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“We promised to return and stay in the house, so we did.”

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Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar
Ranked #4 of 5 Saint Arnaud B&B and Inns
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“We promised to return and stay in the house, so we did.”
Reviewed May 1, 2013

After a stay in the chalets during the summer and wishing we had stayed in the house, we returned for an anniversary night away from home. It was home away from home really as we sat in front of the roaring fire, rain hammering on the roof, drinking G & T, waiting for Jennifer to make our dinner. What a wonderful host she is. We were as comfy as ever and wished we had brought our slippers. After our dinner and a chat with Jennifer we watched a DVD before getting to bed. We slept like babies as the logs crackled in the room next door.
The Tophouse is as near to history as you can get in NZ and there is plenty of reading material available on the subject.
Because you have to share the bathrooms, you'll find big fluffy dressing gowns on the back of the door.
We really enjoyed our time in the Tophouse. Last time we met a lovely couple who were staying in the Blue Room and this time we had the house to ourselves.

Room Tip: Bring your slippers! The Blue Room is a bit bigger and just off the main dining room which has the...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Reigate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
288 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2013

After a hard but invigorating day's walking in the beautiful hills around Saint Arnaud and the Nelson Lakes, we descended to this delightful hotel, of which we had heard so much. Perched on the edge of fields overlooking the mountain ranges, the hotel/restaurant is full of genuinely historic facets, including rooms with their original features and furniture.
After we had enoyed a delicious cream tea - I think they called it a Devon tea - with extra tea and scones as required, the new owner elaborated at length on the history of the house, and some of its less than salubrious episodes. We were really grateful to her for taking the trouble.
The menu on offer looked so enticing, and the bedrooms so attractive, that we wished we could have stayed longer, had a full meal, and spent the night there. But it was not to be.
Next time we are in the area, we will definitely call agin and use their facilities, and I recommend anyone else to do likewise. Don't miss a real experience!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Robin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, New Zealand
1 review
Reviewed February 19, 2013

We recently celebrated our silver wedding anniversary with 10 of our friends, we really wanted to celebrate this occasion at the Tophouse Cafe, because of its great atmosphere and old world charm.We were not disappointed, we had a excellent gourmet barbecue meal around there historic table, that seats 12 with ease. There was lots of yarns told and much laughter and a fun time had by all. We throughly recommend Tophouse if you are planning a small gathering . Jennifer was and excellent host and came up with some great ideas for the menu and added the extra touch with some decorations which was unexpected.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GrantAndrea110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

This is a historic hotel, with a huge amount of charm and lots of old stories. We stayed in the rooms in the main house and were looked after and fed by someone minding the place while the owner was away who was excellent. Be prepared for quite small rooms, shared and rather basic washrooms and lavatories, but that adds to the feel of a hotel the aims to recapture some of the experiences of 19th century New Zealand.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Brancacci186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, New Zealand
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2013

We called into the Tophouse for a cuppa and the Devonshire Cream Teas did not disappoint. We were greeted with a friendly smile from Jacqui, who showed us around this very quaint historic homestead. It was like stepping back in time 100 years!! It certainly seems to be a popular spot, as quite a few other people were calling in for lunch too. It's a beautiful spot and well worth a visit, whether for an overnight stay or just a break on your journey.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank FREWENNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dutchkiwi59, Manager at Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar, responded to this review, January 15, 2013
Thank you for timing the time to post your review on Tripadvisor. TopHouse is under new ownership and as such we are striving to offer customers, great fresh food and excellent service. Your review affirms that we are heading in the right direction.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We had always wanted to stop at the Tophouse and this Christmas was the perfect time. The old homestead was decorated to a high standard and reminded us of cosy Christmases in the UK. We stayed in one of the chalets which was clean and comfortable however, looking at the rooms in the house means we will be back. We couldn't eat on the day we arrived due to over booking but we did have scones and jam for breakfast! The best bit was the little 'honesty bar'. We are planning on returning for our anniversary - dinner, bed and breakfast.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tapawera, Nelson
2 reviews
Reviewed December 29, 2012

We live just 3/4 away from Top House but thought it would be nice to have an evening meal there with visitng family and we hadn't visited for quite a while. Our booking was handled very promptly and in a friendly manner. We were greeted on arrival, had a drink from the bar, nice to see our local Tapawera Pete's lemonade available, we then had our meal and looked around at the history of the building which is very interesting. The meal was lovely, good Kiwi meal with local produce. Great evening I'm sure we will be back as their lunch menu looks a temptation.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dinkie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar

Property: Tophouse Historic Guesthouse Cafe & Bar
Address: 68 Tophouse Road | Nelson Lakes, Saint Arnaud 7072, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Nelson-Tasman Region > Saint Arnaud
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Saint Arnaud
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
TopHouse Historic Guesthouse offers accommodation, meals and drinks ( in NZ's smallest bar) to travellers and has done so since 1887. TopHouse is located on the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park and offers fabulous mountain views from the guesthouse or from your veranda of your chalet. The Guesthouse has a home away from home atmosphere. It is steeped in history so come and experience the atmosphere and feel the warmth. The mountainview chalets are each self- contained and sleep a max. of 4 adults or a family of five. The Nelson Lakes National park is an outdoor persons delight with, boating, fishing, walks & hiking on your doorstep. In the area there is mountain biking, wineries, 4x4 tracks and more. The property is set amongst farmland and is a safe haven for young children. We have the best views to the mountain ranges. Retreat to your deck of your chalet or the garden terrace and watch the bunnies, cows, goats, sheep meander in the fields or read a good book in utter peace. ... more   less 
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