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“Very Nice But My Expectations Were Higher”

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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 December 2013

... admittedly mainly because it cost as much as it did.

It's a very very nice hotel otherwise; large spacious rooms with full amenities built into lush quiet grounds. The surrounding rain-forest makes for a very nice setting and I'd guess that Te Waonui recognized this nestling their resort as seamlessly as possible into the grounds and letting the surrounds show itself off.

Meals did came included in our rate. Dinner was good; enjoyed those Merino lamb chops tho' not sure about the cider sherbet. If anything to gripe at was that the whole meal was a touch drawn out even if being a 4-5 course affair. Breakfast is as you expect from a top hotel's full buffet spread.

The hotel will tell you about their spa (as they should), and the heated pools just behind adjacent to the hotel that's a nice treat after tramping around the area and up to the glacier. We thought that was a great idea too however I would've thought that that price of entry to the pools be included in the hotel rate, it wasn't, so a somewhat downer surprise.

Service was excellent all round - from the front desk to the restaurant staff. Richard the GM was on hand to greet and introduce his hotel which was very welcoming. I guess tripadvisor activism does work - had seen previous criticisms that wifi had to be paid for if more than the first couple of complimentary hours meant that Richard also did point out that they're possibly reviewing this and wouldn't charge us if we exceeded.

So all very nice, top service that's a credit to the staff. Modern, spacious, fully equipped but at a premium rate even for a 5-star place.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank RamblingRhino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 31 December 2013

Dear RamblingRhino

It was wonderful to personally welcome you to Te Waonui Forest Retreat where we pride ourselves on exceeding our valued guest expectations.From your review it is clear we were just short on delivering on your highest expectation level which is disappointing ... Have a Happy New Year and thank you once again.

Yours

Richard

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511 - 517 of 715 reviews

Reviewed 28 December 2013

The rooms were relativity large, appeared to be modern and quiet. The breakfast offered a limited but good selection of cold and hot choices dishes. Unfortunately, however, the hotel did not provide any facility associated with physical training.

During our stay the hotel staff interacted in a rude and inpatient manner a number of times. This experience, however, is likely to be an exception of the rule; the initial welcoming service, and other occasions, appeared to be of high standard. Nevertheless, in contrast to other hotels in the area, I would recommend staying at this hotel when in Franz Josef.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Ice P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 31 December 2013

Dear Ice P

Thank you for choosing to spend your Festive Season with us at Te Waonui. I have taken cogniscance of your constructive comments and shared these with my team. It is only through feedback like this that we can continually improve as a Hotel.

Thank you once again, and Happy New Year.

Yours in hospitality

Richard

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Reviewed 26 December 2013

We were upgraded to this resort from the sister hotel across the street, so from our price point it was nice- spacious rooms, welcoming reception and good service, but if we paid to over-priced nightly rate,,it would have been less enjoyable. The breakfast was the only negative, cold eggs and poor selection of other choices. The management and staff were exceptional. At the time we visited rooms were $679, outrageous... $250 would be more like it.

Room Tip: Second floor - in the tree tops of the rain forest.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mustangsally2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 27 December 2013

Dear Mustangsally2013

Disappointing to read of your negative breakfast experience, sincerest apologies for this :-(

With multiple properties in Franz Josef Glacier, we are in a unique position as a Company to exceed guest expectations through implementing a Hotel (discretionary) upgrade policy.

Importantly, Te Waonui Forest Retreat rates are formally quoted as Dinner, Bed and Breakfast DBB Packages, starting from $679 for one night (please see our website for 2 night options).

Our highly acclaimed, 5 Course Degusation Menu alone retails at $125 per head so I am sure you will agree that at $679 for five-star Superior Room including Degustation Dinner for two and cooked breakfast this figure is alot more palatable!

Thank you once agin for choosing to spend you Festive Season with us at Te Waonui.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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Reviewed 17 December 2013

We stayed there only one night unfortunately but we really enjoyed it. We've been welcomed by the manager who explained us everything we needed to know about the hotel, construction...
The rooms are great, well designed and furnished. Service was excellent and breakfasts complete.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Grvoyage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear Grvoyage

Thank you for taking the time to share this valued feedback with us.

Enjoy the rest of your time in New Zealand.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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Reviewed 17 December 2013

We had been booked into this hotel by our travel agent, so had no idea what to expect; what a really wonderful surprise. The two women on reception and the porter who took our luggage were so welcoming. Yes like a previous reviewer we had been booked in for dinner rather earlier than we liked, but only a little negotiaton was required to change the time.
The room and bathroom were very clean, spacious, and comfortable and looked onto some rain forest. Great toileteries too.
The hot pools are just behind the hotel and town is a 3 minute walk.
The meal in the restaurant was perfect and the staff were absolutely adorable.
Our stay was perfect.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Christine F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2013

Dear ChristineJane

Thank you for affording us the opportunity to ensure that we could better manage your dinner timings.

Thanks as well for choosing to stay with us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.

Have a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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Reviewed 26 November 2013

We spent two nights in Franz Josef, and were looking forward staying here after hearing good reviews. Some comments:

The hotel: Looks okay, not extremely impressive; feels like a bunch of pre-fab rooms connected to a lobby / restaurant area. Might be the design of the hotel to reduce impact to the environment though. Rooms were comfortable, and was tastefully furnished, however the bathroom door would not close; instead you had to push hard and jam it, and hope someone doesn't open the door. Beds were comfortable, and clean. However the view of the 'rainforest', although lovely, is nothing to shout about (and got old pretty quickly). We did not try the spa.

Location: Very close to the town centre, although it is a small town. The hot pools are literally behind the hotel and it's a 5 minute walk there, so makes it convenient after a long day of hikes or outdoor activities. Extremely convenient and easy to find.

The food: We had arranged for dinner for one night at the hotel. Firstly, they tried to tell us what time we should arrive for dinner - we finished a long drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef, arriving at about 6:30pm, and wanted at least an hour plus to unwind at the hot pools. They insisted on us turning up to dinner at 7:30pm, which was bizarre. We turned up slightly later, thinking that they had a full house, but the restaurant was only half full. They presented us with a degustation menu, and while the salmon was brilliant, our beef was overcooked, and cheese platter dry and uninteresting. We complained to the waitress, but she only said sorry. Guests perhaps better off at the Landing (good-old pub food) or the new asian fusion restaurant a few doors away (which was brilliant).

Service: Staff were friendly, efficient, and accommodating, however our impression of them was of befuddlement. They had to negotiate our dinner schedule with the restaurant, and when we called room service for extra towels / bathrobes, they insisted on us speaking to the GM (who was on his way to sending our luggage to the room). Whilst we appreciate his help, it was perhaps a little strange; to be fair to them though, they may have been slightly shorthanded. One major complaint was that housekeeping moved our luggage bags and completely tipped one over, causing a lot of mess, and nearly breaking a couple of wine bottles. They just stuffed everything back in and closed the bag. Unacceptable.

Would recommend for tour groups, but given this is probably the most fancy hotel in town, you may have no choice if you want a bit more luxury.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Wazza_83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 26 November 2013

Dear Wazza_83

Thank you for your vivid overview and valued feedback surrounding your time with us at TW. Apologies as well for under-delivering ... You leaving Franz Josef with a bad perception of our Hotel Is this the last thing any of us wanted, I promise ! Myself and my team have taken onboard your constructive comments focussing closely on our flexibility, communication and guest luggage handling going forward. Thank you once again, Richard

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Reviewed 20 November 2013

We had booked at Scenic Hotel Franz Josef and upon arrival found that we had been up-graded to Te Waonui. This deserves the 5 stars. Upon arrival received a refreshing kiwi drink and warm towel in the reception area while our luggage was taken to our room. The service through out our stay was 1st class. The room was what you would expect for the hotels rating. The spa was excellent even with the light rain. The staff was extremely helpful.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Playin-Hooky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2013

Dear Guest

Thank you for your comments, and we appreciate your high rating of our service delivery at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. We are commencing with our fifth summer season and a "genuine caring attitude" was one of our most important personal attributes we were on the lookout for when recruiting service team members this year.

Yours sincerely

Richard

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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
#2 Luxury Hotel in Franz Josef
Price Range: £384 - £503 (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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