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“Strangers inn Paradise”

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Ribbonwood Retreat Bed and Breakfast
Ranked #1 of 5 Franz Josef B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 March 2012

Last week (March 2012) we spent two nights at Ribbonwood Retreat. It was all we hoped for and more. We stayed in the cottage (in the US we would call this a cabin) which was spacious and handsomely furnished and decorated. The deck facing the pasture behind was a favorite spot, and the window above the bed framed the glorious mountain scenery just outside our door. Julie and Jo are great hosts who helped us decide what and when to do what we most wanted. They urged us to hold off on our planned helicopter ride for another day which turned out to be a perfect day with blue skies and no wind. The food was tasty and plentiful, and we especially enjoyed Julie's daily homemade sweets. We only wished we had more time to enjoy this little bit of paradise. Carol and Pat, Miami, Florida

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank irishpat301
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 March 2012

We stayed for 2 nights and when we arrived Jo and Julie very kindly upgraded our stay to the cottage. This is a really comfortable wooden building set apart from the main house and very private. The accommodation is spotless and Jo and Julie are perfect hosts. They are both very friendly and helpful and because Jo is a local ranger he has a really detailed knowledge of the local area and can advise on things to do including walks etc. On their advice we visited the White Heron Sanctuary on our way to Punakaiki . This was a very good trip. Jo and Julie prepared a wonderful breakfast and all in all this was a perfect place to stay.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank John R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

We stayed two nights in the upstairs "suite". Really this was 2 bedrooms and a bathroom (think the second floor of a small house). we didn't see the other rooms or the cottage. Jo and Julie were very welcoming. Julie is very proud of her Trip advisor rating (there is a small placard with the 5 circle rating on their kitchen counter) and as your read through the comments on this site you can see she is very responsive.

This is not an anonymous hotel type experience. There are other guests that come through and will sit with you at breakfast. the hosts are always around doing their thing as well. If you need something all you have to do is ask. (if you read some of the other reviewers, the hosts don't have a lot of patience for people who complain after the fact, and frankly neither do I) Julie graciously hung up all our soaking clothes from our trip to the glacier. (it rained cats and dogs that day) Jo lit a fire and i sat on the couch reading and lying around for the afternoon.

I thought breakfast was great and plentiful. They take your order the prior evening and pick a time to have it ready and it is. They didn't seem opposed to whipping up some extra eggs or toast if you aren't totally full, but you would have to ask for it. They also bake fresh bread every night which makes the whole place smell great in the evening. I wanted to sneak down and sample it each night, but was able to restrain myself.

They had soy milk for me and gluten free bread for my mother in law without blinking an eye. They made crepes for my wife and had awesome jams. I am not a huge rhubarb fan but my wife and mother in law seemed to like it.

The place is spotless and as others have noted, you have to take your shoes off in the house.

The 2 bedrooms and one bath was fine for us, but if your crew takes a long time in there or you feel you need a second bathroom you might want to look at a different place.

they also gave us great recommendations for dinner in franz josef and lunch in greymouth our next stop.

check to see if they have coupons for the Kiwi experience. Jo saved us some money and it is worth checking out.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank jkauf1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2012

Staying at the cottage for two nights we found Ribbonwood a great base to explore Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. The cottage is a wooden building which is set apart from the house and therefore affords great privacy. It is spotless, spacious and well appointed. There are great mountain/glacier views too from the window above the bed and the main outlook from the patio window is rural. The shower is amazingly powerful. Since the pictures were taken on TA there is now a room safe too. A parking space is clearly marked alongside the cottage. On arrival we had a genuinely warm welcome from Jo who gave us some of Julie's home cooking along with generous advice on how to make the best of our stay which turned out to be 100% reliable. Home cooking treats we're delivered the next day too. Breakfasts were great, no complaints on that front whatsoever, both plentiful and delicious. The property is 10 mins drive from Franz Josef so doesn't suffer helicopter noise. Julie was a particularly warm host and gave us really helpful advice on our ongoing trip. No hesitation in recommending this great accommodation. Tip: we drove down from Hokitika and about 20km before Franz Josef saw a sign 'fly now' advertising a scenic flight over the glaciers. We flew there and then, if we hadn't, the weather closed in and we wouldn't have been able to. It turned out cheaper and more flying time too than the flights bookable from town. Advice is fly as soon as you can - if the weather is good, make the most of it while you can

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank BarryfromCornwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

We stayed one night at Ribbonwood Retreat and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Jo & Julie are very friendly, open and good fun. Jo is very knowledgable about the local area + wildlife conservation in New Zealand which we found very informative.
We stayed in the cottage which was very large and well appointed. Lovely homemade rhubarb and ginger jam at breakfast! Great views from all the windows. The B & B is postioned in a lovely quiet area which we really appreciated.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank M L H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2012

We stayed at Ribbonwood for 2 nights (in the cottage). Accommodation was new, clean and comfortable. The hosts were wonderful -- very friendly and helpful. They have a no shoes policy, which was clearly explained, and personally, we thought it made a lot of sense in protecting the floors, and also keep the muck outside. Breakfast is included. We thought it was more than adequate, and had second helpings on our 2nd day. Most things are home grown, and taste really fresh. Jo is friendly, and is a warm host; Jonathan is very knowledgable about the local flora and fauna. Overall, would recommend it, and would stay there again.

Room Tip: Cottage seems the best way to go
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank 127LovetoTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2012

What a wonderful place - we stayed 2 nights in the cottage. The cottage is beautiful - very clean, comfortable and amazing views. We sat outside each evening enjoying the tranquility and ambience. Julie and Jo are so friendly and open their home to you. They have a comprehensive knowledge of the area and could answer all our questions about the Westland National Park, birdlife and attractions. The food was yummy, we enjoyed homemade crepes for breakfast and the cup of tea and home baking was a bonus on arrival. A very satisfying stay made complete by the warmth of the wonderful hosts.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank christiechch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ribbonwood Retreat Bed and Breakfast

Address: 26 Greens Road, 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:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Franz Josef
Price Range: £130 - £186 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ribbonwood Retreat Bed and Breakfast 4*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Ribbonwood B & B - a haven for nature lovers. Sleep deeply, breathing fresh clean air! Hosts Jonathan, a wildlife ranger and Julie, international school teacher are experts on history and ecology of the glacier region. We are passionate hikers and bird watchers who can show you the best places to visit. ... more   less 
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