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“Homely and Quiet stay at Ribbonwood Retreat”
Review of Ribbonwood Retreat

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Ribbonwood Retreat
Ranked #1 of 5 Franz Josef B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Homely and Quiet stay at Ribbonwood Retreat”
Reviewed 22 December 2013

Ribbonwood Retreat is about 5 minutes’ drive from Franz Josef village. Since we drove, it wasn't an issue for us. In fact, we were glad to stay in a quiet place away from the village. The retreat is also away from the main road. When we arrived, Jonathan opened the house door just as we were pulling into the car porch, welcoming and directing us to park. The car porch is just next to the main house door which made loading and unloading of luggage easy.

My family and I stayed two nights at Ribbonwood Retreat. There were five of us, including two teenage children. We stayed at Waiho Suite, which is located upstairs of the main house. The accommodation is very cosy and clean. There are windows and balcony on 3 sides of the main suite permitting sight of beautiful scenery.

Jo was a fantastic host. He quickly settled us down and oriented us to the dining places in village. Menus from the village restaurants were available in the room. Placing the menus in the room was very thoughtful as it allowed us to review them before deciding which restaurant to go.

The next morning, Jo prepared a healthy breakfast for us. Jo was chatty and friendly, putting us at ease as we enjoyed the breakfast and chatted with him. He shared his experience as a former forest ranger, how he first arrived at Franz Josef after graduation, and how he met Julie. Jo was also happy to share when we asked him questions about living in the West Coast. We almost felt like we were staying with a friend or family! Jo was also very helpful in suggesting places for our family to visit. He even called the Wildlife Centre to help us check whether any Kiwi egg was hatching that morning. DVDs were made available although we didn’t watch them as we had plenty to do in our two days stay in Franz Josef.

Thanks Jo, for making our stay in Franz Josef such a memorable and warm one. We will not hesitate to stay at Ribbonwood Retreat if we visit Franz Josef again.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank CMB_SL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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259 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2013

My husband and I spent two nights at Ribbonwood Retreat. Joe and Julie built this house and it is obviously first and foremost a family home. The furnishings are sparse but quite comfortable. The wood burning fire made the living room, which we had total access to at all times, very warm and toasty. Joe was alone until Christmas as Julie was teaching in Christchurch. Yes, he did ask us the not wear our shoes in the house, but, unlike other commentators, we did not feel that this was an imposition. We stayed in the lower level bedroom with a hall bath. The whole area was separated from the rest of the house so we had plenty of privacy any time we needed. Joe had all varieties of cereals and fruits for us and also made eggs for my husband. We spent a lovely time with him chatting and learning about Franz Josef. If we ever get back to Franz Josef, we would stay here again.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ellen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2013

My husband and I had a wonderful stay at Ribbonwood Retreat last week. The room was large and very comfortable. We received a warm welcome and a wonderful recommendation for dinner at the Blue Ice Cafe--including being picked up in a limo!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank JEC2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winchester, Massachusetts
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2013

We stayed 2 nights at the Ribbonwood Retreat, just outside Franz Josef. It was great. Our bedroom on the ground floor was small but perfectly adequate. The private bathroom was large and beautiful. Our rooms were closed off from the main part of the house for privacy. Jo was a perfect host, cooking us terrific breakfasts, helping us with logistics for our glacier walk, and sharing lots of interesting and fun information.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank 14gailg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 November 2013

As soon as we arrived, Jo welcomed us with some date and walnut loaf and this typified the welcoming and homely style in which this B&B is run.

The B&B is only 5 minutes drive from the town centre and offers accommodation away from the more touristy areas. We stayed in the standalone cottage which is also more private.

Jo is very friendly and easy to talk to. He is quick to offer advice about where to eat, what to do and a story or two. He clearly know a lot about the natural environment of NZ.

Ribbonwood was a good base from which we could do a glacier walk on Franz Josef.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Eric T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 November 2013

We were here for two nights on the second floor of the house where we had a spacious suite with a balcony overlooking the beautiful scenery. The suite is big enough to sleep a family of 3 or 4 and has a comfortable family feel. This place is indeed a retreat (one would also think New Zealand the whole country is a retreat!) plus 5 star service. Joe and Julie gave us all the recommendations we needed, where to eat, what to do and when, and booked all our excursions. New Zealanders are well known for their friendliness and hospitality and Joe and Julie were the best example! If we come back to Franz Joseph again, I would not hesitate to come back to stay here!

Room Tip: The cottage which is separate from the main house obviously has more privacy. But our upstairs suit...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank AmrushaGaruda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2013

Ribbonwood Retreat was by far the best stay of our entire vacation. We stayed in one hotel, two B&Bs, and one apartment. Not only was it the nicest of all places we stayed in, but the hospitality simply could not be beat. We had driven from Kaikoura and arrived a bit tired. We pulled in the drive, and a handwritten note on a chalkboard welcomed us to drive around to the back. We did, and we met Joe, the owner.

We had booked a room in the house, but as a family was there also, Joe put us in the private cottage so that we'd have more quiet. How lovely! He showed us around the cottage - and it's stunning. From the wood to the floors and the decor, it really is comfortable and beautiful. They use rainwater, which is fascinating, and impressive. There is a heater/aircon to regulate the room tempurature, but we just kept the curtains open to soak up the evening sun. Also - an extra heater in the bathroom, and amazing water pressure in the shower! The bed was the most comfortable I've slept on in a year - and I have a terrible back and neck and am always nervous what I'm going to get on holiday with regard to the bed. This one was perfect. Just firm enough to be supportive, just a touch of softness for comfort.

Joe gave us dinner recommendations in town (go for the new Asian Fusion place!). We read in the binder of information in the room that Julie and Joe think the porch on the cottage is a great place to have a glass of wine and watch the sunset, so that's what we did after dinner. I left the curtains open so that I woke up to the sound of birds singing and the sunshine pouring in the next morning. There was even a walnut cake in our room to snack on. And, while I expect that most places give you a hairdryer, I NEVER expect there to be a flat iron in the room! How thoughtful!

Breakfast was so lovely. Tea, coffee, eggs cooked just the way we like, bacon, fruit, toast, and roasted tomatoes. We ate with the family that was staying in the house and had a really enjoyable morning. In fact, none of us wanted to leave and start our respective drives for the day!

My husband and I have long daydreamed about opening our own B&B, and this place inspired us to investigate how we could actually do it.

All in all, a REALLY good value. I would highly recommend Ribbonwood Retreat to anyone staying in the Franz Joseph area, or even as a destination on the South Island! My husband and I have already said that when we come back to NZ, we are definitely returning to Ribbonwood Retreat. Thanks for a really lovely stay.

Room Tip: Definitely book the cottage. Worth it!
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 852Jennyfromtheblock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ribbonwood Retreat

Property: Ribbonwood Retreat
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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Ribbonwood Retreat 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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