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“Spectacular view”
Review of GEMS Seaside Lodge

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GEMS Seaside Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Arrived in time for a great sunset - even though the weather was typical for NZ winter. Warmly welcomed by our host and we were in the two bedroom unit which was up stairs. Entire unit has tile floors, modern bathrooms and kitchen - all in immaculate condition.

Room Tip: Only 2 units - both with great views. This is probably the best available in the area so book in adv...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
1  Thank RoseHillArtist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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79 - 85 of 202 reviews

Reviewed 15 July 2014

Gale force winds were forecast for the day that we were due to drive from Russell to Ahipara Beachfront Accommodation. It didn't feel safe to drive there so we checked with the facility if they would enforce the 100% cancellation penalty in the circumstances. They said that they would and that "the forecasters always over dramatise our weather". The drive there was horrendous and when we stopped for lunch in Kaitaia at 3pm the power went out. The power was still out when we arrived at Ahipara half an hour later and did not come back on till 7:30pm that night, just as we were on the verge of going to bed early in the absence of any other real option. We had at that stage already had a dinner of precooked sausages bought from the local store that we barbequed, because as far as we could tell all food establishments were closed, due to the power being out. That wasn't the dinner we planned.

The next day we took a bus tour along ninety mile beach to Cape Reinga. Although Paul from Ahipara Beachfront Accommodation was very dismissive of them, we found Cape Tours Petricevich to have a very comfortable bus and provide as good a tour as they could to the Cape. The conditions weren't right to go sand boarding unfortunately. The day before Petricevich's apparently lost a bus when a tree branch crushed the cab, during the gale force winds which hit 168km/hr at the Cape. That night the power was again out at Ahipara for most of the evening. With the power out the taps don't work and the toilet doesn't flush. We therefore asked for a bucket in case we needed to get water to flush the toilet with. Paul seemed to think that that was unnecessary (being as dismissive as he had been about the weather) but eventually relented and provided a bucket.

On our 2 night stay there was no heat, no light, no running water and no flush both evenings, with no expectation of power being restored, though fortunately it eventually was restored on both nights.

When I paid for the accommodation Paul charged me $10 more than the price on my confirmation. The confirmation was from the booking system on the Ahipara Beachfront Accommodation web site. Paul said that the booking system was wrong and added up a series of numbers on a calculator to show me that the booking system was wrong. I disagreed with the idea that Paul's calculator trumped his web site's booking system. Eventually Paul unhappily refunded me the $10 difference. The only reason that I got the refund was because I had my booking confirmation with me and stuck to my guns. If you do choose to stay here, do bring your booking details.

That still meant that we paid full price to stay for two evenings where we had no power for a big chunk of the time, when our better judgement would have had us not there at all. Almost all roads were closed when we tried to return home. It was only by driving through flood waters that we got through before all roads were closed. Far from the weather being over dramatised, Kaitaia's chief fire officer Colin Kitchin told ONE News: "It's like a war zone, it really is." http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10256405/Northland-on-brink-of-more-severe-floods

The unit was nice and well appointed, with a great view. It is not huge but both bedrooms have a nice en-suite, the fridge is a good size and there is a smallish but effective barbeque available. There is a modest size kitchen/lounge separating the two bedrooms. Those were the saving graces of this establishment and the reason that I've still given it 3 stars despite our enormously disappointing experience.

Clearly Ahipara Beachfront Accommodation could not not control the weather or the power. They did however have the ability to recognise that our somewhat involuntary stay with them was in almost every way less than ideal. They could have been less patronising about basic needs like a bucket to flush the toilet, or they could have offered some sort of discount as a sign of good will. Instead they tried to charge us more than the agreed price. Our experience was poor.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank BrettinNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2014

Stayed in the 2 bedroom apartment mid winter. Fantastic with views that went on forever. Very friendly hosts who looked after us well. Well appointed kitchen so easy to use. Two very modern ensuites a huge bonus. Great value for money. Will definitely go back.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank SuzP132
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

We stayed only one night and wished it was more... the place is without parallel, gracious host's who take the utmost care in what they offer. The accommodation basic but everything you could wish for provided. Still remember sitting outside watching a spectacular sunset over 90 mile beach with a cold beer and some oysters. Paradise found. Thank you

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank reno80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2014

An extremely well appointed, clean, quiet and with comfortable beds and separate bathrooms. Absolutely ideal for two couples. We really enjoyed our two night stay and certainly will be back again. Both bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms are identical layouts so each couple is treated equally. Well appointed kitchen/dining/lounge and great elevated view over the beach and you can look up Ninety Mile beach. A real ocean front feel. Great sub tropical gardens & palms. Paul excellent with his suggestions on what to do, where to go and lent us a bucket to the go beach fossicking for Tuatuas at low tide (we failed). Sunsets to die for.... Excellent even in the middle of winter.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank 19mallard51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014 via mobile

The only downfall was that we could only stay for one night due to work commitments.

We found this gem by pure luck while road tripping in and around the Northland coast.

We were two couples and a baby who stayed and we enjoyed the tranquility and especially the beautiful beach and sea views right on our doorstep.


Our hosts Paul and Jenny were extremely welcoming and helpful and we had a fabulous time stand up paddling and surfing (even though the swell wasn't in our favour) on the beach literally 1 minutes walk from our lounge.


The self contained kitchen is very modern and has every convenience that you need to cook, plus a handy dishwasher.

Enjoy your meals overlooking the beach and river and views of Shipwreck Bay.

We will definitely come back!

A must if you ever find that you're wanting a weekend or even a week away from the city bustle.

P.s the beds are incredibly comfortable and you sleep to the sound of waves and wake up to the sight of nature at its best.

We will be back!

Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Jimsa90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2014

We stayed here for two nights last week in the 1st floor two bedroom apartment. Both apartments have separate entries and are completely self contained. The views of Ahipara beach are stunning especially the sunsets. The property is modern and extremely well equipped.Jenny has an eye for detail and this shows in the little touchs. It is very clean and even has an umbrella outside the door in case of inclement weather. Paul was very helpful especially when SandSafaris forgot to come and pick us up for our Cape Reinga day trip. He telephoned them and sorted it out for us. We would highly recommend staying here.

Room Tip: 2nd floor is on top of owners accomodation. Ground floor apartment is to the side
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank WhangareiTravelCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about GEMS Seaside Lodge

Address: 14 Kotare Street, Ahipara 0481, New Zealand (Formerly Ahipara Beachfront Accommodation)
Phone Number:
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Ahipara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Ahipara
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
GEMS Seaside Lodge offers the discerning traveller exceptional lodgings in the jewel of Ahipara, at the base of the 90 Mile Beach. Begin your adventures to Cape Reinga, the Bay of Islands, the Hokianga, and other treasures of Northland, from here. However, there is actually a wealth of activity in Ahipara for you to enjoy. World class surfing at Shipwreck Bay, fabulous fishing (both chartered and surf casting), board paddling, horse-treking, 4 Wheel Driving and Sand Duning are just a few of the many activities available. For those who wish to enjoy a more leisurely experience, there is golf, beach walks, and visits to our very own award-winning vineyards. If you simply prefer rest and refreshment with book in hand, then absorb the beauty of this magnificent beach paradise, with crashing waves, beautiful birdlife, and stunning sunsets, from the comfort of your lodge, as part of your ‘seaside therapy’. ... more   less 

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