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“Nice place but beware of the staff”

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Sunkist Stay Bike n Hike
Wellington
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Nice place but beware of the staff”
Reviewed 25 February 2013

Stayed overnight, cannot fault the premises. Great value for money, lovely character building nicely appointed, very clean. But the woman on reception is one of the grumpiest and rudest people I have ever met and totally unsuited to a front-facing role in a back packers. It was like staying in a school dormitory with a list of rules and a very strict schoolteacher with no sense of humour in charge. She charged $20 key money - and then didn't open reception in the morning when people were needing to check out - at 9.15 am! (didn't answer the bell either).

Only stay here if you don't mind following lots of rules, being treated like small children and being told off and/or grunted at. Such a shame, because as I said, the place itself is lovely. And please don't judge the rest of the people of Thames (whom we found to be lovely) by this very unpleasant woman.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Disien
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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87 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
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English first
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2013

We booked a double room, which was upstairs, as all the room seem to be. The view out the sole window (slides up and down, with a catch one could not lock, the bit of wood above the window needs removing and the outer window raised would do the trick) was towards the native forest covered Coromandel Ranges. On checkin was unaware of the $20 key deposit (handy as when you are away you tend to overspend and the return of the deposit is helpful for after the holiday) most places I have been are $10 or if you have a Credit Card they use it inside. On entry to the room which was by key (only one given) in the door handle and once closed you always needed the key to get in.
We found the owner operators, Son and Mother, were reasonably pleasant to deal with. We were told where to find the room and one had to explore the hostel to find things. The room was pleasant the double bed took most of the room with two bedside cabinets either side, the bed was made up as advertised and two towels rolled up ( more like you expect of a good hotel or motel) placed neatly on the bed. And a soft lounge chair opposite the door. High ceilings and nicely decorated with a picture above the bed and opposite wall (the end of bed)
The bathroom was opposite plenty of toilets with brushes and toilet paper in each, the bathroom had two showers boxed in one of the bathroom areas, shower door, a stool and a wooden slated bath mat, with curtains to pull across and a hanger on the door, the shower had a cuddy with soap ( not that I use it as I have to be careful what I use as I have skin allergies). The bathroom basins were plentiful and ventilated well, on one basin area was a mirror that pulls out and flips to enlarge your face ideal for shaving or putting make up etc., There was another shower behind a heavier door, offering more privacy as the bathroom was unisex ( able to be used by both males and females). All showers locked. The showers were low pressure.
The kitchen was large with a granite centrepiece, two mircowaves, boxes to take possession of to store your food items and space in the refrigerator which works well except their is no freezer, owners are happy to store items requiring freezing on request, they use to have freezer but due to lack of use removed them, understandable. A new ceramic stove top, and twin tub to wash up after you. Most of the time the place was wiped cleaned. Mainly up to the guest as expected in most hostels, although they had Woosters ( they work and may get free lodging) as cleaning staff. A good recycling system is in place.
There was plenty of freebies peculated coffee (although you had to go to the reception to get it), instant coffee, tea, spices,sugar, salt, pepper, and guest leftovers are free to use. There was a toaster, and plenty of cookware, crockery and cutlery to use. Hot water by a unit on the wall. Kitchen is closed off after 11pm, and this is the time to quiet too, found this ideal as I am an early riser. They have a dog which I am guilty of feeding, finding out later by some of the other guests, it was on the board, I tend to be lazy reading boards, often it is advertising, on the board was a small notice "not to feed the dog or you will be shot", I refrained once I understood matters, although found it very hard not too as the dog was a golden lab and gave endearing looks. Because our stay was during Christmas the owners had arranged a Christmas lunch with dinner later for a small price of $15 plus a salad, I thought very reasonable. There was no profit just simply done in love, and the dear lady stayed up late on Christmas Eve preparing it, they had Crayfish (Lobster caught locally), Pavlova with cream and strawberries, Ham, Chicken, Lamb, Freshly made Fruit Salad with chunky watermelon bits and pineapple and other fruit, we all who participated, had a great Christmas meal.
There is a laundry use is by small fee, reasonable. Every room had its own hair dryer, unfortunately there was no cold setting on it as it was warm most days we were there. I was hoping to use it to give me a cold wind shower to cool off. The only way to keep cool was too open the window.
There was a balcony out the front of the building that afforded views to the sea.
Our host we got to know well, the son was a fire volunteer, the only call out was Christmas Day, just about the time Christmas lunch was about to be served, some car had caught on fire.
The dining area inside was two large tables joined together, each setting had placements and salt and pepper near by. Seated 13 or 14. Had a radio for background sounds. A smaller lounge adjoined it with a piano and payphone and VCR run tv for videoes only. They did advertise a guitar but a guest had stolen it.
Outside was a deck adjoing with a large picnic table built in, on the lawn a couple of small picnic tables, and an easy to use BBQ.
The Main Lounge had a huge 52' with a huge library of Videos, unfortunately the Woosters hogged it and could get my daily news dose. There was a Tablet to use for the internet, one hour free for guest daily by entering a code.Found it impossible to log off so I guess the hour once you log on starts then.
They don't mind people yo know turning up to meet you out front as long as they are aware you maybe expecting someone, we weren't but a relative who was a local did turn up on the evening of our arrival without saying she was coming. They are very concern on individual privacy and by law can't say whether a person is staying there, and they must have photo ID. Once, we understood the rules we apologized and all seemed okay.
The Backpackers hostel is set on an easy care garden and lawn area. There are clothes lines and a shed to store things like motorbikes, bicycles.
The Hostel is smoke free, only noticed one smoking outside by a picnic table.
Overall the hostel is very clean and tidy most of the time, we stayed three nights and definitely will return. One feels right at home. The Hostel has long haul buses that on request will pick up right out front, a short walk and you are on main street (Pollen Street) with plenty of cafes and food stores open even on Christmas Day, we even got an Iced Chocolate at the Bakehouse the best I ever had, cheap at $4.90. The Supermarket (Pak n Save) is 800 metres away, Google Maps said was eight minutes to walk , we found we were there in two along a walk way by the coast. The Hostel is a former Historic hotel (The Kauri abt.1860) so except an old charm look, and its not far from some good coastal walks, thirty minutes walk north to Tararu beach and about the same south to the wharf. Found lots of places of interest nearby, you will enjoy if you like walking and most the town of Thames is in walking distance.
Highly recommend the Sunkist Backpackers, they also have two cats. Staff are very polite
If you have asthma or allergies they politely ask guests not hang wet clothes to dry in the rooms - moisture can affect asthmatics. When we left on the bus the owners were outside waving us good bye, wonderful, we almost felt like family. Has a Coin operated Pool table and access by shuttle to places nearby like the Heritage Trail, and book exchange, folders with plenty of information in them on activities, history and a large wall map. Main lounge is huge.

Room Tip: Choose room 1 its the one we had for a double and apart from the lock on the window was great. This...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank WayneMoore1060
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 December 2012

Took the Sunkist Shuttle and a brand new hire bike from the backpackers to Waikino to cycle the hauraki Rail Trail. What a great trip! All the gear brand new, comfy airconditioned bus, awesome bikes, and Craig the driver knew all the local information and extra bits for us to enjoy!
The ride is great, and we ended up back in Thames in time for a beer in the hostel garden. Too tired to move on, so had a great night in the hostel sharing excperiences. Several others decided to do the trip after hearing obout our day, and Craig had everything organised in a flash.
We have bookings next few days, but after Coromandel town, are coming back to stay again and take their shuttle to Pinnacles hike, and some others things in the forest park.
Not many other hostels can get you to do so much nature stuff from one stop, and be so friendly

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Handy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 December 2012

We stayed just one night, but wish we'd been able to stay more. The hostel is clean, well run with good facilities including loads of videos to choose from, hammocks in the garden, a pool table, nice clean crockery and cutlery, and very clean well appointed bathrooms. We had a private room which was light and airy and very comfortable. We would definitely recommend this hostel to anyone.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Fiona W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 9 November 2012 via mobile

This is the place to stay in Thames. Spacious, clean rooms, comfy bed, clean shared bathroom (with lockable areas in the showers to get changed - needed as bathrooms unisex), clean kitchen (one negative - no oven), huge TV room, amazing back garden with BBQ, sun loungers, hammocks, very peaceful place to relax with a book in the sun. Found the owners very friendly and helpful, and they give you a free hour of Internet which is much appreciated. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank pricealy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 November 2012

My friends and I was driving around North Island and on our last night in New Zealand we decided to spent a night in Thames and skip Auckland. We did not regret. Lovely town. We stayed at sunkist back packers. The place is very clean and orderly. The kitchen and dining place was excellent. Simply home away from home. Craig and his mother are lovely and friendly people and i would want to bring my family next time round.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2012

Had a great stay here, was a bit quiet in the week but came back two days later, to pure sunshine and more people staying at the weekend, it is a nice place if you want to chill, some great beaches within walking distance and shops on your doorstep, at the hostel, everyone is really friendly, rooms are really clean and comfortable, I had a four bed dorm to myself, shared shower facilities which are excellent, BBQ area, patio, hammocks, sun loungers, resident dog. Met some lovely people here, great for a couple of nights to explore the comorandel (Like having the bay of island but not having to drive so far) but you do need a car or catch the local bus. They do hire out cars as well and can arrange tours for you. Great stay!!

Room Tip: All good rooms.
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank amiejsd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sunkist Stay Bike n Hike

Property: Sunkist Stay Bike n Hike
Address: 506 Brown Street, Thames 3500, New Zealand (Formerly Sunkist International Backpackers)
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Coromandel Peninsula > Thames
Amenities:
Free Parking Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 11 Speciality Lodging in Thames
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay, Bike n Hike. Our 1860's Heritage Bed n Breakfast offers a clean and relaxing environment in our own part of the Thames Goldrush History. Catering for the established traveller looking for a relaxing place to stay. Clean and Quiet makes for a great nights sleep between your adventures. A great base for Couples or groups wanting to explore the Coromandel Peninsula and starting point for the Hauraki Rail Trail and the Kauaeranga Valley for those wanting to hike the Pinnacles. The building is an 1860s heritage kauri hotel, now restored and modernized to provide quality accommodation with many home comforts. We do not offer camping or freedom camping facilities of any kind. ... more   less 
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