Riverwood Downs Review
We had heard about Riverwood Downs over the years and because we were looking to find a dog friendly resort that would also give us some country atmosphere, we decided to give here a go. The property is located in a beautiful rural area known as the Monkerai Valley between the towns of Stroud and Gloucester. It sits on 750 acres and 5km of mountain river frontage.
We really only wanted to stay for two nights but had to book for three as that was the minimum for the Riverside Spa Cabins which we choose to stay in. The Riverside Spa Cabins are designed for couples and have a private verandah, overlooking the beautiful mountain river. With an open plan bedroom/spa bathroom and queen bed, plus air conditioning and kitchenette/sitting room.
Other accomodation choices include: The River Cottage - A secluded two bedroom cottage that has a large deck overlooking the beautiful mountain river. Boutique Rooms - 4 star motel style spa boutique rooms. Park Cabins - Sleep up to 5 guests and are self contained, with a private covered verandah and outside table and chairs. Camping & Caravanning - A selection of site options available.
The drive to Riverwood Downs along the Buckets Way Road is a very pleasant country drive. The turn off to Riverwood Downs is just a short drive north out of the small country village of Stroud. The road into the property is a winding dirt one, but offers some really nice scenery as you make your way into the Monkerai Valley.
Our spa cabin was comfortable, but we think it is a bit of a stretch to call it 4 star. Our room was a bit dated, but we did not expect too much different considering it is a cabin. Nice location looking over the river. We had drinks and nibbles each afternoon on the verandah which is big enough to comfortably sit two to three people around the table. The cabins are located a little away from the main area and a good distance from the camping area which makes it nice and quite.
There is restaurant, cafe, and gift shop, located in the main reception building. The restaurant has indoor and covered outdoor eating options, We choose to eat on the covered outdoor deck, given that the weather was so nice. All are dog friendly, and even have meals for dogs available on their menu if you want to treat them. There is a bar and kids play area located here as well. The feel is rustic, country, and is very relaxing. The surrounding area is manicured lawns and birds singing in the trees.
Breakfast was included in our package and no complaints on that front. Dinner was a different story, the first night the meals were excellent, provided with good service and in a timely manner. The second night it was completely the opposite. We don't know if it was different kitchen staff or if they were busier than the first night, but is was pretty bad, so much so that I had to complain to management when checking out, who would good enough to give us a reasonable discount off our bill when leaving.
As far as activities goes, Riverwood Downs can provide horse riding, and canoeing, but it is pretty much up to yourself to find things to do. A lot of the guests, especially those families staying in the camping grounds, brought their own canoes and rafting tubes with them and spent a lot of the day on the rivers edge swimming and floating down the river rapids. Kids also brought their own bikes, skateboards, etc, which also kept them busy. We had none of this with us, so we found we were a little limited on what to do on the property during the day.
To be honest, as relaxing as it is, we got bored! We even went into Stroud one morning to try and kill some time. That was nice, we had some lunch and looked around, but we were all done in a couple of hours.
To help break things up a bit, there is a couple of bush walks around the Riverwood Downs property that we recommend you do, One goes up over the mountain to another river edge with more swimming options. It is about a one hour walk over and if you take the shorter route back it only takes about 3/4 hour to return. Certainly worth doing, There are maps available at reception. Don't forget the sun screen and take plenty of water with you as it can can get very hot.
This is a lovely property in a wonderful location, but is very expensive for what you get. Maybe the caravanning and camping options may be a different story, but we just felt we did not quite get the value out of the high price we had to pay compared with other similar resorts. We understand that the remote location does mean added overheads for the operators, but given the 'very high' price we had to pay for the three nights we would have expected a little more. Don't get us wrong, we enjoyed our stay, no complaints there, it is just the issue of value.
Given that there was not much to do, we also opted to come home after just two nights rather than staying for the three. The two nights were just enough for us and it is a shame that Riverwood Downs does not give you this option. The two nights is good option for couples wanting to get away for just a couple of days like we did.
Maybe its a destination better suited for families, especially those camping.
The jurys still out on this one!
Opening Hours: Open every day