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“Great location with a fabulous staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Te Waonui Forest Retreat

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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   3 Wallace Street, off State Highway 6, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7856, New Zealand   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great location with a fabulous staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012 via mobile

We got to Te Waonui afterca long drive from queenstown and were introduced to Gwen, the most friendliest concierge in the world. After getting a welcome beverage and a few appetizers. We enjoyed the hot pools next store. Gwen seems to know who what where and when. Dinner was wonderful as was breakfast

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
Dear Malevi1947

Thanks to your kind response Gwen was recognised at the highest level winning a Tripadvisor certificate of excellence at our recent Staff Awards. Thank you once again for this valued feedback and we look forward to welcoming you back to Te Waonui Forest Retreat in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Richard
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256 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    175
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Dunedin, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

We had an unfortunate welcome at Te Waonui being greeted by a staff member in training who had limited English and was clearly new to the concierge role. We were confused (as was she) and almost cancelled our booking on the spot. Not a 5 star welcome and the greeting did set the tone for our arrival. She was quickly backed up by the real concierge who was wonderful and gave us hope - the service from this point on was excellent. Just a tip to Scenic circle, you should probably not let inexperienced staff cut their teeth greeting guests on arrival at your 5 star retreat !

The rooms were nice although less impressive than most 5 star hotels we have stayed in around the world or in New Zealand - the location made up for it and the view out our window to the forest was beautiful. The food at the restaurant was exquisite and the service as expected for fine dining although the dining room atmosphere was noisy (tile floor under wooden chairs) and could be more intimate by utilising the sound system for background music more effectively. We would have liked the option of a faster and more casual breakfast so we could get out and explore the surrounds quicker in the morning and our main issue with breakfast was the terrible coffee - a barista would make a great addition to the team. The village provides plenty of casual dining experiences and we suggest guests enjoy the degustation menu or one in house evening meal and then explore the rest of the village for other meals. Certainly get your coffee elsewhere !!

The location really is what makes this retreat special with so many great outdoor attractions nearby and staff who can direct you to the best Franz Josef has to offer and help with bookings etc. Honestly we had a great trip but we did not feel Te Waonui is a 5 star retreat that is worth the cost even on their special Wot-If deal. Shop around - its the location that delivers here - there are many options for accommodation in Franz Josef. Highly recommend the hot springs, kayaking at Okarito lagoon to see the herons and the numerous bush walks around the village and up to the glacier. Spectacular environment.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
Dear WK P

Thank you for your response as it is only through feedback like this that we can continually improve as a Hotel. Disappointing to read that we got the basics wrong but we have learned from these mistakes and I am confident we will never have a similar problem like this in future!

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bungeroth
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Cromwell, New Zealand
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

Myself and partner stayed here on their degestation weekend package fro our birthday gift to each other. The hotel was great, new clean, tasteful, but what made out stay so enjoyable was the staff. I have told many of my friends since my stay to book!!!! It is so nice to get great customer service, in fact THE best customer service i have had in New Zealand ! Now that is a big call, as i have lived here for 25 years and do travel a lot around the country staying at various establishments. The food in the restaurant was great 5 stars to the chefs. You will be seeing a few of my friends trickling though our the next while i am sure!!! I really cannot speak highly enough of the overall package given by the team at te waonui. thanks for the great stay, a very memorable weekend of festivities!!

Room Tip: All rooms look out over native bush
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  • Stayed September 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ScenicHotels, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, October 14, 2012
I am delighted that you enjoyed yourselves whilst staying with us - we aim to make our guests feel at home.
I am so pleased you are spreading the "word" we love having you on our sales team! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, it was our pleasure looking after you.
Kindest regards
Kerryann
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Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
68 hotel reviews
Reviews in 90 cities Reviews in 90 cities
179 helpful votes 179 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

Nestling on the edge of the rainforest and within the trees, Te Waonui is a sympathetically designed wood-faced hotel nevertheless conveniently located for the rest of (admittedly tiny) Franz Joseph.

Rooms are well-designed and comfortable, with good selections of toiletries and mini-bar items. The view is out onto the thick rainforest within the courtyard (the hotel is a square design with forest still in the centre) - you can't see the rooms opposite. There's a spa with hot pools next door if you're into that sort of thing, but it costs extra to use this.

The restaurant food and service were good: we got a deal on the multi-course set menu one night which was excellent and adapted well to our children's gluten and dairy intolerances. Breakfast was buffet style with a wide choice and it was hard not to seriously overeat.

Generally we were pleasantly suprised by the level of service and sophistication of this place: after all FJ is a bit in the middle of nowhere and the previous night near Greymouth had offered nothing but fairly basic B&Bs. FJ itself is charming too and well worth two or three days to explore and enjoy the multitude of outdoor activities available.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ScenicHotels, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, September 20, 2012
We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and thank you so much for taking the time to let us know. We wish you happy travelling through the rest of New Zealand.
warm regards
Kerryann
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Perth, Australia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

Having previously stayed at Scenic Franz Josef and not being overly impressed at all I did not quite know what to expect from Te Waonui Forest Retreat. We arrived late in the afternoon on 3rd September 2012 having had a long drive from Arthurs Pass. We were greeted at the door by a wonderful gentleman by the name of Damien who showed us to the bar where we enjoyed hot towels and some light snacks and drinks. We were then shown to our beautiful room. In our room there were hand written cards welcoming us to the hotel. There was also a hand written card to my five year old son letting him know they had set up a DVD for him and if he wanted cookies and milk they would bring them up. Our dinner was beautifully prepared by chef Ian as was breakfast. He was a credit to the hotel and came and spoke to us at length and was very friendly. Our stay coincided with the hotel being open for the first night since the winter break and we were one of three guests in the hotel. During our dinner we had an unexpected fire alarm go off. The hotel were extremely apologetic that we had to evacuate, however for my five year old son to get to meet the Franz Josef Fire Brigade was the biggest thrill of his whole trip. Overall Damien, Ian and all the staff at Te Waonui Forest Retreat were excellent and I would recommend this hotel to anyone. Thank you

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ScenicHotels, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, September 19, 2012
Thank you for the great review.
We loved having you stay with us and it was the highlight of our day seeing Baileys face light up when he met the Fire Chief. It is guests like you that make our jobs a pleasure, thank you again for the lovely review I will pass it on to the team.
Warmest egards
Kerryann
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London
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

We weren't sure what to expect of the Te Waonui Forest Retreat - we only hoped for someplace half-decent to call our base for our explorations of Franz Josef and the Westland National Park region. We actually got much more than that, however - a retreat of a standard rivalling bigger name hotels in swish parts of the world. The rooms were not enormous but had a lot of rugged New Zealand style, with stone and wood featuring in the interior furnishings, and good toiletries, if that sort of thing appeals. The windows are large and look out onto undisturbed woodland, which was entirely appropriate and relaxing. The reception staff were exceedingly pleasant and kind. They were Indian, which may reflect the ownership of the hotel or some quirk in the NZ employment visa system, but whatever. We took our meals in the restaurant twice and found it very good, excellent in fact, although the service was a little harried and slow -- not sure if they were understaffed? The location was also very good - only a short walk to the centre of Franz Josef and all it offers - we recommend white water rafting, helicopter rides to the glacier and the kiwi centre. Overall an excellent choice in Franz Josef - they did very well by us.

Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ScenicHotels, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, September 6, 2012
Thankyou for your lovely comments - we appreciate you takign the time to review us. Regarding the Indian staff - Te Waounui works very closely with the Hospitality Training Schools in New Zealand so we offer all nationalities an opportunity to work in the Hotel. We have had excellent results in regards to our service and it offers students a practicle platform from which to start their journey into Hotel Management.
Again thankyou for your comments and we trust you enjoyed the rest of your stay in New Zealand.
Kind regards
Kerryann
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New Delhi, India
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2012

We stayed here for 2 nights and everything was just perfect. The rooms were very nice with a good view of greenery from balcony. The one advantage for Indians is that most of the staff at front desk are Indians. Also they offer you dinner vouchers at Indian restaurant located nearby. The best part is they also offer bicycles, on which you can ride all around franz joseph. Though i havent stayed in any other hotels over here, still i will say this must be the best hotel over here.

Room Tip: all rooms over here are similar.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
ScenicHotels, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, August 27, 2012
Thank you so much fro taking the time to write a review. We are delighted you enjoyed your stay at Te Waonui. We have a variety of international staff and hope to be able assist all nationalities, and it appears the team assisted you during your time in Franz Josef.
We look forward to welcomingy ou back..and trust that you enjoyed the rest of your time in New Zealand. Kind regards Kerryann and the Team at Te Waounui
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Additional Information about Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Address: 3 Wallace Street, off State Highway 6, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7856, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) > Franz Josef
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Franz Josef
#2 Luxury Hotel in Franz Josef
#3 Family Hotel in Franz Josef
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Te Waonui Forest Retreat 5*
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury Hotels in New Zealand don't get any better than this! Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star Qualmark rated retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury. Te Waonui Forest Retreat promises all its guests a truly unique and memorable experience. At one with nature, the five-star Qualmark rated Te Waonui Forest Retreat is the ultimate coming together of luxury escape and environmental awareness. Great care has been taken to ensure this exceptional forest retreat steps lightly upon the earth, from the organic cotton bedspreads to its recycled local building materials. Discerning travellers will appreciate the hotel’s attention to detail, which starts with attentive personal service upon arrival, and continues throughout all the hotel facilities and every aspect of your stay.As our guest you will enjoy exceptional quality and service, including: Luxuriously appointed guest rooms, generously proportioned and featuring the highest standard of room amenities, such as your personal pillow menu, natural wool mattress underlay, and high speed Internet access. Dining among the tres in ‘The Canopy’ restaurant, and savouring quality local cuisine, including an indulgent five-course degustation dinner. Innovative, environmentally sustainable architecture and building materials that create a healthy, warm and quiet haven for you to enjoy. Easy access to many excellent local attractions, including the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, just minutes away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel Franz Josef

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