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“very clean and welcoming B and B...great breakfast” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ribbonwood Retreat

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Ribbonwood Retreat
Ranked #1 of 6 Franz Josef B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
honolulu
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“very clean and welcoming B and B...great breakfast”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jkauf1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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252 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    2
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
54 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BarryfromCornwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank M L H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 127LovetoTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank christiechch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antwerp
Level Contributor
153 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2012

It is always pleasant to write a positive review. Or it can be a relief to vent your anger when things were really bad. Reporting negative feelings is unpleasant. But this is what tripadvisor is for : honest testimony.
We stayed two nights at Ribbonwood retreat.
The hosts were certainly trying to be friendly. The house was impeccably clean. The room spacious. The view from our room was grand - at least the last morning, when there were no clouds.
And yet the place was not convincing : the house has no charm, the breakfast was barely adequate, no information was given.
We paid here the same amount (or even more !) as we paid in other places that were far more luxurious, offered great breakfasts and hosts were giving tips, advise and suggestions.
Jo's stories on kiwi's were the best part of our stay here. Not enough to balance the whole.
Sorry to say : if this room was offered for half the price it would get a much higher score from me.
(And if you stay in this neighborhood do go and make that walk in Okarito but make sure you know what the tides are and be aware of spring tides !)

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank sinjoorAntwerp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jonathan C, Owner at Ribbonwood Retreat, responded to this review, 10 March 2012
We were very concerned to read this post about Ribbonwood Retreat and we are sorry sinjoorAntwerp's visit fell short of her expectations in some areas.

From the start of our correspondence through to guests departure we do provide lots of information about the activities and walks, so that guests get a picture on what is on offer in our National Park. As you can see from other reviews, we have had comments that people have appreciated the comprehensive information we give. So in this case we are at a loss to know what went wrong. SinjoorAntwerp's party did arrive early evening and were in a hurry to get to dinner. Unfortunately bad weather is something we have no control over and it does limit the options for people who want to persue outdoor activities.

We hope that this clarifies the situation for readers and that by reading other posts about our business they are reassured of our commitment to guest satisfaction.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
68 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2012

Have just returned from a fabulous month long tour of North and South Islands? We stayed in 15 different accommodations, ranging from significantly more expensive B&Bs than Ribbonwood to much cheaper motels. Julie and Jonathan were very helpful. However, the breakfast was somewhat frugal- we were told that Julie's fruit pancakes we're a speciality the night before but we could have an alternative if we wanted. Not wishing to be rude, we said fine. They were uninspiring with no sugar on sharp homegrown fruit- toast was in short supply as was the preserve which meant that on my second half slice of toast, there wasn't enough jam to cover it! Cereals were mentioned at the beginning of breakfast but not again and a second pot of tea would have been nice. After so many great breakfasts this was disappointing in terms of both quality and quantity. We were also greeted on arrival in the first sentence that there was a no shoes policy and were both conscious of being watched when we arrived from the cottage for breakfast in the morning. Just made us feel uncomfortable. The room was okay but not great so the breakfast really needed to be much better for the price charged.

Room Tip: If you don't want to worry about taking your shoes off, then don't stay in the cottage!
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank happydoingthisnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jonathan C, Owner at Ribbonwood Retreat, responded to this review, 4 March 2012
Thank you, we value guest feedback. We do feel that the shortcomings mentioned could have been so easily worked out by asking us at the time!
We don't add to our fruit sugar as guests can add sugar or honey to their own taste. These are always are on the table. Guests love the fresh seasonal fruits and berries, including strawberries, gooseberries, blueberries and blackberries from our own garden. Guests are offered several breakfast options. We try to replenish any food and beverages as required, however guests can ask always for more and we are only to happy to serve! Cereals and yoghurt are always available on the sideboard for self service.
Ribbonwood has low allergy cork tiled floors and to protect these surfaces we have a shoes off policy which is clearly stated on our website, email communication and with signs at each entrance. Complimentary slippers are provided and guests are encouraged to take them with them when they leave. In regard to pricing we have held our room prices the same for the last four years as we know travellers budgets are shrinking with exchange rate fluctuations.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 6 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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