When we first arrived and were greeted by Rick, one of the people that run the hostel, the place seemed nice and the owners seemed friendly, if a little eccentric. We were assured that work would be starting in the next week and were warned that it would be a little off and on to begin with. This was explained with an example of working 15 days in a row and then having 3 days with no work. We soon found out this was an extreme exaggeration.
We waited about 3 weeks before we got any work. In the first 2 weeks of this kiwi picking job we had 3 days work. That is all! I finally got a job that was guaranteed 5 days a week while my partner waited for work.
For the first few weeks we thought the owners were really nice, and even defended their quirks to other travelers who didn't like them. In the last 4 or 5 weeks of our stay we found that they have severe mood swings and Rick can get very shoutey and aggressive. They don't seem to like people and and definitely hate fun. On the few occasions that people have been up drinking, they have come down before 10pm and started shouting straight away, clearly not the best way to talk to people. They do not ask you nicely to keep the noise down, instead start shouting and swearing and threatening to call the police.
On our last night Rick actually took a beer out of a mans hand and smashed it on the ground, then called the police stating there were '18-20 teenagers threatening his life'.
Clearly we were all adults and not teenagers, and just having a drink, not being violent.
This was not the only incident that happened whilst staying here but we had to leave early the next morning as we couldn't stand Ricks anger and aggression any longer.
We stayed in a tent the whole 9 weeks we were there and only had minor problems with noise. There were a couple of occasions where I had to get up and ask people to be quiet but as soon as I asked, they would go inside so I rarely had any problems sleeping.
The cleanliness of the hostel was poor. The kitchen was always dirty. They had one backpacker to clean the kitchen and he didn't appear to have been given any cleaning equipment as he would just wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth, no cleaning fluid.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sheree & Rick, welcome you to Bell Lodge, a purpose built motel and backpackers. Situated in a quiet area 4km from the city. You have the choice of motel units, double or twin en-suite rooms or dorm rooms for 4-8 persons with free car parking. All units and rooms open onto covered decks. We can help you organize local activities such as dolphin swimming, surf lessons, sky diving and more. Come and join us at Bell Lodge in the sunny Bay of Plenty. ... more less