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“Best Place we Stayed in all of New Zealand - Absolutely Fabulous!”

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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 March 2011

A wonderful oasis on the edge of this very small town carefully blending in with the forest.
The staff went overboard in looking after us - from the hot towels and fruit smoothie while we were checking in, to the outstanding restaurant food and service. If anything it was 'over the top' compared to anywhere else in New Zealand.

Very clean, very modern but at the same time very sensitive to environmental issues.

The heated bathroom floor was especially delightful, but the overall attention to detail and service was way beyond anything we experienced elsewhere in NZ.

This is an unqualified endorsement of a wonderful place to stay!!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kalambaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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651 - 657 of 734 reviews

Reviewed 13 March 2011

A beautiful forest retreat with degustation dinner, hot buffet breakfast, platter of fruits and champagne on arrival included in the price. For 750NZD+ a night the room itself is not 5 star quality as it's quite narrow and not spacious. The complex has no facilities that you'd expect from a luxury hotel ie no swimming pool nor gym etc. Your room literally look out onto the lush forest so if you're after sweeping views then this is not the place for you as the trees sweep across your balcony. But the degustation dinner is absolutely superb with a 6-course meal, the waiters are very knowledgeable and helpful. The fruits and champagne on arrival are very refreshing after a day of driving or trekking on the glaciers.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank HTTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2011

From the outside, you think you may be in for a bit of corporatized processing. Not a bit of it. To start, we had barely stepped inside and we were greated with a tray with fresh orange juice. This was not a one off, truly exceptional, friendly hospitality continued throughout our stay. It was led from the front with gusto and professionalism by Mark the manager. His work ethic and professionalism and sense of humour seemed to pervade the largely young staff who, to a person, were everything you would want in a hotel, engaging, personable and professional. So having applauded the staff as being pretty much unbeatable what about the room? It was modern and functional but the finish was above average, great bathrooms. The small balcony looked out onto an area of rain forest and we went to sleep with the sounds of the rain forest, and indeed the rain, lulling us to sleep. So to the food, yep that was just as good. As good, if not the best, we had in NZ. Frankly, we found Franz Josef not the most interesting of stops but this hotel made up for it. Overall... it was special. Thanks to all at the hotel for giving us a great stay.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank SomersetReporter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2011

Stayed 2 nights during our tour of the South Island as we thought it would be somewhere "special" as it was our 25th wedding anniversary. How disappointed we were! We arrived to be met with blank faces at reception who couldn't find our reservation although we were holding a prepaid voucher from our travel agent! They then discovered we were down to arrive in February not January! It didn't seem to matter as the hotel was nearly empty. The concierge was quite helpful as he suggested some things we might do in the area although we weren't sure if he had had any practical experience of the activities on the leaflets.
The hotel is new so it should all work, but for a 5 star resort, the room was average compared with our experiences elsewhere, and there are few, if any, resort facilities. A little used bar and a over hyped restaurant hardly add up to 5 stars by our standards. No pool, no spa, no choice of restaurants, not much really!! Just a building in a forest on the edge of an uninspiring small town!
You have to buy the full board option but the five course meal was disappointing. On our first night there were no more than 5 or 6 tables occupied, but neither the food nor the service was memorable. The wine list was expensive too. On our second night, there was a power cut an hour before dinner which didn't get the evening off to a very good start. We went into eat late, and there were two tour groups in the restaurant which resulted in very slow service with little sense of urgency from the staff who really needed managing by the maitre'd. The kitchen couldn't cope either it seemed. We gave up after two courses which had taken well over an hour and a half to materialise!
Then, to cap off a rather dismal evening, the aircon in our room had failed to come back on following the power cut. Backing onto the forest meant you wouldn't try and sleep with the balcony doors open, but the room was insufferably hot. The reception staff were sympathetic, but although we asked to move to another room where the aircon was working, they said their systems couldn't tell which, if any, rooms did have working aircon. An uncomfortable night, we would not go back.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Nigel129
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2011

taking guests for dinner was a true Monty Python experience of ineptitude and .... Actually I am lost for words. The food was good and the ambience lovely. the service and lack of detail was something that was like something from Fawlty Towers...the left and right hand neither knew what it was doing or cared and the prices, especially for the wine were ridiculous. Fascinatingly, complaining mace it even worse. An evening of epic disaster.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank cowhorse1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2011

Te Waonui is a reasonably new hotel located amongst the bush approx 5 mins walk from the town centre. They call themselves a "resort", however I would suggest that they need to travel a bit to fully understand the meaning of the word. It is not a resort, but a hotel.

The hotel is tastefully decorated with modern fittings and provides an upmarket experience. We found the checkin staff very unhelpful and the reason is simple, most staff are backpackers from overseas on a holiday, therefore they don't have any real interest in providing good customer service. and their local knowledge is poor. Hotel management appear to pander to the many coach tours that stay at the hotel, so if you are an individual guest you may feel excluded as we did. Coach tours guests were given priority even though they paid approx half the rate that we did.

The biggest negative of the hotel is managements policy of providing an all inclusive rate which includes Dinner, Bed and Breakfast. You cannot opt out, the same rate prevails whether you eat the meals or not. This is unfortunate as you are denied the opportunity of experiencing some of the other excellent eating options in town. It would not be so bad if the eating options at the hotel were excellent, however we found that they were not. The evening meal had a very limited menu selection with serving sizes being quite small. The food quality was excellent however. Breakfast, well forget it. After our first night we had breakfast in town and found many excellent options. The hotel buffet was geared up for the coach tours and the selection was limited. On the one morning that there was no coach tour in, breakfast was extremely poor both in food selection, presentation and quality. We walked out and went into town for an excellent breakfast.

This hotel was one of the few that charged for internet service. Throughout NZ we found the internet to be excellent and mostly free. I know that the hotel will come back and say that they provide a free WIFI servcie for 1 hr in the lobby, but in this day and age that's simply poor customer service. A free service in the room should be provided, in this case its not so be careful as its expensive like everything else in the hotel.

We have rated sleep quality as poor as all rooms are connected by wooden walkways. On every night of our stay we were woken up early in the morning by departing coach tour guests wheeling their bags on the walkways. Wooden board are very noisy due to the gaps in the boards. You hear it every time a bag hits a board.

For the top price charged everything should be perfect, its not, so we recommend stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank jacko582
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2011

We stayed for one night at the Te Waonui Retreat. The hotel itself is very nice set up on a quadrangle with a native forest in the center. The room was excellent with all the amenities that you would need. The patio looking out on the forest was a nice place to have a drink. We had a long drive before we got there and the welcoming glass of orange juice was a nice touch.

Service was very good, they were always trying to please. Wi-Fi was free and there were computers available in the lobby, they must have responded to a previous review and corrected the issue.

A five course dinner and breakfast was included and was the weakness of the hotel. The food was average with one fish course being inedible. Breakfast was good.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kenneth N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Address: 3 Wallace Street, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7856, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) > Franz Josef
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Franz Josef
#1 Luxury Hotel in Franz Josef
Price Range: £386 - £513 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Te Waonui Forest Retreat 5*
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury hotels in New Zealand don't get any better than this! Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star Qualmark rated retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury. Te Waonui Forest Retreat promises all its guests a truly unique and memorable experience. At one with nature, the five-star Qualmark rated Te Waonui Forest Retreat is the ultimate coming together of luxury escape and environmental awareness. Great care has been taken to ensure this exceptional forest retreat steps lightly upon the earth, from the organic cotton bedspreads to its recycled local building materials. Discerning travellers will appreciate the hotel’s attention to detail, which starts with attentive personal service upon arrival, and continues throughout all the hotel facilities and every aspect of your stay. As our guest you will enjoy exceptional quality and service, including: Luxuriously appointed guest rooms, generously proportioned and featuring the highest standard of room amenities, such as your personal pillow menu, natural wool mattress underlay, and high speed Internet access. Dining among the tres in ‘The Canopy’ restaurant, and savouring quality local cuisine, including an indulgent five-course degustation dinner. Innovative, environmentally sustainable architecture and building materials that create a healthy, warm and quiet haven for you to enjoy. Easy access to many excellent local attractions, including the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, just minutes away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel Franz Josef

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