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“Disgusting and arrogant service”

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Highden Manor Estate
Ranked #1 of 1 Awahuri B&B and Inns
GreenLeadersSilver level
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Disgusting and arrogant service”
Reviewed 27 April 2014

I would not recommend Highden to anyone after the shocking service we received on my wedding day. To the woman who was not kind enough to introduce herself, let me offer you some advice.
When greeting someone, saying hello is normally the way to go. Not storming towards them, standing in front of their photographer and acting in an aggressive way. We paid hundreds of dollars to get photos taken at the Highden on April 20. We called the night before to confirm our attendance. We gave you credit card details for payment. We called you when we were in the car on our way there.
Instead of a warm greeting, you called me a disorganised and rude bride, humiliating me in front of my bridal party. We had just arrived (A little late to be expected on a wedding day), the cars had just been parked, and as the weather was about to turn we thought we would take a quick photo while we were in the driveway before coming inside. Not one photo had been taken before the woman who only described herself as the owner came storming in. She spoke condescendingly to my uncle, one of the drivers of the cars before storming toward me and standing in my personal space. Lady, if you have forgotten who I am – I was the one in the big white dress, the bride, someone who was meant to be having the happiest day of her life.
You demanded that I check in RIGHT AWAY, and despite my polite request that we take one quick photo before heading inside you insisted that you had urgent things to do and that I had to go NOW. I picked up my dress and started heading inside to which you said “Well, no need for that attitude, you can take your photo if it means that much.” Actually, yes it did mean that much to me. It was my wedding day, and before that moment things were going perfect. You continued to try and argue with us despite saying that we could take a photo. It was confusing, you made such a point about having so much to do, yet it seemed all you wanted to do was to make us feel unwelcome, inferior and insignificant.
Never in my life have I been met with such arrogance, rudeness, disrespect and condescension. What confuses me more is that my husband ran to the car, got his wallet to pay you and yet you were standing around, continuing to annoy my drivers despite your insistence that we hurry because you were so busy.
My husband has worked for years in customer service and was gobsmacked as to how we, paying customers, were treated.
We paid the full amount for two hours, despite not having access to the whole building and left quickly as we felt unwelcome and didn’t appreciate the cold looks and terrible attitude directed our way.
My husband was part of a bridal party two years ago and enjoyed the service at the Highden. What has happened? You have lost great staff and our support. As we are a young couple, we have many engaged friends and will be advising that they stay well away from you.
We expect an apology, not only to myself and Steven. But also to our wedding party for the way we were treated. Refunding our money would also be a nice gesture, but most of all, we want to ensure that no-one else will be made to feel the way we did on our special day.
We had a great wedding day, it’s a shame you tried to taint it. Luckily our large number of guests made the day incredible and cheered us up after hearing about the experience we received from you.
I write this in the hopes that you will learn from our feedback. Your attitude did change once we had paid you, but we should never have been treated the way we were in the first place. We are people, not money bags and didn’t appreciate the disdainful and patronizing service we initially received.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank mcfan86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
211andrew, Owner at Highden Manor Estate, responded to this review, 5 May 2014
It is with great sadness that an injurious post of this nature has been lodged. First it must be pointed out that it's author did not have her wedding ceremony or reception here. She hired out our "commons areas" for 2 hours of photos on the day of her wedding. She arrived one hour late on the day and was noticeably stressed out, as the light for outdoor photos was beginning to wane, and she was behind schedule, keeping in mind that she had a reception to get to. She did not enter our Hotel and introduce herself but began setting up for photos in the driveway. When she finally entered the Manor, she was asked to settle her account as we would then leave her group to take their photos. She reacted very rudely at this request, which fueled a dis-satisfaction, which led to a post that is clearly without merit.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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92 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 (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2014

Me and my husband could not be happier to have chosen highden as our wedding venue! I can not say enough about the food, guests loved the mussel canapés and the pumpkin and coconut soup was to die for. The manor is stunning and the highden suite is fit for a king. The owners were so lovely and I can not thank them enough for everything!!

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MrnMrsArnott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2014

Highden is one of the few places I've found where the pictures don't do the place any form of justice. The grounds and building are a breathtaking retreat, and the people are simply wonderful. Avril, Andrew and the staff are very accommodating, friendly and helpful at every turn. It's hard to find a place with a bad view. Like the other reviews say, great drinks, great food. So glad i chose this place for my getaway.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank L S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palmerston North, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2014

The dinner you dream about and ambience to match. We could not fault the meal, service and setting. This a 160yr old listed listed building with beautiful period interior design, glass, wood and furniture giving you the feeling of going somewhere special. The grounds offer peace and tranquility.
Our suite was incredible, comfortable bed and luxurious linen and towels.
Our hosts were warm, friendly and welcoming.
Thank you so much for a memorable valentines celebration.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Patrick H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014

My family attended a wedding over the weekend...This was something we had been looking forward to for over a year as my daughter was one of the bridesmaids....i had been up to Highden in April with the groom and his soon to be mother in law and thought what a wonderful place it was...Well when we got there on the Friday i was sadly disappointed....Highden had gone from a beautiful homestead to a place that needed a lot of TLC...the room my family stayed in had to share a bathroom (which was fine) but my daughter got locked in as the handle was broken, then i noticed the broken window down stairs which really shocked me....it got worst from there on in...on the morning after the wedding at breakfast Avril decided it was fine to insult the poor bride in front of her guests which was very unprofessional .i had to watch two people( the Bride and Groom) that i love have their wedding day and weekend ruined by people that have not a lot of understanding or compassion for people...i was most disappointed in Andrew and Avril's behavior.But on a good note the food was very good.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
13 Thank leeannew218
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Awahuri hotels

Paraparaumu, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014

Arriving on Friday afternoon as a guest to a wedding on Saturday it took a good 20 minutes for anyone to show up to welcome us to the Manor. This was not a good start to our weekend!
Without looking to hard it was very noticeable that Highden Manor is in a bad state of decline. A broken window in the Manor at the front entrance was not a welcoming site to the luxury weekend advertised on their website of which we had been expecting. The deck out the back was covered in bird dropping and the chairs and tables of which we were expected to sit at also evidencing the birds were not far away and did not look as if they had been cleaned recently. Cracks in the ceilings and walls and plaster on the floor of the boardroom (of which we used over the weekend) near the front entrance. Long life milk with expiry dates dating back 12 months were found in both the rooms in the manor and lodge by the guests. The website does not in anyway portray Highden Manor as we have experienced it this weekend. Also do not think you can use the Chapel for your ceremony (as advertised still on their website on 9 February 2013) this is now a bridal shop. Two bad if it is raining the bride and groom were offered 3 umbrella's off the front deck should the sun not be shining for their special day the night before the wedding! The owners made no effort to arrange an alternative having told the bride and groom 4 days before the wedding the Chapel was no longer part of their package. A public display from the owner in the dining room this morning with the bride over the number of quests eating breakfast. They had run out of food and were not able to supply enough breakfast for all the guests that had stayed at the lodge and manor. The owner was very unprofessional in the way she dealt with this and after upsetting the bride with this public display the owner continued to hail abuse at the bride as she moved around the tables collecting plates. I was sad and embarrassed for the bride and groom who have spent the last two years preparing for their special day to be treated in such an appalling way.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
11 Thank Sonya B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014

We attended a wedding here yesterday. When we checked the website we thought it looked beautiful. The food at the wedding was lovely. However, when we turned into the driveway first impressions were disappointment. There were pot holes along the drive - large ones. Not a good start on entering. Driving to the house from a distance it looked grand and has the 'wow factor'. But as walked towards the front door we noticed a broken window and the exterior had seen better days. On entering our hopes rose again as it is stately with beautiful wooden walls and floors and huge chandeliers. Then we walked upstairs and I noticed a huge magnificent painting balanced delicately on a narrow ledge right above my head. I would not want to be on the stairwell if an earthquake struck! Next we went out to the verandah where I almost caught the heel of my shoe in a hole in the floor. On closer inspection the floor was dirty. In the center of the pagoda where the ceremony took place were four crooked paving slabs. Not very sightly and I would not think it adheres to health & safety requirements. I just want to raise these matters as they are important and it is such a shame as this place could be amazing if thought, care and attention were given to the venue and customers.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Jill C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Highden Manor Estate

Property: Highden Manor Estate
Address: 220 Green Road | R D 6, Awahuri 4476, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Manawatu-Wanganui Region > Awahuri
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Awahuri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Highden Manor Estate 3*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on 36 acres of manicured parkland and formal rose gardens, Highden Manor Estate is registered as a Category 1 historic landmark property by The New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Built in 1896 as a country home for a Wellington Member of Parliament, The Right Honourable Walter Woods Johnston and his wife Celia, this is now a Hotel & Venue in the Manawatu countryside, just 15 minutes drive from the city of Palmerston North. Restored to its original grandeur, the Manor welcomes guests for overnight stays, conferences, weddings, private functions, retreats, and offers the perfect venue for a multitude of special occasions. Ask about the "Exclusive Use" options for your occasion, or hire the public rooms and garden and create your own event. A truly private retreat property, Highden is "An Experience" not to be missed. ... more   less 
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