The Gold Coast Hotels


Pethers Rainforest Retreat

At a Glance


  • luxurious appointments
  • glorious environs
  • no kids


  • no on-site dinner Sunday to Wednesday
  • limited mobile phone coverage

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

Pethers Rainforest Retreat Review

On 12 acres of privately owned rain forest, this couples-only resort comprises 10 spacious tree houses with timber floors, French doors opening onto verandas, fireplaces, hot tubs, and open-plan interiors furnished with Asian antiques. Undercover walkways link each house with the main lodge: a stunning building with 16-foot-high glass walls affording rain-forest views. You can while away the hours in the library or hike through the surrounding forest trails, where you might even be lucky enough to spot wallabies and koalas. Restaurants are nearby, but two- and three-course à la carte dinners are available Thursday to Saturday for A$65–A$85.

    Hotel Details

  • 10 tree houses.
  • Rate includes breakfast.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 01-15-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Room  

    Appalling service ruins so much potential

    We were recently guests at a wedding held at Pethers and paid full price for our room, as did the other guests (you have to book all the rooms in order to hold a wedding there).

    I've stayed in many hotels and retreats around the world, from mediocre to magnificent, and never before have the staff and management made me feel like a strange and unwelcome house guest who has overstayed the welcome - in one night!

    The 'service' for us as paying guests varied through a spectrum of snarky comments, hostile stares and simple rudeness. In any given interaction we considered ourselves winners if the staff managed to achieve curt disinterest.

    As for the wedding, service was performed by the same staff who run the hotel, with equal charm and random quality.

    The restaurant setting was lovely and the evening made pleasant by company, but from what little the bridal party let slip, Pethers changed the price and the rules repeatedly, after the deposit was paid and right up to the wedding.

    I've seen other review comments that service has slipped mightily since the management recently changed - this appears to be the experience of the bridal party, who booked under a previous manager. However, the owner said he's had the place for four years, and he was just as 'friendly' as his staff. I snuck the photo below while the owner was talking to the father of the bride, who was far too polite to share, but I'm guessing it was regarding the staff who stopped serving and started clearing glasses - creating an unwelcome environment - by about 9pm.

    I'm flabbergasted that such a lovely venue in gorgeous surrounds, priced and targeted at the top of the market, displays systematic contempt for its guests. This sort of retreat lives and dies on word of mouth and goodwill. The hosts and guests of the wedding were all very genteel and immaculately behaved - mostly professionals aged between 30 and 60 - and (were) all potential clients for Pethers.

    I've never before been driven to write a hotel review before, but I've never experienced such discomforting rudeness and lack of hospitality in any accommodation, let alone something with pretensions of five stars.

    Steer clear. There are similar retreats with great service in the same area, and frankly you'd feel more comfortable in a welcoming B&B of any quality than this soulless shell.

    by sourceoftruth, 5/20/08
  • Room  

    Excellent rooms. Dreadful service.

    My husband and I believed we were well informed regarding a stay at Pethers (thorough research and a personal recommendation) however we were extremely disappointed. The rooms were beautiful, exactly as featured in web photos, however this did not make up for the atrocious service we received. Firstly, we were barely welcomed, then taking a photocopy of our driver's licence (?) even after we paid a 50% deposit, no brief tour of the dining area, no info regarding anything of interest about the property or surrounding area. We were informed the restaurant was not open for the evening (it was VALENTINE'S DAY) and when we came back later in the afternoon to take some photographs of the main area ALL THE DOOR'S WERE LOCKED! We even had to buzz through on an intercom system that evening (because there was absolutely no one around and the lights were turned off) to obtain the security code that would let us back into the property after we had to go elsewhere for dinner! Really, at a charge of $350 for the night the managers should be ashamed of themselves. We paid less the night before at Ruffles and we could not have been more impressed with the quality of service, the property and the wonderful food. Pethers is under new management so I hope for their sakes they can rectify these issues quickly. Definitely not worthy of a 5 or even 4 rating. Research very carefully if accommodation is self rated.

    by steya, 2/18/08

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