Very nice place for the price
Here’s a quick report on the Breakfree Portsea resort. We stayed there for 10 days in mid-July during the Australian (ACT) school holidays. FYI – we are a couple (early 50s) with a daughter aged 10.
Overall, we very much liked the place – it fit our needs perfectly.
-Nice very well designed pool area, with water falls, a slide, many comfortable lounge chairs and a pool snack bar/cocktail bar area. The pool area is better suited for kids aged say 5-15; younger kids would need to be closely watched (they could get over their heads) and older kids might get bored (though the beach is only a short walk on a pedestrian path away.
-At least for the one and two bedroom units, large pleasant balconies.
-Well appointed computer/internet room, exercise room (which I did not use) and tennis court.
-Breakfast is not included for everyone. It was alright – some good fresh fruit and pastries, a mix of cereal, and weak ordinary coffee or tea (if you like somewhat strong coffee, bring some instant to add on top).
-Our one bedroom unit was more of a pleasant, large studio - there was no separate bedroom. The TV had a VCR (not DVD) and the front desk had a selection of cassettes for rent. The one complaint we would have concerns the quality of the roll-in bed we received (free) for our daughter – it was clean but old and of low quality (foam mattress over saggy springs).
-As for rooms, as always there are better ones and worse ones. You pay a supplement for rooms overlooking the pool – they don’t face the main road (as a small number of the other ones do) but are nonetheless somewhat noisy, due to the waterfalls (which are turned off from about midnight to 6AM). For me, the bad rooms would be some of those on the ground floor both facing the pool and some facing outside (lack of privacy, no view), and the small number facing the road. Too, I think that the “hotel rooms” do not have balconies, making them much less interesting and enjoyable.
-On the whole, everything worked right – the whole place was well designed and very pleasant, the front desk workers were wonderful and very helpful (they can book most any tour…), and the complex was pretty well located – quick safe walk to the beach and a longer (12 minute by road) walk to the center of town or the marina. Yeah, there are certainly much nicer places around if you want to pay loads more (e.g., Sheraton), but given the price, location and all the rest, the Portsea is a very nice place.
-Nearby restaurants and services: There is a wine/beer/liquor shop located diagonally across the street (pretty good prices) and also some good nearby restaurants – we especially liked “Gone Bananas” – located about 50 meters past the liquor shop on the same side of the street, just past the Chinese restaurant (that we did not try). To buy food, you'll have to go to the center of town – Coles.
-In town, our favorite restaurants were the Watergate (not cheap but very nice in all ways – setup, service, food quality, etc.) and a pizzeria called something Jam on Macrossan Street – not the cheapest but very good quality food and drinks. We were less thrilled by Zinc (variable quality food and drinks) and the Salsa Grill (we had a very brusque and inattentive waitress - although I was since told that that was very atypical for the place, and the children’s pasta dish was the quality of unsweetened spaghetti-Os).
- For drinks, get early (4 PM?) to the On the inlet restaurant to watch the boats come in and (hopefully) catch a glance of the enormous groper fish that they feed at 5:30 PM. The Ironbar was also loads of fun, including the crazies who run the cane toad races.
-Trips: We visited the Great Barrier Reef – a “has to do” trip but remember your seasickness medicine especially in the windier winter; we did trip “B” with Tony’s tropical tours, run by Paul (an incredibly interesting and well informed younger guy – his one drawback is that he isn’t the most entertaining with young children), and the sunset Lady Douglas boat trip was surprisingly pleasant and interesting – probably the best deal around, considering the price. The Rainforest Habitat was also very interesting, for both parents and kids.
After reading some of the previous reviews, I was a bit worried about staying at this hotel (booked through our agent), particulary as we were on a 'holiday of a lifetime', tour of the world! We stayed for 3 nights.
When we arrived at the desk to check in (6am), I initially thought that all of my fears were going to come true. We arrived very tired after a night flight from Hong Kong to find that no-one is on reception from 10pm until 7am. We followed the instructions left by a telephone on the front desk, (dial 9 and speak to someone). We were assured that someone would be with us within 10 minutes. Well, it was a long 10 minutes, because no-one turned up until 7.05am and then we found them to be quite rude and in no rush at all!
Anyway, we finally checked in and were really pleased from then on! Our room was lovely, with a small view of the pool on the first floor. It was clean and spacious with everything we could need. We lay by the pool for the first day (to catch up on sleep) and we found a quiet, relaxing place quite easily. We did get bitten a few times, (in and outside the room) but we assumed that it was sand flies and we certainly didn't come across any ants or bedbugs!
The staff on for the remainder of the holiday were more than helpful, going out of their way to follow up late buses and taxi's etc. Breakfast was also included in our rate which was lovely, although I do advise going early (because of trips) if you want the full choice! We even managed to use the washing facilities there, which were reasonably priced and quick.
The hotel is fairly near Port Douglas itself (about a 10-15 minute walk), near the beach and has other facilities close by, such as a bottle shop and a pizza place. It is also ideally situated for tours of the Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest (which we did and loved).
I would stay at this hotel again as overall we did enjoy our stay, but only if I was sure that the 'lazy' attitude of the staff had been addressed. I'm not sure if I would be willing to recommend it to others!
Myself and my son stayed at this resort style hotel for 5 nights on a tour of Australia. We could have stayed much longer. The room was great with kitchen facilities and a large balcony. We had a view of the pool. The pool itself was large and the water was warm. There was always plenty of sunbeds. Breakfast was included and was very good with fruit and muffins.
The hotel is about 10 mins walk from the town and there is a regular bus service.
The staff were very friendly and helpful and knowledgeable about the area.
The nearby wildlife park is well worth a visit.
I would recommed anyone staying at this hotel and would definately stay there again.
We have just returned from our 2nd stay at the Portsea Resort and are already looking forward to returning again!!
It is excellent quality for money, the pool is great, the staff are friendly, and the rooms are bright and cheerful. Its only a short walk from the main street and is right next to the beach.
I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone travelling to Port Douglas, and especially to families - kids will love the pool, and parents can relax at the poolside bar/restaurant at the same time!
One of the best hotels during our trip to Austraila
This is a great holday hotel. We stayed for 4 night and wished we had more time.
The room was great - it had a seperate seating area, a kitchen and balcony. The pool was also welcomed after a hot day out and about. The breakfasts were great with lots of fresh fruit, just what you want in that heat. The staff were also wonderful and very helpful - they recommended a great local restaurant (the Banana something - worth a trip) and also helped us arranging day trips
The hotel location is great as it is within walking distance into Port Douglas centre, very close to the beach and ideal for discovering the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
We would definately stay again, as we had no issues particulary in terms of the cost of the room. The only thing we would change is we would be to go back for longer next time.
Not for young children
We booked here on our travel agents advice that the pool would be suitable for our 1 & 3 yr olds and we could walk into town easily. However,this is not the case. The main pool has some shallow edges but drops steeply and one of us continually had to hold our 1yr olds hands - not so relaxing.
I recommend against the south facing rooms which we were allocated.They get NO sun at all. Our bathroom smelt very damp although not a big deal for us. We apparently had a nonsmoking room but obviously the rooms had been smoked in and the smell was not good.But,didn't notice the smell so much after a couple of days.
Breakfasts there were great - no hot food but very refreshing fruits , cereals, and our kids loved the conveyor belt toast machine. The main eating area is outside the tennis court so the kids can play while we finished our breakfast.
The rooms do NOT have washing machines although there is an onsite laundry which costs $6 to wash/dry a single load.
I'd estimate 1/2 hour to walk into the main town area and we had 2 children so we drove most of the time. Although , the beach is just a short 5 minute walk.
We had one bad experience. On the day of our reef trip I'd left my bag containing $3000 of camera gear in the reception area. We were on the boat when I noticed the camera bag was missing so there was no time to go back and check. I called the resort reception and asked them to have a look for my bag but they said that they could find it. When we got back from the reef trip, lo and behold, my bag was sitting in the reception area in fairly plain site. The reception person really did not check very well at all and we worried all day for nothing. It was very annoying since I had described the exact spot to the person.
We would not have stayed at this place knowing what we know now. It is just not suitable for families with young children and our room was not sunny.
If we did not have children, and had a sunny north facing room then this place would have been OK. Then , possibly this place would get 4 stars.
Do not book through your travel agent either, better to do bookings online and you will save money too.
Honeymoon at The Portsea
We stayed at the Portsea in August - September 2005 for our honeymoon. This place has by far the best service we have experienced, and we normally stay 5 star. The staff at the front desk we so helpful and arranged an outing or daytrip for us each day. Breakfast is an added bonus as most hotels/resorts up in Port Douglas don't offer that in their rates.
The room itself was fully self contained (studio 1 bedroom apartment) and had a good size bed, sofa bed and spa in the bathroom, foxtel, also a very private large balcony with furniture.
We spent many hours lazing in the sun next to the pool and floating in the pool with cocktails. The beach is about a 2 minute walk and is always beautiful but no patrols at that point, is you are worried about safety, go further up to where the life guards are.
It was about a 20 minute walk into town and we often walked along the beach instead of the streets and it was a nicer walk.
Port Douglas itself is a very special spot and the whole town seem to have their own way of life!
We were very pleased we chose this resort, and are spending our 1 year wedding anniversary back there this year, 3 WEEKS TO GO!
I will post another review once I have returned.