(Based on Te Koinga Cottage experience)
I am surprised to see such high reviews. Possibly we got unlucky or possibly we've been spoilt by better bach accommodation around NZ.
I was torn between a 3 and a 4 on this one. I probably would've gone with a 4 if it wasn't so expensive. It was great, but you don't get what you pay for. I get it, it's rustic, but even rustic can be a lot more tidy, especially considering these are "commercial" rather than purely family rental cottages. The setting is undeniably beautiful though.
- First impression - cottage was not very clean. The basics were clean (floors, linens) but old cooking oils etc sticky all over the microwave and other such things that would be "second on the cleaning list" were not tidied up.
- There was a cockroach in the bathroom and ants in the kitchen.
- There was an almost empty bottle of hand soap and a hotel-sized shampoo in the bathroom. No hair conditioner, body wash, or lotion (pointing this out because they advertise the bathroom products and also every cottage in NZ I've stayed at has had those essentials).
- Decor was okay. I am putting this here because I've read reviews of others pointing out how amazing eclectic it is. I would describe it as 'dated' and a bit 'hoardy'. Again, I am not expecting 5 star hotel, or new appliances and furniture, or a modern decor at a rustic beach house. But it didn't feel as cozy and inviting as I expected. The lounge double bed is awesome, and that's where we ended up sleeping both nights (rather than in the bedroom) but it's surrounded by audio-video equipment ranging from early to late 90s. It's a web of cables from video tape player, dvd player, huge stereo, and tv, that's just kind of messy and unnecessary. I would say a little more investment in the property would go a really long way on this one. And "tidy" is something I would recommend to the owners.
- No pantry with any essentials for cooking. There was salt and a bit of oils but that's it. So make sure to bring absolutely everything you need for cooking. There are pots and pans etc.
- There is almost no cell phone reception, which is actually really great. There is also no radio reception. So why not then provide a small variety of CDs and DVDs to add a bit to the ambiance? The collection of books and games and video tapes was not really useful. We listened to Andea Bocelli tapes and attempted to watch Lion King - those were the highlights of the entertainment selection. So bring books and your own music.
We did end up finding a little Telecom reception hot spot and streaming Pandora radio most of the time, when it worked.
- I requested a 12pm checkout but didn't receive any feedback from the hosts whether they have accepted my request or not. With planning and late arrival etc getting hectic I admittedly forgot to ask them once we got there. On the morning that we were supposed to leave we were practically sweeped out with a broom by Trude who entered the house with all the cleaning products and without saying anything else immediately started cleaning and pointing out that the lights in the bathroom were on (which we were still using as we were packing things - and because we were "kicked out" I ended up forgetting some personal items there). We let her know that we've done all the dishes and didn't use the bedrooms so she didn't have to change linen or clean them and she responded with "yes you did". It was just a bit rude and unpleasant and a put a small downer on otherwise a very good weekend.
I later learned that they had an early arrival into the cottage after us, and were pressed for time to clean, but it definitely could've been handled a bit better.
- Setting is amazing, trail right down to the beach (takes about 10 minutes). The beach is wonderful, and you can walk around to the bays directly north and south as well as explore a big cave.
- Fireplace in Te Koinga was just what we needed on a winter weekend away. John was great and lit it for our late arrival to make the place warm and cosy and it was easy to keep up the whole time we were there.
- John was really great and gave us a lot of information and tips on where to go and what to do.
- I have to say that we really had an amazing time overall. We set up the lounges by the window and read facing the ocean and listening to the waves. We enjoyed the ambiance with all the candles and the fire. We slept on the double bed in the lounge which was really great (although it's really short and being 5'7" it was barely long enough for us). We cooked an awesome dinner in the slowcooker and made mulled wine. Yum!
Overall, you will definitely enjoy it, but know that there aren't really "special touches" to make your stay more convenient - so be prepared to take care of yourself.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bethells Beach Cottages is a place that encourages you to pause and reminds you what relaxing feels like. Come, connect and unwind in the peaceful sanctuary of your Bethells Beach accommodation. Our three boutique cottages are positioned high above Bethells Beach, overlooking the black iron sands of Bethells Beach and the dramatic Tasman Sea. Sit back on your private deck with a glass of local wine taking in the vast views; enjoy watching nature’s theatre. The contemplative and stress-free surroundings of Bethells Beach is the perfect partner for corporate planning and off-site days, with the facilities to cater for corporate functions, events and special occasions. ... more less
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