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Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar
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Reviews (66)
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39 - 44 of 66 reviews
Reviewed 24 February 2014

On the way back to Christchurch we stopped at the TopHouse Historic guesthouse. We got to make our own drinks in the smallest pub in the world and enjoyed the afternoon in the comfort of the outdoor garden overlooking some stunning mountain views. The lady running it is trying to promote the accommodation and it is in the style of the era it was built so don't expect miracles.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank JulieEB55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tophouse, Owner at Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2014

Thanks for taking the time to place a comment on TripAdvisor. TopHouse is as you say a Historic Gem as it is the only 'Historic Guesthouse' made of cob left on the South Island. I am proud to be able to offer visitors a chance to step back in time and enjoy the ambience the house offers, stories of it's history along with great food. Cheers, Jennifer.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2014

We had booked a cabin well in advance of our arrival in NZ. St Arnaud has a limited choice of accommodation, but that doesn't really excuse this place. On arrival we asked about an evening meal, but were told that none was available as there needed to be a minimum number before they would cook, so a trip back to the village was required.

The unit needed some maintenance attention. The main door required excessive force to close. That door had facilities for curtains, which would have provided some privacy in the shower/toilet area. The toilet itself was a modern wonder - each flush didn't just do the basics, it splashed the top of the seat.

A management-provided information sheet in the cabin advises that they provide no toiletry consumables (soap etc) citing this as their eco-friendly poilcy. This is the first accommodation where we have experienced this in over 12 months on the road over the last 6 years. What a crock!

On our departure we went to the main building to retun the key and mention these matters, but the door was securely locked and ringing the (cow)bell attracted no attention. I rang the number on the blackboard but the woman who answered seemed uninterested.

Thankfully our stay was just the one night.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Don-Pedro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dutchkiwi59, Owner at Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 2 February 2014

Hello Peter. I am the person you spoke to on the phone, the owner of the business, ( not the property). I am sorry that you did not advise me then that you were not satisfied with your accommodation, You only spoke to me about checking out, whereby I said that leaving the key at the door would be fine. However I was surprised that you did not get a reaction when you rang the bell as there was a staff member in the house at that time. I even phoned but got no reply. It appears that my colleague was vacuuming and therefore did not hear the phone or the bell. Sorry about this. As for your complaints with regards to the stay in the chalet, I can imagine that if one thing does not satisfy you then it is natural to look for other things to dissatisfy you. Julie checked you in and when you asked about dinner she did in fact mention that we need a min. of 4 people to cook dinner for otherwise it is not viable. But she also suggested coming back to speak to me around 5pm when I would be in the guesthouse. You did not come. St Arnaud, 8km down the road, has 2 restaurants nowadays and your chalet has a fully equipped kitchen so I presumed you chose another option. I cook for guests staying in the guesthouse itself, even if it is 1 or 2 as they do not have the option of preparing their own meals, but we do ask guests to reserve in advance. The lock to the chalet has now been rectified, thank you for your comment on this. With regards to the toilet flushing, I tried it out and yes it leaves a few drops of water on the toilet seat. Not a big issue and we are lucky, being in the countryside, relying on gravity fed water, to have such good pressure! Lastly your comment with regards to the door not being curtained. This is the door in the hallway, opposite the bathroom, not the main door. I removed the torn curtains to have new ones made but regardless you had full privacy in the bathroom because contrary to what you imply, the bathroom has a solid door so you cannot be seen when you are inside it. Being in the countryside with only wide expansive views of pastures and mountains chances are Peter that the only things that would see you in the chalet are the rabbits that play in the grass. The cleanliness of the chalets along with sleep comfort ( woollen duvet inners, 3 sheet system) has been my highest priority since taking over the business 15 months ago. I should raise the price but I have chosen initially to reduce the price of the chalets ( compared to what the previous owner charged) and improve the most important facilities, which I am doing. In my opinion the chalets offer value for money.

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Reviewed 27 December 2013

Tophouse bills itself as historic, which it may well be, but that's no reason why the quality of the accommodation should be below standard, which it is. We rented a self-contained unit for three nights. The view was glorious but the unit had a tired air about it. I think that the owners no longer care about this place and it's down to the manager to make the best of what she's been given.

Our unit had an unpleasant fishy/musty smell which we at first thought put down to the place being in need of a good airing but it didn't really dissipate in all the time we were there. We never discovered the reason for the smell.

In the three days that we were there the unit was not serviced at all. Jennifer, the manager told us that this was standard for self-contained units in New Zealand but having stayed in many places during our 12 weeks in the country, from high end to budget, nowhere else have we had this problem and it was not pointed out to us at the time of booking. We met with the manager at the very beginning of our stay but thereafter no member of staff was available until the manager returned to the property late on the third day. There was no-one to whom we could make a complaint or make a request (we didn't have a mobile available).

To be fair, Jennifer did cook us a very nice meal on the final night but the previous two nights we had to fend for ourselves and the cooking facilities were barely adequate. The cooker did not work properly so we could only make basic meals and there is little choice in the village for meals.

Despite its historic nature, I think there are better options than this one in St Arnaud so I could not recommend it.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Rob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dutchkiwi59, Owner at Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 December 2013

Thank you for your review, though we are disappointed that your stay in the self-contained chalet did not meet your expectations. We offer these chalets at a competitive price point and up until now have had very satisfied clients. We do offer a different level and style of service in the Guesthouse compared to the chalets and this is reflected in the price. I have looked at your concerns and will improve where possible. I am sorry that the element in the oven was not working so that you could not bake your bread however it is now sorted. Since taking over the business last year my staff and I have focussed on cleaning the chalets and house to the highest possible standard and this is reflected in many of the travellers reviews. In my experience people staying in the chalets choose to organise their own meals however as you mentioned I was happy to cook dinner for you on the last night of your stay. Unfortunately I have to travell into Nelson once a week to get supplies and this day coincided with your stay. Sorry once again if it did not meet your expectations.

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Reviewed 25 December 2013

Yum, great food and interesting company in a relaxed atmosphere. Being locals we can't comment on the accomadation but if you are looking for a genuine slice of Kiwi history, excellent food & good value, this is the place for you. Thanks again Jennifer. Catherine & Wayne

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Cat D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2013

Very nice place to stay, even if there is not much choice in St Arnaud, almost just a wide spot in the road. Nice separate modern cabins up on a picturesque hillside, next to the old restored roadhouse. Very friendly hostess. No choice of restaurants in the town, so ate dinner with her, made us feel very welcome, relating the history of the old part of the building, and her travels. The place is an easy drive to the Marlborough wine valley with all the great wineries, and on to Picton. And yes, there are many many rabbits to watch.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ARMilano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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