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“Beware the Off-Campus Housing”
Review of Birchwood Cottages

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Birchwood Cottages
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 March 2014

This is a difficult review for me to write. On one hand, I feel compelled to speak up because this was easily our least satisfactory lodging experience during five weeks in New Zealand. On the other hand, when I read the reviews of others, which are overwhelmingly favorable, I worry about being unfair. After much thought, I've concluded that the difference between our experience and others' is that we stayed in an "off-campus" facility rather than a regular Birchwood unit.

We were in Te Anau with another couple. I didn't make the reservations, but I understand that the cottage that we rented was a vacation home owned by relatives of the Birchwood owners. The reason that we took that unit is that it had two bathrooms. It was livable but somewhat shabby. We couldn't get heat (aside from a wood stove in the living room) when we needed it; and then we couldn't turn the heat off when it became too hot. The lighting was poor; our bathroom was cramped and had an almost unusable shower; and the bed was rather uncomfortable.

I will concede Birchwood the benefit of the doubt and give it an overall average rating on the assumption the regular units simply must be better than the off-campus unit where we stayed.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ronald G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2014

The place you have reviewed belongs to our family, and we rent it out as a favour. As you well know, when you booked this place (whoops it wasnt you that booked it ) none of our places "on campus" were available. This lovely 3 bedroom place with 2 good size bathrooms has wonderful heating with a magnificent log burner. Had you taken note of our instructions about it, you would have been able to regulate the heating quite easily like others do.
The large lounge, deck with BBQ, and wonderful mountain views has been ignored by your self, as you have been too busy nit picking about what wasnt right in your eyes.
The "shabby" wall paper in the bedroom that concerned you has since been replaced.
.
We ask readers of the above review to have a look at the other positive reviews.
The place is no longer available, and has been removed from our booking calendar.

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Reviews (183)
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Reviewed 21 March 2014 via mobile

Leonie and Ray are wonderful hosts at Birchwood cottages. They were very accommodating to the four of us and always welcoming despite the late times we needed them sometimes. The cottage we stayed in was lovely, full of light and very comfortable and homely. Thank-you Leonie and Ray.

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank Mountbeautymama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2014

Thank you for the positive review about our Te Anau accommodation.
We are always available from 7 in the morning through to 10 at night. We are pleased you appreciated this.

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Reviewed 13 March 2014

If you are going to stay in Te Anau....this would be an excellent choice,particularly if ,like us ,you want a cottage with several rooms. We stayed in a 3 room cottage (newly built) on opposite side of road to main complex. It was very well furnished ,very clean and comfortable. Owner was very helpful and I think this would probably rate as our best value stay in New Zealand !
On trips to Milford and Doubtful Sounds...we ended up doing both and pleased we did.For Milford ,we choose "Trips and tramps" and highly recommend them as small very personal company.We also took with them a last minute bargain heli flight up onto the mountain top and landed on the snow...a great experience ! For Doubtful we took "Real" ...these are the big boys in town..and had no problems with them,even if you are one of a big group. Our Milford experience was on a perfect day..the next day,the Doubtful was gloomy and overcast.I am glad we saw both sides of the coin ! If i could only do one..I would choose Milford with trips and tramps.

Room Tip: Chat to owners first...they are very helpful.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Dorsetman_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2014

Thank you for the "best value stay in NZ" comment. We are pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us. It is good that you took a small group tour to Milford Sound, the best way to explore Fiordland. The company you chose for your Milford sound day ranks high on '"tripadvisor" (No 3)
We invite readers of this review to 'click' the No 1 small group tour from Te Anau ("tripadvisor")

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Reviewed 4 March 2014

We stayed in a one bedroom unit. The unit is wheel chair accessible, it was clean and well equipped. It is located on the main road to Milford Sound, but a nice hedge hides the traffic. Any needs we had were quickly taken care of. Leonie was a wealth of information and booked us for a one day trip to Milford Sound with Fiordland Expeditions. It was a great adventure.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Travelbug95682
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2014

Thank you for your nice review. You have appreciated the quality of our 4 star plus one bedroom cottage in Te Anau and for this we simply say thank you.
Leonie would have booked you with "Fiordland Tours" knowing that they are the best small group tour to Milford Sound. We are pleased that you enjoyed the tour.

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Reviewed 19 February 2014

We stayed as part of a South Island road trip with our adult son. The cottage was well furnished and equipped and the little touches provided by Leona and Ray really made us feel welcome. Ray's tour to Milford Sound should be a must on everyone's itinerary!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Alan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 27 February 2014

Thank you for the nice comments about our accommodation and the tour to Milford Sound with "Fiordland Tours" We are so pleased that the combined package exceeded you expectations. It is such a pleasure to have people that appreciate the attention to detail that we provide.

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Reviewed 7 February 2014

Our little house at Birchwood Cottages was the best place we stayed at on our 10-day trip to the South Island. It really had the best of both worlds - the privacy and facilities of a self-contained cabin, along with the personal attention of a posh hotel (we even found, on returning from Milford Sound after a hasty early-morning departure, that they had done our dishes and made our beds!). The cottages have everything you need: well-equipped kitchen, separate bedroom with very comfy bed, a huge sofa-bed in the living area and a spotless bathroom. The owners were really friendly and helpful, and offer their own tours if you wish. Our six-year-old loved the grassy play area, which is right outside either cottage (though the very best part of this was playing with the owners' adorable granddaughter, who happened to be staying with them at the time!). The cottage is right by the main road to Milford Sound, so it's easy to find, but it was very peaceful at night, and the supermarket is only two minutes' drive away. Though we didn't need it, our cottage was also set up to be fully accessible to people with mobility difficulties. The curtains in the lovely, bright living room aren't all that thick, which did make it a bit tricky getting our son to sleep on those sunny summer nights, but that was mainly because he's used to blackout curtains and tree-shaded windows at home. Otherwise, we absolutely loved Birchwood Cottages and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as the perfect base for a Milford or Doubtful Sound trip.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank authorgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2014

Thank you for the very complete and detailed review of our cottage accommodation in Te Anau. We are pleased that you appreciated our attention to detail. The curtains will have black out lining in the future.

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Reviewed 3 February 2014

We had a family roadtrip in south island of NZ (2 families). We were on budget and were looking for a room which cost NZD 120 per night (for one family). When I read the positive reviews on Tripadvisor regarding Birchwood Cottage, I searched its price in booking.com. Perfect, the 3 bedroom cottage was NZD 240 per night, so I could share the cottage with my friend.

Upon arrival Leony and Ray greeted us warmly, they have a huge cat. Our kiddos loved it.

We had a fantastic 3 bedroom cottage. We could wash our clothes, cook, overall we felt that it was our home.

This cottage is really recommended, 5 mins drive to the city center (or even less), great garden and playground for kiddos, and it was affordable.

To Leon and Ray, I would like to thank you for everything. Hope I can visit your place again someday.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank tesyasblog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fiordlandtours, Owner at Birchwood Cottages, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2014

Thank you for the nice review of our accommodation and the detail you went to. We vare pleased you appreciated the atmosphere of our warmth and hospitality.

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Additional Information about Birchwood Cottages

Address: 208 Milford Road, Te Anau, Fiordland National Park 9600, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Southland Region > Fiordland National Park > Te Anau
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 27 Speciality Lodging in Te Anau
Price Range: £80 - £159 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Birchwood Cottages 4.5*
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Birchwood Cottages Hotel Te Anau

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