We have stayed at the Redwood Hotel on a number of occasions over the last few years, as it is located handy to where family live that we travel to Christchurch to visit. We have always been OK with it, as it is budget priced, and has smorgesbord dinner available, which we have always found to be good.
However on our last visit, thing seem to have changed alot, one would presume there has been a change in ownership or management, or something.
When we arrived late afternoon about 5.30pm, we checked in and asked to book a table for dinner for about 6.30 or 7.00pm. The receptionist said she couldn't do that (always had in the past), and we had to go to the restaurant desk and book there. Well there was a queue of about 25 people, so I joined that and waited a considerable time before being attended to. I was told that they now only have 2 dinning times. One was at 5.30, which was the crowd that I got caught up in, or else at 8pm. This is far later than we are happy dinning but as it was too late for 5.30, decided it would have to do. Then the restaurant reception said we couldn't do that time slot as she thought they were full. I explained that we were house guests, and she would still not commit to wether we could get a table or not, and said to come back at 8 to see if she could fit us in. Well, if we waited till 8pm and we couldn't get a table, it was then tooo late to make alternative arrangements, so it was a bit of a situation. But one of the reasons we chose to stay at the Redwood, was so we could relax with a couple of drinks and not have to get in the car to go somewhere for dinner. So we chanced it, and did get a table, in fact therer were at least ten tables not in use , so I do not see why she thought they were fully booked. Then, due to the fact that everyone had seated at once, the waiting staff was under huge pressure to get drinks service to everyone at once, and we ended up having to get up and go to the bar and get our own bottle of wine. Then once again, as everyone seated together, all the entree product started running out at the same time, and if you were not one of the first up there, your selection was somewhat limited. On previous visits, dining times were staggered, and this meant the bain-marie dishes were always kept topped up, but this night was disastrous, particularly if like us, you sat back and waited for drinks service before eating. With it being so late, we found we did not have the same appetite, and didn't even go to the dessert section.
The next morning, we wandered down to the dining room to have breakfast, but were told we could not have any, because we had not ordered it the night before. We had never previously had to "order breakfast" the night before, and apparently the receptionist was supposed to ask us wether we wanted breakfast when we checked in, but she did not. I find it ludicrous to have to order exactly what you want the next morning, because sometimes I wake up feeling like just having coffee and toast, and sometimes I might want a full cooked breakfast, and this cannot be judged the night before. So, due to a staff letdown, we had not ordered, so i asked if we could go into the dinning room and have something anyway, and we were told absolutely not. Now I have been involved in the hotel and restaurant industry for over 30 years, and just cannot believe that they would turn away two breakfasts, when there were staff on in the kitchen, and other people dining. So faced with a refusal of having breakfast, we asked the receptionist where else nearby we might be able to get breakfast, and was advised that there was a plca about 3kms up the road. So we got in the car, and when we finally found it .. ,6kms up the road !!!.... it was not open. By this time we were getting annoyed, and so knowing there was nothing further North, we headed all the way back past the Redwood hotel and finally found a hotel in Papanui called the Elms, where we were welcomed with great NZ hospitality, and had an awesome breakfast.
So when it came to "ordering" our breakfast the night before, we looked at each other, and said " heck no, lets go back to the Elms again." And we were recognised as return customers, and as we paid on the second day, we were asked about our situation, as they do not usually cater to many "walk-ins".When we told them how we had been treated (or not as the case may be ) they asked what we were paying per night, and we were then offered a room at the Elms next time we were down in Chch, for $20 less
than the Redwood, and the Elms is so much nicer,
I have no idea what thought processes went through the mind of the person who implemented the new dining policies at the Redwood Hotel, but they were certainly not customer driven, but fortunatley for them, that shouldn't be a problem, because we will not be back, and so soon they may not have any customers to worry about.
On the positive side, we have always found our rooms to be clean, so no problem there. The room decor is well and truly mid last century, but always presented OK.
The other thing probably worth mentioning is we have a couple of times been disturbed in the early hours of the morning, with noise and sounds of fighting in the carpark area, which we believe is overflow from the quite rough public bar attached to the complex.
Also, on checking out, I was flabbergasted to find that all quoted prices, ie room and dinner, were not inclusive of GST, which I thought was actually illegal in NZ now.