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“Classy place” 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
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Classy place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

We chose the hotel for a very special new year celebration and we were not let down. The property is the best in town, and the staff, especially Richard, the general manager, went out of their way to make our stay memorable. Thank you.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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, January 2, 2013
Dear NY008

Thank you for your kind response. You definitely took the excellent weather we had over the Christmas period with you. Yesterday saw the Hari Hari bridge linking Franz Josef to Greymouth being washed away :-O Thank you as well for the personal mention, much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bungeroth
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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347 reviews from our community

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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 (65)
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Melbourne
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012 via mobile

The place is lovely and could be a 5 rating if the execution had been what it promised it would be. We travel a lot and were disappointed by a number of aspects of our stay. Attention to detail was lacking which was such a shame given the very high cost.

Staff were excellent - extremely attentive and doing their best to make it memorable. There were too many staff in the restaurant which meant we they often doubled up on things (eg twice bringing water or coffee) and sometimes forgot about us. Some form of section control might have helped. Alvin stood out as a fantastic waiter and made us a delicious cocktail in the bar downstairs.

Good and bad points to note:

- when we arrived at our room there were complimentary canapés and bubbles. This could be great, but the canapés were stale and the ice bucket was full of warm water. If you're going to go to this effort, make them fresh when we arrive.
- the bathroom floor was heated which was lovely.
- the milk was off on our first breakfast, which I didn't notice until I was half way though my tea and thought it tasted funny and checked the milk and "ooh!"... nasty surprise.
- the Internet is free but limited to one password per device every two hours. I use the Internet a lot and this was very painful. I had to get (literally) ten passwords from reception during our two night stay.
- the minibar had some half full bottles in it when we arrived, so I had to call reception to let them know we hadn't drunk them which was annoying.
- the steak was requested as rare for the 'tasting menu' included in our rate, but arrived very well done. It was small too. After 5 courses we were both still a little hungry. The execution of the meal was poor: masquerading as a top class restaurant is a dangerous thing to do given the clientele that the price this place charges will naturally draw.
- there was plastic wrap on the plate under my wife's carpaccio. We didn't mention it but it was extremely disappointing to see this happen.
- the bed was very comfortable and complimentary water provided to guests each night.
- Gwen, the concierge, was awesome and extremely helpful throughout.
- the kitchen made me fresh poached eggs each morning which were perfectly cooked.

All in all, not a memorable stay but it could have been great. Better processes and more attention to little details would help. I did not complain at the time as we were trying to have a nice break (and try to stay positive about things) but in retrospect this was a case of an unfortunate series of missed opportunities to delight us on our stay that combine to paint a pretty average picture. It was a shame as we have seen such great reviews on this site (which was why we boomed it). We were probably just unlucky. I hope this is noted and that some simple changes are made that will reduce the likelihood of repeat performances for other guests.

Thanks to the staff though who tried hard to please.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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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, December 30, 2012
Dear Timginger,

Apologies for dropping the ball on basics as well as some finer points of service that ultimately lead to you leaving Te Waonui Forest Retreat with a bad taste in your mouth. Whilst it's a bitter pill for us to swallow, I am pleased to say that we have addressed all areas of concern. You will be especially pleased to read that with immediate effect and to prevent perishability, all our welcome canapes are now tastefully wrapped in cellophane packaging.

Thank you once again for your comment as it is only through feedback like this that we can improve as a Hotel.

Yours in hospitality,

Richard Bungeroth
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

The room was a comfortable standard room, nothing special or luxurious. It was adequate for 2 nights. The big problem was the restaurant! Dinner and breakfast were included in the rate. At check in I was hassled by the receptionist as to what time we would eat, it was a big issue there. Dinner took over 2 hours for 5 courses and was so NOT worth the wait. Pretentious portion sizes of not good quality food. The chef obviously thinks they are much better then they are. Although we had paid for dinner the 2nd night we couldn't bear to sit through that again so ate in the town instead. Breakfast one morning was a cold buffet with an a la carte menu and then the next morning a hot and cold Buffett. It made no sense why it was different on the 2 days. Fruit selection was poor, they didn't even have bananas and no berries at all. Not worth the money and the restaurant needs an overhaul!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, December 30, 2012
Dear Firefly51,

Thank you for your valued comment. All Te Waonui Forest Retreat guests when making a restaurant booking in our Canopy Restaurant are advised that dinner will take at least one and a half hours to enjoy 5 courses. Had you mentioned your time constraint for dinner at any time during the course of your stay we would have been more than happy to assist with this request.

Yours sincerely

Richard Bungeroth
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Julian's, Malta
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

Stayed in this hotel only becuase booked by agent but what a wonderful experience. Rooms well appointed, great facilities and staff are also worth a mention as they are top notch as to be expected since the Manager Richard sets the standard. Restaurant is also an amazing experience well worth a visit. You will not be sorry.
Carol ZTMV - Malta

Room Tip: We got two adjoining rooms for five adults - really spacious and comfortable. Speak to the staff th...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
colwyn bay
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

On arrival we were met by a happy, welcoming porter.At the desk we were given hot towels and a delicious cold drink,great after a long trip.In the room we had a bottle of fizz and canapes.The room was wonderful,with a balcony overlooking a forest of fern trees.The bed was so big and soft that I didn't want to get out of it.Bathroom products were lovely,real treats.Food was very good although I struggled with 5 courses and the dining room felt a bit antiseptic,perhaps some soft music would help .
All the staff were lovely and made our stay memorable ,a real little gem of a place.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

Have taken groups here twice now and both times I have been totally impressed by the welcome given by staff. From the greeting by the Duty Manager, the efficient porters, the refreshing drinks offered on arrival and the detailed explanation of the Hotel surrounds all great. Rooms are luxurious as is the location. The hot pools, the bush, the mountains - lovely. Excellent breakfast and great attentive staff. Did not try degustation menu however the a la carte at the Scenic is good and I had guests pleased with everything there. Many thanks to the people of Te Waonui for making our stay memorable.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 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.
Wanganui
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

When travelling with a group of experienced globetrotters (41!) I know it will be virtually impossible to please every one of them. The staff of Te Waonui treated my group royally, and in so doing, managed to not only give everyone a pleasant experience, but the best experience in all our stays in NZ and Australia.

The Quality of the rooms was exceptional, and our Chef's Choice menu was lovingly cooked and presented. The wine advice proved to be spot on, so for my group; a 5star experience and rating.

Congratulations to all staff and management. Recommended.

Albert Sword: Program Leader
Odyssey Travel / Road Scholar

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 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.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
Dear Albert

Thank you once again for your feedback.It was great to welcome you and your discerning Canadian guests to Te Waonui Forest Retreat. I look forward to welcoming you back to Te Waonui in future. It was a pleasure dealing with you.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Bungeroth
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
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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