We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Awsome spot”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar
Ranked #4 of 5 Saint Arnaud B&B and Inns
Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awsome spot”
Reviewed 28 July 2014

Hi, we called in the the top house on the 26th of July for lunch service was great place nice and clean ,our lunch was perfect chips with bacon caramel onions with a nice dressing ,you have to have a toasted sandwich best I've ever had and very filling ,roaring fire great hospitality service with a smile you must go here

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sandra_E_11792
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

57 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    27
    19
    7
    3
    1
See reviews for
8
30
3
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
93 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 April 2014

My partner and I spent ANZAC weekend there and we had a fantastic time. Jennifer was really welcoming and helpful. We stayed in one of the self contained chalet (not the best place to stay in Winter as they are quite cold but we can't wait to come back in Summer to enjoy the outdoors!) that had 2 heaters, a very VERY comfy bed and everything you need in terms of appliances (even a DVD player!).
We had diner at the tophouse on our first night and it was an absolutely lovely time, we got to share diner at the big table with other guests in front of the fire, diner was absolutely amazing and we had a really enjoyable time.
Overall a great place to stay if you want a "home sweet home" type of feeling and if you are a nature lover.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bellatrix6618
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 review, 4 May 2014
Thanks C & R for your review. It was lovely to meet you both and I wish you well. Winter came a bit early didn't it and at 700m above sea level it's always a couple of degrees cooler here than down the valley. Since I have taken over the business I have upgraded several things, especially the bedding, in the chalets. I am planning to improve the heaters this month so they chalets will be toasty warm for those chillier nights. I look forward to seeing you both up this way again. And thanks for sending back the key!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 22 April 2014

service for food is almost non existant it took nearly 1 1/2 hours to get our four meals and they did not come out all at once two of us had finished our meals by the time the last one came out. the room was cold as the fire had all but died out.there were only two other meals she had got out in the time we were there. I will not be going back to this place.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hoggie57
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 review, 4 May 2014
Thanks for coming to TopHouse on the recommendation of staff at the Nelson Lakes Visitor Center. Obviously he would not recommend the cafe/ Guesthouse if it had a poor reputation. I remember the 4 of you arriving on quite a 'high' Greg had obviously aroused your expectations. As it was Good Friday I was there alone and the unfortunate thing was that all guests arrived in the cafe within 5 mins of each other. So when you arrived I had barely taken the order of the first 2 persons and then your party of 4 wanted 4 different, complex lunches which required cooking on a stove.. We cook fresh food here so it all takes time and even more time if the orders are different AND I have to serve as well. This was a learning curve for me which I have remedied for the future. I am sorry that your expectations were not met. I did offer you a cup of coffee on the house but you refused.
Your right about the fireplace ... it frustrated me too as the wood that was delivered was wet. We've now got a load of dry firewood and so guests now sit by a blazing fire! Yes come to TopHouse and you sit at a lovely big table, (over a 100 years old!) with other guests. That's what makes this place special.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
23 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2014 via mobile

Greg from the visitor centre recommended we visit Jennifer for coffee cake fire and the murder suicide story. What we got was a fire not burning that I tried over 2.5 hours to keep alight, food that was average and took an outrageously long time to be served and inadequate communication from the manager. 3 of us got our meals and had finished before the 4th arrived - it was pancakes with a banana and maple syrup and took 20 mins to arrive. My bacon and egg burger had no egg because she had run out and that was fine but there was no meat pattie and I didn't come with chips. There are two rooms with a big table in each so you share with strangers. Jennifer was there when we arrived but didn't immediately welcome us and we had no idea what we should do, if we were in the right room, if there was food being served and why the 6 other guests were so silent (it felt very uncomfortable and we should have trusted our instincts and left straight away). We still can't work out why it took over an hour to make 4 small meals and would unfortunately not recommend anyone to go here. We even had to knock on the kitchen door to ask if we could pay and we were the only 4 people left! 2 guests left having given up on the wait. We felt quite neglected and very let down and then paid for it ... Hhhmmmm

Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank fairlie100
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 review, 4 May 2014
Thanks for coming to TopHouse on the recommendation of staff at the Nelson Lakes Visitor Center. Obviously he would not recommend the cafe/ Guesthouse if it had a poor reputation. I remember the 4 of you arriving on quite a 'high' Greg had obviously aroused your expectations. As it was Good Friday I was there alone and the unfortunate thing was that all guests arrived in the cafe within 5 mins of each other. So when you arrived I had barely taken the order of the first 2 persons and then your party of 4 wanted 4 different, complex lunches which required cooking on a stove.. We cook fresh food here so it all takes time and even more time if the orders are different AND I have to serve as well. This was a learning curve for me which I have remedied for the future. I am sorry that your expectations were not met. I did offer you a cup of coffee on the house but you refused.
Your right about the fireplace ... it frustrated me too as the wood that was delivered was wet. We've now got a load of dry firewood and so guests now sit by a blazing fire! Yes come to TopHouse and you sit at a lovely big table, (over a 100 years old!) with other guests. That's what makes this place special.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Saint Arnaud
3.9 mi away
Alpine Lodge
Alpine Lodge
#1 of 1 in Saint Arnaud
235 reviews
18.2 mi away
Lake Rotoroa Lodge
Lake Rotoroa Lodge
#5 of 5 in Murchison
23 reviews
4.1 mi away
Avarest B & B
Avarest B & B
#3 of 5 in Saint Arnaud
4 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.0 mi away
Kikiwa Lodge
Kikiwa Lodge
#4 of 5 in Saint Arnaud
9 reviews
1.8 mi away
Wairau B&B
Wairau B&B
#1 of 5 in Saint Arnaud
8 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar

Property: Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar
Address: 68 Tophouse Road | Nelson Lakes, Saint Arnaud 7072, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Nelson-Tasman Region > Saint Arnaud
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Saint Arnaud
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
TopHouse Historic Guesthouse offers accommodation, meals and drinks ( in NZ's smallest bar) to travellers and has done so since 1887. TopHouse is located on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park and offers fabulous mountain views from the guesthouse or from your veranda of your chalet. The Guesthouse has a home away from home atmosphere. It is steeped in history so come and experience the atmosphere and feel the warmth. The mountainview chalets are each self- contained and sleep a max. of 4 adults or a family of five. The Nelson Lakes National park is an outdoor persons delight with, boating, fishing, walks & hiking on your doorstep. In the area there is mountain biking, wineries, 4x4 tracks and more. The property is set amongst farmland and is a safe haven for young children. We have the best views to the mountain ranges. Retreat to your deck of your chalet or the garden terrace and watch the bunnies, cows, goats, sheep meander in the fields or read a good book in utter peace. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Agoda, Priceline and Booking.com so you can book your Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing