Reading reviews on Trip Advisor and checking out the Manata Lodge website was the reason I chose Manata Lodge to celebrate a special occasion. However, things have changed there.
There is a new Manager who lives off site. We were lucky that we just happened to phone ahead that we were running late and wouldn't be arriving until around 9.30pm. That was the first we were aware that there was no manager onsite. So no one there to welcome us or give us basic info on the place. Sarah, the new Manager, had told us how to find our room which was a lovely upstairs apartment, El Trusco. However when one has travelled many hours to reach their destination in stormy weather, to arrive to accommodation that was cold, was not very welcoming. Turning the heat pump up as high as it would go and like wise the heater in the bedroom, plus the oven and stove top (it was a very cold night) saw the chill eventually taken off the room.
There was no compendium giving information on the room nor any of the facilities, so by using the wrong remote order for the tv we were left with no tv service - only static. Had there been an information pack this would not have happened as it is always the first thing I read when arriving. There are no phones in the unit - the only way to contact the off site manager is to go down in to the 'lobby' and phone her, unless you are prepared to incur mobile phone charges by using your own mobile phone. But even that is confusing as the phone contact number by the phone is different to that posted up on a larger notice in the 'lobby'.
We woke the first morning to snow - a beautiful sight as the views from this apartment are beautiful. Sarah, the Manager, was going to come out to sort the tv - a 15min trip from her home that turned in to a 40minute trip due to snow and road conditions. There is NO SKY TV there now. Given that a previous reviewer mentioned they had it we expected there to be Sky. To be fair to Manata though, they do not state Sky tv is available on their website, just 'tv'. So our mistake in assuming Sky was available.Sarah did arrive and sorted the tv out.
When a facility advertises itself to be 'Luxury Serviced Apartments' I expect cleanliness to be impeccable. Mold in the grouting in the shower, a toaster that hadn't been cleaned of crumbs, probably for some time, marks that looked like food/dirt smudges on the lounge suite and a greasy oven dish and dirty oven, are not what I expect in 'Luxury' accommodation. Hence only an 'average' grade for cleaning.
Sarah had only recently taken over as Manager so perhaps there were things she was still getting to grips with. That there is no on site Manager needs to be clearly communicated for what you are really hiring is the equivalent of a holiday home - with those you usually get the directions to finding it, told how to access keys and there is no expectation of being greeted on arrival. All holidays homes (and usually 4 star motels) we have stayed in have local telephone books, (even if there is no phone provided), and information on how to use the various appliances in the room/suite. None of this was supplied at Manata either in the apartment or in the lobby. Of more concern, especially as it is an upstairs apartment, were the total absence of any smoke detectors in the apartment, though you could see where on the ceiling there had been one, and no notice of what to do in case of a fire. The door to the balcony had a broken lock so could not be locked.
Sarah came daily to service the apartment and was very friendly and helpful when onsite. The bed was one that you just wanted to 'snuggle down' in to it was so lovely to sleep in. The overall quality of the appliances and furniture was very good. If you are wanting a tranquil place to stay Manata certainly fits the bill. It is peaceful with no traffic noise, lovely garden setting etc. I believe you do need a car to stay there as it is 10-15mins drive (in good weather) from downtown Queenstown though the Frankton Shops are much closer. The free use of wireless internet and laundry facilities were a definite plus. But it was the little things that let Manata down and as such I can only score it 3 overall as there is definite room for improvement regards communication, cleanliness and health and safety issues.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.