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“Disappointment In The Snow”

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Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Whakapapa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 July 2014

The highlite of a recent trip to New Zealand's North Island was to be a short stay at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel near Mt Ruapehu, to see the snow. The Chateau building is very impressive from the outside but once we entered, the expectations where shattered. The whole place is very tired and needs renovations. They do show a picture in the lobby of proposed room renovations to begin later this year but considering the rates currently changed, we would have expected a lot better. The staff are friendly enough but not enthusiastic, so that doesn't change the experience.

The restaurant and cafe had limited menues and when we tried to eat at the cafe without a reservation, it seemed like we were asking for free meals. The place was almost empty and the receptonist had to ask the chef first?? This was inspite of the fact that we were there at 7 pm, stayed for two hours and during that time the place was about a quarter full at most.

One of the main issues was the lack of guest entertainment for days where the weather keeps you indoors, as we had on one day. There is a large lounge area but no reading material or library for guests. The indoor pool is very small but okay. The Fitness Centre in a misnamed. It only has two simple outdated cardio bikes and a simple rowing machine. The only other entertainment was older movies running during the day, mainly for kids. The TV selection ws terrible.

As seems to be usual in older western hotels, the wifi was not included in the room rate and very difficult to get. You are offered half hour free via a remote service provider and after that its expensive. You have to continually sign on using your very long complicated password. When will hotels realise that wifi in hotel lobbies and guest rooms is now as important,or every more so, in the 21st Century than elephones or TVs. Especially when the weather is bad and the entertainment is limited.

In summary, this hotel is the only large one for kilometres and desperately need competition to force an improvemnt in their attutude and facilities.

Room Tip: Great oif you want a 1920's experience that hasn't changed much, otherwise value for money g...
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Petrev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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909 - 915 of 1,605 reviews

Reviewed 1 July 2014

We went to "The Chateau" for our honeymoon two years ago and returned last weekend for our anniversary. Its a well preserved grand old lady hotel of yesteryear and deservedly attracts a wide range of New Zealanders and overseas guests of all ages, including families. The environment is stunning and on a fine day the views from the window and garden of snow capped mountains is breath-taking. The mountain and the chateau are wonderful at any time of the year but late June, early July is my favourite. Whether you ski or not the snow clad slopes are an irresistible attraction and with the right insulation guests can take the ski lifts almost to the summit and experience world class views and first hand contact with such incredible beauty and grandeur. Back to the Chateau - its restored and decorated well, the huge lounge is filled with happy people around an open fire in a warm atmosphere of old world charm. The rooms are large and grand but with modern fittings, wonderfully comfortable beds and modern tiled bathrooms with heated floors - sheer luxury. The breakfast included with our deal was to die for. I cant recommend this experience more and any criticism I make must be considered very light compared with the satisfaction a few nights at the Chateau offer. To be honest though the weak point is probably service. Try as they do ski enthusiasts who have taken on a job that will keep them on the ski field do not necessarily have the training or dedication to match the style of the chateau and occasionally weak service showed in the restaurant and bar. All in all though, its a superb experience and the staff and caring and - well - just fellow kiwis enjoying this amazing high point of New Zealand tourism. We will be back.

Room Tip: A room with a view - Ruapehu or Ngaruhoe two stunning volcanic peaks only a stone throw away.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank John M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2014

We booked a kingsize bed but it consisted of two 90cm (35 1/2") single beds, only 180cm wide total. When we asked if they had any wider beds, we were told that we had a "super kingsize" and that nothing wider exists in New Zealand! We ended up separating the two beds and while 90cm was adequate for one of us, the other one of us felt very confined and restricted by the width of the bed, waking up to turn over.

Room Tip: Rooms facing Mt. Ruapehu will provide great views if the weather is clear.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Carol B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2014

This hotel relies on its perfect location and beautiful classic architecture. We stayed in a premium room in the original Ruapehu wing with a lovely view (weather permitting). It was very clean and comfortable with a lovely long bath/shower in the bathroom. However this hotel lets its standard down by the lack of service throughout the hotel. With an establishment of this iconic standing, you would expect services such as attendants to help with your luggage upon arrival, waiter service in the main lounge/bar, ( there is one very small bar at which you have to stand and hope someone turns up to serve you at, as there is no designated person to offer), an explanation as to the history of the building for your interest (there is a book you can by for $20 should you want to know about the place). The Ruapehu restaurant serves a good varied breakfast (but I hated drinking my tea out of a builder's mug). The evening meal has very nice food but has a limited menu, it has a nice wine menu (but we had to ask for it as they didn't offer it). This hotel is very well situated for tourists and skiiers alike. It has a very good sauna and plunge pool to warm you up in in the basement and also a movie theatre. This hotel is a must see for overseas travellers but the experience of their stay could be more enhanced by better management, it has so much more potential that would not cost a thing, more personal service befitting the yesteryear it portrays. ps If you enjoy good entertainment, you couldn't go far wrong listening to the singer before your meal in the lounge bar, best person there!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 1811027Scott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014

We stayed only one night at the beginning of June and reached the hotel by train from Auckland. The hotel offers complimentary pick-up and drop-off from/to National Park, so the distance from town is not an issue.

The Chateau Tongariro is a beautiful 1920's building which sits at the bottom of Mt Ruapehu. It's a great base to go skiing (July - September only), walking the numerous walks of the Tongariro National Park, or just relax...

Our room was relatively small but warm and comfortable, with the type of the decor you would expect from an old-fashioned hotel such as this one.

We tried to dine at the main restaurant, but it was booked out. We had to wait a while to eat at the Pihanga Cafe as well. I recommend booking, especially if you don't have a car and can't reach National Park easily.

The main lobby is very spacious and can be enjoyed for drinks, high tea and some (quite boring) live music.

From the hotel, we chose to get picked up and do the scenic flight. We also asked Roam to take us up to the mountain to see some snow. The staff at the hotel wasn't particularly knowledgeable about things to do in the area, so I would recommend asking the i-Site for info, instead of them.

All in all, a great place to stay and visit for couples. Recommended.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank acarb83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 June 2014

We stayed 2 nights and the flair at the chateau is just unique. On a cold day we were sitting in the lobby enjoying the fireplace, and the view at the landscape; spoiling ourselves with a hot drink, while we were listening to the piano player.
The dinner (chateaubriand) and wine was excellent.
The rooms were clean and spacious

It was a perfect getaway

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Flex0mat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

We had a long weekend at the Chateau staying in one of the Tongariro rooms. A nice room and very clean. Hotel staff were friendly and helpful. The room was great although very hot when we walked in. Turned off the heater to bring it down to a comfortable level.

Dinner in the restaurant was pleasant but less up-market than I expected; it didn't live up to expectations. Fortunately we had prebooked for dinner the first night but listened to prospective diners being advised during the afternoon that the restaurant was fully booked. When we ate in the early evening, the restaurant was half empty so more like a staffing issue than a space problem.
We didn't book for dinner in the Pihanga cafe the second night and that was a mistake. It was lucky we were in early as other people had to come back an hour and a half later.

The buffet breakfast varied in quality a little over the two days but was generally okay and a reasonable selection. It was very busy and staff seemed more interested in clearing tables than providing service.

The pool in the basement was nice but, because of a low ceiling, can be very noisy if there are several children there. We had an enjoyable time sitting in the lounge in the late afternoon enjoying a wine and the view. It was a good weekend and I have no regrets staying there but wouldn't rush back.

Overall I like the facilities and the hotel but feel it is expensive and a 3.5 star experience in a 5 star location.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Chris_NZL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Address: State Highway 48, Whakapapa, Tongariro National Park 3951, New Zealand (Formerly Bayview Chateau Tongariro)
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Manawatu-Wanganui Region > Tongariro National Park > Whakapapa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Whakapapa
Price Range: £97 - £177 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Chateau Tongariro Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Everything we do at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel we believe in providing you with a timeless elegance. We believe that preserving tradition and history is most important and as the hotel is located within a dual World Heritage National Park, conservation and culture are also at the forefront of your experience. Tongariro National Park provides a stunning natural playground bursting with diverse landscapes for visitors to the Chateau Tongariro to discover. Chateau Tongariro provides accommodation, restaurants, bars and conference facilities and is an all-seasons, utterly timeless experience not to be missed. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bayview Chateau Tongariro Hotel Tongariro National Park
Bayview Chateau Tongariro National Park

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