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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
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Reviewed 4 February 2012

We arrived to a warm welcome and a cool iced tea at Te Waonui. It is right in town but feels a world away. It is a fairly large property but has been carefully designed to fit well into the environment. Our room was at the back of the hotel facing the rain forest. I think most of the rooms are designed to look into rain forest and thus privacy, but ours certainly filled that bill. The room was very nice, but it is just a room with a nice bath, bar area, desk area, and lanai with table and chairs (privacy screen from the neighbors). There was a welcoming split of champagne, brownies, cookies, and kiwis - nice welcome, indeed!

We had the 5-course degustation dinner and ate early and did not encounter crowds. The food was very good and the service attentive. There was a huge buffet breakfast the next day, with lots of good choices: eggs, potato cakes, bacon/sausage, salmon, fruit, pastries, cereals, juices, blood pudding sausage!

Hotel was nice enough to allow us a late check-out after we returned from a help-hike (reviewed separately).

We were quite pleased with our stay at Te Waonui

Room Tip: We liked ours at the back of the hotel - quiet and private
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank divegirlelaine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TW_GM, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear divegirlelaine

We are ecstatic that you were pleased with your stay at our hotel, we look forward to welcoming you back in the future.

Kind Regards



Karl

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

Thought that our stay in the Te Waonui Forest Retreat" was gong to be the best hotel experience in our New Zealand holiday, but found it disappointing given the price and the represenations regarding service. First the positives, the building is newly constructed with largely successful efforts to integrate it with the natural environement -- a major plus relative to the many, less fortunate hotels in town. The food was very good; the room, spacious with a view of the forest.

The negatives related to our service experience. When we checked in about 5:00 PM, we were advised that we should reserve for dinner at 6:15 PM -- we suggested 6:30 or 6:45 to give us a little more time, but were told that the earlier time would be much better. We were still getting organized at 6:20 when we received a call from the restaurant asking if we were coming! We went down a few minutes later to find ourselves the only diners in the restaurant -- in fact, the only diners for the next half hour! We had a similar experience when requesting a late check-out. We had booked through the hotel a morning "heli-walk gracier" and asked on the departure morning to have the 10:00 AM check-out extended so that we could change prior to departure (as occupancy at the hotel appeared to be very low) -- they offered a time that appeared to be prior to the conclusion of the tour so we asked for clarification on tour timing or an additional 30 minutes beyond the time offered. The front desk indicated that they had large tour groups arriving, were not able to offer a later check-out time, but would talk about it later (?). We checked-out early and when we returned from the excursion to pick up our car, the hotel appeared deserted. To be fair, the manager at check-out when advised of our experience apologised for any misunderstandings and offered to extend the departure time -- not so tempting after we had already packed and left the room. In many places of the world with standard accommodations, these problems would not be worthy of menition -- when paying top dollar in New Zealand (a place with extraordinary hospitality), they are disappointing.
One further surprise was by chance reading the note by the bottle of free drinking water advocating sustainability and noting in passing that due to water shortage, the water in the plumbing system was not potable -- an alert at check-in or adjacent to the tap might be more helpful.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jpmsenior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2012

let me say first the hotel is a very pleasant place to stay, it's what they're charging for what you get that I have the problem with.

plus side
can't praise the staff enough-definitely 5 star very personal service and attention here
fantastic beds and bedding, soooooo comfortable. Where can I buy one?!
some thoughtful touches-a welcome drink in reception and complimentary mini bottle of fizz chilling in the room and a plate of fresh fruit and cookies
great location in the middle of the rainforest but still walking distance to town and the hot springs

minus side
you get so little for what you could expect from comparable hotels for the money-for instance no ipod dock or bath ( maybe it's an eco thing but where's the hot tub? and the spa? and the outside space to lie out and read a book or sunbathe in that lovely rainforest?)
rooms average, nothing special and a small, if private, balcony
charging internet on top of a list price of $600-they must be joking!!!Forget the fizz on arrival and give me internet instead.
breakfast service was a bit hit and miss-orders mixed up or didn't arrive, lukewarm tea. There are absolutely stunning views over the mountains from the dining room but they are hidden by blinds (?!)

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jumbobelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TW_GM, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear jumbobelle

We appreciate all the feedback on your stay, thank you for the positives as well as pointing out where we are falling short.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that each of our rooms is equipped with an ipod-dock and only the double queen rooms do not offer bathtubs. Rooms are allocated based on how the reservation is made however we would have been most happy to provide you with a King room and bathtub had we known your preference.

We do not offer a spa on site however the Glacier hotpools with full spa services are located right next to our property.

Our guests now receive a 60 minute/1000MB FREE internet connection per room per day.

From Karamea to Haast Te Waonui Forest Retreat remains the first and only premium hotel with a 5* Qualmark rating. Our service levels and inclusions are reflected in the rate we charge.

We hope that you will elect to stay with us for the extra comfort and personalised service if in the area again.

Kind Regards



Karl

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Reviewed 20 January 2012

2011 saw my dream of a tour of New Zealand come to reality. I toured both Islands, North with family and South with APT on a luxury 10-day coach tour. Most hotels were really good, apart from one, which I will review separately. The Te Waonui Forest Retreat however was quite incredible in every way: ambiance, staff, service, food, comfort and oh the bed! It was the most comfortable experience ever - I never wanted to get up again! They had special mattress toppers of merino wool and goose down ( £500 to buy and import) and I've tried to find one here ever since, but couldn't! It was my base for a helicopter trip the next morning to the top of the Fox Glacier - another unforgettable lifetime experience, especially landing on the glacier and walking on it. The 40 minute flight took me over Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier also. It was totally breathtaking and indescribably beautiful. Later we went on to ride on a jet boat down the Haas River - and this was just one day of my holiday! If you've not been to New Zealand do it! And if you get near enough, do try the Te Waonui Forest Retreat.

Room Tip: I believe all the rooms are good. They have a balcony overlooking the Rain Forest. Worth checking before booking, just in case. It is quiet, apart from the noises of the forest. Sorry no photos - I arrived late afternoon and was off again in the morning. Would love to have stayed there much longer! It is probably quite expensive, 4 or 5 star, it was part of my tour, so I don't know exactly.
  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled solo
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Thank barbrajay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TW_GM, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear barbrajay

We were honoured to be part of your dream tour of New Zealand, thank you for your kind comments.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat is a Qualmark rated 5* hotel and not as expensive as you may think given all our rate inclusions.

Please look us up if you are ever in New Zealand again.

Warm Regards



Karl

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Reviewed 19 January 2012

We were on a three week tour around New Zealand and were lucky to stay one night (unfortunately not more) at Te Waonui Forest Retreat in Franz Josef, Westland NZ. A warm welcome by the very friendly and highly professional staff, a luxury room with a great view on the rain forest and last but not least an outstanding 5-course-menu in the excellent restaurant "The Canopy" made our stay a memorable event. We will be back on our next trip to New Zealand. Keep on your way folks at Te Waonui, you are our no 1, thanks a lot!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank ZPS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TW_GM, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear ZPS

We are glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us, it's always fantastic to be someone’s nr1 !

We look forward to seeing you on your next visit to Te Waonui.

Kind Regards



Karl

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