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Published December 2nd 2013
Accommodation in a heritage building - or is it retro?
The Colonial hotel, on Elizabeth Street in Launceston, looks great on paper. It's housed in a gorgeous old building, with a beautiful cottage garden out the front. They have a restaurant on site, and plenty of choice for rooms including family and spa suites. It's close to everything in the city centre, just a block from Princes Square. It's even reasonably priced (but back to that later...).
The Colonial's impressive street frontage
The impression the reception area creates is perfect. Housed in the main part of the hotel, with a charming, old-fashioned long wooden desk and sumptuous decorations, the reception area is clearly designed to make the incoming visitor say 'Wow.' And it did. Which made the rest of the hotel a disappointment.
You see, although the Colonial Hotel is in a heritage building, most of its rooms aren't located there. Did I say reception is in the 'main' part? That's a slight misnomer, there. In terms of bulk, the main part of the hotel is out the back, in the charmless brick block of 1980s-designed hotel rooms.
To be fair, there were some positives to my stay. My room had a recently refurbished bathroom, and the heating system was excellent. The hotel provides free movie channels and has deals incorporating free wifi. The staff were also friendly and helpful. The room itself, though, was your typical 1980s/90s hotel room and clearly in need of a refresh. It also became evident that the doonas were clothed in spare sheets, rather than proper covers (a clever shortcut, really, when linen doona covers are expensive, but...).
I got a good deal on a room at the Colonial, and my room showed me why.
In all honesty, I can't complain about the state of the room for its price range. My disappointment comes from expectation not meeting reality. From the Colonial's advertising, I was expecting it to be in a heritage hotel. I was even prepared for dodgy bathrooms and draughty halls. What I wasn't prepared for was typical modern hotel/motel mediocrity.
Positives: Clean, warm rooms at a good price Negatives: More 'retro' than a genuine heritage experience