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“truly Amazing”

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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
Thane, India
Level Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“truly Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 March 2014

the place is really awesome. quiet and peaceful. the staff is very friendly. the rooms are very clean and of high standards. the balcony is awesome and you feel like you are actually staying inside the forest area. the food is also good with loads of option at the breakfast. its expensive but worth it.

Room Tip: try to get upper floors.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rahul 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, 20 March 2014
Dear Rahul

Thank you for visiting us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. It is good to see that through close consideration of previous guest feedback and some "behind the scene interventions" we have enhanced our breakfast experience for you to enjoy! Thank you once again.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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659 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 (110)
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English first
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
308 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014

We were booked into the Scenic in Franz Josef and were looking forward to it as we had liked the Scenic in Napier. On arrival we were told, enthusiastically, that we had been upgraded to the Te Wanoui, the sister hotel which was 5 star. She phoned ahead and we were greeted as we drove in by the receptionist, with a lovely warm, smiley welcome. The room was lovely. Huge, comfy beds, underfloor heating in the bathroom. Beautifully appointed. We had a rainforest view - the theme of the hotel - and the lighting is subdued, in keeping with the theme. However, I could only just see to read at night! There are nice touches, like a description of the trees and of the birds you might see. Also water is delivered to your room at night. Wifi is unlimited and free.
The restaurant is a completely different story. The staff are friendly but seem inexperienced and frankly clueless. Having had our little free starter, our bread and a granita, the waiter announced our beef was nearly ready. We said that was a shame as we'd ordered the lamb. His reaction was to say, "oh s**t!" We were asked if we'd accept the beef, if we'd wait and have a free dessert (which we didn't want). Eventually the member of staff agreed to give us the lamb on the house, given that we waited an hour and a quarter for it. I was somewhat taken aback to be asked if we were now friends again! I hadn't realised that their mistake had turned us from customers into enemies!! It made meeting the staff again at breakfast a bit uncomfortable, even though we had done our best not to make a fuss, especially as our waiter was SO embarrassed at his mistake (and very apologetic). Breakfasts continued the saga of inefficiency. You are allowed to serve yourself to the cold buffet but have to order the cooked. The bacon was lovely but the scrambled eggs were stone cold. We both ordered toast which arrived with one pat of butter. The next day, one order of toast arrived, with two pats of butter... I found the coffee the first day very bitter (I couldn't drink it) and so the second day asked for a flat white. I was told I could have one if I paid extra! In other hotels there are machines where you can help yourself to whichever style of coffee suits you. All in all the restaurant is most definitely NOT good.
The General Manager read our questionnaire and caught up with us in the car park as we were leaving. He was most apologetic. However, having since read reports on Tripadvisor which reflected similar concerns, the shortcomings of the restaurant can't have been news to him.If the concept at the Te Wanoui is to make the guests feel pampered, it falls well short. If any establishment is to be well run there must be systems in place and staff must be well-trained.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Maureen G
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, 20 March 2014
Dear Maureen

Formal apologies again for a disappointing time at Te Waonui Forest Retreat ... Some tough but healthy lessons to be learnt through your valued feedback that can ultimately only stand both ourselves and the stays of our valued guests in good stead for the future. Through your feedback, breakfast in particular has turned a corner, and we can look forward to great feedback regarding our Restaurant quality and service in general going forward!

Yours in hospitality

Richard
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Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
39 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 March 2014 via mobile

We spent one night in this hotel, prior to a heli-hike on Fox glacier. It actually is in the forest, very quiet yet walking distance to the village attractions.
The room was spacious and elegant, the bed very comfortable, good breakfast and the staff go the extra mile to make your stay pleasant.
Would definitely go bak

Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Lizard7275
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, 20 March 2014
Dear Lizard7275

Thank you and I am pleased to read that you enjoyed your time with us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hadleigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2014 via mobile

On arrival we were a little disappointed that the luxury forest retreat was located very close to the centre of the village. Once inside you did feel that it was much more secluded than it actually is.

Our deluxe room was very nice but not luxurious by British 5 star standard. This hotel has young but very helpful staff, we were greeted with a hot towel and also a welcome drink. Staff were also very helpful in getting us connected to the free wifi also.

On the subject of wifi it's a very complecTed affair to use more than one device which most people have now.

We had dinner in the restaurant and ate from the 5 course degustation menu. The restaurant is quite comfortable but the tables are very close together. Both the first course and the main course were very small portions and the grapefruit and vanilla granita was horrible. The flavours just did not marry together and most people sent it away untouched. The staff in the restaurant are young and inexperienced and we had one acceptable glass of red wine and an extremely small measure of white wine charged at fourteen dollars.

Breakfast was even more disappointing. The hot buffet had tepid tasteless food which had clearly stood there for some time and the scrambled egg was inedible. We avoided the problem on the second day by ordering omelettes cooked freshly and they were fine. The first days breakfast was the worst we had had in New Zealand.

Generally an ok hotel but definitely not the 5 star standard we were expecting or didn't justify the price.

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Virginia 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, 12 March 2014
Dear Grovehouse

Since your valued review,we have taken a closer look at our food and beverage service delivery. We have clearly made fundamental mistakes that have ultimately impacted negatively on your overall perception of Te Waonui Forest Retreat which is disappointing.Please accept my sincerest apologies for this.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
137 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2014

Our experience here was mixed, our room was quiet and had most of the necessary amenities but no power point in the bathroom for the hair dryer provided. The narrow entrance passage with wardrobe and bathroom door opposite each other made for difficult access sometimes. Lighting also poor in main area. Loved the floor heating in the bathroom. Staff friendly, front office staff tried to be efficient but altered our plans several times. Waiting staff in restaurant also friendly and helpful but 5 course degustation meal sadly lacking, breakfast good. My husband and I enjoyed an hour's relaxation massage at the spa and I also enjoyed my pedicure.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Patricia 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 review, 2 March 2014
Dear Patricia

Thank you for your constructive feedback regarding the practicality of some of our bedroom fittings. Pleasing to read that you found our staff attentive to your needs and that you enjoyed your Hahana Day Spa treatments.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
325 reviews
192 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2014

Owned and managed by the Scenic group hotels, see my comment about their Blenheim hotel.
Great location, architecture and decor.
Excellent service, even better than excellent.
Good food, service a bit more difficult because place packed. Same at breakfast

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Karel V
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, 2 March 2014
Dear Karel

Thank you for taking the time to give us such a high rating on our quality and service delivery at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Thanks as well for making the trip from Christchurch to vist us in Franz Josef Glacier.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2014

Ok, so I'm kidding about T-Rex, but the forrest around here is seriously pre-historic. I kept expecting some sort of screechy dino to come pouncing at a moment's notice. As for the hotel... beds are great. A bit on the soft side, but very comfortable overall. The bathrooms and rooms are a nice size. We had a view of the forrest in the back and it felt very private due to privacy partitions on all the room window areas. Sleep was blissfully quiet in spite of us being by a main doorway. The check in/check out staff were just awesome. Totally took care of us quickly and with excellent attention to the little niceties of hospitality like offering a fruit drink as we walked in the door.

The food is... good. Not great, but good. The dinner service takes a very long time, so be prepared to settle in for at LEAST a 2 hour meal. After a long day of driving, I was antsy by the second course and started prowling around the restaurant. Not my normal behavior, but I needed that 5 course meal to speed up a bit. The next night, we ordered ala cart -- so know that that is an option if you want simple and fast. Also... huge portion sizes. I was fine with my single entree the next night. Breakfast is buffet style -- good food and about what you'd expect for a nice buffet.

We had a bit of a medical scare at 2am on the 1st night. The night staff didn't quite know what to do but after a bit of explaining and talking to a pretty young (and maybe scared) staff member, he called the town's clinic nurse into the room. Not that this would happen to everyone, but if you have medical issues, you may want to get the clinic/medic's info when you check in, so you can save yourself about 30 minutes of quiet panic.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank absolutelylawless
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, 2 March 2014
Dear Absolutelylawless

Your reference to T-Rex and classic photo, now mounted on our staff canteen wall, of Melvin our Maori Warrior brought a welcome smile to my face during what has been a really busy month for us at Te Waonui Forest Retreat :-) Sorry about your medical scare and the delay on your dinner and thank you for affording us the opportunity to assist and ultimately resolve.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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 Family Hotel in Franz Josef
#1 Romantic 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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