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Reviewed 24 September 2022

When looking at the accommodation choices online, we couldn’t decide between Spicer’s Vineyard Estate and The Convent. In the end we decided to book one night in each to experience both properties and their respective restaurants. If you too are trying to decide between the two, then don’t hesitate and pick up the phone to Spicer’s, as it wins hands down.

The positives for The Convent are stunning grounds and a beautiful old building, both of which are highly photogenic. Walking into the building made me feel like I was entering an old Agatha Christie movie.

As impressive as the aesthetics were, it was clear that both hotel and restaurant staff were not very well trained. Check-in at the hotel involves walking into an empty reception with nobody on reception desk. There is a helpful sign telling you to call a number but that isn’t the sort of welcome I would expect for the price I paid. every time I went to reception, I had the same experience.

The same staffing issues could be seen in the restaurant. Online Circa looks to be the best restaurant in the Hunter Valley and I can only assume something drastic changed since all the awards picked up in 2019. The food was nothing special and the service poor. We asked for advice on the wines, and it was clear our waiter had no knowledge of the wine list. We asked for recommendation on the menu and the best we got was “ladies usually order the scallops”. We were seated by the kitchen, so I had the pleasure of watching dirty glasses and bottles being stacked up on the bar, with nobody willing to clean down throughout our meal. I ordered a bottle of wine and poured most of the bottle myself and finally had to watch one of the staff constantly coming out of the kitchen chewing a mouth full of food.

My final issue with The Convent in their internet. Broadband has been around a while now and its fast and cheap to access on most places, just not at The Convent. The free internet provided is slow and limited to 5GB as they want to charge guests $15 a day for accessing normal broadband speeds.

Now these are first world problems I agree and if it was just one or two incidents it wouldn’t matter. But so many little things gave us a lasting impression of The Convent as having poor service and an untrained team.

While not as aesthetically pleasing as The Convent, Spicer’s is still a beautiful property and having an open fireplace in your room is never a bad thing. The style is more modern, with the room being large and comfortable. The check-in and check-out were both friendly and efficient, with nice touches like giving guests free flower seeds to plant at home.

The real difference is Botanica, which is a beautiful intermate restaurant. We had a warm welcome from the team and our waitress was amazing. She was only 19 years old but was engaging and had a great knowledge of the wine list and the food on the menu. The wine she recommended was perfect, the dishes she recommended were amazing. Between the restaurant, the service and the food, my wife and I had a memory we will keep for the rest of our lives.

So there you have it folks, two hotels, same sort of price point, but only one winner.

Date of stay: September 2022
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank Andrew H
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 4 September 2022 via mobile

The high tea was atrocious and a total rip off

$60 per person - you get premade basic sandwiches and store bought cakes and sweets from coles.

Absolutely ruin our occassion and get away.

Tried to give constructive feedback to the waitress.. wouldnt hear of it and didnt want to listen

All i can say is - no wonder we were the only customers there on a sunday lunchtime

Very disapponted and never felt so ripped off

Date of stay: September 2022
Trip type: Travelled with family
2  Thank Travellerfido64
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 10 July 2022

We stayed for 1 night at this hotel. The room number is 808. We paid $749 just for the room. One of the highest rate for the whole region. It's a premier room with a balcony. When I checked in, I was told this is the best room in the hotel. The view of the hotel grounds is as described. But that's where the good things end. Its been marketed as a luxury hotel. For people looking for luxury, Forget it! I don't know where to start. The sofa is so old and dirty looking, we never sat on it. There is no proper shower. You have to stand inside a tiny bath tab for shower. We never used it. Toilet bowl doesn't stop flashing unless you keep trying to stopping it. There is no working phone. Closet is the smallest of any hotel room we been to. Carpet is old and tired. A lot of bad chips on the furniture. Etc. Etc.
And if that's all, I probably wouldn't write this review. The worst is there are 3 big windows. But only 2 of windows has curtains. At night people can look in and there are some bright spot lights shining from ground inside the room. The lights were only off at 5am. By 6am,the sun starts to shining in. This is so unforgivable, because they knew it. When I complained in the morning, the receptionist wasn't surprised. She just said sorry. Its like sleeping with the lights on all the time. They can at least put a blind or use some paper to cover it.
The only thing good is receptionist is nice. That's why the 1 star rating. Otherwise will be zero for not having privacy and sleep.

Date of stay: July 2022
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
3  Thank richardwran
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 6 July 2022

Took my husband here for his 50th - sneaky night away with no kids. Lovely room, soft bed, friendly staff, great breakfast. We had a corner premier room - beautiful view across the front of the estate.

Room tip: Premier room was lovely
Date of stay: July 2022
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank StacyL280
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 3 April 2022 via mobile

In all honesty I couldn’t recommend The Convent, it’s because of the price, $470 for a Std room which:
*has very limited internet, unless you pay extra
* small room
* basic bed
*shower over a narrow bath which I couldn’t stand under, I’m 183 c/m
*2 flights of stairs
* walls that you can hear your neighbour
*no real luxury or justifiable comforts for the expense
If you are looking for a stay just to send out promo snaps on social media.. there is photo ops here.. value for money….not even close

*The reception did let us in for an early check in as we were attending a wedding at the site, but after two previous phone calls, the early check in wasn’t confirmed so we turned up early….

Room tip: You can do better
Date of stay: April 2022
Trip type: Travelled solo
3  Thank TimB597
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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