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“A Home Away from Home” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Fountain Lodge Motel

Fountain Lodge Motel
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Fountain Lodge Motel
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17 Tarewa Road, Whangarei 0, New Zealand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #25 of 34 Hotels in Whangarei
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A Home Away from Home”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2009

My husband and I stayed at the Fountain Lodge Motel on two occasions during 08-09. Each time we had an awesome stay the managers are two of the nicest people we have met. Very helpful in terms of finding what we needed in the area, knowledgeable on local information, could not do enough to help us. The motel is charming and a great location to the travel to the north of the island and easy access to town. The rooms have a good view, cleaned daily and helpful staff. The pool was great too cool off in on the hot sunny NZ days, bbq also handy. Local bus station a 10 min walk. we would recommend the Fountain Lodge to others and will hopeful return one day soon. The experience and comments made by the "boatie and family" must have their motels mixed up or else they were experiencing a bad day.. Oh and the internet was excellent good value for money most other motels charge for internet access no limit on time used!!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WhangareiJoey, Manager at Fountain Lodge Motel, responded to this review, March 23, 2010
Your comments are very kind and much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive review of your stay at Fountain Lodge Motel. Hope to see you again soon.
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19 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Sailing around the world
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2009

Reserved one of the "refurbished rooms" online for an extended stay in Whangarei. The price seemed right (NZ$130/night) with free WiFi. The first unpleasant surprise came when after submitting the reservation I was immediately charged for the entire stay (10 days), something that I have previously seen only for all-inclusive resorts.

To be fair, Webster defines "refurbishment" as "painting and/or freshening up". I will be very clear that there was no misrepresentation on the motel's web site in a strictly technical sense: the room was, indeed, recently painted. Unfortunately, that was the extent of the refurbishment. Other than paint, there was nothing "fresh" about the room: the carpets were badly stained and stunk, walls were paper thin, the beds too soft, arm chair upholstery soiled and torn, furniture old, rusty and in bad shape, shower barely a trickle... The hotel is located on a noisy thoroughfare, and with unshaded western exposure was unbearably hot in the afternoon. Internet was "temporary out". Finally, reaching for some extra pillows in the closet I pulled out a packing from cheap makeup and an unfinished package of condoms.

When we tried to leave the room the door lock got jammed. While I spent the next 20 minutes trying to open the door, my wife called the reception several times, the last time letting the phone ring for 10 minutes. No answer. After I finally managed to get the door open we went to the office to find the owner there. Asked why she did not pick up the phone, she explained that "she was busy talking to clients who were checking in" (!!??!!)

I would hate to imagine what the situation would be like in case we were faced with a life-threatening emergency, unable to leave the room or reach the reception for help.

We informed the owner that we are dissatisfied with our room and are going to check out. She offered to refund our money, apart from a one day's rental (NZ$130). We decided that it was not worth the unpleasantness of an argument to demand a full refund, as the general tone of discourse up to that point was non-confrontational, and we did spend about an hour in the room and all took showers.

Returning with our suitcases and keys a few minutes later, we found the owner was joined by her husband. He did not introduce himself, but skulked behind his wife, visibly irritated, while she was attending to us. She proceeded to inform us that we were the only ones to ever complain from their hundreds of satisfied customers. I still refused to take offense, explaining to her that as we were planning to stay for several weeks we were really looking for something a bit more homey (we came to Whangarei to work on an extensive refit of our sailboat before sailing it to Fiji) and based on the "refurbishment" claim expected something a bit newer and in a better condition.

At this point I was interrupted by her husband, who deemed it necessary to enter the conversation. He cut me off by asking me why we keep going on, since we are getting our money returned. And still, my wife and I took no offense and did not parry that they were, indeed, keeping NZ$130 of our money. Instead, I meekly said that we thought that they might be interested in hearing why we decided not to stay. The man raised his voice and told me the following: "We are not interested in listening to you because you are the only ones dissatisfied, while hundreds others were consistently satisfied"

We spent the following day checking out the majority of motels in Whangarei area to realize that Fountain Lodge is pretty much the shabbiest one of the lot. Not sure what the hundreds of "satisfied clients" were happy about, but judging by the owners' propensity to ignore negative feedback, I suspect that for the "hundreds" of satisfied clients there were thousands of those who were not. Definitely a motel best avoided.

As for the refund, it still remains to be seen whether we will actually receive it. During the checkout we were informed that it would take several days because they are limited as to how much they can refund each day.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WhangareiJoey, Owner/Manager at Fountain Lodge Motel, responded to this review, April 2, 2009
The guests’ complaints were orchestrated when they changed their plans and wanted a full refund. We are happy to accept valid feedback, but did not feel the complaints were at all justified, but gladly gave them a refund, which they received as promised.
This guests’ room description is not of this motel, as this motel has solid concrete walls, new kitchens, stoves, fridges, furniture, new queen beds, new lights, paint, and a good hot water shower system. The carpets are regularly steam cleaned and guests frequently extend their stay and compliment us on the rooms.
Your inspection is always welcome.
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Additional Information about Fountain Lodge Motel

Address: 17 Tarewa Road, Whangarei 0, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Whangarei
Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 34 Hotels in Whangarei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Short walk to downtown Whangarei and beautiful harbour marina. Jogging track and gym/squash courts nearby. Great place to call home while exploring the fabulous Northland. ... more   less 

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