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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco
2 reviews
“Excellent service!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 February 2014

We were very pleased with the service we received from Mathilda at the front desk. When we checked in, she asked if we had any activities planned while we were there. We told her we were doing the heli hike the next morning and she suggested we check on doing it yet that afternoon as it was such a beautiful day. She made all the arrangements for us and we hustled out to do it. We were so glad she did that as the next day was too foggy and we would have missed out on the activity.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jill S
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 review, 25 February 2014
Dear Jill

Mathilda did well to use her initiative and assist you with your helicopter flight, so thank you for this valued feedback! Thank you as well for being so flexible and entrusting us to look at re-scheduling this activity.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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660 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (111)
Date | Rating
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English first
Buckinghamshire
Level Contributor
110 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 February 2014

The website and the plaudits on tripadvisor meant we arrived with high expectations but unfortunately a number of minor things meant that this was the poorest of the Lodges we stayed during our 3 weeks in New Zealand.
Plus points:
Location
Comfy beds
Welcome by Mel and the porter
English waitress (Madeleine)
Complimentary wifi that works.

Food was ok but not as good as in other lodges. Limited choice if on half board as the menu does not change. However our waitress suggested we look at the vegetarian and a la carte options too. The vegetarian menu proved to be the best option.

Minus points.
Our ground floor room was very noisy. People were constantly passing our door, wheeling bags on their way from the car park. This design feature made the lodge seem more like a motel than a retreat.
The door / windows need insect screens so that the rooms can be ventilated naturally rather than relying on air-con. As soon as we opened the door we were bombarded by insects - not surprising given we were in the forest.
Bathroom fan was exceptionally noisy.
Dinner bookings. Having read another review we phoned ahead to book a time for dinner and had our preferred time confirmed. On arrival we were told this time was not possible - when we complained, a table was suddenly cancelled so we could get the time we had requested. The restaurant was not particularly busy anyway. Moral of the story... If you are on half board don't expect to be able to get a table at a "popular" time without booking in advance.

On balance Te Waonui is an average 4 star hotel but we experienced much better elsewhere in New Zealand.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lucyleopard
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 review, 13 February 2014
Dear Lucy

I really like your idea of magnetic fly screens for our windows at Te Waonui and thank you for your constructive feedback.Thank you as well for personally mentioning the various team members that assisted during you time with us as I know this means alot to them. Apologies for not doing more to ensure your stay was an excellent one!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
215 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2014

Happened upon the hotel when the one we were recommended was full. Absolutely gorgeous setting. A beautiful room by any standard. A bit more $$ as compared to other hotels - we paid 200 nz for a king room - but first, you're comparing to more backpacker style accommodations in Franz Josef, and second, this was 4 / 4 stars in terms of luxury, use of space, and comfort. The shower and bathtub as well as the shampoo / soap were fabulous. The bed (down mattress) was luxurious. We didn't try the restraunt so can't comment on that. The staff were friendly and accomodating. Finally apprecaited their attention to being eco friendly - a must in this pristine setting. All over a win. Worth the extra money.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Sharon W
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 review, 6 February 2014
Dear Sharon

Although we officially do not offer "room only" stays at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, I am glad we could assist. You have also highlighted a good point, that it is well worth to check with our Reception should you ever be at a loose-end for accommodation in Franz Josef, as we are guaranteed to amicably assist and also exceed all expectations!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
116 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 February 2014 via mobile

The welcome by a Maori warrior was very nice. All personnel were courteous, helpful and smiling. Room was wonderful - room and bathroom extremely clean, modern, great beds. Nice toiletries, all amenities you might need. Free WiFi for 1 hour in the room was great! Only one thing I found lacking was a good reading light on the bedside but resolved that by moving the lamp from the desk to the night table and that made everything perfect - would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank souriz
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 review, 4 February 2014
Kia Ora Souriz

Thank you for your review. Mel, our Maori Warrior is a welcome, local addition to our already cosmopolitam team at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, so thank you for your positive feedback supporting this new initiative! Lighting in our rooms may be our Achilles heel, however, we are able to manage most situations and improving bedroom illumination if requested is thankfully one of them ...

Thank you once again for putting pen to paper we treasure your valued feedback!

Yours

Richard
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Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 January 2014

When my family and I drove up to Te Waonui, the manager, Richard Bungeroth, was standing outside in a suit and greeted us warmly. After the bellman, Timotee, unloaded our bags he insisted on parking our car. Richard then escorted us to the lobby, served welcome drinks and offered us warm hand towels. We spent a total of 2 weeks in New Zealand but that 10 min was one of the more memorable experiences. We experienced the same exceptional customer service for the duration of our stay. Te Waonui's staff is friendly, helpful, and genuinely welcoming. At one point my wife was carrying some shopping bags down the hall and passed a cleaning lady's cart. The cleaning woman quickly offered to carry the bags to our room. When we checked out, Timotee loaded our bags and then washed our car windows. Before we could pull out Richard Bungeroth came out to personally see us off. We travel extensively and have not experienced a hotel with this level of customer service in 15 years. Good job to you and your staff, Richard Bungeroth.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank s0ggy_in_seattle
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 review, 4 February 2014
Dear Soggy_In_Seattle

Cannot help getting goose flesh when reading your review as it's feedback like this that gets me out of bed in the morning! Thank you for your personal thanks and you will be pleased to know Te Waonui was voted as 7th best New Zealand Hotel by Tripadvisors Travellers Choice Awards 2014.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Canberra, Australia
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 January 2014

We had the absolute pleasure of spending two nights at Te Waonui Forest retreat in late December 2013 and could not fault the retreat or staff. The rooms and the retreat were all beautifully appointed and the friendly, helpful and obliging staff were fantastic and very welcoming. Congratulations to Richard and his staff on providing such a wonderful holiday experience and place to stay during our amazing trip to New Zealand.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JOY L
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 review, 4 February 2014
Dear Joy

Thank you for making the trip to New Zealand and for visiting us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat in Franz Josef Glacier. Thank you for your kind personal mention, and I am especially proud that my team ensured your time with us was such a memorable one!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
540 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 171 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 January 2014

We unfortunately were able to stay only one night..

A great location and property.

We had an outstanding dinner.

Large, spacious, and clean rooms. Superb staff. Very helpful on activities.We will return and spend more than one night.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JoeHouston52
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 review, 4 February 2014
Dear JoeHouston52

Thank you for sharing your photo's and I am glad you enjoyed your time with us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Thank you for your high rating of our dinner, staff and bedrooms as it is clear from your profile that Te Waonui Forest Retreat is not the 1st Five Star property you have ever visited!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Additional Information about Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Property: 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 Family Hotel in Franz Josef
#2 Luxury Hotel in Franz Josef
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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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