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Reviewed 23 March 2014

A purchase on NZ site 'Grabit'. A package which gave an overnight stay at the Hotel with a Twilight trip down into one of the glowworm caves.
We arrived mid-afternoon to book in and asked about departure time for our walk, duty manager didn't really know but found out.
We asked if we could dine at the hotel on our return at 8pm and we were told that there was no food as the chef was sick.
We asked if there were other places where we could eat afterwards, once again he was not sure.
We decided to risk it and try for food afterward.
Our rooms can only be described as 'adequate' as they had the basics but for a hotel which describes itself as of 'historic interest', they were poorly maintained, or should I say, 'preserved'.
All the furniture had seen better days as had, indeed, the carpets and curtains. The paintwork had, clearly, not been attended to for some time. French doors led out to a small balcony which was shared with the occupants of the next room.
Unfortunately, a floodlight fixed to the upper edge of the balcony shone into our room making any sort of blackout impossible.
The bathroom was an eclectic mixture of fittings of differing age & provenance.

The room was, however, clean and the bed comfortable. Sleep might have been good given tolerable lighting conditions.

Breakfast was substantial and tasty and consisted of eggs & bacon with cereals, toast, juice, fruit etc. nothing wrong there!

Finally, the whole place clearly needs some money spending on it, HM The Queen may have stayed there in the 60's but the redecoration undertaken prior to her visit need attending to again.

The grounds are good, given that they have one gardener - two would be better.

They should have a staff car park, as the duty managers car was parked under the canopy outside the front door for the entire length of our stay. This can be seen in our picture. At present, this practice does indicate a lack of discipline and organisation within.

Given a renovation plan and a modest investment, this place could be made to shine again.

Having said all this, awe would not be averse to a return stay when next in NZ.

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Sudarg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2014

I would like to express my experiences here at this lovely hotel.
The staff were very friendly and extremely customer focused,
nothing was a problem for them.
The room was great, clean tidy and well worth the money
The breakfast was way more than we had expected and a lovely way to start the day.
We had dinner the evening before we went on the Cave World tour
quick, well presented great value for money.

Defiantly worth the money and the drive to get there
Will be recommending it to family and friends

See you again real soon

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JNS33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2014

We stayed at this hotel on a grab one deal. The room was adequate, but needed upgrading badly, particularly the bathroom. The bed was very comfy though. The staff were very helpful and friendly and the meals in the restaurant were very good.

The family who own the hotel are gradually restoring it, the conference room was being decorated when we stayed. We wish them well, she's a lovely old lady and worth saving.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank stonemob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2014

I would like to review the Waitomo Caves Hotel. We have stayed their about 6 times now over the past 6 months. We have found it such a lovely peaceful place. The hotel is old but grand and the management that are their now are very nice. Pat and Kathy (the management) can never do enough for you, They seem to believe in good old school hospitality, which is not something you see a lot of these days.

The grounds people have been doing a lot of work to tidy up the grounds and get them looking as wonderful as they currently do. That is a tribute to the management knowing how grand they should look.

We found the rooms to be very clean and tidy, fresh clean linen and towels. My wife loved the little tubes of shampoo and soaps, she said they smelt very nice. The room we were in looked out over the car park and had a beautiful view. Every morning we looked out the window we saw several families of Californian Quail just wandering around the carpark and gardens, it was such a lovely sight to see. We had a wonderful sleep and there was a good variety of breakfast food, even though it wasn't included in the room price. But we have been to a lot of hotels that don't offer breakfast at all.

We were fortunate that on one of the nights that we were there they were having a "Burlesque Cabaret Night" in the old ballroom. It was lovely to see life being brought back to the grand old ballroom. We thought the show was a grand tribute to New Zealand veterans, as it celebrated the start of WWl. It had nothing to do with Liza Minnelli as has been commented on in another review, it was all about New Zealand veterans and what they endured through all wars that we have been apart of. The Burlesque girls were all lovely even though their ages varied somewhat. They broke up the emotional bits that the rest of the cast created with their touching performance. I thought the Master of ceremonies was delightful, and did a good job of putting the show together. I know he was the writer and director of this show and thought it was well put together.
The meal we had that night as part of the show was very nice, and we enjoyed it a great deal. Yes it was meat and veg, but it was very tasty and well cooked. My hat off to the chef and the staff.
I will definitely be going back to stay in the Hotel and would love to go back to see the Murder Mystery evening that is coming up.
I am a very big fan of the Hotel, the grounds and the staff.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Patrick B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2014

Having worked for the original owners THC, I felt obliged when travelling north to Hamilton to show my
spouse this magnificent old lady. Well old it certainly was. Ladylike less so.

The best of the Hotel were the gardens/grounds and obviously there is someone who knows their stuff with these. Coming up the drive one glides around the drive into what might be a film set for an Agatha Christie novel or maybe if one uses one's imagination one might see "Hecule" walking on the veranda complete with cane and panama hat.

However, that is where the illusion ends.

Sadly everything within the interior is slowly falling apart through an obvious lack of maintenance. Paint is peeling, there is a dank smell of mould in the upper rooms and sadly none of this can be offset by the helpful and jovial staff.

We were encouraged not to eat in the dining room because there was a "Cabaret" themed to reflect the commencement of world war 1 in 1914. That was surely the most far reaching statement since
a certain President of the States said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"

The meal served prior to the "Show" was pure Kiwi, with huge mounds of meat potatoes, lots of fresh vegetables, followed by Pavlova, Fruit Salad cream etc. It must be part of the theme I assured my spouse. The usual piled high plates of the guests confirmed that everyone was getting into the mood of things.

Once everything was cleared away, the "Cabaret Master of Ceremonies" appeared. Here ends any similarities to memories one might have held of the film of the same name starring "Lisa Minnelli". This somewhat diminutive man with very obviously dyed black hair, lip stick, make up wearing tails trousers and shirt so oversized that he appeared to move quite independantly around within them.

And so with every change of costume he subsequently wore. None the less his was of course the starring role, assumedly because he wrote the script. we then had paraded before us under different "Guises" a raft of near naked and naked ladies ranging in age from 20 up to my Grandma's age. She and trying to be kind, had good legs for a Grandmother, but really!! I now realised why the meat and potatoes were so hearty, anything lighter would have not stayed down!

My advice to the Waitomo management is stick with the "Mystery Murder" nights this sort of old flapper (real ones) strip show just ruins ones appetite and is totally inappropriate. There is nothing as entertaining as a well presented "Review, Burlesque or Cabaret" but this was none of the afore- mentioned. It touched on being a comedy at times, but that was simply because it really was so bad.

As for the hotel, well sadly, like the show she is well past her prime. Unlike the show, with the outlay of a lot of money she really could be made grand again. The photos the guests have posted truly reflect it's sad state. She is a poor, old, broken down lady still trying to put on a show of long past elegance but she is way past it.

Our last memories are of trying to check out. The promised discounted room rate offered the previous night had never eventuated until such was reluctantly handed over in cash because the front office machine was broken!. No machine receipt was available because of this. The eftpos line was also "down" All in all, a very sad end to a totally disappointing stay.

Still I have my memories of what she used to be like and I have my hopes that maybe someone will buy her and make her back in to the wonderful place she really could be.

Room Tip: Somewhere else.
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Ian-R-Bray-JP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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