The only thing that was a bit odd is the desk function. The TV is in the way of it. If the TV were off to the right it would not be a problem, but then if the desk isn’t being used as a desk it would leave the TV off to one side being asymmetrical, so I get the dilemma here.
The Patio and the View
This is what these rooms are all about!
The patio is equipped with a typical outdoor table and chairs, again 3 chairs. The reason for 3 chairs everywhere is because the sofa bed gives the room a maximum capacity of 3.
It is a comfortable size patio with room to move, unlike some of the cozy ones you can get. You can’t get accommodation much closer to the lake though except to camp. I got some beautiful sunrise and sunset photos from here, and everyday the ducks wander past in the afternoon as they graze. Tbey are wary of you, but for the most part will ignore you if you stay still.
It’s worth noting as well that the patio has no roof, so if it’s bad weather, you have to brave it, or enjoy it from inside.
While our stay overall was pleasant and we were happy, we had a few problems that compounded from halfway through our stay to unfortunately diminish our overall view of the resort.
On Wednesday, approximately halfway through our stay, it rained on and off for a while as it tends to do in Jindabyne and at one point absolutely bucketed down.
Problem #1 – The Leak
We discovered a leak in the corner of the room directly above the power socket and power board that the TV is plugged into and quite literally. Upon realising this I carefully switched the power off and moved the power board, but really I should have alerted someone to this dangerous electrical hazard first and had someone from staff handle it.
Once I setup the bucket to catch as much of the water as I could, I went to let the manager know. The night manager had just started at the time and she was very helpful. She immediately offered us the option of moving to another room, or staying in the same room and their maintenance person would look at it the next day. We were pretty settled by this point, and it was going to require a fair bit of effort to move rooms, so we decided to stay. Given this, the manager hunted down a power cable and power board so that we could plug the TV in from a different power point.
The following day, the maintenance person had a look at it. I was a bit disappointed with the response though. The response we received was that our room had never leaked before and was not considered a ‘wet room’. Apparently these are rooms that they know leak but that they can’t fix. So they know when it rains to expect to need to move people from these rooms. A quick look at the roof beam where the leak was coming through though makes it pretty plain that this room leaks all the time. If they don’t know about it it’s purely because it’s never been reported before or it’s always happened when the room has been empty.
The wood is obviously swollen, cracked and split and has been for some time. There were also water stain marks down the wall. I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ve had a leaky roof before, and from the looks of this one, I’d say it’s been leaking here for ages. So unfortunately we felt lied to about this, but I doubt it was intentional. Like I said, I’d say it’s just not been reported or has been when the room has been empty.
The night manager spent the rest of the week trying to come up with something to do for us. Initially offering us a free bottle of wine, but we don’t drink so we had to decline.
On one of the last evenings we decided to order some pizza’s from McEvoy’s restaurant, the restaurant on site, as they had a deal on, at 2 for $26 (normally $22 each) and we knew we would need something extra for the following day, so the extra pizza wouldn’t hurt to have.
Now, room service is not available, any in room dining has to be picked up from Squires bar, so I decided to order there and check the place out some more while I waited. I was told it would be about 20 minutes and I used my voucher for a free drink to get a glass of Fanta while I waited.
The night manager bumped into me after I had ordered and offered to give us our dinner for free due to the leaky roof. I accepted, but I wish we had decided to have something a bit more expensive. Nevertheless, this was a nice gesture and definitely appreciated.
Problem #2 – Food Service Time
Unfortunately it went downhill from there. After waiting for 70 minutes for 2 pizzas and running out of different lounges to try in the fireside lounge, I decided to ask what was going on. Yes, the restaurant seemed reasonably busy, but still, 70 minutes for 2 pizzas is beyond a joke. If we were paying for the food I would have left and eaten somewhere else about 30 minutes earlier. If you ever happen to be stuck waiting for your food though, the fireside lounge is a lovely spot to relax and hopefully reduce the gnawing grumblings of your stomach:
Upon checking with Kyle at the bar about the status of our dinner he discovered that the kitchen had not only not brought it out, they hadn’t even started it yet. If by some chance we had gotten to this point and hadn’t already left without paying, I definitely would have now. But, at least it was free right? We just had to have a leak in our roof to get it.
When you are left for 70 minutes wondering where you free meal is though, your mind starts to wonder how important it is. Or is the fact that it’s free mean it’s been pushed right to the back, marked low priority. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it certainly doesn’t look good.
Nevertheless, Kyle returned and let me know it would be another 20 minutes, bringing the total wait for 2 pizzas to 90 minutes, assuming they were going to be on time this time. Kyle, the legend that he is, was extremely apologetic and offered to bring it down to us when it was ready despite the fact they don’t offer that service and he was the only pour soul on at the bar. I definitely appreciated that!
In the end, the pizza was good, but unfortunately not good enough to merit a 90 minute wait for it. Fortunately it was free anyway so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.
The next morning at breakfast Kyle was on again (I hope they let him go home and have a nap at some point that night). He made a hot chocolate for Tammy and a cappuccino for me on the house as way of apology for the dinner drama the night before which was nice of him and again much appreciated.
Problem #3 – The Unanswered Phones
Despite our lacklustre dinner experience the night before, we wanted to give them another chance. We learned our lesson though, just order from your room and go pick it up.
I called the first number listed and waited for 2 ad breaks and 1 movie slot (totalling somewhere around 10 minutes) while the phone just rang without answer.
I thought that was odd.
Tried the second number. The same thing.
I think there was a wedding reception being held that night, but nevertheless if they aren’t serving dinner to their guests, it would at least be nice to have someone pick up the phone and let us know.
Suffice to say we couldn’t be bothered with another 90 minute wait after already spending somewhere around 20 minutes waiting for someone to answer a phone. We went elsewhere for dinner.
Problem #4 – The Wifi
This isn’t a major problem, and is largely outweighed by the fact that the wifi is provided free and is very easy to connect to. This is actually one of the reasons we chose Rydges.
The problem though is that the wifi, despite having full signal strength in the entire unit only seemed to work properly in the lounge/dining/kitchen area. If you went into the bedroom the speed dropped to barely usable if you kept the device near the end of the bed where the hall is. If you had it at the other end where you might sit then you can expect nothing to load at all.
A minor inconvenience really, but on top of everything else just adds to the disappointment bubble.
Problem #5 – The Checkout
As PGR members we have a checkout time of 1pm instead of the normal 10am.
At 11am we had someone at the door wanting to make the room up.
Fortunately we were almost packed and ready to leave anyway, but it felt like after spending 9 nights there with a leaky roof (which leaked again every time it rained on the remaining days we were there) and then all the other problems, we were just being hounded out the door. We felt that in spite of the problems we were very patient and overall good customers. Yet, we were being chased out before our checkout time. I’m sure that wasn’t the intent. More likely the person making up the rooms just didn’t know our checkout time was 1pm. But these things create impressions, and in the moment it makes you feel the way it makes you feel and by the time you think about the logical reason, the damage is already done.
It’s just unfortunate that when you add up the math, our stay really was pretty bad.
Leaky room = Free $26 dinner
Terribly late dinner = Would not have waited that long for it if we were paying for it, thereby cancelling out the fact that it’s free = Free cappuccino and hot chocolate
Leaky room = Free cappuccino and hot chocolate + no dinner the next night.
Add that to the leaky fridge, the exploding laundry tap and the never-ending dishwasher = A bit disappointing really.
We were very impressed with the willingness of staff to help out and to assist us, especially when they knew there were problems. I can’t fault their desire to help and willingness to go above and beyond at all.
The room was a good room, everything was comfortable, and it was well equipped for long stays. The kitchen is dated though and needs a refurbish. The room also needs some maintenance. That said it is well insulated, so when it is hot outside it’s cool inside, and when it gets cold outside the room stays warm inside. Just what you want in a place as variably cold and hot as Jindabyne!
If memory serves, it’s only recently that Horizon’s has begun trading as part of the Rydges group and was previously independent, so the building is an older building that was no doubt setup differently previously (hence the marks where the TV used to be). This also explains the odd arrangements of things in the room. It may be that some things such as the laundry tap are leftovers from this time as well.
The view is fantastic.
The buffet breakfast is excellent, it is missing a few small things from the Rise buffet that you would find in a more major centre like Sydney or Canberra, but most things were there and it was prepared very well. I can’t complain about it at all. I’ll be writing up another blog on our food experience soon with photos, so that post will go into more detail on this.
The free wifi is great and faster than I expected for a regional area. Not fast enough to receive my work VOIP calls on, but fast enough to get my work done with no complaints. It’s a pity that the signal is terrible in the bedroom, but I guess for most uses it would be in the living area where it is perfectly fine.
Don’t bother with getting in room dining though if our experience is anything to go buy. Go across the road or a couple of blocks down and get something from one of the other restaurants. I’d like to say restaurant dining is a better experience but we didn’t get to try that in the end, so hopefully it actually is better. It’s meant to be one of the best restaurants in Jindabyne.
Would we stay there again? Yes, we would. We are actually looking into one of the units as an investment. We love the location, the staff and the food (when we could get it).
I guess it would still warrant a 4 star rating on the usual accommodation rating scales, but on overall experience I’d probably give it a 6/10 purely because of the fantastic staff. If they weren’t so awesome it’d pull down to a 4/10 and I would probably second guess going back in the future.
I’d say in spite of all that, it is probably still one of the best places to stay within Jindabyne itself (disclaimer: I haven’t stayed at every place in Jindabyne, just a few places), and while it is a bit more pricey than some of the other places, you can expect it to be a lot cheaper than staying at the Novotel at Lake Crackenback out towards Thredbo. It’s also much more conveniently located than the Novotel (unless you are there for Thredbo). By the same token though, we have stayed at Lake Crackenback and the quality of the rooms and maintenance is much higher. The point I’d like to make though is that for a room that costs double at Crackenback what it does at Rydges Horizons, our electronic keys didn’t work. Not fun when you arrive at 11pm and there is not a lot of light (also not what you want on your wedding night). So no matter how much you pay or what the occasion there always seems to be a probability of some kind of problem, so I find we have to take every drama with a grain of salt and look at it from the other side.