Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 18)


It's time for me to look at another website in my bathroom book.

Today's website is the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas, Queensland.

I think the Sheraton might be an American company, because we have a lot of Sheraton hotels here. Though it might be owned by some other country. I'm pretty sure it's not an Australian company, though.

I'll see what Lord Wiki has to say.

He says it's an America company founded in 1937 in Massachusetts. Their first American hotels were in Boston. Their first international hotels were in Canada. Their first hotels outside North America were in Israel and Venezuela. I'm feeling like our Disney Express bus driver we had recently—the one who liked sharing hotel history trivia.

Now I'm looking at the Sheraton's own site—their list of hotels. They have five hotels in Australia, including the Port Douglas one. There's one in Sydney, one on the Gold Coast, one in Noosa Heads, and one in Melbourne.

The Port Douglas Sheraton's website says the hotel is located on Four Mile Beach. What's the deal with giving beaches mile names. And why not use Kilometers?  We've already stayed at One Mile Beach and Seven Mile Beach.

I see the check out time for the hotel is 11:00, and the check in time is 3:00.  I think that's more in align with American hotels than Australian. In Australia, we usually experienced a check in time of 2:00 and a check out time of 10:00.

The hotel has free wifi in the lobby, which probably means the wifi in your room is NOT free.

They have a little booking window box thing. I'm going to look at the rates for a long weekend in March.

For $199, you can get a room with two double beds and something called a sweet sleeper bed. Maybe that's a couch bed?

No. I'm wrong. That's just what they call their beds at the Sheraton.

Anyway, so it's $199 a night, but that's only if you're willing to not be flexible, meaning that you can't cancel.  Or you can, but there are penalties.  If I'm understanding things right, the penalty is 100%.

If you want more flexibility, that's $284 a night. But there's not much flexibility. I made my booking for March 5, and they say after February 19, I start getting cancelation penalties.

I guess they really want you to book ahead, and then keep your booking.

I was thinking maybe they're just really popular, but I looked to see if they have anything available this coming weekend, and they do.

I want to compare their cancellation policy with Disney's.

I couldn't find the information on Disney's own website. That's one of the negatives of Disney World. Their website is often much less helpful than the various unofficial websites.  This is my favorite unofficial website.  They say if you cancel between 6-45 days before the reservation, you forfeit $100. If you cancel less than six days before, you're out $200.  It seems a little better than the Sheraton. Well, with the Sheraton, it seems you have to pay for the whole stay upfront. Then you lose all the money if you cancel. With Disney, the deposit is $200. If you're only staying for a night or two, that would be like losing everything. But if you were planning a longer vacation, you'd only be losing a fraction of what you were planning to pay.

Let me move on from this and look at the Port Douglas stuff.

They have pictures and descriptions of all their rooms. The Deluxe garden view is their smallest room, and probably the cheapest.  The view looks pretty nice—lots of green plant stuff.

The Mirage Garden View is a little bigger and little more expensive. They don't provide a photo of the room on the page; just a picture of the garden. And the page about the Deluxe lagoon room has a photo of the lagoon, but not the room.

I'm going to skip ahead and look at their biggest unit.  It's a 4 bedroom villa that's $830 a night.  It sleeps eight people, with four bedrooms. You get get a kitchen, laundry.... and if I'm reading this right...three bathrooms. That seems pretty good to me.

I'm going to compare to Disney again. I think Disney is more expensive.

I'm looking at the Boardwalk Villas. They have a three bedroom villa, and the prices ranges from $1821-$2562.  It too has a kitchen, laundry, and three bathrooms.

Back to the Sheraton Mirage.... If you get four couples together, they each have to pay only about $207 a night.  That's not too bad.

The Sheraton Mirage can be used for weddings and other events.

They have an outdoor venue called Gilligan's Island. That might be fun.

I'm looking at their ceremony packages now. They have a $3700 wedding on the beach. I'm thinking this might be more of a private kind of thing.  Or maybe not?  I'm kind of confused.

Their cheapest reception package is $99 per person.  In two hours, you get eight cocktail items, wait staff, a cake table, a beverage package, and scattered seating. If you want a long reception with a sit down dinner and all that; it's $190 per person. Then there are other options between those two.

Now I'm looking at dining options. There are two restaurants, two bars, a private dinner thingie, and in-room dining.

The Lagoons Restaurant has a seafood dinner buffet on the weekend. Seafood fans might like it. I probably wouldn't.  Their regular dinner menu has a couple of vegetarian options, which I appreciate. One's whole-wheat spaghetti.  I'm bemused by places that assume if you're a vegetarian, you're also into health-foods. Well, I guess it's true in some cases. If I remember correctly, Qantas is the one that's annoying about it.  I think they provide vegetarians with totally different food, even if it's not a meat related issue. I can't remember exactly, so I'll make up an example. Let's say the regular breakfasts come with a croissant. The vegetarian meals might skip the croissant, and instead you get some kind of whole grain muffin that also happens to be stale and flavorless.  Remember. I'm making this up. Don't take it as gospel. But I do remember not liking things in my meal, and wishing I could have certain items from the regular meal. Although MAYBE I ordered the vegan meal for some reason? Then alternative pastries would make sense.

As for the Lagoon's Restaurant menu, why not just provide a choice of whole wheat pasta or regular?

The hotel's other restaurant doesn't seem to have a vegetarian option, at least not in their main dishes. They do have a goat cheese salad, but it's a prix fixe meal. I'm not sure what a vegetarian's to do during the main course time.  Maybe skip to dessert? They have a cheese platter.

The outdoor fancy private dining thing costs $500 for two people.  I guess that would be for very wealthy people, or for a very special occasion for not-so-wealthy people.

Here's a page about kids activities.  It doesn't seem like they have anything really special for kids. I mean there's not an activity club. They have an arcade, and the the page reminds us that the kids can swim at the beach or the lagoon. There's an inclusive dining program for $30 a day.  Looking at the kid's menu at the Lagoons restaurant.... A cheeseburger is $15. So the $30 might be worth it.  Or at least worth it if you want to stay at a place that charges $14 for a child's ice-cream sundae.  Shit! These prices make Disney food prices seem reasonable!

The hotel also has a dining voucher program.  It's $240 for 12 vouchers.  My calculator says that works out to $20 per voucher.  One voucher will get you into the high tea, which usually costs $25 per person. So you're saving $5 dollars.  A three course dinner costs three vouchers ($60). Without the vouchers, you'd pay $68. So I guess you save a bit.  It's not a huge savings, though.

I guess it's good if you're firmly dedicated to eating on property. But if you're unsure, and you think you might prefer to go to nearby restaurants...it might be better to just pay as you go.

I'm looking at Google Maps. There's a Chinese restaurant up the road.  And I'm seeing a lot of other restaurants on Trip Advisor.  But maybe some people don't want to leave the hotel. We're that way at Disney World. At least Jack and I are. We don't like leaving the property. If we did, we could find much better food prices.  It's a pain leaving, though.

Here's a hotel page about things you can do in Port Douglas. Most famous is the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.  Brave people can skydive. Or they can do bungy jumping, hang gliding, microlighting, etc.  Here they have tours involving crocodiles and other animals.  I'd probably like the tour that involves eating breakfast with birds.

Now I'm going to look at their provided photo gallery. Then I think I'm going to quit. I'm tired. I mean not sleepy, but tired of writing this post.  I was thinking of quitting these bathroom book posts, but then changed my mind. Now after writing this one, I'm back to wanting to quit. So maybe I will.

I looked at the pictures. Port Douglas is pretty.  Most of the photos on the site are of Port Douglas in general, and not of the Sheraton. So the photos might encourage someone to visit the area, yet they might not necessarily need to stay at the Sheraton.  And if it's the photo of the clownfish that calls out to them, they don't even need to go to Port Douglas. They can probably find a much closer aquarium or zoo that has clown fish. Or maybe even a local pet store.

Yeah. So anyway. I think this will be my last bathroom book post. I'm getting bored of looking at room rates and restaurant menus.  Plus, I end up feeling so cheap and picky when I write these posts.
I become a cheap bitch who bitches about places she's never even visited.

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