Few key words that come to mind as I write about The George Hotel are "soothing, relaxing, peaceful and of course STATE OF THE ART LUXURY". We stayed in the Park View Suite which had AN AMAZING VIEW of the Avon River and the Hagley Park & Golf course. In the mornings/evenings, that view looked like one of the most perfect settings on god's green earth...add to that a cup or two of tea (for the wifey) and maybe a Chivas Gold Signature (for me) and you have the ultimate relaxation from a tiring (& enjoyable) sightseeing session. Normally one would associate the word "amazing view" with the sea-view, or a view of the mountains, etc, but there was indeed something relaxing about this particular setting. Of course the weather was great and that’s a very important factor in making this a memorable stay.
BOOKING our stay was pretty easy stuff as their website has all the descriptions/details I needed. When I finished booking, the email confirmation was almost instantaneous.
PICKUP FROM AIRPORT: It helps to confirm pickups/drop-offs vie email as it provides complete peace of mind. I had requested booking pickup from Christchurch airport via email in advance and they did it quickly. Many methods to reach: Shuttle bus, limo, cab, etc. I had them book the Corporate Cab for me....nice & comfy cars (in the CAMRY, PASSAT category), so clearly no problems there.
THE PARK VIEW SUITE: We were ushered to our room without much delay, which I preferred, especially after a 10 hour flight from Hong Kong! We were given a brief description of the facilities and that’s why I used the word "STATE OF THE ART" in the opening sentence of this review. All light switches were the touch based types (and I mean iPhone style touch based). Maybe people have seen those elsewhere but having stayed in other popular chains, I didn’t notice this feature often. I mean it was really use friendly, just a light touch and OFF goes the light (or ON). The Jacuzzi was a welcome sight. The towel rack in the bathroom had its own heating button, which is AWESOME esp. in winters or even when we were there (which is pretty much Autumn). But the best one was a button to ensure the bathroom tiles were heated when u walk in!! Now that’s the stuff that gets someone like me to listen! ;-) The living room large window shades were remote control operated.
FOOD: Pescatore & 50 Bistro were the 2 restaurants there but the main one is 50 Bistro since its open almost all the time. Needless to say some of the better seafood I’ve had in recent times was all there. Most notable starter for me was the the squid...mains were pretty good overall too. Two notable names absent from the menu were Fish n Chips and Sushi, but no problems really as we were kept well-engaged with what was on the menu! They have some of the finest selections of wine, BUT NEED I SAY THAT? ;-)
TRIPS & SIGHTSEEING: The concierge was very helpful & informative when it came to the places to go & things to do. So, clearly no problems there as the concierge booked our trips & transports, etc. The most memorable was the WHALE WATCHING EXCURSION in Kaikouri. Saw this ENORMOUS sperm whale up close and was humbled immediately. Saw groups of dolphins passing by and I count that as an added bonus! Another bonus on that trip was a colony of seals that we came across. Some of them seemed to actually pose for the photo session!! :-) Must've been used to visitors coming over there and clicking photos. Needless to say both of us (and the many folks around us) were "trigger happy". That was a full day well spent.
Next was the TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth....were the train passed through some of the most amazing sceneries on earth (some of them were places where you can’t go even by car, etc, so that train is the only way to see & capture them). The train stopped briefly at some stations and they let us stretch and take pictures. It was amazing with the sun out and we clicked some great vids n pics through the observation decks. You are allowed to book a same day return journey (else ppl went ahead to stay in Greymouth for a few days). The train itself is very decent with comfy seats and decent food & drinks on the menu. Another Full day well spent!
We were supposed to go on a Hot Air Balloon Trip the next day but those guys come to pick you at 6:50AM!! While myself & the wifey really wanted to do this, we just didn’t have the energy to get up that early (after 2 full days of excitement!) Now it feels like we could have given that extra effort and ended up with our MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE EVER! Will do that when we go next time for sure!
Of course, all these exciting trips make you a bit tired too but then we had a relaxed setting to come back to!!
We spent another couple of days just hanging out & walking around a bit in Christchurch. It was amazing to see how much had been rebuilt & how they had come a long way ahead since that bad time!
Based on my description of our stay above, one might wonder if we even wanted to leave at all! Indeed, we decided that maybe we can extend by one more day and visit the Orana national park, but turns out the Hotel was gonna close for 6 weeks as they had to do some renovation work. Good for the employees to have a nice vacation. I'd say looking at our room, I didn’t notice any signs whatsoever that the place needed renovation! ;-)
NEGATIVES: Can't think of any really :-)
As we left Christchurch for our next destination- Auckland, I was already sure that we will be coming back soon!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC