We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Tired decor, bad food, churlish service” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Best prices for -
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 10 more sites!
Save
You added Chateau Tongariro Hotel to your Saves list
Chateau Tongariro Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   State Highway 48, Whakapapa, Tongariro National Park 3951, New Zealand (Formerly Bayview Chateau Tongariro)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Whakapapa
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Tired decor, bad food, churlish service”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2011

Sadly for travellers, this hotel trades on its stunning location and past reputation as one of the great iconic hotels of New Zealand (all the rest have been demolished).

We booked late but were assured that rooms were available albeit at some expense. Travelling down from Auckland on the Overlander train (another piece of tired infrastructure) we were picked up promptly by the hotel's mini-bus; all augured well. Unfortunately, at reception we were told that our rooms wouldn't be available for another hour and a half notwithstanding the fact that the check in procedures were slow and slightly chaotic.

In the interim, we enquired as to where we might have lunch and were directed to the hotel's Pihanga Cafe, a soulless couple of over-bright rooms at the side of the hotel furnished with battered Ikea-type tables and chairs. Service was unexceptional but the food, from the hotel's main kitchen, was revolting and overpriced. A palid curry was composed of the toughest meat I've ever tried to bite through, swimming in a luke warm sauce that may, at some stage in its past, have seen a cumin seed. It was accompanied by a couple of wedges of half-defrosted naan, an artfully contrived cone of soggy papadum and a chutney that looked as if it was composed largely of chemical gell spiced up with a couple of raisins. And it wasn't cheap.

The hotel's main dining room, the Ruapehu room, is the sort of institutionalised eating space you can only have nightmares about. The menu seems to have been composed by a City & Guilds graduate from the mid 1970s and was again most notable for the price. We didn't eat there, choosing to go to the hotel's detached Tussock bar which, while serving pretty basic fare, had the saving benefit of relative cheapness, although we had to endure a compilation of loud videos of 1980s pop bands.

The hotel lounge is vast, has wonderful views and, at first impression, quite grand. But then you notice that the decoration is thick with bad overpainting; that the furniture is either battered and stained or replaced with cheap imitations; that the palms are fake and there are strange half-walls in places . The bar staff while, on the whole friendly, are poorly trained and, given the nature of many of their customers (coach loads of package tour tourists from the UK, Germany and Japan), understandably a little disconnected.

The rooms, when we were finally able to access them, were, as other reviewers have noted, clean but tired. The bed was reasonably comfortable but the mattress underlay was long past its use-by date. The overall impression was as if you'd stumbled into a late 1980s hotel with tacky pictures and lots of synthetic upholstery everywhere. Windows were double-glazed and I was looking forward to a long, restful sleep, breathing in clean mountain air, uninterrupted by the sound of internal combustion engines; you know, the reason why you book into a good hotel in the middle of absolute nowhere. Sadly it was not to be: I'd been parked over a generator and that, combined with a particularly noisy mini-bar fridge, kept me awake all night. I suppose I could have watched the television but the screen was too small to see clearly from the bed and, frankly, the quality of the programmes left a lot to be desired. It is perhaps just as well that on the second night's stay we were exhausted by our walk over the spectacular if popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

This is one of those hotels that you wish would fall into the hands of a company that cared about it. Its public rooms need to be looked at by heritage architects and the bedrooms need a total makeover by someone other than a commercial firm; it's somewhat telling that there was a display board in the lobby with fabric samples, etc, referring to proposed renovations. The food needs bringing into the 21st century and the prices need reviewing because they don't reflect the value of what is currently served. The staff need motivating (better accommodation might help, just look to where they're currently housed across the main road), new uniforms (currently 1980s 'mafia' look polyester) and better training. It's all very well being able to contain costs but penny pinching feels mean and nasty in what is one of the most spectacularly located hotels in the world. It's a hidden gem, but, sadly, not in the best sense of the phrase.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChateauMgr, Manager at Chateau Tongariro Hotel, responded to this review, February 23, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to post a review. You have raised numerious discussion points and I would be happy to discuss any with you directly. Please feel free to contact me by email on hotelmanager@chateau.co.nz or telephone 0800 CHATEAU (242832)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

673 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    222
    223
    141
    61
    26
See reviews for
107
417
21
11
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (166)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
London
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2011

We stayed in the hotel for 2 nights in January we went for the views and were not expecting a great hotel experience. We paid for a superia room and were appalled to be shown to an attic room at the back of the hotel. The room itself was dingy and the narrow twin beds were like something from the princess and the pea so that when you turned over in the night you were in fear of falling out of bed.
We had specifically reserved a room with a view over the magnicificant sceanery but were told that as we were the last of the people to check into one of only 3 superior rooms there was no alternative accommodation. We had been lead to believe by our travel agent that the superior rooms had the best view.
All of the above was disappointing but it was the attitude of the staff that made the stay so appalling they were dismissive and unhelpful. After considerable pressure they did move us to a suite on the second night but this was tired and the bathroom was dirty. It did at lease have the views that we had been hoping for.
The one redeeming feature was the food in the restaurant at dinner which, although a little on the pricey side, was very nice.
Go for the views but arrive mid afternoon to ensure a good room and don’t stay more than one night!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2011

We stayed at the Chateau Tongariro for one night while on our honeymoon. We booked the Celebration Package, which I recommend even if you don't have an occasion to celebrate. Upon our arrival, we were upgraded to an Executive Spa Suite in the Tongariro (new) wing. The package included sparkling wine and chocolate, which were ready in our room. The room itself was large, with a separate seating area (with gas fireplace) and a large spa tub. The pictures on the hotel's website could have been taken of exactly the room we stayed in.

The package also included a three-course dinner in the restaurant (alcohol not included) and an extensive buffet breakfast. The dinner was very good, though not spectacular, and breakfast was great - everything we could've asked for. Also great was our included late checkout, as we had originally planned a hike for the morning but decided not to go because of the rain. In fact, that was the only downside to our stay - it rained the entire 18 hours we were there and the cloud cover was so low that we couldn't see more than 100 yards.

Overall, I highly recommend the Chateau Tongariro as an oasis of old world luxury in the middle of the scenic national park.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2011

We stayed here two nights. The staff is polite but not helpful.

There is (as one can expect) an extra charge for room service, but the plates and glasses came without a table - pick-nick on the bed. Staff could/would not help out.

We stayed in the newly renovated wing. We had a clean room with a complete bathroom. It was OK for the price. Internet here is to be payed by volume, at ridiculous rates.

This hotel, since early 1900's on this location, is so nicely located in this charming national park. When hiking the Tongariro NP, you will end up here. The hotel has lived long on this mechanism, but has now announced major renovations by the end of 2011.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
falkenberg
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2011

We where lost of hot water of the hole leisure ( 12 days ). We complained 3 times without any changes. Whenn we orded drives they where charging us 250 Rupis, fare to mutch, dont do this. Before taking the room check if they is any hot water otherwise change rooms. We payed half the price of the room it was not wearth more then that.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Cleartrip

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BayviewHotels, Public Relations Manager at Chateau Tongariro Hotel, responded to this review, January 19, 2011
Thank you for taking the time to post a review. We believe that this review may be for another property as the Bayview Chateau Tongariro has not experienced any water issues at all. If you are able to email to me your details, we can certainly investigate your complaint - marketing.nz@bayviewhotels.com.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Top Contributor
158 reviews 158 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 66 cities Reviews in 66 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2011

With the 2 biggest volcanoes on north island either side of you, this place is hard to beat for amazing views. Some might say such a large hotel jars with the beauty of the countryside, but personally I loved the fact that after 6 hours hiking I could soak my weary feet in the tub then relax on a hugely comfortable bed. Follow that up with an excellent dinner and great wine and things just don't get much better.

Apart from seeing the sun rise over Ruapehu, awesome!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

The Chateau is a New Zealand institution. Its location is incredible, at the foot of a large volcano with great views over 2 others. The 'grand dame' style decor is quite unique in NZ if slightly over the top at times (how many patterns and colours can you fit in a restaurant room??? don't try to count!). The bedrooms in the older wing are very tired but the place works well because of its helpful staff. The hotel is (as are all around it) a great starting spot to the amazing Tongariro Alpine Crossing walk or the ski resorts in the Southern winter. On the communications front be warned that internet access in the hotel is ridiculously expensive and you'll be better served by getting a wifi voucher from Fergusson's Cafe or Tussocks pub next door.
Eating in Whakapapa village is disappointing and the Chateau is no exception. Its restaurant (Ruapehu room) appears to be stuck in time when it comes to food. They served the worst mushroom ravioli I've ever had (no mushroom taste in sight), the food is ok if generic but bad value. My most negative comment is that in no way does its menu reflect New Zealand, you might as well be in a good business hotel by an airport in Europe. They also need to look at their offering at the Fergusson cafe next door (which they own). "Muesli with fruit and yoghurt" for breakfast is literally a box of cereal, a plastic container with fruit in syrup and gelatine ridden yoghurt pot. This is NZ - the land of the great café food, it seems this too is stuck in time! Bayview - who owns the Chateau - has this wonderful spot in its hands but it really needs to think harder about the food. Their pub Tussocks is probably the only place I'd say is half decent – it serves burgers and (slightly odd) pizzas.
In summary this is not a bad hotel at all, the location and staff really make it a good place but be warned that the food is really disappointing, and there is nowhere else to go (well the food at the Skotel next door is better value (if simpler) to be fair.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Price Your Stay

Been to Chateau Tongariro Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Address: State Highway 48, Whakapapa, Tongariro National Park 3951, New Zealand (Formerly Bayview Chateau Tongariro)
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Manawatu-Wanganui Region > Tongariro National Park > Whakapapa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Whakapapa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Chateau Tongariro Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 106
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Everything we do at the Chateau Tongariro Hotel we believe in providing you with a timeless elegance. We believe that preserving tradition and history is most important and as the hotel is located within a dual World Heritage National Park, conservation and culture are also at the forefront of your experience. Tongariro National Park provides a stunning natural playground bursting with diverse landscapes for visitors to the Chateau Tongariro to discover. Chateau Tongariro provides accommodation, restaurants, bars and conference facilities and is an all-seasons, utterly timeless experience not to be missed. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Priceline, Cheap Tickets, Agoda, Expedia, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Travelocity, Despegar.com, Odigeo and Tingo so you can book your Chateau Tongariro Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Bayview Chateau Tongariro Hotel Tongariro National Park
Bayview Chateau Tongariro National Park

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Chateau Tongariro Hotel, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.