More about Rydges on Swanston Melbourne
Good Hotel for the business traveller
I have been staying at the Rydges Swanston several times recently for business so thought it is probably about time I write a review, though I will refer mostly to my most recent experience.
The hotel looks like there has been substantial renovations as the foyer area and restaurant appear to have been recently restored. The check in staff are quite young and friendly enough but a little on the casual side, as a business traveller I don't expect the front office staff to say "how ya goin'?" to me when I am checking in.
My biggest gripe about this hotel is the lift. Whilst the hotel itself has been updated the lift has not and is VERY slow. If you are only one or two floors up and don't have a lot of baggage I would recommend taking the stairs, it will be quicker!
The rooms are nicely decorated, and it is great that they have recently allowed Priority Guests to have free internet access, as this was previously done on a ticket-pay system which was frankly a big pain! Good to see that has been addressed.
The bathrooms are very small and do not have a window. My bathroom this time was pretty grotty. The sealant around the shower was very mouldy and appeared unsightly. The shower head itself sprayed a lot of water around the bath, in all different directions - the shower head itself could do with a good clean!
All of the rooms I have stayed in at this hotel connect with the one next door. I always check the connecting door and this time found the door on my side and my neighbour's side unlocked - not very good for security! I called hotel staff and someone came right up to lock it, but this is something that should be part of a routine check.
The TV remote also had batteries that needed replacing, but another call to the hotel staff rectified that pretty quickly.
The restaurant downstairs serves a delicious buffet breakfast and also offers a good selection of dining for dinner. The location of this hotel is close to Lygon St so if you don't want to eat at the hotel there are PLENTY of restaurants nearby!
Checking out was easy enough, again the very relaxed demeanour of the staff was a bit off putting - it may be ok for a leisure traveller but when I'm travelling for business I expect the staff to be efficient, polished, friendly and professional. The staff I dealt with were not particularly engaging or warm.
There is no problems leaving your baggage for storage at the hotel until you check out, however I recommend you check out early-ish as after around 7am it can get pretty busy at reception.
Overall a nice hotel for the business traveller.
Where is the renovation everyone is mentioning?
A friend and I have just returned from a fantastic trip to Melbourne and we very excited by the prospect of staying at this hotel due to the photos shown on its web page. I like to give praise where it's due but it really isn't due here.
The good things were the very good location in Swanston Street with a tram almost on your door; closeness to Lygon Street; fantastically hot shower; and a very quiet room
The bad things generally: Although the reviews say the foyer has been upgraded, the furniture is terribly old and tired, there are holes in the pillars of the reception desk and no covers on the power points; the actual reception desk is very old and the skirting boards in the foyer are missing in places. I've worked in the building industry and this doesn't seem refurbished to me. The lift is 'knocked around' for want of a better term.
The bad things about our room: We booked a queen twin room and the size of the room was that of a normal room but with 2 large beds squeezed into it. The aircon (an oldish unit) was on the wall facing one of these beds and blew a cold breeze directly onto my friend who opted for that bed. The TV picture kept disappearing every time we opened the cupboard on which it sat. We checked to see if there were loose wires but it wasn't that. There was a DVD player and when we asked at the front desk we were given a shoe box of about 10 very old DVDs most of which are years old. The grout in the white tiles in the bathroom was generally grey - some of the bathroom was quite old in fact. The clock on the clock radio didn't work and worst of all the basin in the bathroom threatened to fall out on our feet each time we used it. It was quite dangerous really because the basin was very heavy.
The staff were pleasant enough and tried to be helpful but the hotel severely let them down.
overall I was disapointed.... not a great choice for a special occasion
We booked a number of rooms (of different types including the most expensive suite) for a number of nights as part of our wedding.
Despite booking a number of rooms for 2 nights I was only offered the standard VIP discount I was already entitled to. Many other hotels we enquired with offered group booking discounts, but in the end we stuck with Rydges on Swanston for two reasons. I am a VIP member of the Rydges chain (loyalty) and secondly for the location of the hotel- which is indeed excellent and suited our needs (close to hair/makeup for wedding).
Check In was a disaster as none of the rooms were ready despite it being after the designated check in time. This was acknowledged by the supervisor who offered the poor groom a coffee to compensate for the lengthy wait while the rooms were made up.
We booked the Queen Spa as our honeymoon suite. This was a lovely room and should be the standard for all queen rooms at Rydges on Swanston (obviously without the spa), as this is the standard at all the other Rydges I have stayed at. The spa was lovely to come back to after our big day. The room was spacious and well appointed without being over the top.
We used a Executive Twin Queen room the night before the wedding for the bridesmaids. This room was extremely dated and tired. The bathroom was in desperate need of renovation and overall quite frankly was an embarrassment for the price. This room was to be used by different guests on the second nights and was not serviced (at all) despite a special request being placed and the situation explained. When queried why the room was not serviced, the comment was that was standard practice and they didn't have staff to accomodate such requests.
We booked Executive queen rooms which were adequate, but also tired and dated for some of our guests- "spend the extra and get a 'renovated' spa suite or stay elsewhere" was the comment received from them
On the upside the Buffet breakfast on both days was fantastic (9/10) and the complimentary parking was excellent. Checkout was simple (although I only received 10 vip points for all the rooms I booked and paid for).
But overall I was disapointed in my choice particularly for such an important event. Our overall impression was of serious staffing issue (attitude, maintenance, housekeeping). Staff didn't seem overly interested in my special day (with the exception of the supervisor on the first day) and the rooms for my guests were a let down.
This experience has not changed my opinion of the Rydges chain, but I would not recommend this hotel unless you stayed in the most expensive suite and only then if you could get a great package deal to include breakfast.
Great location, usually really good service but this time was awful!
We have stayed at this hotel many times in the past and it is usually a very convenient location and the staff are great. The hotel is about 1 to 2 blocks walk to Lygon st and about 15 minutes walk into the centre of Melbourne. There is a tram stop very close by and it also has free parking.
However... on our last stay, we tried to book on the Rydges website as we have a Priority Guest pass (it is free to join and gives instant discounts on their rooms) and the only way to save is to book on their website.
The website was not taking bookings, as the site was unavailable at that time. The website then listed some phone numbers so you can book with them. When we called the phone number, we were told we could not get our discount as we were booking over the phone. I explained that the website was down and it referred us to ring and after a lot of explaining, finally was able to book with the discounted rates.
We had booked a Spa Suite which are usually lovely and very newly renovated. They provided a separate alcove for the bedroom and have lovely bathrooms and quite a large spa. The toilet is also separate from the bathroom. All together, a very nice room. If you are looking for a lovely weekend away, then a spa suite is the nicest option. We have stayed at this hotel quite a few times and the queen or king rooms have been renovated but the bathrooms are very old and run-down.
When I had my shower, the bathroom started flooding. We didn;t have time to call anyone as I was standing in the shower dripping wet, so my husband had to clean the drain so that the bathroom didn;t flood the whole room.
When we explained this to reception, they were not in the least perturbed by what had occurred and were just more concerned that the drain needed cleaning. We explained that we had cleaned it as the whole room was about to flood. There was no offer to discount our room, even though we had paid quite a lot of money .
We then decided to use the spa. The spa had not been cleaned properly and had pubic hair sitting in it. Disgusting!
The next morning when we went to check out, we explained all the drama's that had occurred and reception offered to take $10 off the room. After I queried $10, they then decided to take $50 off the room (considering we had paid over $500 for two nights).
But the drama did not stop there! When we got home we noticed on our credit card that we had a $25 charge from the hotel. We rang to find out what had occurred and they had charged us for a bottle of wine we had not had. They promised to refund the charge immediately.
One week had gone by and the charge was still not refunded. I rang and requested the duty manager who finally refunded the wine charge.
All in all, it was a horrible stay from a hotel that usually prides itself on exceptional customer service. The location is great and the newly renovated rooms are lovely, so we are booked again for February and hoping it has improved back to its usual great standard.
Very very disappointed!
If only I had thought to read some reviews on this hotel before I booked!! The Wotif website says 4 1/2 stars, as does the side of the bvuilding, but NO WAY!! I give it 2 1/2 at most!
I booked on-line from overseas and I seem to have paid much more than the general going rate for a 'standard room' at this hotel. If I look on line on the Rydes web site today, the 'best available' price is between $169 & $199 (bearing in mind that the tennis open is still on this week) where as I was charged over $250 per night for a standard room.
The decor was dark & dingy, there was no art work on any walls, our room was small with badly plastered walls (no renovation here!!), mould in the shower box, the tea/coffee provided 3 no-name tea bags & maybe 5 no-name coffees - it doesn't cut it if you're saying 4 1/2 stars. At least give some Earl Grey and Morning Breakfast tea bags!! If I'm paying $250 a night you expect maybe a biccy or two even!
I did ask for a change of room but was (politely) told that this was not an option.
I also got charged $30 for car parking. The Wotif web site clearly states car parking is complimentary if staying as a guest yet I was charged $10 per day.
Needless to say I am likely to be booking another holiday at any Rydges, and can only say how disappointed I was, having planned a bit of luxury in a Melbourne stop-over, to have such a poor experience.
So different from the website.
Booked through wotif. Deal included a free upgrade. Asked about this and was told I was upgraded from queen bed to king bed. King bed was two single beds pushed together, so there was a ridge down the middle (maybe this is why they call it 'Rydges'). Desk was badly marked, walls were scuffed, general feeling was old and run-down. Worse of all, there was the sound of banging in the pipes that was constant. I rang reception about this - asked if it was normal or a fault that something could be done about. Receptionist said they would look into it and never got back to me. Television wasn't working. Again, rang reception and was told to check the connections at the back of the tv. Radio alarm was flashing and not set up. Thick dust on the bedside table. Toilet seat was lose. Corridors were dark and dingy. Pool was cloudy with particles and oil slicks (to be fair it was in the middle of the worst heat wave in a century so would have had more than fair use). Buffet breakfast was good and cheap (children are free, adults $15). Great location.
After reading the negative reviews on this website I was apprehensive about my stay at Rydges on Swanston, but decided to give it a go anyway given a) I have enjoyed staying at Rydges Hotels in the past and b) whilst in Melbourne for the Australian Open, Rydges by far had the best rate for 4.5 star hotel.
My mate and I loved it. The room and pool area were lovely, the staff were excellent, and the Bar was really nice. Yes some of the complaints are true - there were some slight aged marks in the bathrooms and some of the furniture in the lobby was a bit dated (and the lift is terribly slow) but for 170 a night this was an absolute bargain. I ordinarily only stay in 4.5-5 star hotels, and I've stayed in places for 250 a night that have not been up to this standard.
Althouh peoples experiences differ, I'm not sure how anybody could ever give this below 3 stars now that the renovations are nearly complete (and I have stayed here prior to renovations when it was the Carlton and it was still alright back then!). If you're looking for well priced acccommodation in a great location with friendly staff you should not go past the Rydges.
I was so worried about my booking at Rydges on Swanston after I'd read some Trip Advisor reviews, that I thought long and hard about cancelling it, however I didn't, and must say I was abit tense when we checked in. Sure the foyer wasn't full of fountains and flowers but it was clean, tidy and very friendly. With trepidation, I unlocked the door to find the room a very pleasant surprise. Two queensize beds with a desk and a couple of chairs - plenty of room. The bathroom was all fine. Admittedly, the grout was abit discoloured and there was a patched hole below the vanity, but nothing too disturbing. The decor was fresh and trendy and the beds very comfortable. There was no view, but we weren't in Melbourne to hang around the hotel. The Hotel breakfast was very nice and the best mushrooms I'd ever eaten. Whenever I had contact with staff it was a very pleasant experience. The room was made up nicely every day and couldn't be faulted. I kept on waiting for a disaster to happen, and the only thing that came even close was when we were awoken by bottles being thrown into a recycling bin one night at midnight (Ithink). Could have been that my expectations had been lowered by the reviews I had read, but I've stayed in a lot of hotels and think this place was all ok.
From previous reviews on tripadvisor I concluded that this hotel had renovated rooms that were of very good quality and unrenovated rooms that were of poor quality. Using this information I contacted the hotel and requested that my family be allocated a renovated room or I would cancel my booking and look elsewhere. The acting manager advised me that to save my family any disappointment I would be allocated a renovated room.
Guess what? The hotel played me with lip service. Imagine my disappointment at being allocated a real dump of a room. The room was pokey, cheap fittings some of which were broken, dark and dingy and basically classic 1 to 2 star. Being Grand Prix weekend I had no chance of finding another room and I am sure the smart #ss who said he had allocated me a decent room was aware of this. You wouldn't pay $150 a night for the room let alone $270 - a real rip off (although upon checking out I complained and the room was discounted to $230 - still a rip off though).
Other than a really shoddy room and one lying or otherwise incompetent staff member the hotel is reasonably well positioned, about 10mins walk from the city centre, quiet enough and the staff are well presented and professional.
BE AWARE though - for $270 a night the unrenovated rooms are a rip off. My recommendation is to make you expectations clear before arrival to ensure you get a decent room otherwise negotiate hard on the price. This is clearly a dual experience hotel - make sure you get the one you are expecting!!!!
Definitely a business hotel
I opted to stay here based on the location of the hotel; near my client site and proximity to town (5 min tram ride). I had stayed here on a previous business trip, so knew what to expect. In my opinion the hotel definitely caters more for business travellers, based on the lack of available information on Melbourne, and more specifically the Carlton area. When we approached the concierge for more info they provided us with a very basic map of the city highlighting the major attractions. It was enough to get us through for the weekend, but I would recommend paying the visitor information stand in the city for more detailed information about things to do. The price to access broadband in the rooms is pretty expensive, not a problem if you have a company expense account, but if you're wanting it for personal use, an internet cafe would be far cheaper.
The rooms are fairly basic, but comfortable. We stayed in a Parkview King room, which I don't believe is one of the renovated rooms. It was on the small side, but very quiet considering the hotel is right on the tramline and near the University. The biggest thing that let this room down was the shower. It may or may not have been clean - difficult to tell given the ingrown mould on the grout. With a little bit of elbow grease I'm certain this could be cleaned off, but it doesn't appear that housekeeping give the time to ensure this happens. I tried calling housekeeping several times during my stay for various reasons but never managed to get an answer on the phone. Towels were not removed and replaced when left in the shower recess, so ended up smelling damp and musty by the time we returned to our room later that day. And yes, if you're not careful, the showers are prone to flooding!!!
We had the buffet breakfast at the hotel on our first morning, and have to say that this is really expensive for the range on offer ($22 per person). Very standard fare - bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, cereal, fruit, toast, muffins and pastries. Two types of juice, and not freshly squeezed, tea and filter coffee. We ordered espresso coffee and this was extra, which I find a rip-off given how much they charge for the breakfast. Lygon St is a 5 min walk away and has many cafes that offer fresh breakfasts with a better range at half the price - definitely don't eat at the hotel!
The staff are all very cool and aloof, and not exactly warm and welcoming, but they are professional and will help when asked.
Overall, it was a pretty average stay. The rooms are comfortable and offer a good night's sleep when away from home, but that's really all to expect when staying here. Definitely don't think it's worth the 4.5 star rating; the service and rooms on offer would probably only be worth 3.5 stars in reality.