Unfortunately, this property has been a bit of a let down. While most likely still be the best place in town (not hard with all those crappy little no-name motels), it's not what they make it out to be on the Hilton website. First of all, the really lovely renovated old heritage building is beautiful but what they don't really tell you is that the main annex building is an extremely ugly greyish block of concrete and most rooms will be in that part. While you can see the lake in the distance from the upper floors on the lakeside, the actual location of the hotel is several miles away and happens to be right next to a busy road rather than a tranquil spot by the lake. Given all the other issues with the hotel and the need to always drive into town (walk would be about half an hour on an extremely unpleasant path alongside said busy road) we were wondering if it wouldn't be the smarter choice to stay at one of the many lower quality (but I bet also much lower priced) motels right at the edge of town by the lakefront. The worst part though is how they came up with a really stupid layout of that main block and we were wondering the entire stay what the architect had smoked while coming up with it: First of all, the building is devided into 4 separate wings which all have one single elevator each. You can easily imagine what happens as soon as a party moves in or out of that one wing while all the other guests are waiting for ages for this one dedicated elevator to arrive.
Second, within the wings, the rooms are ordered in a really strange way so that we had to pass three heavy fire doors leading from corridor to sub-corridor until we finally arrived at our room. The fire exits are meant to be through the rooms onto the outside terrace meaning that if you're at the elevator and the adjacent rooms are deadlocked from the inside you'll be roasting pretty nicely without anywhere to go. Not sure how that got through fire regulations but it all seemed as if they built all this and then realized how stupid the layout was.
Speaking of the outside terrace: In most rooms, you do't have a private balcony but rather an exit onto that terrace which you share with three other rooms. There are separate tables and chairs on it but privacy is absolutely zero which really spoiled our entire stay as we love to have a quiet wine and conversation on the balcony after a long day out. I've attached a photo of this weird set up which we've never seen before anywhere else- again, we couldn't stop the feeling that this was meant to be divided in the last minute they realized that this space needs to be left open to provide a fire exit.
Some additional comments: On the good side, great comfortable beds (though as often at Hilton, two double beds with a king size mattress on top of it rather than a proper "King bed"), friendly (though not necessarily efficient) service and a really great lobby area in the beautifully renovated old wing. More negatives: Extremely stingy with the bathroom amenities, we always had to call up and ask for more as housekeeping would not restock automatically. The pool was quite disappointing as well, far too small for a property of this size so you'd always find young children jumping into it from the sides and the whirlpool at any time had at least two other pairs of strangers in there- no thanks. The gym was not much better either, a property like this could do with something much better. And another idiotic little setup is the parking: They probably expect people to happily pay the ridiculous parking fee for the undercover garage while even in town, parking is free everywhere. You are also given the option to park outside the hotel for free and of course, most guests will do that. As a result, at most times (especially in the evening when outside guests will come to dine at the restaurant), the assigned outside spots are all taken. As a result, they've attached a pebbled little parking stretch at the front of the property (which is what the "lake view" rooms look out on) and even that is not big enough so that every night, you will see cars spilling out onto the surrounding grass area (!). Just not a good look and simply silly in our eyes.
Be aware that "Lake view" still means the lake being in the far distance though the other...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you for taking the time to post a review on TripAdvisor. I am sorry to read that we fell short of your expectations and the high level of service, accommodation and facilities that we strive to deliver.
It would appear from your feedback that you were accommodated in the third section of our Mountain Wing, which as noted offers shared balconies due to these being a designated fire exit. The Mountain Wing is constructed in five different sections which increases the safety of guests in the event of a fire and each pod is a separate fire cell. This layout is only applicable in the third section of the new building. As you will appreciate we take guest safety extremely seriously.
In response to your comment regarding a delay on elevators, this has not been an issue due to the limited number of rooms that each elevator services in the separate sections of the Mountain WIng.
Hilton Lake Taupo is located a short distance from the town centre in between Mt Tauhara and Lake Taupo in an elevated position offering higher level views of the Great Lake and distant Tongariro National Park.
Again, I am terribly sorry that we fell short of your expectations and trust my response above has reassured you that the design of the new building is with guests safety in mind.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.