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“Wish New Zealand wasn't so far away...”

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Cavalli Beach House Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Kaeo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
1 review
“Wish New Zealand wasn't so far away...”
Reviewed 22 March 2013

Just what it says...a retreat. A simply glorious, quiet location to use as a home base after attending an international business conference in Auckland and while touring the northern end of the country. The view from our suite was incredible; islands and turquoise water that was framed by a fuchsia bougainvillea blooming on the deck. I reveled in the bathroom. The best one I encountered in our three-week business trip which also included Texas and Arizona. So enjoyed Carrie and Richard's company. Carrie is an amazing cook! Everything she made was delicious and perfect. Contrary to the previous reviewer, we were encouraged to use the fridge in our living area and, oh my!, snacked there with no repercussions. We received much good sight-seeing advice from them, as well as shopping and dining tips. Be real! This is New Zealand...one has to expect to travel distances to get to restaurants and grocery stores. And as far as the cost, I found everything pricey during our trip -- certainly much more expensive than it was ten years ago. The bottom line is that I would love a return visit to Cavalli Beach House Retreat.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Dee A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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83 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Santa Fe, NM
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 March 2013

When you charge $650 per night I believe you need to commit to almost flawless service and deliver a wonderful facility, as well as, creating an overall positive experience for your guests. Unfortunately, the Cavalli did not measure up to these high standards for us.

Let’s start with what worked. As the other reviewers have said, the location right on the bay and views are awesome. Although getting a bit dated, the decor and landscaping at the Cavalli are beautiful. The rooms all take full advantage of the views. There is also a track through a nature preserve right next store that is fun to hike. Each room has a nice sitting area. We liked the cookies and the beach bags with things we needed for enjoying our swims.

What did not work for us. Cavalli’s location while beautiful, is its weakness, as it is extremely remote with few dinning or market options. The nearest market is 1 hour away. There are 3 poor to mediocre restaurants and 1 fine dining restaurant within 30 minutes. There are no decent options for lunch close that we could find. That all said, I guess you could say some of this is not the owner’s fault, but if you list yourself as a luxury property I think you need to solve for the food issue. Solutions… offer a light dinner, offer lunch, let the guests use the kitchen, include food in the rates by charging a bit more.

Knowing it was somewhat off the beaten path, we called ahead to see if the rooms had refrigerators, so we could bring some snacks. We were told “ we are not a lodge and prefer our guests not eat in the rooms. We thought you would be dining with us?” Dinners at the Cavalli are $110 per person not including wine, which we thought was outrageous. We went ahead and brought some snacks. Fortunately the rooms had refrigerators, so we were set. The next morning my wife came down for breakfast and was scolded in front of the other guests for placing our trash from the night before in the wrong place (she had wrapped it securely in a small bag and placed it in the garage so it wouldn’t smell). This all before her first cup of coffee! The next morning I received the same treatment. Before my first cup of coffee with the other guests seated, I was greeted with “Don’t Americans recycle? I found a wine bottle in the trash can!” For the record American’s do recycle. We have rubbish cans marketed recyclables, which Cavailli did not have.

While the overall room was nice, the beds are old. The sheets and spread were well worn. The pillows were flat as pancakes. Not at all up to a reasonable standard. We didn’t sleep well at the Cavailli.

The few chairs at the beach were old and failing apart. If there were more than one couple there would be no lounge chairs for the second couple. They offer kayaks to use which we took advantage, but life vests are hidden away in a shed, so we could not find them. That evening we were scolded again for not using life vests!

The morning I left I asked cheerfully if I could pay my $2000 bill and if they took American Express. I was told “we prefer not” (to take American Express). There several other service related interactions with owners that were not great during our stay, but in the interest of writing too long of a review I will not go into details.

The Cavalli is not a B&B or inn, it is more like staying in someone’s home with lots of rules. During our stay we laughed off the issues, but as we thought about it we felt it import to do this review for others thinking about staying at the Cavailli. Some simple changes and remembering that the people staying there are "guests" paying lot of money would make the Cavailli great; however, we would not re-book there.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank RCost
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CavalliBeachHouse, Owner at Cavalli Beach House Retreat, responded to this review, 25 March 2013
hello Richard

Firstly let me say how sorry we are that we did not come up to your expectations.

I will keep this response short, because if I explain everything it will become too lengthy.

Nearly everything you complain about could have been perfectly easily rectified if you had just asked at any time during your three night stay. We could have moved your room, had your pillows easily replaced from our spare stock, asked about meals - we most certainly do lunch, light dinners and our normal "outrageous" dinner, which as you can see from other reviews, our guests enjoy. Regarding life-jackets there is only one shed on the beach, wherein they reside

We are a lodge not a motel was what I said - as far as I am aware there are no lodges in New Zealand with kitchens in their rooms - motels have kitchens for self-catering

I did say that I prefer not to take American Express because of their high commission. However, I did also say that I would, of course, take it and you did pay your account with American Express

I feel your stay at Cavalli Beach House could have been much more enjoyable for yourselves with more communication and do regret your disappointment with us - we really do try hard to ensure that our guests have a good visit
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2013

We had the most amazing time staying in this incredible lodge . The views and location are to die for . The accomodation is first class and Carrie and Richard are the most hospitable of hosts . We had a first class meal and superb breakfasts - nothing was too much trouble . The weather was fantastic and we enjoyed kayaking / fishing and a spa in the secluded gardens . A visit to remember .

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tilch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 October 2012

What a place to go for a couple of days. The retreat is nestled in a secluded little bay with great views from every room. We were made to feel very welcome by Carrie and Richard. We had planned to drive down to the bay of islands for a day trip but there was no need when we were staying in this paradise! Exceptional weather meant we could take out the kayaks and go for walks to explore the location. We also ate at the retreat one night which was a real treat! I highly recommend Cavalli Beach house to get away from it all for a few days!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank James H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
138 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 September 2012

Carrie and Richard are consumate hosts and Carrie kindly assisted with an oversight with our return travel plans.
The beach house has perfect views across the bay and is in a secluded area. We had the house to ourselves and enjoyed the pre-dinner drinks to get to know our hosts

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank fivestarsandbeyond
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CavalliBeachHouse, Owner at Cavalli Beach House Retreat, responded to this review, 1 October 2012
hello Madelyn

I am so sorry that we did not come up to expectations. I rang Krystel, your travel agent and
she told me that you had found Cavalli Beach House "musty" - I can only apolgise and agree with
you - we have had (actually, are still having) the wettest winter on record in the Far North and I guess because we are also so close to the sea, we find it extremely difficult to have fresh air circulating freely - just a couple of rain-free days with all doors and windows open will fix this completely.

I would please like to know about sleep quality - am not sure what this means ? but if you tell me what you did not like, hopefully it can be rectified - also 3/5 for cleanliness - please also advise what areas were lacking

thank you for coming to stay with us and that the rest of your travels in New Zealand were wonderful and that Steven had great golfing
kind regards Carrie
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
121 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2012

After our adventure travels in New Zealand we wanted a luxury ending. After reading reviews on Trip Advisor and also seeing it featured in a travel segment we decided on Cavalli Beach House and were not disappointed. Carrie and Richard are the most wonderful hosts, the location is stunning and the accommodation is lovely. We ate at the house the first night sharing conversation and dinner with another lovely couple. The food was delicious and all seems to appear with minimum fuss. I'm sure this is due to the fact that Carrie and Richard have been in the business for a long time. Carrie made plenty of suggestions for activities and we recommend the Mahinepua peninsula walk which has lovely views back across the bay to Cavalli. Mangonui is a 40 minute drive away but worth it if you like fish and chips fresh of the boat, these activities are not a must as it's just as wonderful relaxing at Cavalli.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank trekker065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami Beach, Florida
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 February 2012

Cavalli Beach House is unlike any place I have ever been. After traveling around the country for 6 weeks, Cavalli was the perfect place to relax, unwind and fully appreciate the beauty of New Zealand before heading back to reality. The accommodations are luxurious while maintaining a cozy and welcoming feel, helping us feel right at home. The views are absolutely breathtaking - our favorite part of the day was enjoying breakfast on the deck and looking out to the amazing landscape and tranquil waters. We also enjoyed some of the nearby hiking trails that allowed us to see the surrounding islands from all different perspectives - just make sure you wear sunscreen if you go in the summer! Carrie and Richard were incredible hosts and absolutely delightful. They anticipated our every need and made our stay so enjoyable. We had a hard time leaving this spectacular place, but we know we will absolutely be visiting Cavalli again!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jrsteele87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cavalli Beach House Retreat

Property: Cavalli Beach House Retreat
Address: Mahinepua Rd | RD 1, Kaeo 0478, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Kaeo
Amenities:
Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Kaeo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Cavalli Beach House Retreat 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Cavalli Beach House Retreat is a fabulous "absolute beachfront" 5 star property at Mahinepua - 45 minutes north of Kerikeri in the Far North of New Zealand. Comprising three guest suites with Pacifica based decor - the Ocean Suite which has it's own large sitting room and the two Ocean Rooms, all with large balconies and spectacular views. A magical combination of adventure, romance and cuisine with the emphasis on local fresh produce and our homegrown vegetables, salads and herbs.Enjoy our hillside jacuzzi and sleep to the sound of waves.The Cavalli Beach House Retreat offers true coastal solitude in a unique and stunning environment - a point of difference for the ultimate New Zealand experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cavalli Beach House Retreat Hotel Kaeo

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