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Prince's Gate Hotel
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Reviewed October 7, 2012

In the middle of a family trip to NZ we decided to detour through Rotorua and catch up with old friends. We thought it easier to stay at a hotel in town and Princes Gate was recommended to us by some locals. Initial impressions of the hotel were very promising,the owners and staff have obviously worked hard at the ambience and old world charm of the hotel. It is an older hotel so don't expect all the mod cons. We stayed in the McGregor suite overnight which had two bedrooms, a lounge and kitchen (2 adults and 1 teenager) for $280 which for a walk in rate I was OK with. The beds were fabulous and the heating being thermal was great. The McGregor suite faces onto Arawa St so be prepared for traffic noise as it's the main access into Government Gardens and the Police station is opposite, meaning there were a couple of high revving cars hurtling down the street at odd hours (coppers, not hoons!) There also seems to be a plethora of street lights outside the hotel which means quite bright lighting during the night. Both of these things are annoying if you like open windors and curtains.

We had the high tea that afternoon which was very nice and completely filled up my teenager which is saying something. I got the impression that the wait staff person was a little surprised that we ordered it - and for school holidays the hotel was very quiet. Suspect it caters mainly to overseas tourist trade, not families.

Breakfast isn't included in the tariff (honestly it's better if it is, easier for all concerned). The breakfast menu was way too big and confusing, there was a continental buffet, but you could order and pay for each bit separately...just too much to cope with at 7am. I found the breakfast meal very salty, I'd say the chef salts everything so again, not my preference. Let guests salt their own meal to suit their palates. There was only one wait staff working breakfast and she was way too rushed. Better to put a coffee thermos thingie on the table rather than having to pour many times into a small coffee cup - it just makes sense!

Overall it was an OK stay but if you compare it to other 5 star hotels, especially in Australia it really did fall short.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank GoldieGirl_21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PrincesGateHotel, Owner at Prince's Gate Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2012

Thank you for your review and the very favourable aspects of your impressions.
Yes, the ambience and old world charm certainly sets us apart from all the other hotels in Rotorua. This has been a painstaking process; the owners have spent the past 27 years turning around an old hotel into a city icon.
As you rightly said, the locals are proud, and nationally, it has been recognised by the people of New Zealand as the Best Hotel in New Zealand.
I would like to attend to one point which unfortunately I feel needs to be clarified. The Princes Gate Hotel had been independently assessed as 5 star guests and hosted. The guest and hosted is not a Hotel 5 star, it is a grading that takes into account the mine host input, along side the personality of the establishment.

Here at the Princes Gate, there are 50 individually decorated rooms in a great location. We offer a Cabaret dinner show, High tea in the afternoon and A la Carte dining, as well as a childrens menu, in the evening all in the comfort of this beautiful, historic icon. With the refurbishments that have taken place, new bedding and under lays have been included in all the rooms and the hotel is environmentally aware, heating the hotel naturally through its own bore which draws thermal heat into the hotel and recycles it back.

Another aspect to notice is the hotel is opposite the famous Government Gardens which has the Rotorua Museum and Art Gallery, Polynesian Spa, Golf Course, a childrens playground, walking tracks and 10 hectares of stunning gardens. Even though this is one of the main attractions of the city and why The Princes Gate is known for its wonderful location it is not a thoroughfare. Traffic is always quiet after 5:00pm, I am sorry that you experienced 3 or 4 cars accelerating, loud music or squalling tyres. I must advise this does not happen on a regular occurrence and it is unfortunate that you were disturbed by this during your stay. Street lighting is out of our power, we the gas lamps trying to give off a past era feel.

It was good to hear you enjoyed the High Tea. It is something that we have been serving for 25 years and is iconic to the Hotel. Our guests can enjoy the ambience of Memories Restaurant. In regards to your comment that the wait staff was a little surprised, I think one thing in the hotel industry is that you are never surprised. It would be a fact however, that High Tea is most popular with the ladies.

In regards to families, we do have a lot of families stay with us, but not in the hotel. The families tend to stay in our two bedroom apartment/ suites. Once again location is great for the kids with two playgrounds and the Polynesian Spa no more than 400 metres away. The hotel itself is more popular with couples and we have an even mix of international and domestic visitors.
A lot of our domestic market comes from Auckland that specifically travel to enjoy our dinner shows, either as individuals or when experiencing a milestone and bring family and friends to help celebrate their birthday, wedding anniversary, christening etc.

Breakfast is not included but we offer any options from Tea, Coffee and Toast for $6.50 to our Bacon and Eggs Special including tea and coffee for $12.00. Unlike other hotels we offer an A la Carte menu which allows guests to choose from an array of delicious breakfast dishes. We do not like to offer coffee Thermoses as it is not part of the service we pride ourselves in. It is a sad day when people do not enjoy the service.

Once again, thank you for your comments, I feel you were a little harsh on your final review when you obviously enjoyed a lot of what we have tried to offer, I trust however I have explained in full a more accurate understanding of The Princes Gate Hotel

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2012

Being listed as a five star hotel might be a bit of an overstatement for this dated, if picturesque, hotel. We booked a suite but were quickly moved as it was not adequate (appliances not working, musty smell etc). The service from staff though was great. Pool is small. Breakfast offering basic but satisfactory. Oh, and the beds are best for couples in love - you'll both roll towards the middle!

Room Tip: Avoid the ground floor Mayfair Apartments.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Mcnaccas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012 via mobile

Went here fora weekend away with my partner. Lovely looking place in a great location. Great thermal spas which was very relaxing. Unfortunately the hotel decided to let a very noisy function on for a group off teenagers after they finished their performance across the road. This function consisted of a very noisy haka and what sounded like some kind of prize giving work periods of prolonged clapping and cheering which went on to almost midnight. When I rang reception to ask when this was finishing as we wanted to sleep the unhelpful man on phone told me "well it is a Saturday night after all" I clearly told the man that I had paid for a service which didn't involve being kept awake half the night. He was un apologetic and told me he would pass on my message to the manager. Pity our stay was let down by this.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank Warrick R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PrincesGateHotel, Owner at Prince's Gate Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 5, 2012

Dear Reader,

We are sincerely sorry about this but there was absolutely nothing we could do.
We were a major sponsor of the local Rotorua Boys and Girls High School production of Jesus Christ Superstar. The last show was Saturday evening and as tradition goes, the Principal gives out certificates to the young performers and a DVD to the performers.
This year was a little different, as the schools had engaged a professional producer, who had really inspired the young adults. Sadly the producer has a terminal illness and has a short period of time left with us.
In this instance, the noise was due to the boys performing a customary but totally unrehearsed haka in his honour. This happened as stated, totally out of the blue but you cannot stop a cultural expression of love and aroha as this is totally disrespectful not only to the recipient but also the ancestors.
The Principal apologised to our staff but we could not do anything other than say sorry and to ensure the guests that everyone would be leaving within thirty minutes and there would be no more noise which was stated and did happen. We did go to the principal and he then stated to the children that there could be no more emotional expressions.
I trust this answers this review and readers can see the situation for what it was

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Reviewed September 24, 2012

They say beauty is skin deep and this is certainly the case here. We were looking forward to a "class" experience. The greeting, lobby and lounge were most attractive and we also enjoyed the hot pools, albeit very small. In the evening, we enjoyed the show as well, albeit a bit contrived. However, when it came to trying to sleep, this was impossible as there was an incessant industrial type dripping / running of water sound all through the night. When we mentioned this at reception on check-out where the bags under my eyes were large enough to pack several families luggage in all we recieved was "I"m sorry about that" then someone who we assume was the manager popped up offering a complementary breakfast which we declined as all we wanted to do was get home for a good sleep. So, this started us thinking about the whole experience, and we think it is definitly a case of beauty is skin deep. We've travelled and lived widely over the last 40 years and exerienced the best and the worst and this establishment is decidely extremely superficial. It seems it relies on the captive tourist trade - the service is polite but not genuine, the food pleasant but not outstanding, the show is canned, and our room whle appearing "period" was more like a bordello with tired bathroom and little by way of guest amenities, etc, etc. So, decidely not value for money. Oh, by the way, if the management read this and if you are at all interested we think the room noise emanates from the steam plant supplying the radiator systems, it was making the same noise when we walked back from the pool - perhaps you could offer it a complementary breakfast!

Room Tip: Inspect before you check-in and listen carefully to ensure you will be able to sleep.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MoondanceM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PrincesGateHotel, Owner at Prince's Gate Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2012

I don’t know this man so I am not getting into personalities or opinions, All I can offer are the facts that allow the readers to make their own assumptions. I however once again state that I am very sorry that Mr Williams and his wife were inconvenienced. He was right about the noise coming from the radiator which is geo-thermally heated. Sometimes these do get an air block that resonates in the radiator. The procedure to release the air is simple and takes no more than a couple of seconds. These are rare but do happen from time to time.
As Mr Williams stated to me on check-out, he noticed the noise at 4pm. At no stage did he notify reception or any staff of the issue. This is strange to me how he did not give us the opportunity to fix this, but then vehemently complain about it in the social media. This to me is not fair on any hotel to be given the chance of rectifying a problem while someone will vent his anger and frustrations when really we genuinely did not do anything wrong. If a problem happens, I feel it is how the operator reacts and should be judges this way. Anyway, now for my reply:

I write in reply to Mr William’s comments and offer this right of reply. In breaking down Mr William’s comments, I state that I was the person who dealt with him on check-out. My reaction I believe was positive and compassionate and our philosophy has always been that the most important aspect of a guests stay is their room. I firstly apologised and offered a complimentary breakfast as a genuine gesture of saying sorry. The actual problem was a vey simple one to rectify if only Mr Williams had asked or rang reception as he said that the noise was there on check-in at 4pm. This seemed a little strange to me but however, I move on. I would like to duplicate Mr William’s comments that he actually made on his hand written comment card when he checked-out:

Reservations – Excellent
Check-in – Excellent
Hotel Facilities – Excellent
Hotel Staff – Excellent
Would you stay with us again? – Yes if I had a quiet room
Would you recommend this hotel to your friends – Yes

This does seem quite bizarre as it clearly contradicts his own comments posted here on TripAdvisor. I therefore take exception to Mr William’s comments about our team’s genuine desire to serve, to please and to give the very best possible service at all times. We have always worked with our team to be themselves, offer their own personalities but to always be polite in their deliverance.
We feel this was vindicated when we received December last year, the Peoples Choice Award for Best Hotel in New Zealand. The Princes Gate Hotel is 117 years old and you cannot find the architecture, ambience or style anywhere else that this building offers. I must also defend our Dinner Show as we have been offering this to guests for 26 years. Our Shows are extremely popular with over 5000 people experiencing these every year and to be honest, I cannot remember the last person who did not enjoy themselves. The food is always a big part of this and as Mr Williams stated in his own writing on his comment card:

“The show was entertaining, the food was good”

Once again it seems strange to receive a comment 2 days later contradicting his own comments to us. In summary we are sorry Mr Williams did not enjoy his room but his stories are very contradictory. I stand by our reputation and we do genuinely do our best at all times.

Brett Marvelly - Owner

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Reviewed September 23, 2012

This was a short stay just the one night.
I booked on the telephone and the services was great. On arrival the staff were very friendly and efficent.
The room was very well appointed and comfortable.
The cabaret was fantastic and the food superb.
We had a late book out and this enabled us to make us of the hot water spas, boy the water was hot in the top pool!
Overall a full 10/10.
We will be back in fact I am looking to use the hotel as a venue for training courses in the new year.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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