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“Over promised but under delivered this time-but don't discount it”
Review of VR Hamilton Hotel

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VR Hamilton Hotel
Ranked #39 of 63 Hotels in Hamilton
Reviewed March 31, 2013

I stayed in January 2013 – this was a last minute decision. I saw a special deal and booked. They self rated at 4 stars so my expectations were fairly high. I wrote the following that night with the exception I had to add my bed was very comfy to sleep in.

How they describe the room on wotif

“This room comes with a Queen bed, ensuite with a wide range of bathroom amenities, mini bar, complimentary tea & coffee. Sky TV. Superior Rooms have high ceilings with outdoor views & Victorian Decor to provide a comfortable stay.”
“Hamilton City Oaks is considered as one Hamilton's most prominent landmarks. Step back in time and experience Hamilton's rich history, radiating all the history and class Hamilton brings. Hamilton City Oaks is a boutique Hotel that offers a unique accommodation experience complete with large, spacious rooms with meticulously decorated interiors providing an elegant classical ambience. Offering well appointed rooms ranging from elegant Deluxe Queen Rooms, to the luxurious Terrace Suite - complete with private terrace. Hamilton City Oaks is an ideal choice for a variety of functions and conferences, catering for up to 350 people across our 5 well appointed conference rooms”

I could not find any details on the web site about parking given that the hotel is at the corner of a main intersection so I had to pull over when I got there and call them. Access is from the back street and hotel parking is a series of old otherwise unused buildings – don’t expect anything fancy or a bell hop. The spaces are odd shaped but at least they are there and included.
Once parked you can enter the back area and head to reception. Once checked in you need to return to your car and put a paper notice on the window – somewhat irritating but better than being towed. I’d have preferred them to take the rego and leave it at that! Check-in was easy – the staff were really nice and friendly. However, they neglected to tell me that after taking the lift to my floor I would have to get my bags down a set of stairs. Warning for anyone coming at night - the driveway is not lit once you have parked your car the drive up to the back of the hotel is not even. For any ladies is heels – mind your step.

The room is large – 45sqm. But wasted space. It is badly decorated and styled with most of the faux Victorian (sort of) furniture pushed up to a wall. The layout of the room though is all wrong and there is so much wasted space. There is not sofa or easy chairs despite the room size and that fact there is ample room. There are three dining chairs around a decent sized round table as you enter the room. A desk and chair was placed between the two large window that look out the back of the hotel (more on that soon). Unfortunately the desk is nowhere near a power source and there is no light for night time use. The nearest power outlet is about 2.5 m away. Nice to have the free wifi but the only way I could sit at the desk and plug in my laptop was to relocate the table to closer to a wall light and power source next to the mini bar area.

The outdoor views in this superior room and the manky carpark at the back of the hotel so either I did not get what I advertised or the author has not taken a look out the window. I guess at best we can agree that there are windows and I can view outdoors. While we are on the window. Floral curtains do not Victorian decor make. The curtains are must and if you are someone who like your room dark at night this is not the room for you – the light comes in from the top and sides when closed. The net curtains on the window are not only dirty and smelly they are ripped and torn. The window they are covering seriously need some cleaning and at least one of the windows needs to be repaired. As the for 1980’s floral border along the top of the wall – all wrong. As are the two tiny pics on the walls – they at least should be together and not side by side! The mirror about the writing table (well it will be when I put the desk back) is nice - maybe a bit small for the wall it is on.

The TV is a decent size but sitting on a coffee table in an odd spot. God knows who laid out the room but it’s one of the worst I have seen and I’ve stayed in a few hotels – up and down market! The TV sound is uneven and the sound and picture drop in and out on all channels (some SKY channels are included)

In the room is a queen bed which is very low and saggy and decidedly un-Victorian. The apron on the bed doesn’t fit and it looks messy. The mattress is cheap but when I pulled the bed apart it was clean for as much as I could see. Did I mention saggy? There is a single bed is in the far corner which is great for a family. Both beds are too low for the room. The single is firmer. The linen on the bed is crisp, clean and fresh with a decent thread count. And I have to say despite my reservations I had a comfortable night in the bed.

The room is supposedly air-conditioned but it doesn’t really work although it makes a lot of noise. Clearly they know this because there is a dirty pedestal stand in the large cupboard which I have had to resort to.

The walls are fairly clean but there are skuffs and scratches that need attention. The carpet is not particulary appealing colour wise and the lack of style in the room doesn’t use it to its best advantage. It seems clean and I could not see any stains.
The bathroom is very large. The grouting around some of the tiling needs to be cleaned properly and there were some chipped tiles. Housekeeping clearly don’t think they need to clean the floor and wall around the toilet – it is all dusty. There is a shower over the bath. Water pressure is ok – not great but not awful. Now I am 5’4” and with the fixed shower head I had to bend to get my head under to wash it so if you are taller than me then be warned. That said it was a nice shower. If you have trouble climbing in a tub then make sure you ask when booking or checking in (as with the stair situation)
Turns out this is the Le Grand – since the receipt and internet slip and sign on the door say Le Grand there is clearly and identity crisis. This property was for sale in 2012 and when I asked at the desk I was told the new owners have been operating about 5 months. I think they should have at least sorted out who they are before reopening but let’s hope that renovations are in progress and if I was to be generous I’d say it is possible that this poorly appointed room is the fault of the old owner.

And last but not least - Why do hotels continue to charge such extortionate prices for a chocolate bar or a little tub of Pringles or a can of Fizz? Shame on you. But a large round of applause for the free wi-fi – as it should be. As for the price – this is currently a $99 room. It is a long way off being a $390 room which is what they say a Superior Room (which I was supposedly upgraded to) is worth. My room was on the first floor. There is clearly a nightclub or bar near hear because I can hear a lot of noise over the top of the TV and the fan – I can also hear quite a bit of car noise. I know this is an older hotel and if they do nothing and charge $99 then it might be a bargain. If they tried to charge $390 for this room it would be a rip off. The sloppy housekeeping the bathroom has put me off a bit and right now I think they are over promising and under delivering on the rooms if this is an example. I would give the hotel a second chance if the price is right. Maybe I have a pre-renovation price but why say all that other stuff up front?

I have photo’s to load later when my phone is returned to me (left it in another town yesterday)

Room Tip: Ask about quiet and if you have to carry bags up or down any stairs (if that matters to you)
See more room tips
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank DibblesNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 6, 2013

We remember the days when this property was managed by Rydges and named "Le Grand". We figure that Rydges must've figured she was now too worn out to give her any more botox … so new owners have shut down the restaurant, retired a few rooms, slapped on some cheap signs and … wallah "Hamilton City Oaks". However, although worn, our room had all the old charm and tons of room, the staff were courteous and efficient, the bed was comfortable, the furniture quaint - and of course, the location still right in the heart of the city with plenty of good eating places right there. Not quite "grand" but a good night none-the-less.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank DavidandSuzanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded March 12, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you so much for your feedback. Any feedback we receive helps to make us better. There are a number of issues raised in your feedback that will help us improve as a property.
I appreciate your kind comments about our staff and I am very glad to hear you could take advantage of our central city Location!
Take care and I hope you choose us next time when you are in Hamilton.
Warm Regards,
Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

We stayed at this hotel for 1 night... unfortunately.... after check in ( ladies were very helpful ) we entered our room wich was a bit strange and too big. Do you know the feeling that you're in a room and it doesn't feel right??That was our experience. Very big windows which let trough lots of street noise ( room was on the main street side ) Airconditioning did not work and we had trouble sleeping all night long due to the warmth and noise. Parking is on the back side of the hotel which looks terrible and poor. We would never return.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Marijke K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 26, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you so much for your feedback. Any feedback we receive helps to make us better. There are a number of issues raised in your feedback that will help us improve as a property. I have passed on your recommendations and feedback to the relevant department heads to address.
Please feel free to contact me directly at steve@vrgroup.co.nz if you might reconsider staying with us again in the future so I can ensure you a more comfortable stay.

Warm Regards,

Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Perfectly located in the center of Hamiltons version of Eat Out Area and an easy walk to the small Casino, this hotel is just fine for a lazy weekend.

The beds are very springy soft and comfortable and the ceilings are HIGH (4mt +). Coupled with long windows the room I had (Superior 42 m2) seemed spacacious and airy.
Great room for practicing your golf swing without smashing a light fitting.

And the bathroom was even larger - in comparison.

All in all - Good value, pleasant front desk girls, quiet (rear rooms that is) and well positioned near good eateries.

Room Tip: Rear facing rooms have no view but quiet.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled on business
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Thank env300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 17, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

It is great to hear that you were able to take advantage of our central location and explored the City. It is much appreciated that you have taken the time to write good things about our hotel and staff. Feedback really is a great driver in ensuring we as a property can keep striving to the high standards we have.
We hope to see you back in the near future, thank you for your support.

Warm regards,

Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Very Spacious room with very high ceilings. Tv coverage was a bit average and bathroom was clean with a good shower, ample free parking out the back with security was a bonus. Hotel was very handy to many great restaurant options and the italian restaurant next door was well priced with good service. Service from hotel staff was above and beyond. The front desk staff were above top notch. Continental Breakfast was pleasant and hassle free with plenty of coffee options. This hotel actually wants us to make a return trip to Hamilton, not an easy thing to do !

Stayed: February 2013, traveled on business
Thank Cam A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you so much for your praise of our staff. All our team actively read Trip Advisor and Guest Feedback and it is much appreciated that you have taken the time to write a good review. Feedback really is a great driver in ensuring we as a property can keep striving to the high standards we have.
We hope to see you back in the near future, thank you for your support.

Warm Regards,

Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Very friendly staff, super easy check-in, free parking, and nice room. I was very pleased. Have lived in NZ for over a year now and never heard anything good about Hamilton. I thought it was a beautiful town. And the Hamilton City Oaks is very nice and in a great downtown location.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ryan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

It is great to hear that you had a first class stay with us and Hamilton exceeded your expectations. Thank you for taking the time to review our hotel! We hope you will come back and visit us soon!

Warm regards,

Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013 via mobile

The aircon in our room wasnt working was very very hot on th 2nd floor. Couldnt sleep called reception asked if we could be moved said allthe rooms were like that atm. Said theylk bring a fan. The fan was one of those little heaters that have a fan function useless things! False advertising when booking clearley said aircondioning!! Then the breakfast id hardly call a breakfast. Worst accomodation ive stayed in!

  • Stayed: December 2012
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Thank Jazzyrox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HamiltonCityOaks, General Manager at VR Hamilton Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you so much for your feedback and please accept my sincere apologies that your experience was less that top notch. Any feedback we receive helps to make us better. I would love to have you come back and give us another chance to prove that this is not usual for our hotel. Do not hesitate to contact me directly at steve@vrgroup.co.nz if you might reconsider staying with us again in the future so I can ensure you a more comfortable stay.

Warm Regards,

Steve Penrose Hotel Manager

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 VR Hamilton Hotel

Address: 237 Victoria Street | Corner Victoria & Collingwood Sts, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand (Formerly Hamilton City Oaks)
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Hamilton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Luxury Hotel in Hamilton
Price Range: $73 - $274 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — VR Hamilton Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
VR Hamilton Hotel is located within a stunning heritage listed building in the heart of the Hamilton city. With its beautiful surroundings, VR Hamilton Hotel continues to impress and satisfy its guests through providing the warmth and genuine hospitality that has become the hallmark of the Hotel. A versatile set of function rooms, comfortable and high quality accommodation, combined with our attentive and friendly team makes VR Hamilton Hotel a great venue for business or leisure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Grand Hamilton

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