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“Not worth it!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet

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Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet
1.5 of 5 Hotel   |   494 Mt. Aspiring Road | PO Box 115, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand   |  
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Ranked #5 of 19 Hotels in Wanaka
Fairfax, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Not worth it!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2014

The Whare Kea Lodge must be one of the most expensive in New Zealand. It is not worth it. Let's start with the good things. The setting is terrific. Great views of the lake. The public "living room" is spectacular. The food is very unique and a real treat.
But, the facility is poor at best. The rooms are very small especially given the price. Even more troubling they seemed to have really skimped on soundproofing. If you want to get to know your neighbors personal habits, this is the place. The terraces, if they can be called that, are only 3-4 feet wide and are all interconnected with no privacy screens. So, given that the wall facing the lake is all glass, as soon as your neighbor steps outside they are looking in your room. The layout of the facility is so poor that even the staff must pass by the window walls to get to other facilities. Bottom line, there is no privacy.
While the setting is wonderful there is no attempt to integrate it into the adjacent areas.
Finally, the staff is distant and disinterested. Probably the result of what appear to be overbearing owners. They say all the right things but offer no enthusiasm and you get the impression they would really rather be somewhere else.
Bottom line, come for dinner as the food is memorable, but avoid the stay. It is not worth it.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, April 3, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to review our property. Obviously it is very disappointing to receive a bad review and we truly value the opinions of our customers and we sincerely apologise that our staff or the Lodge did not meet your expectations.
Our number one priority is to ensure that our guests experience is the very best it can be balanced with providing uninterrupted views and accommodation in keeping with our environment.
As such your concerns are taken very seriously and I invite you to contact me directly to discuss further.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    37
    6
    1
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    1
See reviews for
5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

If you are considering Whare Kea Lodge you can choose to stay in the main Lodge (in master suites or deluxe rooms), or in separate accommodation at the Cottage. The property is in a stunning location on the shores of Wanaka Lake ringed by grazing farmland, with unrestricted views across the lake and direct shoreline walking access through a hung wire gate.
The tariff for the cottage is significantly less than that for the main lodge rooms but still includes canapés and excellent five course dinners by James Stapley, an exceptionally good breakfast and use of the lodge facilities. The cottage is about 40 metres or so from the main Lodge, has one main bedroom, a smaller room with two single beds, a living room, kitchen, bathroom and deck. The Cottage does not feel like it was purpose built as luxury accommodation but is very comfortable. The compromises are only minor and are far exceeded by the pleasure of the stay here. In a setting that admittedly already feels like a sanctuary, it offers added seclusion with the only "sacrifice" being the absence of a separate bath and shower.
The staff were attentive and helpful but the service remains unobtrusive and the atmosphere relaxed. We stayed two nights and would not hesitate to return or to recommend.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, March 25, 2014
So wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your time with us here at the Whare Kea Cottage.

We have only just recently brought the cottage online for guests, at an entry level for those wanting a little more space, or travelling with friends and family, yet still wanting to enjoy the luxuries of the main lodge – such as James’ cuisine and the main lounge areas. So this sounds like it worked perfectly for you – which is fantastic to hear.

Thank you for your review and for choosing to stay with us here at Whare Kea whilst you visited Wanaka. We look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.
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Verbier
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2014

Was very excited 5 star and Relais Château on the beautiful lake at Wanaka but we were quickly disappointed . Hardly any staff when we arrived just a young girl so no one to help with luggage
The room we were shown into was so hot sleeping would have been impossible I asked to see the manager but she could not be bothered to rock up for 2 hours,the assistant manager did appear and told us if we didn't like it go else where!
We were moved to a cooler room but it was for wheel chairs so we felt we were checked into a clinic,
Views are superb ,bed was comfortable but no privacy as people were constantly walking past
Food is beautifully presented and some dishes excellent but tiny portions and fixed tasting menu
They do have a ski lodge which I am sure would be amazing for 3 days with a guide.
We did go there 10 mins by helicopter picnic lunch wine extra for the bargain price of 1500$
When we came to leave there was a double laundry charge which seemed to be a problem to remove
All in all we felt uncomfortable for three days a miserable experience

Room Tip: Ask for a suite they are a bit larger try and not be forced to eat in
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, March 25, 2014
We are so sorry to hear that your stay with us did not meet your expectations. Please know that our team here at Whare Kea Lodge take great pride in delivering the best experience possible, and therefore your review is taken very seriously.

If any guest notifies us of any concerns, we will always strive to address these as soon as possible. If a guest remains unhappy, we then give them the option of changing rooms or choosing to stay elsewhere – as we want to ensure that they enjoy their time here in Wanaka. I am sorry to hear that this option was perceived as a negative response from us.

Our Chalet is located at 1750m on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park – so there are costs in flying here, with a host and gourmet picnic, from the front lawn of our lodge. These prices are outlined in our compendiums and on our website. Each evening our talented chefs prepare a five course degustation menu which to many is an absolute highlight of their stay with us. They take great attention to detail, and we always ask our guests for their preferences, likes and dislikes and there is always extra food available on request. I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy this style of dining.

Again, we are so sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your time with us, every day we strive to ensure our guests receive the highest level of service and have the best experience possible here in Lake Wanaka. We do hope that you enjoyed the rest of your time here in NZ.
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Westhampton, Massachusetts, Usa
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2014

On the eve of our departure from Whare Kea, I feel compelled to write and say that our time here was nothing short of delicious... in all ways. The lodge is beautiful. Simple, elegant, light-filled decor amplifies the astounding natural beauty outside its windows. The staff (Gill, Sarah, Anna) are welcoming and accommodating without being intrusive. Meals are a feast for the senses and palate. Both James and Matt created dishes with combinations of fresh, colorful and mouth watering ingredients. The rooms are lovely and the beds are incredibly comfortable. There are all manner of activities available nearby. I feel incredibly lucky to have stayed here and hope to return at some point in the future!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, March 20, 2014
Thank you so much for your wonderful review of your time with us here at Whare Kea. It is fantastic to hear that you enjoyed James and Matt’s cuisine, our lovely hosts and our gorgeous surrounds. Lake Wanaka has given us an incredible canvas to work with, and we love sharing this area with our guests. Thank you for choosing to stay with us and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon.
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Buckinghamshire
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

Being situated slightly out of town on a hillside overlooking the lake, Whare Kea probably occupies the best site in Wanaka. It is possible to walk down to the lake and along the shoreline to several small coves and into Wanaka.
We were welcomed by Gill, who throughout our stay proved herself to be an excellent hostess. Gill was friendly, informative and enthusiastic about the area and it's attractions whilst also making us feel like special guests. The room was well planned and well-equipped but lacked special touches but the communal lounge area more than compensated for this. Wifi was free but for part of our stay out of order.
However the reason why a stay at Whare Kea is a must is the food. Dinner is a 5 course set menu, although dishes can be modified to suit guests dietary preferences. (I suggest you email ahead). Seasonal vegetables feature prominently on the menu, many of which the chef grows in his own garden. On our last night we were the only guests and we requested a vegetarian / fish menu. What we were served was exceptionally good with each course showing the same care and attention as shown when feeding larger numbers.
As my other reviews show we have eaten in many top restaurants. James Stapley is right up there with the very best. If he ever decided to return to the UK and open a restaurant in London I am sure it would be a success.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, February 19, 2014
It is fantastic to hear that Gill was such an excellent hostess and that you enjoyed Chef James cuisine as much as we do - we are so fortunate to have such an incredible talent creating master pieces from our kitchen. We do welcome any guest dietary requirements and likes/dislikes in advance by email, as James enjoys preparing the perfect 5 course degustation for each guest. Wonderful to hear that you enjoyed our lakeside location, and the walk around the shoreline into Wanaka. We look forward to seeing you again one day.
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Zug, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2014

Out of the 5 or so luxury lodges we stayed at over a two and a half week trip covering both islands of NZ, Whare Kea represented the best experience. While it does not have the same brand recognition of the likes of Cape Kidnappers and Eagles Nest, in my opinion it delivered a better experience and far better value for money than those. The small number of guests and client-facing staff, the communal dining, the boutique conservation-driven touring company; everything contributed to the feeling of being genuinely taken care of. You forgot that ultimately this is a business, which cannot be said for the more 'famous' competitors mentioned above.

The room was bright, clean, with a stunning view. Service was spotless and the overall feeling of authenticity made our stay stand out from the rest.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, February 12, 2014
Thank you so much for your wonderful review of your time here in Wanaka. To hear that Whare Kea was your favourite experience throughout your luxury lodge tour of New Zealand, is simply fantastic. Our staff do truly enjoy sharing our wonderful region with our guests, and many of the local touring companies are owner-operated – ensuring that every experience is genuine. Thank you again for your review, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Whare Kea again one day soon.
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Melbourne, Australia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

We have travelled the world over many times, but nothing is comparable with Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet. The accommodation is extremely comfortable and the staff are outstanding, every thing we wanted was taken care of. Special mention of Jillian who made our stay perfect ,Craig who was there at all times to ensure our comfort, and James for the exquisite food. Sarah provided us with a Lamb dinner which can only be described as memorable. All staff were exceptional! .
We will return.
Ken & Jill Harrison

  • Stayed December 2013, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louise M, Owner at Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet, responded to this review, December 5, 2013
Dear Ken and Jill. It is so wonderful to hear that you had an exceptional stay at Whare Kea here in Wanaka and that our team made your stay perfect. Thank you so much for choosing to stay with us and for your lovely review. We look forwarding to welcoming you back to Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet

Address: 494 Mt. Aspiring Road | PO Box 115, Wanaka 9343, New Zealand
Phone Number:
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Wanaka
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Wanaka
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:1.5 star — Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet 1.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Whare Kea Lodge is a private retreat located on the shores of glacial Lake Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. The 6 room lakeside lodge has a perfect combination of expansive views and small-scale intimacy, sophistication and informality matched with fresh and innovative cuisine and superb service. Whare Kea Chalet is perched high (1750m) in the Southern Alps - a unique and exclusive hideaway that is accessed by helicopter only. All the comforts are elevated to the 2 bedroom mountain chalet - solar electricity, hot running water, comfy beds, divine cuisine, chalet host and mountain guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Whare Kea Hotel

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