Carolyn Collins nds big city stan­dards in a re­gional gem.

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE -

Port Lin­coln Ho­tel 1 Lin­coln High­way Port Lin­coln, SA 5606 portlin­colnho­ FOR THE SOLO woman trav­eller, the Port Lin­coln Ho­tel holds a lot of ap­peal. It’s new, mod­ern, se­cure, cen­trally lo­cated and, more im­por­tantly, it has fluffy tow­els and room ser­vice.

Af­ter an early start and a full day tour­ing, I ar­rive in dire need of a shower, a good lie down and some mind­less tele­vi­sion so I’m ter­ri­bly grate­ful to lo­cal fish­er­man Sime Sarin who de­cided Port Lin­coln needed a $45 mil­lion lux­ury ho­tel be­fit­ting its sta­tus as South Aus­tralia’s rich­est re­gional town.

Opened with much fan­fare and celebrity glit­terati in early 2008, the four-star ho­tel fronts Bos­ton Bay and boasts 111 rooms, a restau­rant, bar, con­fer­ence and func­tion fa­cil­i­ties, gam­ing ar­eas, gym and a swim­ming pool. Tow­er­ing above any other lo­cal land­marks, it’s also im­pos­si­ble to miss.

It might be the most lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel in the re­gion but nei­ther the dé­cor nor the per­son­nel are the slight­est bit pre­ten­tious. I’m greeted cheer­fully al­though I’m slightly dis­con­certed to have my room num­ber re­peated – loudly – three times in the course of a dis­cus­sion about ho­tel se­cu­rity. Per­haps I’m be­ing ul­tra-sen­si­tive but it’s not some­thing a woman trav­el­ling on her own par­tic­u­larly wants broad­cast, even if Port Lin­coln is not ex­actly a Third World crime hub.

But my room is a wel­come sanc­tu­ary. Spa­cious and dressed in the same un­der­stated ca­sual, con­tem­po­rary chic-style as down­stairs, there’s a comfortabl­e king-size bed and a sofa bed. On the wall di­rectly in front of the bed, is a gi­ant-sized plasma TV, while an alarm clock that dou­bles as an iPod dock­ing sta­tion sits on a bed­side ta­ble.

I’ve taken a “town room” but al­most im­me­di­ately I re­gret my de­ci­sion to save a few dol­lars. In­stead of an ocean view and bal­cony, I have a view over the car park and a round­about. Still it’s quiet . . . at least un­til the road works start the fol­low­ing day.

But you can’t hear any­thing in the bath­room, which has a deep, full-sized bath, a deca­dently large shower and, yes, big white tow­els. In the larger suites, the baths are fit­ted with spa jets, but I don’t miss them.

I don’t feel like brav­ing the restau­rant alone so I opt for room ser­vice, which shares the same menu as the down­stairs Sarin’s bar, pro­vid­ing a range of re­gional choices at sur­pris­ingly rea­son­able prices. It proves to be tasty up­mar­ket pub tucker that ar­rives still steam­ing and in quick time.

An in­spec­tion of Sarin’s restau­rant the fol­low­ing day proves I had no need to be in­tim­i­dated. De­signed with plenty of quiet cor­ners and comfy chairs, it spills out­doors on to the pave­ment where you can dine over­look­ing the wa­ter. A two-way fire­place makes a stun­ning cen­tre­piece.

There’s no doubt the ho­tel is a huge as­set to the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try and it proves an ex­cel­lent base from which to tour the re­gion. My stay is only partly spoiled by yet an­other se­cu­rity blip when an un­sched­uled evening visit from my equally sur­prised neigh­bour re­veals the ad­join­ing room door has been un­locked my en­tire stay. I call down­stairs and some­one duly comes and locks it, but there’s no apol­ogy.

Hav­ing been bur­gled in the past via an unchecked door, I can’t be­lieve I haven’t checked all the locks (solo trav­el­ling 101). It leaves me un­easy, a feel­ing that is height­ened later when I’m awo­ken by se­ries of ghostly mid­night knocks from a group of pranksters stay­ing down the hall.

But you can’t blame ho­tel se­cu­rity for bad­man­nered guests.

ac­com­mo­da­tion 111 rooms and suites. fa­cil­i­ties king-size or queen beds, broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess, mini bars, 24-hour re­cep­tion, satel­lite TV chan­nels, Sarin’s Bar and Restau­rant, Sharky’s Bar, gam­ing room. lo­ca­tion cen­tre of Port Lin­coln. price town...

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