May 4, 2009

Once idyllic Aussie hotel now run down

Current and ex-employees of York Fairmont Resort say the once-plush Australian hotel is now so tattered it's plagued by customer complaints and refund demands.

The workers said the award-winning Leura resort, formerly run by the Mirvac group as Peppers Resort, was purchased by Michael Kwok and Helen James in December 2007 for $47 million. The couple have since replaced 200 of the hotel's 240 workers with employees who have less experience in the field, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.

Fairmont has always had a good name "¦ in the first year of York taking over, that reputation was intact, said Priscilla Lagatule, the resort's business manager. Obviously, they've made the wrong choices in the decisions they've made since.

The hotel's problems were highlighted Easter Sunday when 200 guests signed a petition demanding refunds due to staff shortages, dirty facilities and rooms not being serviced.

The resort is also being investigated by the Australian Workplace Ombudsman over allegations by former workers that they were not properly compensated and multiple Australian motoring organizations suspended the hotel's rating.