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“A tale of two rooms”
Review of Grosvenor Hotel

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Grosvenor Hotel
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Timaru
Reviewed 18 July 2012

I recently stayed in this centrally positioned hotel on business in Timaru for 2 nights. The review I would have written for the first night would have related a terrible room on the second floor, small window, 40 year old furnishings and general squalor. All in all a very disappointing experience. However, rather than go elsewhere I noticed the Tripadvisor comments on renovated rooms on the first floor. I asked for one of these for the second night. It turned out to be well appointed, large and clean and at the price quite reasonable. The hotel itself has some heritage, claiming to be where the Prince of Wales was conceived (In the very room I stayed the second night no less)- Yeah right-. Although the facts would bear no real scrutiny on this one (by several years it would seem). The bar is warm but basic, drinks cold but simplistic. Breakfast is best disregarded for more interesting fare a short distance by foot away.
If you do stay here, request a renovated room. I can recommend 101.

Room Tip: Renovated ones on first floor are best.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled on business
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4  Thank GastronomicusNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wiredfrog, Owner at Grosvenor Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 July 2012

Greetings Sir

Your title is apt for the description of our hotel. Due to the size of the Grosvenor, we have the luxury of catering to different market segments.

First floor is mainly targeted at the corporate accounts and/or clients who have inkling towards aesthetics. Second floor is mainly targeted at families and contractors who love the size of the rooms. Because they are on the top floor, they also have the most sun and the front portion of those rooms have views to the sea as well.

As second floor is situated further away from the streets, they are quieter and suit the contractors who need to have early sleep. We are empathic towards your requirement due to your sophistication but on the day that you checked in, your company actually booked you a STANDARD room and so, we did as instructed. As you duly noted, we subsequently put you in Room 101 (where the Queen herself stayed in 1954) and our Front Office Supervisor even volunteered to have your belongings moved to the new room herself. As I said in many of my response, our staff would literally move over backwards to assist our customers whichever way we could.

As you checked out our website, you shall see that the Grosvenor is HoMA (Hotel of Modern Art). Our Front Office's design happened to be a Tui billboard with the connotation, "Yeah, Right" in the end. When you saw "The Prince of Wales was conceived here", you're meant to get the parody should you see the end bit, "Yeah, Right". To clarify the writer's apt CSI, the timing is off by ten years:)

Anyhow, thank you very much for your critique because this clears up the understanding of readers. Our comments would most certainly enlighten many people in foreseeable future. Have a lovely day, Ping

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Reviewed 10 July 2012

We recently stayed with our band in Timaru at the Grosvenor. Not only did they wait up for some of our players arriving very late, the free internet was a great bonus and though I didn't get to stay in one of the rooms that are themed, those who did loved it. Good food, great atmosphere, and very accommodating of the needs of a brass band at contest!

Room Tip: ask for one of the themed rooms!
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Kathy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wiredfrog, Owner at Grosvenor Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 July 2012

Hi Kathy

A heart-felt thanks from all of us here at the Grosvenor. It's been an immense joy to host all of you. We loved the impromptu rehearsals that the bands did in our conference rooms and for a while, we felt that we were in the midst of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra performing in our very own backyard. Your gaiety, your joie-de-vivre were infectious and your presence truly warmed up our cold wintry week in Timaru. We look forward to host you folks again in forseeable future. So, thank you very much for your kind words. That truly made our day.

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Reviewed 27 June 2012

This hotel despite being recently renovated was not up to a reasonable standard. The outside was very tired looking and in fact quite depressing. The entrance off cains terrace was non descript. The reception staff were helpful and the place was clean. The lift was out of the arc. Two manual doors . When we arrived at our floor, we forgot to open them expecting them open for us. The lift then went down again. The corridors were quite a novelty but that's about it really.
Our room, 124, was large enough with a comfortable king size bed. What the room lacked was anywhere to put things down. There was no table or shelves of any description even in the wardrobe which just hanging space. The ensuite bathroom come toilet was very compact to say the least. When you sat on the toilet your knees nearly touched the wall in front of you. The loo roll was next to you and so close you had to lean the other way to get some out of the dispenser.
The windows being single glazed were quite cold (we were there in June). Also there was constant noise from the railway and port nearby. Not loud but enough to wake me during the night.
The breakfast offered was 'continental' but it wasn't really. Cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt with tea or poor quality coffee. No cold meats, cheeses or pastries as you would expect in European hotels. Once an item had run out no one was there to check and replenish them. The breakfast room was quite cold. The tables were communal. I would hesitate to recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Dont go for one facing Cains Terrace, the railway and port unless you are a heavy sleeper or use ear...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Peter H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 29 June 2012

Thank you for the feedbacks. These are our explanation:

The Grosvenor is THE only hotel in Timaru that has a lift. It is the original lift from the yesteryears, the kind of lift that's commonly seen in Parisian apartments. Some patrons of ours considered that as being characterful and what the writer expected here is of the modern Schlinder lift that's found in modern hotels. Regardless if it's a modern lift or traditional lift, it still works on first come, first serve basis. It's improbable for the lift to know who to serve first and that's beyond our control.

When we first provided continental breakfast, we provided croissants, Danish pastry, cold meat, various types of cheese but the irony is that majority of our customers only took bread and cereals only. To reduce wastage and to ensure the food remains fresh at all times, we decided to go with the format that we have now. Please be mindful that the breakfast is provided for FREE. That's the crux of business dilemma, how are we supposed to provide exceptional customer service for free AND charging next to nothing for room charge? We have to go with the middle-way. We hope for your understanding.

Our breakfast room is operating from 7am to 9am. For winter months, morning is cold anyhow. At the moment, our partition doors are being fixed. That's the reason why cold draught gets in from the unused conference rooms. By this time next week, the room shall be warm again.

The Grosvenor is located inside CBD. Customers have to decide whether they want to have convenience or complete silence. Being the live-in owner for the past five years, the noise isn't excessive. The same applies to all motels facing Evans Street. Should readers are light sleepers, perhaps, they should look at motel units away from CBD.

I have left a memo for my staff to be more vigilant regarding replenishing the breakfast food. Being a small hotel, we have one morning staff and sometimes, when they are checking out customers, service is definitely compromised. We are sorry about that. In terms of critiquing about poor quality coffee and tea, we actually use Dilmah Tea & Robert Harris coffee. If writer thinks that Robert Harris coffee is awful, then, we are sorry for not being able to meet his expectation.

At the end of the day, all of us at the Grosvenor do the best that we can to ensure that your stay is an enjoyable one. The refurbishment of this hotel is continuing: revamping our bathrooms progressively and painting the exterior. Rome isn't built in a day. We take on board everything that our customers said and we strive to be better. Your support is needed.

Thanks, Ping

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Reviewed 13 June 2012

Ok you don't have a fridge in your room but you couldn't wish for a cleaner room.
The staff is fantastic - nothing is a bother and they are soo co operative
I am now a regular because of the friendliness of the staff and the welcome I get.
I can not recommend this Hotel highly enough..it is what it is..its 3 star and really friendly. The Banksey art is such a cool addition and the creative use of lighting..it really is worth a visit.
This is my third stay and I will be back again!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank kerryann988
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wiredfrog, Owner at Grosvenor Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 June 2012

Kerry Anne

How delightful and wonderful to hear nice things from our patrons. I shall pass on your comments to my staff. The Grosvenor is our home and we take pride in everything that we do. Being humans, sometimes, we could be off-our-mark but we always look forward towards constructive feedback so that we could do better. We are inspired by this saying, "Every Day We Make It, We'll Make It The Best We Can". Talking about Mid-Winter Christmas present, this is truly a gift that we cherish wholeheartedly. We look forward to seeing you again in forseeable future. Sincerely, Ping

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Reviewed 6 April 2012

I picked my stay here due to the reasonably high rating on Tripadvisor. Please be wary of rankings.

The 3 Star Grosvenor Hotel has undergone a substantial facelift over a year ago and its fair to say that this grand old dame from the late 1800’s will certainly be around for some time as a solid place to stay without frills. I’ve taken the time to write an extensive review as I think the owners have an opportunity to tune things up slightly to really make this place a great Hotel for Timaru.

The décor is pretty modern and arty, all rooms have flat screen TV’s and the appliances, light fittings and bedding are all “now”. Overlooked though were the bathrooms (more about that later). My room was very clean in good condition although some of the windows were jammed. I understand the owner planned to put double-glazing in but this is not the case (I read up on the history of the place by looking through previous press coverage on-line). The Wi-Fi is ok but you have to go down to the reception to get a ticket all the time ($10 / two hours).

If you are expecting high end, stay somewhere else. This is a cross between a flash-packers and moderate place to pass out in. The biggest issue I found here was the paper-thin walls where I could hear the light snoring of my neighbour on the right or the ablution routine of the neighbour on the left. Lucky I couldn’t understand the conversations my foreign neighbours were having but it did sound like they were in my room. If this was fixed somehow, then guests need not use earplugs or pass out.

The bathroom missed out on a full makeover. A lick of paint and new linoleum floor doesn’t cut it. My toilet area was smaller than an airline loo and the amenities (soap, paper) are “dispensed” as if I am in a public convenience or prison. The “Used Razor Blades” slot is a throwback to the 50’s and I’m sure there must be 100 years of used stuff in the sealed slot box. The Shower Box requires a small stepladder and is unsafe to exit from fully wet. Again, a dispenser for “hair and body gel” is on the wall. I hope the owners read this and spend the required capital to make their bathrooms modern and safe. The Bathroom is only good for a person of Hobbit proportions.

The room rate ($95/night) included Continental Breakfast. Remember that this style of breakfast is minimal – cereal, toast, filter coffee and possibly a muffin. If that floats your boat, then be aware it is served in a room that has the darkened atmosphere of a store-room with the natural light only entering through the large conference room next door. I ate breakfast elsewhere in town.

The Grosvenor Bar is a good place to have a beer and a meal. Good effort here for in house dining but not very popular when I was there on a holiday weekend. Prices and portion sizes are reasonable. The Number 8 Wired bar is a venue for bands so I suspect those ear plugs come in handy again if there is someone playing and you want an early night. There are modern conference facilities here too.

The location of the hotel is central to most things in Timaru and in a back street and there is plenty of parking. Although the exterior looks like it is worn down (the rate-payer funded paint job is starting to crack after a few years), The Grosvenor Hotel still looks the part of being a cool historic fixture around here.

I’d say this place is good for sports teams, pass through tourists, flash packers and people who don’t mind noise or don’t need sleep.

Room Tip: Make sure you check out the room before signing off your stay. Room 101 is where the Queen stayed in...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled solo
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3  Thank SteveAucklandNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wiredfrog, Owner at Grosvenor Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2012

Hi there, thank you for taking your time in writing an objective review of our hotel. I'm trying to respond to all points that you have raised. Here they are:

The moment guests are checking in to our hotel, they will be given a FREE 2 hours wi-fi service. Should you need more hours, then, you have to start purchasing the wi-fi voucher. We have different packages for you and should you use a lot of wi-fi, it is forseeable that you purchase the voucher with the most hours. We won't be able to manage our customers' usage of the wi-fi.

Our continental breakfast is provided FREE. The "dark and dingy" room where the breakfast is held is actually our "Beautiful" Conference room. Many wonderful weddings and anniversaries are held in there, with artworks by Lonnie Hutchinson and Ingo Maurer. Customers are not obligated to have breakfast at our premises. As you said, you're charged NZD$95 per night and our philosophy is to give our customers bang-for-the-buck. Indeed, we are sorry that we cannot meet your expectation.

No. 8 Wired LIVE! WAS a live performance venue. Over the past year, the hotel has decided to venture more into conferencing, which would give minimal interruption to our customers. So, the comment about customers having to use ear-plugs is speculative and ungrounded.

TGB (The Grosvenor Bar) happened to be one of the most happening bar & restaurant (Gastropub) in Timaru. When it's been said that it's not very popular, it all depends if weekends fall under school holiday period. Unlike other large cities, Timaru has a population of a mere 28,000 people. Therefore, no matter how busy the place may be, it won't ever meet the standard of international cities.

Double glazed windows is still in the pipeline. As the writer stated, the Grosvenor has undergone MASSIVE renovation. To date, $4 millions is spent doing it up and the result shows. ALL our beds are new & flat screen LCD panels are in every rooms. As the saying goes, Rome isn't built in a day & we plead for your understanding that to reach the exceptional standard that you mentioned, we would need to spend yet another $2 million to do up ALL the bathrooms. To date, some bathrooms are progressively being done up. It's work-in-progress.

To comment about the paint job funded by the local Council, it only provided us half the grant for the first year and it declined our application thereafter. To enable to bring the exterior of the Grosvenor to a heritage-status requires a lot of money and we hope you appreciate that money doesn't grow on trees.

It's unfortunate that the bathroom of the writer was tiny. I'm sure readers would appreciate that Hobbits' proportion is an exaggeration. Being a historical building means that it's unique and so, internal configurations of the hotel would have to be compromised to facilitate the look of this classical building. Therefore, some bathrooms are smaller than the others. As stated by the writer, check out the rooms first before you check in.

Once again, thank you for your enthusiasm in sharing your view. We would like you to know that all the notes have been acknowledged and they will be looked into. Have a pleasant day.

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Reviewed 18 March 2012

I wouldn't recommend the Grosvenor, except maybe for rugby or beer-drinking trips. The location is good and central and the rooms are clean. The women staff are very helpful. however room decor varies from tasteless to offensive. There is insufficient hot water for warm showers in the morning. Some rooms are very small. I will look for somewhere better to stay next visit.

Room Tip: ask to see the room before booking. There is a huge variety of room size, location and tastefulness
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank Milly-Minnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wiredfrog, Owner at Grosvenor Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2012

Thank you for bringing the hot water issue to our attention. For years, we have been intensely looking for a sustainable solution. Through EECA (Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority), we were introduced heat pump hot water system, which uses heat from the air to heat up water. After your comment, we brought in engineers who installed air-vent to generate more heat and also, installing three more commercial hot water cylinders as a back-up. Now, we have SEVEN gigantic commercial hot water cylinders and it's almost impossible for the Grosvenor to run out of hot water ever again.

The Grosvenor, being a boutique hotel has and is endorsing art works from prominent New Zealand artists. Art is a subjective medium and what displeased the writer excited the other customers of ours. In fact, many of our themed rooms were done to satisfy our clientele who is staying here on a weekly basis. The Grosvenor comprises of two different types of clientele: the one nighter that we wouldn't see ever again and the ones that have been staying here for the past two decades. Being a hotel of forty nine rooms, we have the capacity to fulfill to different tastes.

Being an avid traveller myself, I browsed through the hotels that the writer stayed in and they happened to be exceptional hotel with different price tag. It is imperative that apple needs to be compared with apple.

That being said, we took on board what you said and did proactive measure to rectify the problem. We thank you wholeheartedly.

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Reviewed 10 January 2012

we travelled to timaru for new year, not booked anywhere, came across this lovely grand hotel. stayed a night in a wonderful clean room. had a meal down stairs and also a complimentary breakfast all for $100, would definitely stay here again

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kilgs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grosvenor Hotel

Address: 26 Cains Terrace, Timaru 7910, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Canterbury Region > Timaru
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Timaru
Price Range: £49 - £92 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Grosvenor Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Grosvenor has a penchant for authentic and unique design. Although we have been called a boutique hotel and a hip hotel, we're not sure what that really means. We're a little modern, and a little bohemian. Featuring an on-site restaurant and bar, The Grosvenor Hotel Timaru offers boutique & funky accommodation. Our accommodation offers feature art by local and international artists, throughout the hotel. You might stay that The Grosvenor is Timaru's Home of Modern Art (HoMA). With 44 rooms which are eco-friendly, sustainable and have green elements, like vintage furniture, low-VOC paints and recycled materials throughout. All accommodation has an ensuite with hairdryer, ironing board & iron, tea & coffee making facilities, complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi and TV. Fridges are available on request. Guests can enjoy dining in our fantastic restaurant which is now a Timaru institution, TGB (The Grosvenor Bar) is located in a one of a kind historical building with dramatic high ceilings, nostalgic exposed brick and modern touches. Whet your appetite with local, regional and international beers and cider. Then enjoy innovative tavern fare including traditional roasts, urban burgers, fresh salads, wrap, artisanal sandwiches and many other Kiwi favorites. ... more   less 
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