This looked a fantastic historic hotel when we booked it. However, the photos on their webpage are so misleading, the hotel in no way resembles their image. It is very faded grandeur and is in need of a major refurb! The spa centre was out of order too.. We visited Dec 2019 and thought we had booked a room with balcony...but no, they showed us to a room in the attic with small window, it wasn't good. Upon request, they did move us to a very nice, large room so no complaints with the new room, although the receptionist bubbly chirpy attitude did cool at this point. The hotel is in a beautiful location, evening meal and breakfast both very good.
We were expecting an older hotel with some character, not something that came from the Addams Family ! Apparently we were in their best room room when we queried it with the receptionist, who memorably said that Deluxe it isn't and that she and the management team were well aware of the problems which are also quoted in many of the other reviews. The bed was clean and comfortable and the breakfast was good. The photographs on the website are very misleading. Our guided trip around Ruakuri Cave which is only a short drive away, was excellent.
It looks much better in pictures than in real life. It is about to fall apart. The room was the smallest, most cramped I have ever seen. The bathroom was the size of a closet. We had to walk around our luggage was there was no closet just a coat rack. They told us at check in that we got an upgraded room. Hard to image what a not upgraded room would be or most likely just routine B.S. They either have to do a lot of renovation or just use it as firewood.
Don’t be fooled by the advertising on this place. It is old and decrepit, almost falling apart. They advertise in-room things such as iron and ironing board but there’s not even a wardrobe? I’m guessing back in the day this place was beautiful but it’s neglected and shabby now. Dusty, electrical wiring suspended with cellotape just to mention a few things. No heating at all unless it’s winter, cooling is a mini electric fan? Bathroom mouldy and paint peeling on the walls. Cobwebs in the corners. Staff are unhelpful and gave a very poor attitude. We travelled NZ for two weeks and this was by far the worst we came across.
On our NZ drive trip we wanted to incorporate a caves tour which meant we had to book one nights accommodation in Waitomo. Not much to choose from unfortunately and if Waitomo didn’t have any caves you wouldn’t even visit the place. Anyway, we arrived at this grand run down historic hotel and it was with some trepidation that we unpacked the car and entered the front doors. As soon as we set foot inside I was expecting Basil Fawlty or Manuel to appear from behind the reception counter. You would swear this was straight out of the set of Fawlty Towers. Sadly, no John Cleese to greet us and definitely no Manuel to take our bags. Once checked in by our manager/receptionist/ bargirl/laundry/cleaner (yes, there only seemed to be two staff members in the whole hotel doing everything) we were given our key and had to lug all our bags and suitcases upstairs and to our room. After trying to roll our suitcases over what looks like the original threadbare carpet we entered our room. We stood and paused for a minute as the room seemed to have the original floral carpet, wallpaper and the original bathroom from 1908 which had a string chord to turn on the light. Surprisingly, the king sized bed wasn’t from that era and was extremely comfortable apart from the old timber bedhead banging against the wall every time I rolled over or moved. Nothing a little face towel couldn’t fix. I was later advised by the hotel manager that the Queen and Duke had stayed in our room when they visited the hotel. That made us feel much better but that’s probably what she tells everyone??? After we got acclimatised to the whole scene, we decided to freshen up and take a shower in the original bath with the original plumbing. This is where I was waiting for Norman Bates to pull back the shower curtain and reveal his big kitchen knife. Quite surreal really as the hotel also reminded me of the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho. After all that we thought we had to experience dining in the grand restaurant. Sadly, it was only the two of us for most of the night but we were both pleasantly surprised by the homely and tasty meal that was served. Simple food cooked well and not overpriced. All in all our stay was more an experience. Should the owners have a spare $10million they could really do something with what they have and make it an iconic accommodation spot in the area. Doesn’t look like they will so what should you expect for $135/night. In the end we left with a smile and a laugh and a story to tell. …