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“History Lives” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Duke of Marlborough Hotel

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Duke of Marlborough Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   35 The Strand, Russell 0255, New Zealand   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 9 Hotels in Russell
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“History Lives”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

This hotel holds New Zealand liquor license #1! The hotel itself offers excellent accommodations and the restaurant has the best fish and chips! MUST TRY!!!

HINT: If you are offered a small room, believe me -- it is small! Barely room to swing a cat, but worthwhile to spend time in a great location. Hotel could not be more centrally located, beautiful views and great sunsets from the porch.

Not cheap, but a great way to spend time in the Bay of Islands.

Room Tip: Don't take a small room.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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591 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    394
    156
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (261)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2013

A wonderful experience from beginning to end! Utterly stunning waterfront room, excellent service, great location. All the staff were friendly and helpful. It was pretty special waking up to the sound of gentle waves lapping on the beach. We loved our stay and will be back!

Room Tip: Waterfront room is worth every single cent.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

Spent the weekend at Russell staying in the Duke, awesome friendly staff, the rooms looked great, food was great, highly recommend the Duke. Loved waking up in the mornings and looking over the water eating breakfast.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Gloucs
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

We stayed at the Duke for two days in a seafront room.
The hotel is superbly situated with wonderful views over the Bay of Islands and after its recent refurbishment is exceptionally appointed in that wood and leather style that looks so good in old buildings.
The food and service were superb and breakfast on the terrace by the Bay was magical.
Our only slight complaint was that the sea front room was on the sunny side all day and got very hot. Air conditioning is really a must especially for us Europeans

Room Tip: Ask for a room out of the afternoon sun
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ouyen, Australia
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Fantastic location, great ambiance, good menu, good food, excellent beer and fabulous service. Loved their version of the famous New Zealand green mussel - rank it in top two for Paihia - up there with world best.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Palmerston North, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

We called into the Duke on New Year's Eve for lunch out on the patio, overlooking the wonderful Bay of Islands. We didn't have bookings but managed to get the last available table. Service was fast and excellent, as was the Thai Beef salad we each had. Drinks were brought quickly. Despite this being a very busy time nobody rushed us and we were able to while away a very pleasant two hours. There was live music which was pleasant and not intrusive. Prices were lower than we expected and, all up with drinks included, we spent less than $50 for two.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

The Duke of Marlborough is the only hotel in Russell. Which is odd as Russell is a small, stylish and very pleasant place to holiday. There are apartments and a few motels of course, and some may be better.

As a Kiwi living overseas, I'm saddened to say the Duke disappoints. New Zealanders who've travelled know hotels in their home country too often leave something to be desired. Lots of apparent confidence. Little true competence. And so it is with the Duke. It's hard to put a finger on precisely what's wrong. The staff are helpful and smile a lot. The place itself needs some TLC.

The food is OK, if suffering from the perennial Kiwi problem of refusing to keep things simple - lamb with a bed of beetroot dressing? Ahhhhh!! And no one asks how you want it cooked. Inevitably, given Kiwi desires to appear 'sophisticated', it arrives far too rare - too rare certainly for the person who ordered it. Of course he could have interrupted the waiter and said he wanted it medium, risking know-all contempt, but one shouldn't have to do this. If the chef can't handle cooking lamb as the customer requires it, he or she should try some other career.

The room? Pricey. Really superb view over the bay. Nice little deck but with no shade umbrella. And no air con. 'There's a really good breeze if you open the widows,' offered the receptionist. Sadly, being above the busy outdoor terrace bar, that wasn't a great option until around midnight.

By far the biggest whinge was the 'entertainment'. Tthe hotel actually pay people to play guitars outside all ruddy day. Fortunately that ends at 8pm. One of these was, without any exaggeration, the worst guitarist and singer we have ever experienced. Ever. Anywhere. And that includes hopeless drunks in pubs in Ireland. Considered offering him $100 to bugger off...

Russell? Charming, unstressed, beautiful location, nice people. Try big game fishing or just cruising in one of the world's most beautiful natural harbours. Zane Grey made it his home in the roaring '20s. Lots of boat trips out and around the islands. Swim with dolphins if you want. There's history too. You can still see the holes the musket balls made in the church when, in 1846, there was a littler trouble between local Maori and the incoming settlers. Once a whaling station, entirely without law and known as the hell hole of the Pacific, Russell boasted lots of brothels and grog shops. Johnny Johnson's Grog House was one. Now it's called the Duke of Marlborough...

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Duke of Marlborough Hotel

Address: 35 The Strand, Russell 0255, New Zealand
Phone Number:
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Bay of Islands > Russell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Russell
#1 Family Hotel in Russell
#2 Romantic Hotel in Russell
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Duke of Marlborough Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Duke of Marlborough has been Refreshing Rascals and Reprobates since 1827 and holds New Zealand’s first liquor license. The Duke, as it is affectionately known is located on the waterfront in the picturesque village of Russell in the stunning Bay of Islands and is a great place to recharge the batteries, catch up with friends or simply enjoy the moment. With easy access to an exciting array of activities or sipping a glass of wine on our balcony there is plenty to see or do. There are three levels of accommodation our newly refurbished waterfront rooms with views across the water to Waitangi Treaty grounds and Paihia, bigger family rooms when you need extra space or our convenient standard rooms. All rooms have their own en-suites, Sky TV, wifi accessibility and tea and coffee making facilities. Complimentary continental breakfast is served to guests in the morning. With an award winning chef and restaurant manager the restaurant at The Duke focuses on a menu packed with fresh seasonal Northland produce. The bar has an extensive list of New Zealand wines and beers – something for everyone to enjoy while watching the sunset. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Duke Of Marlborough Russell
Duke Of Marlborough Hotel Russell, New Zealand - Bay Of Islands

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