Ayers Rock Resort Sails in the Desert Hotel

, Yulara, Australia
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Ayers Rock Resort Sails in the Desert Hotel

, Yulara
5 star
Ayers Rock Resort Yulara Drive - Yulara - Northern Territory - 872 - Australia Hotel Website | | 61 2 82968010
436 Traveller

Reviews - Ayers Rock Resort Sails in the Desert Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Ayers Rock Resort Sails in the Desert Hotel

When is a five star not a five star...

from Guruswife
When you are at Sails in the Desert.

Whilst this was not a problem for us (we were fully aware before we arrived) if I'd had a choice (ie no kids) we would have stayed at Longitude 131.

The room...3.5 to 4 star..had a better room in Goulburn NSW for 1/2 the price a month ago

2 queen beds enough space for 4, a small sofa but seating only for 2 at the table or outside... we moved the large table onto the balcony and the chairs so we could eat with a view of the resort.
No problems with external noise...hubby had to ring mobile phone to let him in after going out to his second sunrise...needs two keys!!
In room compendium missing. Front desk must have thought I was mad ringing to ask basic questions until I suggested that an info compendium in the room would be useful...they sent us one immediately...

Housekeeping..
towel supply inconsistent..4 people varied between 2, 3 and 4 towels. The kids brought extra towels up from the pool as our shower session had already started.. room otherwise clean and well maintianed..

Resort service: 4 star
We hired a car so arrived before the bus load to check in. Check in handled efficiently and porterage satisfactory.
Checkout...problem with double charging for one lunch sorted quickly and efficiently..
Pool service..satisfactory but the food was overcooked.

Dining..
After reading reviews of poor service I took dinner for night one and breakfasts..I'm a simple Muesli with Milk and juice girl. So other than an overcooked lunch we fed ourselves..great supermarket to buy the makings for sandwiches etc...
We did eat at Rockpool..only open Thurs-Sun..great food (associated with Neil Perry) and equally good service...
Sounds of Silence... great experience but don't go for the food... horrible especially as we were the last table to be sent to the buffet..by this time the first table was pushing thru us to pick and choose seconds and then we didn't have enough time to eat before star show strated...

Would I stay again..the rock is mostly a once only..if I went again the kids would be old enough not to stay in Yulara Village..so I'd go Longitude
Guruswife

Shopping centre atmosphere

from Stephen12389
This is most definitely not a 5* Hotel. It has the atmosphere and appearance of a shopping mall. Having been there at Christmas 2004 the incessant piped music whilst dining completed the picture.
Food and service in the "fine dining" resteraunt was good but not exceptional.
The food in the other restaraunt,which was buffet style was distintically mediocre and not 5 * . The ambience was that of an airport departure lounge. We had breakfast in our room and the toast arrived cold and soggy.
It is clear that the operators of hotels in the resort have a complete monopoly and therefore no incentive to excel.
Service was patchy, front desk and hospitality desk being brusque and fairly unhelpful. I would advised anyone going to Ayers Rock to go to a cheaper hotel and probably receive a better value for money experiece

Decent, but a strange experience

from kingsroadgal
After reading this site, I was quite concerned about this hotel. The Ayers Rock Resort, however, is the only game in town in Yulara, and this is supposed to be their best property. Generally I was fairly impressed by this hotel. Our room, as opposed to the experience of others, was pretty well kept. I did not like the shower with curtain, but all in all, no major complaints. The hotel buildings are very utilitarian. The breakfast buffet (I am not generally a fan of these) was pretty decent, except for some bugs hovering around, which they do in this part of Australia, no way around it. I don't know that there are any better options, except for Longitude 131, which is not an option for families because of age limits, and price!!

I did find the whole experience here somewhat surreal. Here you are in the middle of nowhere, and most people seem to take bus tours everywhere rather than experiencing the Rock on their own. I would definitely recommend renting a car. It is so much nicer to get away from the crowds of people and be at one with the environment here. The one tour we took was really overrated and overpriced. This area does not involve tons of driving, and the roads are all perfectly fine. Make sure to allow at least a couple of nights to get to everything at your leisure. And as mentioned by someone else, make sure to get out and look at the stars. They are amazing in this part of the world.

Not worth the money

from A TripAdvisor Member
To anyone who is thinking about staying here, I can assure you that it is not worth the money. The hotel resort is ok but not 5-star standard that I would expect. Also, anyone in the Ayers Rock resort can use the facilities which kind of defeats the point of paying for them in the room rate. The rooms are quite large but rather dated and I agree with the previous reviewers that both the rooms and particularly the balconies did not look very clean.

Service was below par and it took them over an hour to get our room ready even though we were checking in after 12:30. Also, upon check out, we found that we had been charged for 4 breakfasts even though we had only stayed there for one night! I have to say that one of the receptionists was nearing incompetent and should not have been left on the desk unsupervised.

The place itself is fantastic and I echo what others have writted - book trips in advance and if you only do one make it Sounds of Silence dinner. You will have never seen the stars look so amazing.

Lovely hotel

from Holidaymad
We were impressed with our a room at Sails in the Desert. It was a large room with a good sized bathroom (large bath with shower and two sinks!). We were also lucky enough to have a view of Ulura from our balcony.

However we weren't impressed with the service we received at the restaurant situated near the pool. The first time we went there our food took ages to arrive but on the second day I ended up waiting an hour before I got my food - I complained and asked for money to be taken off our bill (they took the cost of our drinks off which was AU$8) and I had to ask for an explanation rather than they explain what had actually happened (My food had been given to someone else).

I would definitly recommend that you book tours before you arrive so that you are not disapointed. We went on a sunrise tour with ananga tours where you watch sunrise at Ulura, have breakfast at the Cultural Centre and then going walking in the 'bush' with an aboriginal guide which I recommend. Also, you must do the Sound of Silence Dinner!

Lovely hotel but not quite up to 5 star!

from fudge
This hotel was amazing to look at with the architecture and the stunning sails. In general the entire resort was expensive but as many have said we are a captive audience with no where else to go! Food/ meals were the biggest expense However the buffet breakfasts were superb with a vast choice of foods such as fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, pastries, rolls, preserves, dried fruit compote and the usual cooked breakfasts. There were also cold meats and cheeses for those that enjoyed a continental breakfast. Breakfast was 34 Dollars and the buffet evening dinner was 56 dollars per person. Kids under 15 eat free with every paying adult. And if you want to go to the more intimate restaurant of the hotel it costs 155 dollars per person for a 5-7 course meal.
We had a standard room which was average in my opinion. Nothing out of this world but the bedding was clean and nice bathrooms. Only gripe I had really was we had to wait till half past four for our room to be ready when we had arrived at 1.30 and check in should have been 2pm. However they did give us a voucher for a drink each.
If you want a room with a view of Uluru then rooms 366, 367 and 368 are the ones to request! We were in room 367 and it was lovely to view the rock from our balcony whilst sipping some wine.
I can also higly recommend the sounds of silence dinner tour, Uluru base walk (guided tour) and the Tour of the Olgas walk and sunset BBQ. The hotel does have a tour desk in which you can book all tours BUT I would recommend you book prior to arriving as many folk i met could not get on the tours they wanted due to tours being so booked up!!!
Overall my experience here was one I will never forget and worth the expense as for most it's a one off experience.
For any wishing to save money the OUtback Pioneer Hotel also looked wonderful and is especially suited for families.

OK, but not 5-Star

from A TripAdvisor Member
The rooms were ok. Our room included double sinks (although the design of them made them difficult to use), a refrigerator, a sofa, small table and 2 chairs for dining, and a balcony. We had requested a king bed, but only 2 queen beds were available. The rooms didn't seem all that clean, particularly for a supposed 5-star hotel.

The restaurant service was very bad. We stopped in for lunch and it took 15 minutes just for a waitress to acknowledge us and take a drink order. Then it took another 15 minutes for the drinks to arrive and one of the drink orders was wrong. It took another 15 minutes for the food to arrive. There was another wait to simply ask for the check. Then there was another wait for the check to arrive. Then there was another very long wait to get our check taken.

The only breakfast options at the resort hotels were buffet style, but I prefer to order a la carte. The hotel attracts international clientele and some of the restaurant guests had no regard for common etiquette and hygiene. It was a disgusting experience.

While in the Ayers Rock area, we relied on the organized tours. If we could go back, I would rent a car. It would have been nice to have visited Ayers Rock and the Olgas at our own pace. Renting a car would have been much more economical. Also, I would have liked to have spent more time star gazing, which was phenomenal.

Great place to stay!

from Kookie
My partner & I stayed there for 3 nights at the end of May and it was great, not too busy, nice room (ground level but big, pool right out front). Couldn't say it was like some of the grander places we have stayed but sensational in the fact that it is in the middle of the desert and still a high standard. Service was good, food good (although expensive, but you kind of expected that). If you are going to stay at Uluru this is the place to stay if you can afford it, we loved the whole experience.

Excellent - but ask for the right room!

from BartlettsAgent
We absolutely loved this hotel. It has a great location and the room was huge. The food in the restaurant was great and the staff were generally helpful. Few words of advice though: the hotel seems to have three types of rooms - they all have balconies but some have huge terraces with sun loungers which can be worth it because the pool gets busy. We had a Spa Room (highly recommended!) which had a big terrace with a Spa on it. However, our travel agent only offered us this or a standard room. The standard rooms seem only to have a small patio or balcony without loungers and looked pretty small from what we could see. However, as there are only 6 Spa rooms we noted there was another room category we hadn't known about that is a standard room with a big terrace. If you have children or are staying for more than one night I woudl recommend trying to get one of these rooms. On arrival I asked about a rock view room as their website advertises rooms with a view of Uluru and was rather stiffly told that the hotel only has four of these rooms and as my travel agent hadn't requested one for me they were all full. I booked a year in advance and was told I would almost definately have had a rock view had I requested this far in advance so make sure you do! The hotel is part of the Ayers Rock resort meaning that as it has no competition the hotel obviously doesn't feel the need to provide top notch service. Go to the snack bar and order at least an hour in advance of when you want to eat and expect a long wait for drinks. Also don't buy water etc in the hotel - it is half the price in the supermarket which is only a short walk away. The room service is very promt (better than restaurant) with big portions! If you want a guaranteed view of Uluru there is one of the hotel that had a lot of these rooms but not sure which it was - ring and ask. However, remember that the resort is about 20kms from Uluru so you won't see all the subtle colour changes you will closer in.

Amazing Retreat in the Middle of the Outback...

from A TripAdvisor Member
My wife and visited Sails in the Desert during the Australian winter, and we thought it was outstanding. No, it's not the Four Seasons or Ritz, but it is pretty awesome considering that you are in the middle of nowhere and right next to one of the great natural wonders of the world. As you can tell in the attached photos, our room had a fabulous view of Uluru. And, the resort's Sounds of Silence dinner is one of the best travel "experiences" we've ever had anywhere in the world. Again, don't expect this property to be the be all, end all of luxury. But, it is very nice, has great character, and has a truly spectacular location.

Top Local Tips for Yulara

Flies, Flies Plan to buy a wide brim hat and flynet if you're going in March - after a 5 minute walk, you'll see why!

Less is more Ayer's Rock is a tremendous cultural icon, worth seeing, Sounds of Silence dinner also a one of a kind, would suggest choosing lesser priced hotel from range offered rather the Sails as most of the time is spent outdoors touring anyway and all have access to same restaurants.

pick your time of year Summer months are hot ,and strenuous walks should be avoided. The Valley of the Winds walk is partly closed during hot weather (we were told). Unfortunately the best scenery is in the closed section. It is a strenuous walk but very worthwhile. The walk around Ayes rock is flat and easy, but again in hot weather would be stressful. Take plenty of waterand hats. The National Park provides water tanks for topping up bottles.

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