Clive Palmer dubbed Sunshine Coast's Basil Fawlty
CLIVE Palmer's five-star Palmer Coolum Resort has been likened to British slapstick comedy Fawlty Towers with the political maverick and billionaire described as "like John Cleese, but not as funny".
The resort and its flamboyant owner were put in the crosshairs by Channel Nine's A Current Affair on Monday night, with a reporter and cameraman showing "closed for maintenance" signs blocking entry to the pools and spa.
In the report, staff diplomatically describe the five-star venue as going through a "quiet time of year" and "short of staff" as guests label it a "ghost town".
Speaking directly to the camera, the reporter describes sitting in an empty restaurant before pointing to other restaurants inside the resort that are equally quiet.
Food and drink prices are described as exorbitant, with the resort reportedly charging $25 for a tub of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and $30 for a dish of Pad Thai noodles.
Mr Palmer is confronted by a journalist, with a cameraman in tow, but does not discuss the resort.
Perhaps most damning is the criticism made by Gaye Williams from the Coolum Business and Tourism Association.
The group represents businesses within Mr Palmer's Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax.
"We've lost events, we've lost conferences. We've lost the Queensland State of Origin and we've lost the PGA," she said.
"He's our John Cleese. Just not as funny"
Mr Palmer has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.
After the report aired, he took to Twitter:
It is not the first time the resort has been bruised by criticism.
Earlier this year, it was reported a string of poor reviews for the resort were posted on TripAdvisor which gave the five-star resort a one-star rating.
At the time, a spokesman for Mr Palmer said the site attracted "all kinds of unvetted and dubious comments", a claim rejected by the website.
As of this week, the resort has a three-and-a-half star rating from reviewers.
It has the lowest review rating out of the five hotels at Coolum Beach despite being the only one with a formal five-star rating.