An ok stay - but a fair few problems along the way
We stayed at the Mercure Harbourside, Cairns for 10 nights in July ’07, as a base for exploring Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef as part of our around-the-world trip.
The hotel is about 15 minutes taxi ride from the airport. When we arrived at the hotel, check-in was prompt and easy and we then headed to our room. The rooms are fairly comfortable with TV’s, kettle, fridge, in-room safe etc. The décor of the standard rooms seemed to vary depending which of the 2 buildings you were in.
The hotel itself is located about a 20 minute walk along the esplanade to the harbour. The hotel also provides a complimentary shuttle bus every hour which goes from the hotel to a designated stop. The good thing about this service was that if the bus was full, unlike many hotels, the bus would come back and do another trip to make sure everyone who wanted to use the bus that hour, could.
However, I did have a few problems along the way. Firstly, the room is fitted with air-conditioning and a thermostat. In the hotel welcome pack, it clearly says the temperature is adjustable. It’s not. The air-con simply blows freezing cold. Great in the middle of summer – we visited in mid-winter when sometimes it needed a bit of heat, especially as the room we had (mountain view) gets no sunlight.
Secondly, the internet. The hotel has 2 types of connection, cable (provided in room) or Wi-Fi. The Wi-fi is cheaper then the cabled connection, however the signal is rubbish. The signal in the room was so poor I could not use what I had paid for (you pre-pay via credit card online to the provider), so reception told me to use the laptop in the lobby where the signal was excellent. The signal was excellent, but it still disconnects every 5 minutes…not very good when every time your in the middle of internet banking, the connection dies!
The cable connection is not much better and seriously overcharged us (you pay by the minute). In both cases, the hotel took no responsibility for the internet, saying I had to contact the service providers. I did. They told me the hotel should sort it. Eventually the service provider called the hotel on my behalf and suddenly the hotel could help and credited back some money. Luckily I tried to sort this the night prior to check-out. Had I only discovered we had been overcharged at time of check-out, we would not have had time to contact the service provider and been ripped off.
The in-room safes batteries died one day, meaning I had to contact reception to get someone to open it for us. They came…an hour later.
Housekeeping never washed the glasses / cutlery provided in the room. If you used the glasses after they had been ‘cleaned’, you could still smell the last drink to have been in them.
The bathroom had no ventilation, only a broken extractor fan, and every time you used the shower, the bathroom would be full of condensation for hours.
The shower also sprayed more water on the floor, then it did on us. The shower head was very poor and every time the shower was used, there was a giant puddle on the floor.
All-in-all, an ok hotel. It’s location is ok, but for not much more money you can stay in a far nicer hotel closer to the action. It’s comfortable, but the staff are simply no help if you have any problems. We booked via lastminute, who rate this property as 4*. It’s not. Clearly a 3*, made to look like a 2* in comparison to other 3*’s I have stayed in around the world.
Great hotel, but participates in DCC
As far as the hotel itself:
Very nice room for an outstanding price. They even gave us the very best room they had even though we are no one special. The employees were quite knowledgeable about the area & GBR tours.
The problem I had with this hotel, and reason I cannot give it an Excellent review, is that they participate in “dynamic currency conversion” (DCC). I would recommend that anyone reading this check for DCC information on the internet. One great article on this: [--]
The DCC is offered as a “service” so that credit card payment is converted to your local country currency at the point of sale. You will see the fine print at the bottom of your receipt. However, this will likely give a less favorable exchange rate to the consumer than your own credit card company would. As the system there was “new”, an additional problem is that employees may not understand exactly how it works. Upon payment, I was not even asked by the hotel whether to accept the currency conversion rate. I then forced them to back out the transaction, re-run it and NOT accept the rate. I was even told flat-out by the hotel that their bank would give a better exchange rate than my credit card. In my situation, this was provably false. This is the first hotel I’ve encountered using DCC, but I’m sure it’s becoming more & more common. So please research when paying via credit card in a foreign currency.
I wrote a letter to the manager of this hotel asking him to please review their policy on this. Let’s see if that works.
I traveled to Cairns from Los Angeles specifically to earn my Open Water Diver Certification. I had many hotels to choose from, and I am completely happy with my decision to stay at the Mercure Harbourside. Every staff member I came in contact with was friendly, knowledgeable, and very service oriented (especially the porters and shuttle drivers.)
The hotel room was very large and well stocked with coffee (this is very important to me as I am a caffeine addict by my own admission!) The bed was comfortable and no joke, each morning there was a view of a rainbow outside of my balcony. I am so happy I chose the Mercure Harbourside for my extended stay in Cairns.
This is truly a first-rate hotel accommodation with genuinely friendly service. I will definitely stay here next year when I travel back to Cairns for more certified dives in 2007.
while the hotel wont be winning any awards it is a well run friendly establishment with a nice pool area and a good atmosphere.
staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the rooms are fine. its a little out of the way but there is a regular shuttle bus which runs till around 11 or 12 at nite.
we werent so impressed with the restaurant menu..it seemed a little over complicated for such down to earth place and as such we chose to eat out. the bar snacks were lovely however.
all in all the hotel was good...nothing spectacular....and a little away from main town area...but good
This was a very nice hotel. The rooms were nice and spacious with an amazing view. We had a mountain view but could still see a lot of the harbour. I also wanted to comment on the helpfulness of the staff. There was one man in particular at the front desk who was especially friendly and helpful. The hotel has a shuttle service that will take you and pick you up from town on the hour, and this employee came and picked us up extra late when it was just the two of us. He also helped us find the best deal on rental cars. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone.
loved the 180 degree view1
Just a quick 4 day break from Sydney and we enjoyed our stay. In 05 when in cairns we stayed right in the city but this hotel location was pretty good considering the distance.. The shuttle bus is a great service and the driver Ben was a great guy to have a chat to.. always full of handy information.. The bus was on time but sometimes had to take 2loads of passengers in..
The room at first smelt a bit mustly, we had to buy an air freshner for it but we had the balcony opened most times. The bed was 2 pushed together and one was higher than the other but didnt bother us so much.. the bathroom looked new but the shower felt more like a light mist..
Our room was connecting although it was just the 2 of us. was quite annoying because u could hear the other people's conversation. another thing when we came back from a whole day we returned to find that our door was not shut properly! I was furious! I did let the staff know straight away, who knew how long it was like that for.. we got in about 8pm. luckily i lock my bags and belongings in my suitcase always..
My boyfriend and I are 21 and we found that we were probably the youngest people there.. I think the hotel is more suited for over 35's. but if your after nightlife, you got to stay in they city.
Overall though we did have a good time, couple of good restaurants just a short walk away.. Staff were great, helpful and friendly..
Nice hotel, but a little far from the action
The hotel was nice, but very basic. The staff was friendly and helpful, but the hotel was further away from the center of the esplanade than I expected.. you do have a nice view of the ocean, but you are about a 20-30 min walk from the action.
This was an excellent, well valued hotel in Cairns. The front desk was very friendly and helpful. The rooms were spacious with a beautiful balcony and view.
We booked the hotel with breakfast and it was very good. A good selection of both hot and cold foods.
We also ate dinner at the hotel resturant one evening and the food was wonderful.
I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone looking to say in Cairns. Only thing to note is that it is a good 20-30 minute walk to the main habour and eating/shopping/ clubbing area.
Not Much Better than the Others
I visit Cairns 1-2 times per year for business reasons, along with many other Asia-Pacific destinations. I moved to the Mercure from another hotel in the CBD that was clearly substandard.
The Mercure Harborside wasn't much better. Despite being the off-season, staff always seem "too busy" to actually deal with the guests. Rooms were musty and dingy. For some reason most of the hotels in Cairns don't seem to have staff that know how to clean a room properly, and they need some kind of real deep cleaning not just a cursory wipe around.
For those considering this hotel, note that the name of this hotel is completely inaccurate - it's about the FARTHEST hotel from the Harbor that you can get and still be in Cairns CBD!
The amusing story was that this hotel manager was on the front of the local newspaper, claiming that his hotel was suffering from a downturn, mostly in Japanese tourists, and insisting that the local community book "weekends" in the hotel to help them out. I've been in many local resident's homes, and all of them are cleaner, neater, and smell better than this musty old hotel. Why would they exchange their homes for this hotel?