Thursday, May 13, 2010

H-moon Recap: This is not seriously a 'hotel'!?!

As I mentioned, Mr Fix It had been to Australia and Bali before and he did not feel the need to book any type of travel accommodations like hotels, car rental, restaurant reservations, touristy type attractions or tickets, etc.  We had our airline tickets and we had a couple nights at two different resorts booked and that was it!  And I didn't get him to book the resorts until literally 2 to 3 weeks before our wedding!

So when we arrived in Brisbane, Australia, I totally trusted him to figure it out.  Thankfully, I did convince him to rent a Garmin GPS system with our rental car which was a huge lifesaver in helping us get around!  He knew he wanted to check out Burleigh Beach (a place on the Gold Coast just over an hour south of the Brisbane airport) so we programmed in the city and took off.

When we arrived, we just started looking for hotels close to the beaches.  We found one that he said we should check out and as we walked up the steps to the door, Mr Fix It looked at me and said he just wasn't feeling it.  So after entering and seeing no live person to assist us, we followed his gut and walked out quickly.  We drove just a little ways away and found this place called La Pacifique apartments.

Now I'm telling you...this was a score!!!  We walked past an okay sized pool and into the front office and found a very tiny little front desk with an older looking bearded gentlemen sitting there.  We asked him if they had anything available for about 2 or 3 nights.  He said they didn't do one night stays but they did have a place available for 3 nights.  So we asked if we could see it and he walked around the corner and opened the front door to what was the apartment he lived in.  He called for his wife, Robyn to come out and asked her to take us up to #36 on the 12th floor. 

The second we walked in, we looked around, smiled at each other and told Robyn "Sold!"  So we headed back downstairs and booked the room for $150 a night.  Granted, it wasn't really a room at all.  In fact, it was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment! 

Here's a pic of the living room. 

We stayed there from Monday until Thursday when we were heading to O'Reilly's Rainforest.  We had only booked one night at O'Reilly's and we were so thankful for that as you will see in tomorrow's post.  So on Thursday morning, before we left La Pacificque, we asked the manager, Graham if they would save us the same room for us to come back and stay at for Friday and Saturday night as well.  They were so sweet and accommodating, they totally said no problem.  In fact, they gave us directions to a local grocery store and we bought some groceries to make breakfast and lunches each day since we had a fully stocked kitchen.  When we left for the one night to stay at O'Reilly's, Robyn and Graham even let us keep some of the groceries in the refrigerator.

Here is Mr Fix It making me breakfast one morning:

We totally enjoyed Graham and Robyn.  They were very sweet to us and we would run into Graham walking around the beach across the street sometimes.  They referred us to a few malls, shops, etc and even called me into their apartment one night to watch how they fed the wild birds off of their back porch from right out of their hand!  It was something you would probably never see here in So Cal. 

When we came back for the last 2 nights, they discounted our room for the 5 night stay since we had stayed 3 nights and then another 2.  So overall, we only paid about $110 US a night at most including taxes.

Our unit had apparently just been remodeled and so the cable tv in the living room wasn't working.  They called in their repair man, John to fix it and we became quick friends with him.  He shared lots of stories about how he came from Austria to Australia and his life.  He would stop and chat with us when we would run into him around the apartments.  One day when we ran out of laundry detergent I asked Robyn if we could get some more packets.  She didn't have any so she just gave me the box of detergent from her own apartment. 
Here's a pic of Mr Fix It looking out the kitchen window.  Every morning I would wake up and go look out this window to see the surfers in the water and what the weather was like. 

The cool thing about this place, too was that I could get up each morning and walk across the street to a little convenience store that had internet access which is how I was able to chat with my daughter, Little Miss on Facebook each day and keep up on a few blog posts, too.  Overall, we scored on our 'hotel' stay in Australia and would totally recommend it for anyone who travels there!

And here is a little video tour from me of our apartment.  Please excuse the racy pics of me in my undies in the mirror reflections :)  And sorry that the lighting is not fabulous on video:

So would you ever consider 'winging it' for a vacation in another country?  As much as I was freaked out to do this and wouldn't do it regularly, I have to admit that Mr Fix It did not let me down on our honeymoon.


Hannah said...

I've traveled the world and I've probably reserved a room ahead of time 5% of the time... I love showing up in the city and asking locals on recommendations to stay and I've found some awesome places like your hidden gem. (I've also found the only hotel in town that happened to be $2 a night...)

As someone who is usually a careless traveler its funny that I've booked every night of our honeymoon! I guess I'm so scared of the World Cup making it impossible to find a room that I'm being a little over zealous!

Great find, I have a feeling you'll be spending anniversaries there in years to come!

Gaynor said...

Looks wonderful.

I have gone on holiday before without booking places, we did it a couple of times in Oz too but we have also done it in Thailand which was fab. We booked the first 2 nights in Bangkok then the last 3 in Singapore then just did what we wanted inbetween. Best way to see the country!

However, there was no way I was doing that for my honeymoon! We did a tour in Sri Lanka so all the hotels were booked for us then we booked a villa in the maldives as you cant really just turn up there!

I really need to get on with my honeymoon recaps too!

Em said...

I'm not going to lie, I was really nervous for you when you first talked about not reserving too much in advance for your honeymoon. But, I'm THRILLED to hear that it all worked out in the end. I give you major props for being ok with doing that because I know I never could (and never would...ha, the day Josh suggests that is the day he goes on vacation alone). Excited to see more of beautiful Australia!

ruthy ann said...

this must definitely be a guy thing. Our entire travel so far has been "unreserved." we've pretty much just showed up in places and then found a place to stay. For the most part...we've scored...but there have been some duds for sure. Making reservations ruins the "adventure" of it my husband says. :)

PartyPlannerGal said...

Wow, what a fantastic place! I have never "winged it" before. My fiance, who has traveled extensively throughout Africa, India, South America and Southeast Asia, wings it all the time. I am a planner. He likes to let things happen "organically." I am trying to compromise for our upcoming trip.

Heather said...

Wow, that place is awesome! Awesome view and that balcony looks very inviting. I love the way that place is decorated, too. Great find!

Ghenet said...

What an awesome apartment! For our honeymoon, I don't think I'd want to wing it like you did, but I could see myself doing that for out trips, especially abroad. You guys got really lucky!

Ghenet said...

Oops, meant to say *other* trips above!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Definite score AND it was a full apartment! It would be hard, but I would definitely try winging it sometimes.

Jillreigh said...

I would be so nervous to go on vacation somewhere and not have reservations planned the entire time, but you guys really lucked out!! Yay for Mr. Fix-it knowing what he was talking about!!

JEM - Aqua Bride said...

That apartment looks amazing and makes me want to go to Australia too. Glad you had fun.

Morgan said...

Wow, what an amazing price for that place! I guess it really did pay off to not book ahead of time!

Chocolate Lover said...

What a great place! You guys scored! I think I would be too nervous to do this, especially for our honeymoon. If think I would be driving us both crazy if we were there and I started stressing about where we were going to stay! Can't wait to see more!

Mrs T said...

I - like you - would much prefer everything to be booked ahead. But Mr B is so like your Mr Fix it and likes to play travel roulette as I like to call it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Glad this time you guys WON!

P.s. Can't get the video to work :o(

Katie said...

Wow - seriously...that place you found rocks! I can't believe that you 1 - were able to randomly stumble upon it, and 2 - that it was SO affordable! That is ridiculously awesome!

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