Despite having travelled NZ several times I’d always given a wide berth to the Bella Vista chain. Officially rated between 4 & 4.5 star they appear to be everywhere but the austere nature of the buildings has always had me looking elsewhere. They just don’t have any kerb appeal at all and, with this in mind, we were a bit dubious about this one. The hot tub clinched the deal for the booking (love a hot tub!).
I don’t know if it would apply for the whole chain but the Fox Glacier Bella Vista was a bit of a surprise. Immaculately clean (sparkling!) and well equipped. The décor won’t thrill you (lots of grey and white) but will give you confidence that you are staying in a well-run establishment. It’s all modern, functional and gleaming. Apparently rated as a 4.5 star I really felt it was a 4 or, if we weren’t dealing with NZs spasmodic Qualmark ratings, a definite 3+ elsewhere (there are so many variances with the Qualmark ratings!).
It isn’t a luxurious hotel but is more than adequate to stay for a night or two. The proprietors of this one were absolute gems; a husband and wife team with smiling faces and great local knowledge. They will tell you what to see, when to see it and how to get there. They were really impressive.
As far as Fox Glacier goes it appeared to be one of the better establishments but, if we were going again, I’d probably stay in Franz Josef over Fox. Franz just appeared to have a lot more going on for the tourist and, with the exception of the glacier trek and one or two hikes, there isn’t much else to keep you occupied in Fox. Only one general store and hardly any dining options. If you want to self-cater then do your shopping before you get to Fox!
Whilst the hot tub clinched the booking we didn’t end up using it as you had to pay extra to access it which at first I thought was a bit steep but, ultimately, it would cost them considerably to keep a tub hot in such a cold climate. For the same price as an hour or two in the hotel hot tub you could actually pay for entry to the really awesome hot pools in Franz Josef so that’s what we did. It was a magical afternoon. We would really recommend that any visitors do this.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.