Lodging in Cairns, LilyBank B&B

Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 09:16 PM
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Lodging in Cairns, LilyBank B&B

Hello,
This post is very very late so I apologize for that, but nevertheless, I finally sat down to make a couple of comments that might be useful to someone making a decision about lodging in Cairns. My wife and I stayed at Lilybank B&B in Cairns on our honeymoon in June of 2004 and we were very dissapointed and felt that we had been somewhat misled by other posts on this forum as well as by the operators. The main problem was the comfort of the actual room. We chose what they claim is their best room, the cottage with the big bed and tv in the room. What they don't tell you is that the bathroom is not as nice as many campsites we've seen. It is tiny which is ok, but the main thing is, there is no shower. In one corner of the tiny bathroom next to the toilet, there is a shower head on the wall and a small drain in the floor. There is no curtain so the water sprays all over the place and the floor remained soaking wet all night (we showered at the end of the day). There is very little space to store bathroom items and they all get wet anyway. In addition, during the day they come in to the room to clean and while they're there, they turn off the AC unit to save themselves some money. This results in a very hot, humid homecoming at the end of the day, and the sitting water in the bathroom ended up stinking. Finally, this B&B is absolutely NOT in town. It is a 10-12 min drive by car so you will not be able to just walk out and go to dinner like you could staying in town (we found one restaraunt within walking distance and it was not our kind of cuisine). We read some posts that hinted at this problem before we left and we read others that made it sound like it was pretty close, so I am officially clearing it up: It is not right next to town, and you will need a cab to get into town and back. The cab ride cost approximately $15-20 Aus$. We know that B&Bs are not supposed to be the height of luxury and we weren't expecting that, but it truly felt like we were camping and it was not what we wanted for the last week of our honeymoon. We were so unhappy in fact that we elected to pay them even though we left 2 nights early and relocated to a nicer place in Cairns. On the bright side, the owners are nice and they were relatively helpful about helping us make bookings, although it was clear who they knew and wanted to send guests to - not totally objective, but who is I guess. They recommended one day trip to Michaelmas Cay which you might find dissapointing if you want more than a long boat ride out and back with some time to snorkel but not a ton of time. The snorkeling itself was not bad, but we saw much much better on our day trips such as Lizard Island (the best!). We got a lot of help planning our trip on this forum so we wanted to share the big things we wished we had known more about. Our first week was Sydney and we were absolutly THRILLED with the Sheraton Hyde Park which we got on Priceline. The only thing we would do differently about Sydney is that we were there for a full 6 days and we found it to be a bit too long. We were kind of searching for things to do by the last few days and found ourselves saying, lets walk to Circular Quay and the opera house AGAIN...But overall, we were very happy with the city. The Botanical Gardens are great, Hyde park was nice, we loved our accomodation. It was a wonderful trip and we'd be happy to respond to any specific questions. Happy traveling!
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 04:49 AM
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"The only thing we would do differently about Sydney is that we were there for a full 6 days and we found it to be a bit too long. We were kind of searching for things to do by the last few days and found ourselves saying, lets walk to Circular Quay and the opera house AGAIN.."

Sydney is such a small and compact city that you can see all the "postcard" sights in a day and a half, so I can certainly imagine your frustration at hanging around the harbour foreshores for six days. What a pity you didn't find the Sydney Tourist Information Centre in the Rocks, to get some ideas from them of places to go a little farther afield; or, what a pity you didn't spend an hour or two on the Sheraton's internet connection checking up on some of the "Sydney" posts on this forum. You would have seen a few suggestions like the ten following for ways to spice up your last four days (I realise these are coming in too late for you, but possibly other readers of this post will make use of them):

1. A trip by bus out to Dover Heights and the Dudley Page Reserve, for one of the most interesting views of Sydney Harbour. Walk back to Bondi Beach and then continue along the walking track to Coogee Beach.

2. Start the day with the purchase of a Daytripper Pass for $15 and head for the ferry wharves. Take an assortment of ferries to destinations like Balmain, Watson's Bay, Mosman, Taronga Park (zoo), Cremorne Point, Woolwich, Hunters Hill, and (best of all) Manly (you will keep returning to the Sydney wharf every few hours for the changeover to a new route). At each stop get off and catch the bus that is waiting at the wharves (no extra charge), or just walk. At your last stop, have dinner is a waterfront restaurant, and then ask about a bus right back to town.

3. Catch a bus to the Spit Bridge, and then walk all the way to Manly Beach, seeing en route some of the nicest scenery in the southern hemisphere, as well as aboriginal carvings, deserted beaches, and some of the stately homes of Sydney. The ferry ride back to Sydney at the end of the day will be a welcome refresher, as the walk is about three-and-a-half hours long.

4. Walk across the Harbour Bridge to Milson's Point and catch the ferry from the wharf near Luna Park (which might be worth a look in also). Keep going, by ferry, to Darling Harbour and visit the Powerhouse, the Mercantile Museum, and the Aquarium. Resist the temptation to visit Imax.

5. Take the train to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, and then catch the "on-and-off" trolley for a day's sightseeing. Make sure you get off at Echo Point and walk down to the valley floor, past forests of treeferns and under the occasional waterfall. Maybe stay the night and on the second day take a one-day bus trip to Jenolan Caves.

6. Head through the tunnel from opposite the Australian Hotel to the "other" side of the Harbour Bridge, Miller's Point, to have a look at the old Garrison Church, the Observatory, a pub from right out of Dickens, and a few rows of houses that look like they belong in the Sydney of 150 years ago ("Playing Beattie Bow" was filmed around this area). Finish by walking UNDER the approach to the Harbour Bridge and take a breather by having a steak and ale pie at the old Mercantile Pub.

7. Take a bus ride out to Double Bay and see the prices the RICH pay to live in Sydney. Then, on your return to the city, stop awhile in King's Cross and stroll around. You'll see such sleaze and decadence that you'll decide that your room at Lilybank must be a palace by comparison.

8. Take a train to Blacktown and, from there, a bus to Featherdale Wild Life Park, where (if you're lucky) they might let you hold a koala. On your return, leave the train at Parramatta, and stroll down to the jetty where you can catch the Rivercat back to Circular Quay.

9. Take a train to Cabramatta, and spend a couple of hours walking around the REAL Chinatown of Sydney (the one near Sydney Terminal is, nowadays, a very plastic, artificial affair, all carefully orchestrated and not at all genuine). Sample some of the Vietnamese food in any one of fifty tiny restaurants within ten minutes of Cabramatta Station.

10. Take a bus to Centennial Park, and stroll around, making sure you end up at the Paddington gate, from where you can stroll back (downhill) to the Sheraton past the shops of Paddington and Darlinghurst.

Hopefully, the Sheraton gave you at least half of these tips, so that you were able to use your six days to some advantage. Sorry, if (in that case) this is all "old" news.





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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Hi Arikson77
I suggest you read your own post:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34490784

Where other posters clearly tell you the b&b is not in town, and hire car is a must, as busses are infrequent, if you don't listen to the advice here then why bother asking.

Did you discuss the problems of the B&B with the owners? You see, B&B's around the world do differ and that difference is very subjective, it's a shame you didn't enjoy. There are plenty of posters here who have enjoyed it there.

So you should put it down to personal expectations and experience I suppose.

Muck
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 07:58 AM
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I beg to differ

While we did not stay in the cottage, our room and bathroom at Lilybank was lovely. We saw other guest rooms in the main house that were smaller, but fine also and other guests we met including cottagers were equally pleased w/ their accomodations and Pat and Mike's recommendations.

Why waste energy and expense w/ AC running all day. It did not take very long to cool our room after our return from a long hot day. We turned on the AC, took a few laps in the swimming pool and when we got back the room was cool.

Where we live in the dry dry Southwest of the US, you barely need a towel to dry off after a shower. Cairns is in the tropics, everything is always damp. We stayed at a place iat Cape Trib that was melting back to jungle before our eyes!

There are at least 2 restaurants within walking distance of Lilybank. One of them, The Garden Room, was our favorite in all of Australia.

We can't wait to visit Pat ,Mike and the lovely Lilybank again

AndrewDavid
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 01:42 PM
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Sorry Arikson77 but you seem to be the tourist from hell.
I was born in Sydney and have returned many times over the years and I could still spend 14 days there without going to the same place twice and those days would be full too.
I think that you are the type who likes to ask questions but then takes no notice of the information given to them. Thanks to Mucky for his " your past posts" which show exactly the information you were given, your replies and your questions.
I can well imagine you leaving airconditioning on all day at home just for the convenience of the first few minutes you arrive back. The fact that it was June ( the middle of winter and therefore not hot anyway) would again show your complete disregard of anyone else and their expenses.
Finally when I see 100 people talk about how much they like a place and how much information and local knowledge they got from their hosts and how nice the hosts are - and I am referring to Lilybank here - then I see one person who bags the whole thing in general, well what I see is someone who would not be happy in Buckingham Palace and is in general a whinger and a PIA.
Objective criticism is good but yours seems just to be a bit of "hate mail".
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Is Liz being objective? Has she stayed at Lilybank or just read all the glowing reports.

If she hasn't been she should at least go and sample Pat and Mike's hospitality before jetting off to Anaheim again.

On the other hand what if she pinches all the hand made soap and there's none left for the rest of us?

Can't wait for Andrews96702 +/-'s review next . I hope I remembered to f ill that scratch on the nightstand.

A/D
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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Hello and thank you for all your responses...even yours, Liz! I didn't imagine that my report would cause this much turmoil, but since it did, I feel compelled to respond...I actually do take the advice of others on this forum which is how we found and arranged many of our most wonderful experiences in Australia and on other trips. As I stated, there was a lack of clarity as to how far this B&B actually was from the center of town. We did read about the restaraunts nearby but unfortunately only came across the Garden Room which was our absolute least favorite meal of our entire trip. Which brings me to my next point...I think before some people start judging others and calling them names (i.e. "tourist from hell" and "PIA") they would be wise to remember that opinions and personalities vary widely, and thank goodness, wouldn't the world be boring otherwise? We didn't enjoy the food at Garden Room, it was not our style of cuisine. However, I was not by any means critisizing them for not having a certain type of restaraunt nearby, I was simply stating that there is not much choice so if you happen to agree with our particular tastes, you might be dissapointed to be a $20 cab ride away from other choices. Now as far as the accusations about our disregard for the expenses of others, this I cannot accept. A B&B is a business and people pay to stay there and be comfortable. I would absolutely agree with keeping the AC off all day if I were staying with relatives, but in fact, we paid them very good money for a comfortable accomodation and that is not what we got. And I can only assume that, in fairness, you sent an email attacking Pat and Mike for their lack of consideration of their paying customers?? I understand that June is winter, but guess what, it was still hot and very humid, and AC was a must. We most definitely did speak with them about our concerns and they made a business decision to charge us full price even for the nights we did not stay there, which I'm sure you find disgraceful since it shows their complete disregard for us and our expenses. If you have stayed in hotels, you know that it is not common practice to totally turn off AC or heat while your guests are out and expect them to adjust it when they get home. As for the other comments, they were much more constructive and I appreciate it. Alan, we did do almost everything on your Sydney list! We are the type who don't sit around when we travel, we really packed it all in! But once again, especially for my good friend Liz, different people like different activities so just because you, who was born in Sydney and has returned many times, could fill many days, doesn't mean it would be this easy for tourists who have never been there. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. I provided a factual account of our experiences and how we felt about them, which is what these forums are made for. If you don't think you'd mind this type of accomodation, great! At least you won't be surprised when you get there. As I said before, overall we look back on this trip with pleasure and I welcome any additional comments or questions, especially if you are willing to leave out the personal judgements and elementary name-calling...
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 08:39 PM
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Being from Dallas Arikson I would have thought that you would know that in most 5 star International hotels when you shut the door and go out then the airconditioning goes off. At least that has happened in all of the 5 star hotels that I have been too - which also includes one in Dallas by the way.
You mention 'lack of clarity' in defining what is and what is not close to a city, if anyone else has taken the opportunity to read the information given to you by all the posters in your original questions before you went there then if you did not take in that information that is not anyone's fault but your own.
As for charging you for days that you did not stay at an accommodation establishment may I suggest that you check your facts. In every hotel that I have stayed in there has been NO refund for checking out prior to 48 hours before said date therefore you are quite wrong in the assumption that you paid for something you should not have paid for. You made the booking, that is a contract and therefore that contract binds you to it as it does to the owners who even if they thought you were the biggest pain in the a... they had to put up with you until the contractual time was up. If you choose to leave before it then that is your loss and no one should be out of pocket for your decisions.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 08:59 PM
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I hope this doesn't create further aggro among my fellow Australian contributors, but Arikson77, you really need to know about an unwritten rule of this forum, which is that you are only allowed to say good things about all aspects of Australia and Australians. Negative posts are NOT allowed, and you will be taken to task sternly if you transgress this rule. It's a great pity that this rule is not better known, but really, it was your responsibility to search all previous threads, and you'd have seen what happened to a Canadian visitor who complained about high prices, and a guy who was less than impressed by his 5-star hotel.

Having said that, I guess you didn't do your cause much good by devoting your first post since your visit to what seem to me to be minor annoyances in the scheme of things. A footnote to a balanced trip report might have attracted less flak.

Personally I'd be happy to be guided by majority opinion on Pat's establishment should I ever need a B&B in Cairns. But I'm not too comfortable with Liz's suggestion that people who run businesses should not be taken to task publicly for perceived poor service. I'm sure that Pat's hide is not so thin that she can't take an occasional brickbat amongst the many bouquets she's been thrown on this forum.
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Old Jan 4th, 2005, 10:36 PM
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I am all for a level playing field Neil, but perhaps as there is always 2 sides to any story we should have the story from the owner's of Lilybank B&B as to just how wonderful this person was as a guest.
Just because you pay for something does not give you the right to behave as a "princess" without a pea. There should be some balance on this forum. However I do not expect a reply from Lilybank because they would not lower themselves in back-stabbing.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Liz,
I really think your life would be happier if you would get your emotions under control and think before you speak...I challenge you to find one place where I stated that I should have gotten a refund, or that I blame this forum for the fact that we didn't like the food at the nearby restaraunt. As for your many 5 star experiences where the AC goes off automatically, there is always a central air system that keeps the heat and humidity under control. I have never returned to a room where it was this uncomfortable and where the water in the bathroom had begun to stink. At any 5 star establishment, or 3 star for that matter, this would not be tolerated. This forum is for expressing opinions in a constructive, objective way (absence of name-calling again) and that is what I have done. I can agree I should have said more about the entire trip, but I did include many comments about the rest of our trip, and I even complimented Pat and Mike in that original post! However, I felt that our experience at Lilybank deserved the most detail so that others would not have the experiences we did. Also, speaking of rules of this forum, its rediculous to suggest that only positive comments are allowed and I can only assume this was a joke. One rule I am aware of, however, is that people in a position of making money off of their comments (i.e. innkeepers) are not allowed to comment so that is probably the reason we are not hearing from Pat and Mike, although your explanation was much more dramatic...
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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The flavor of the posts on the Aussie forums indicates to me what PRIDE most natives have!
Neil_Oz was probably joking but not far off from being correct.
I rely on this site to get info about upcoming trips. I try to post accurate experiences and appreciate your information.
Poor Liz should "take a pill" and calm down.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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Neil and Arikson77,
Neil although you have been on this forum for some time if you had been writing on it for as long as I have you will know that if anyone has taken the time to bag any place it is 'yours truely'. I have never expected nor wanted only glowing reports from people. However I take exception to people who write reports that are either misleading, inaccurate, back-stabbing or all of the above.
I know exactly where Lilybank is and it is within walking distance of 4 eating establishments - now surely one of those would have been OK but if you are either a vegitarian, vegan or only eat Kosher food then perhaps they would not be suitable BUT SAY WHY.
B&B accommodation was/is meant to be a place that you can stay in without the usual sterile anominity of hotels, where you can get the best local information and where you can be treated as a friend and not just another room number.
I live in and own a $MILL house but I still prefer the hospitality of a B&B. I enjoy the discussions at breakfast and the interaction with other guests and hosts. I actually stay in a B&B in Buenos Aires, when I go there for business, which has egg cartons on the ceiling for insulation - why? because the owners are the loveliest people I know and I am treated as family. In Chile it is the same and I have to share a bathroom and toilet to boot.
I don't understand the comments about the Aboriginal artists in Kuranda either. It is a fair time since I was there but it is the Aboriginal people themselves who organize what they do and if that is misconstrued then again they are the people perhaps who should have anything brought to their attention. I am sure that they do not depict themselves as anything other than what they feel, I found them to be very professional.
You are also quite wrong Akikson77 when you say that owners of establishments cannot comment - they sure can and in fact do so on many occasions. What they are not supposed to do is advertise.
Under the heading of Lodging in Cairns, Lilybank B&B there is written comments about Lizard Island hinting that people who make bookings only point people in the direction of places that give kickbacks - its all about money Arikson77 - if you were happy to spend an extra $400 for Lizard then perhaps you should have said so. There are any number of comments on this forum about Lizard being the best of the best and I am sure anyone would have pointed you in that direction if you had said that money is no object.
You also go on to talk about Sydney under this same heading which can only lead me to think that your main aim was to get as much mileage out of bagging Lilybank as you could.
On another note I see that you have done another report which is informative and interesting. I feel the same way as Alan I think about the Sheraton and I too will boycott it like the plague from now on.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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Wow!!

Didn't you find many locations to be out-of-the-way???? We did!!

But I cannot honestly feel that I would have taken this online to try to destroy a B & B's bookings.
ost everyone feels that a honeymoon should be absolutely PERFECT!! Most often they're not - they're simply typical, average, enjoyable trips.

I can't comment on Lilybank's B&B's but many others can - and the concensus appears to be pretty good - I don't think I would have an difficulty staying there. But then I have no difficulty spending a month in Sydney since it's since a delightful, interesting city and offers a wealth of knowledge.

I believe you offered way, way too many unpleasantries and, as a gentleman, you should apologize for your slightly below the belt comments. You are always welcome to your own thoughts but those should have been addressed to Pat and hubby as owners of the establishment and NOT to everyone on this site. Each hotel/motel/B&B cannot not be examined against a hotel you find to be top notch.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Well said LN
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Arkinson77 I certainly will not question your right to your opinion, but I did feel compelled to add my own 2 cents on my stay there (which admittedly I should have posted before now in any event, as the posts from people on this forum were so helpful to me - not only in choosing lilybank but for my entire trip)

I stayed in the cottage at Lilybank for four days at the end of November of this year and had a wonderful stay. No, there is no shower curtain in the bathroom, but I found that the water dried quickly and there was never any smell (and it was at least 35 degrees each day during my stay). There was plenty of room for my cosmetic bag/toiletries in the small linen closet in the bathroom.

As for the A/C, I actually made a point of turning it off before I left each day since I thought it was wasteful to have it running all day long in an empty room. When I returned in the evening I found (as AndrewDavid has posted) that the room cooled down quickly.

As for the location, I do not know what posts here you reviewed, so I cannot comment and it is unfortunate if you felt some of them were misleading but, Pat and Mike's web site clearly states in several places that (a) Lilybank is in a *suburb* of Cairns and (b) is a 10-12 minute drive from Cairns.

I loved the Garden Room - the food and the service - so much so that I went back a second time for dinner 2 nights later, but of course the food may not be to everyone's tates. However, in the little cluster of shops in Straford that are about a 10 minute walk from Lilybank there were 3 other places to eat, as I recall (2 of which I tried and which were fine).

I have to agree with Mucky's comment on expectations as well. Lilybank didn't compare to the Hotel Como in Melbourne in terms of amenities, for example, but I didn't expect it to. I certainly didn't feel it was akin to camping - I thought that was an unfair comparison.

Apologies if my reply seems pedantic and Arkinson I'm sorry you were disappointed in what sounds like an otherwise wonderful trip for you.
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Old Jan 5th, 2005, 10:19 PM
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Thanks whiskey, for telling it like it is we certainly enjoyed having you as a guest. And thanks to LizF, Mucky, AndrewDavid, LN, Judy in Calgary, and Neil for your support.

Mike's just taken the 10 minute drive into Cairns to order a new sign for the cottage. From now on it will be known as "The Boris Shmukler Honeymoon Suite" just in your honour, Arikson77. Should be a great conversation starter!
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 12:20 AM
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Well I just noticed this posting, and after a good read of all replies, personally, I think it is in bad taste to critise in such a way, a persons business, and a person who contributes soooo much to this bulletin board. Pat is one of those wonderful contributors who regularly supplies honest & open information, to sooooooo many overseas guests. If you had a problem with Lillybank B&B, why didn't you email Pat personally, instead of PASTING it on this bulletin board....again in BAD TASTE!
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 12:29 AM
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You are a good bloke Trop and I have now decided that when I head North I will in fact pull into Hervey Bay and buy you and your other half ( if you have one ) a coldie - be it Fosters, XXXX, Boag or VB. I now feel bad for taking the P... out of you.
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Old Jan 6th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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Good on ya', trop, anytime you're up this way we'll be more than happy to buy you a drink or three.
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