PALAZZO Versace's general manager has hit back at negative online reviews, saying the hotel has a "special place in the hearts of thousands of loyal and frequent guests".

The Bulletin revealed on Monday that 11 of the most recent 20 reviews on TripAdvisor awarded one to two stars to the swanky resort where rooms and suites range from $375 to $3065 a night.

One visitor from Ballina who stayed in February said it was "probably the worst hotel in that price range I've ever stayed in" describing the ritzy establishment as "tired, boring and dull".

Another Brisbane visitor said grout was falling out and in need of repair "throughout the entirety of the complex" while one likened the main outdoor pool to "swimming in Parramatta river".

Jane Kingston of Palazzo Versace
Jane Kingston of Palazzo Versace

A review published on Monday from Parri W of Byron Bay said she booked four nights in a condo but only stayed one saying the experience was "disgusting" and she left to stay across the road in a villa at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort.

Palazzo general manager Jane Kingston said the story was an "attempt to sensationalise a pathetic collection of negative reviews".

"Many members of the dedicated, hardworking team at Palazzo Versace Gold Coast were extremely disheartened today by the unsubstantiated criticism of them, selectively gathered from an online platform," she wrote in a statement.

"Firstly, Palazzo Versace Gold Coast is not promoted by us as a six-star hotel. This may have been the case when the hotel first opened 21 years ago. It has not been the case for over a decade. We are a five-star hotel."

Screenshots of Palazzo Versace from Tripadvisor
Screenshots of Palazzo Versace from Tripadvisor

Ms Kingston said the story failed to highlight "the many glowing reviews" received by the hotel and its staff and came after a fully-booked Valentine's Day weekend.

"Staff went above and beyond delivering services with love to make the guests experience more enjoyable - juggling numerous marriage proposals and last-minute requests for gifts, flowers and restaurant bookings," she said.

"They did what they do every day here at Palazzo Versace Gold Coast, priding themselves on their work ethic.

"I am immensely proud of my team and their commitment to making Palazzo Versace Gold Coast such a special place in the hearts of thousands of loyal and frequent guests."

Screenshots of Palazzo Versace from Tripadvisor
Screenshots of Palazzo Versace from Tripadvisor

 

PALAZZO TOPS 2016 POLL

 

ICONIC Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace has been savaged in online reviews as anything but a six-star resort.

It's a stunning fall from grace for a venue that in 2016 was voted by Bulletin readers as the best luxury hotel in the city.

So how did it come to this?

 

THE PALAZZO VERSACE SAGA

Gold Coast: Inside story of famous luxury hotel on 20th anniversary of opening

Condo owners dispute: General Manager Jane Kingston's extraordinary email

The secret rumour behind the future of luxury hotel Palazzo Versace revealed

Palazzo Versace hotel owner says Main Beach property is 'not for sale'

The Gold Coast's luxury ghost hotel as 250 staffers sent packing

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast to reopen with revamp after being shut for four months

 

 

Read below what we had to say about Palazzo Versace in 2016 - and see the top 10 luxury hotels as voted by Bulletin readers five years ago.

 

10. PEPPERS RUFFLES LODGE AND SPA

Willow Vale

Peppers Ruffles Lodge & Spa
Peppers Ruffles Lodge & Spa

Ideal for a short escape or complete getaway, discover indulgent Gold Coast Hinterland accommodation on this scenic ridge overlooking the coastal flats below. Dine on the region's finest produce, dip into the infinity pool and follow mountain trails from your villa door in this private and romantic haven.

 

9. HILTON

Surfers Paradise

Catch restaurant at Surfers Paradise Hilton Hotel
Catch restaurant at Surfers Paradise Hilton Hotel

The central location of these trendy twin towers puts all of Surfers Paradise's attractions at guests' fingertips. Inside, enjoy restaurants and bars including Luke Mangan's Salt grill restaurant, FIX lounge bar and European-style delicatessen The Food Store.

 

8. INTERCONTINENTAL

Sanctuary Cove

Located on the calm northern end of the Gold Coast, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort boasts an elegant and stylish design, with architecture based on the classic Queenslander style. The resort's 243 rooms and suites are set against a backdrop of picturesque fountains, lush gardens, a marina, golf course and a spectacular one acre beach lagoon pool.

 

7. SOFITEL

The exterior of the Broadbeach Sofitel Hotel. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS
The exterior of the Broadbeach Sofitel Hotel. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

Broadbeach

Only 200 metres from the beach, beachside parks and Broadbeach's array of shops, cafes and restaurants, Sofitel is perfectly positioned - that is, if you care to walk away from the on-site dining options and pool, spa and relaxation options.

 

6. PEPPERS

Broadbeach

Soaring high above Broadbeach's shopping and dining precinct, Peppers Broadbeach offers a chic haven for those seeking luxury, sophistication and relaxation. With two architecturally impressive towers, each designed to reflect its beach and surfside surroundings, every unit is self-contained - although with a plethora of dining options available, you probably won't want to self-cater.

 

5. PEPPERS SOUL

Surfers Paradise

Peppers Soul at Surfers Paradise.
Peppers Soul at Surfers Paradise.

The definition of world-class luxury, Peppers Soul Surfers Paradise rises 77 levels above the sandy beaches and blue waters of Surfers Paradise. This icon of contemporary style delivers a curated collection of first class experiences - from fine apartments with uninterrupted ocean views to exceptional dining at hatted restaurant Seaduction.

 

4. QT HOTEL

Surfers Paradise

Nostalgic Surfer chic meets Miami catwalk cool at the QT Hotel. Setting a new standard of designer Surfers Paradise accommodation, the QT is deliberately intended to inspire conversation. For guests and locals alike, QT Gold Coast is an entertainment destination. The Baja California cool of Stingray Lounge has become one of the premier hangouts on the Gold Coast's crowd and the marketplace style dining at Bazaar is reason enough for many guests to return.

 

3. MARRIOTT RESORT

Surfers Paradise

Swim and snorkel with tropical fish at the Marriott Resort's spectacular saltwater lagoon in the heart of Surfers Paradise. With white sandy beaches, cascading waterfalls, quiet pool zones and unique aquatic experiences, the pool is a drawcard for locals and visitors alike. Indoors, relax in the plush accommodation before heading out for a bite cuisine at Misono, Citrique or the Lobby Lounge Bar.

 

2. SHERATON MIRAGE

Main Beach

The Gold Coast's only 5 star beachfront resort, the Sheraton Mirage is set amongst six hectares of sparkling lagoons and tropical gardens. The newly refurbished resort, developed by Christopher Skase in the late 1980s, features 295 rooms and suites. As well as its signature beachfront pool, fitness centre and spa facilities, the resort also has plenty of dining options, including the Oyster Bar, Terraces Restaurant, the Oasis Pool Bar or the Pearls Bar. Guests can also enjoy retail therapy at Marina Mirage shopping centre, accessible via the hotel skybridge.

 

1. PALAZZO VERSACE

Main Beach

Palazzo Versace in 2016.
Palazzo Versace in 2016.

It's the five star hotel designed to woo the six senses.

Designer by name and by nature, Palazzo Versace has long been the base both for visiting celebrities and for locals who want to feel like a star for the night.

General manager Subash Basrur said in 2016 the resort is over the top in every way - from extreme luxury to total pampering.

"We don't believe in treating just the five senses of touch, taste, sight, smell and sound but also the sixth sense of emotion," said Subash.

"It's the way something makes you feel that is so powerful - it's what draws those other five senses together. We want every guest, no matter who they are, to feel like the most important person in the room. They are five-star guests to us.

"That's what branding is all about, the emotional connection you have - that's the DNA of your brand.

"The DNA of Versace is extremely unique - it's sexy, vibrant, colourful and out-there. Which is also a very good description of the Gold Coast.

"Versace and the Gold Coast have really been joined at the hip for the last 15 years since we opened. Both has put each other on the map."

Subash, who joined the hotel almost one year ago, says the iconic resort has recently undergone its own renaissance.

He says he has been working closely with the House of Versace to oversee its transformation.

"I think in the last few years Versace had a little dip in its standard, but now we are back where we should be," he says.

"I sat down with the House of Versace CEO in Milan and we talked about our action plan.

"It's not just the facelift we have given the hotel but re-introducing our mission to not just meet expectations but to surpass them.

"All hotels are beautiful on the inside with chandeliers and glass and marble, but I believe the heart of a hotel is the people - and that is where our true rebirth comes from.

"The truth of luxury is that people will forget what you give them, the bouquet of flowers and the box of chocolates, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

Subash says the hotel's connection with the people of the Gold Coast is integral to its success.

He says while the resort prides itself on its many VIP guests, it delights in treating locals to the finer pleasures.

"About 70 per cent of our guests are domestic, many from this city," he says.

"We love that this is the place people go when they want a taste of luxury. They save up to treat themselves or a loved one to the most special of occasions.

"We treat that privilege very seriously. On Friday nights we provide live opera in the lobby under the grand chandelier, with performers from Opera Queensland. It's an amazing experience to listen - there are no microphones, it's just live, raw emotion.

"We also help our guests organise the most important occasions in their life - like engagements. We have two custom Rolls Royce Phantoms and guests are welcome to use them as part of popping the question.

"I don't think anyone could say anything but 'yes' in a romantic situation like that."

 

 

'Terrible experience': Reviews savage six-star hotel

ICONIC Gold Coast hotel Palazzo Versace has been savaged in online reviews as anything but a six-star resort.

Of the most recent 20 reviews on TripAdvisor, 11 were just one or two stars for the swanky resort where rooms and suites range from $375 to $3065 a night.

One visitor from Ballina who stayed at the hotel in February said it was "probably the worst hotel in that price range I've ever stayed in" describing the ritzy establishment as "tired, boring and dull".

 

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast. Picture: Jerad Williams
Palazzo Versace Gold Coast. Picture: Jerad Williams

 

A guest who travelled from Brisbane in December said she had stayed at Palazzo many times but was "disappointed to discover how badly run-down the hotel was this time".

She said the furniture in the suites was dirty and falling apart and staff were "incompetent".

"We booked a cabana for Christmas Day and the roof on our cabana had a huge rip in it," she wrote.

"While we were trying to enjoy our food a bird excreted Faeces above us which went straight through the top of our cabana and all over ourselves and our food. It was a terrible experience."

 

 

Another Brisbane visitor said grout was falling out and in need of repair "throughout the entirety of the complex" while one likened the main outdoor pool to "swimming in Parramatta river".

Diane W stayed in January saying there was nothing positive she could write about following her stay.

 

Palazzo Versace. Pics Adam Head
Palazzo Versace. Pics Adam Head

 

She said there were "very intoxicated men and women" in the pool area "hardly dressed in anything" and behaving inappropriately with the cabanas "in disgraceful disrepair".

Diane said when they found bugs in their room they were told they could not be moved to a similarly priced room.

FULL DIGITAL ACCESS: JUST $1 FOR FIRST 28 DAYS

"We would have had a cleaner and more enjoyable stay in a 3 star hotel - stay away from this place," she wrote.

Palazzo Versace was forced to close in April last year standing down 250 staff.

Owner Dong Run group was forced at the time to deny the hotel had been put up for sale or that there was a dispute with condo owners over payment of what some believed were excessive management fees.

 

Jane Kingston of Palazzo Versace
Jane Kingston of Palazzo Versace

 

However, the Bulletin revealed in January emails where Palazzo GM Jane Kingston complains of a "consistent public flogging" from condo owners and "constant barrage of abuse" resulting from the dispute.

She says owners can "disengage" from hotel services but that would come at a "significant expense".

Palazzo Versace did not return phone calls yesterday.

alister.thomson@news.com.au

 

 

 

Originally published as Palazzo GM defends hotel from 'pathetic collection of reviews'


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