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“Just an average experience”

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Larnach Castle Lodge
Ranked #7 of 61 Hotels in Dunedin
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 13, 2013

Staying at or near a castle and to have dinner in a castle dining room has great appeal. It could be improved with a little more attention to customer service. In a "castle", you expect great service, right? Pros: Beautiful grounds, especially when everything was blooming, interesting house and history, absolutely beautiful setting, up on a hill overlooking the peninsula and harbor. Room had a great view, but they had just varnished and painted so the fumes woke me and I had to open the door and window to air it out, freezing my husband in the process. Dinner was pretty good, but had better elsewhere in NZ for less. Too long and drawn out, although I enjoyed hearing the story. Staff pleasant but nonchalant. Altogether just an average experience.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank fountain2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 8, 2013

The lady on the gate told us someone would be at the Lodge reception, but when we got there it was unmanned, with complex instructions on whom to phone. Eventually we contacted someone who arrived to check us in, but this was an annoying start to our stay. Our room was fairly large with a wonderful view in two directions over the countryside and coast, with a large balcony as well. Other things weren't as good. The wardrobe was too small for its coat-hangers and the door got in the way of room door. The shower had a fixed head mounted high up. Basin had a plug but no chain. (We found the same all over NZ - is there a nationwide shortage of chains for basin/bath plugs?). Wifi free but did not work the first day, ok the second.
We took dinner in the castle both nights. The first night there were 18 of us; service was slow and not very competent. The advertised shortbreads with tea/coffee never did appear. The second night there were fewer of us, and despite all of us obeying the instruction to select our menu choices by 4pm the messages had not got through to the chef. Desserts came only after a very long gap,and shortbreads only when we reminded them. The food was ok, but the long gaps and erratic service made the experience less good than it should have been.

Breakfast wasn't very good either - waffles being too dry even with extra butter and honey.

To sum up: a very interesting location, nice to be able to wander around the gardens when everyone else has gone home. But the staff, while friendly and well-meaning, really are not up to the job of running a hotel and restaurant. Most people only seem to stay here for one night - based on our experience I'm not all that surprised.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank astronomer-at-large
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Public Relations Manager at Larnach Castle Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 12, 2013

Hi astronomer-at-large

Thank you for taking the time to review the Larnach Castle Lodge. It is great to hear that you enjoyed the Castle, Grounds and Room during your stay, but disappointing that you found the service to be below par. We strive to consistently impress our guests on customer service by providing a friendly and welcoming environment, but at the same time is slick and professional. I am sure this experience was a one-off but we will be looking at our internal methods of communication and training to ensure a similar situation does not happen again regarding the dinner and breakfast service. Hopefully we will see you back here in the near future.

Regards,
Michael

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Reviewed December 5, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed 1 night in the Sea Room at the Lodge, Larnach Castle. We had a fantastic time there. The room was exactly as it appears on their Website. Everything was perfect. The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. The grounds and gardens were gorgeous. We dined that evening in the Castle. Food and service was excellent. The included Breakfast served in the old Stables was very substantial, not to mention "yummy". Overall it was excellent value for money. We would certainly recommend it to anyone travelling to Dunedin. Thanks to everyone at the Castle.

Room Tip: We chose the Sea Room as it looked lovely on there Website. It was exactly as it appeared on the we...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Christine S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

We decided to treat ourselves by staying at Larnach Castle (Lodge) for the last two nights of our road trip through Otago. The maitre d' was fabulous - showing the available rooms with a great sense of the drama of the place. The rooms are all quite different, which is entertaining, and great if you get to choose one that suits your taste. We loved ours!

Being able to wander the beautiful grounds and house after the "day visitors" have gone is a real treat - almost worth the money in itself. We had the dinner one night and found it very good (food), friendly (though not slick) service and an entertaining "history" of the castle between courses.

This place is obviously a work of passion and a triumph of perseverance and good taste.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank FutureTravel35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Public Relations Manager at Larnach Castle Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2013

Hi CaptainBlackie.
Thanks for taking the time to review the Larnach Castle Lodge accommodation. We really appreciate your feedback and it is good to hear that you found the room, service, and the food to be of a good standard. We are constantly aiming to further improve our excellent service and offerings and will ensure that progress is made where you have pointed out. As part of your feedback, we now offer guests unlimited usage, which allows all visitors to the Lodge to feel more at home and remain in contact with friends and family. Hopefully we will see you again in the near future.
Regards, Michael

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Reviewed November 24, 2013

Classy/comfortable grounds but understand, there are no sleeping rooms in the castle, they are in one of three groups of buildings. Our room was in the Lodge which was very comfortable. The robust Breakfast is both continental and cooked to order, which is included in the room rate. Grounds are very impressive and the castle has an amazing history. A few improvements which would make this establishment great are: 1) a cafe or room service during the evening hours because it is a 20 minute drive to town, 2) a more robust wifi access with significantly more than 50MB/day/user which is currently given to each room guest, 3) more robust customer service for the exclusive/private dinners in the castle, and for a real capper - have a piper play a tune at sunset somewhere in the garden adjoining the castle.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank CaptainBlackie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Public Relations Manager at Larnach Castle Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 5, 2013

Hi CaptainBlackie.
Thanks for taking the time to review the Larnach Castle Lodge accommodation. We really appreciate your feedback and it is good to hear that you found the room, service, and the food to be of a good standard. We are constantly aiming to further improve our excellent service and offerings and will ensure that progress is made where you have pointed out. As part of your feedback, we now offer guests unlimited usage, which allows all visitors to the Lodge to feel more at home and remain in contact with friends and family. Hopefully we will see you again in the near future.
Regards, Michael

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

If touring this area then we would definitely recommend staying here for two nights. Have a Lodge Room overlooking the estuary, just superb. A good and pleasant room with balcony to enjoy the view. Comfortable bed with feather duvet. We had room No.18. We did feel this room could be improved by having to comfortable chairs with cushions as opposed to the wicker ones. If the wardrobe was moved to the corner then a table and chair could be provided as well. Room at present a little spartan. Bathroom ok but could do with a shelf.
Wifi is complimentary and works very well. The view really makes the room.
We spent half a day around the castle and gardens. Very impressive and you can see how much hard work has been put in. The gardens again superbly planned and beautiful. Returning in the afternoon just nice and relaxing on the balcony or in the room with the balcony doors open.
All the staff very helpful and friendly and make you very welcome.
Breakfast covers both continental and cooked. No complaints here, not a vast section on the continental but the cooked side covers everything and is well presented.
This is different to a hotel and quite unique. Well worth a stay.

Room Tip: Room 18 or 20 in the Lodge would be a good choice, but any with the views ok
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank Mike1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 6, 2013

Stayed for 2 nights in a corner room. Great view and excellent service. Graham was most helpful with any questions. The gardens and the tour of the castle just added to the experience. Would recommend this to anyone.

Stayed: November 2013
Thank Nmac55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Larnach Castle Lodge

Address: 145 Camp Road, Otago Peninsula | PO Box 1350, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Dunedin
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in Dunedin
Price Range: $105 - $233 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Larnach Castle Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Larnach Lodge Is a unique recreation of a colonial farm building set in 35 acres of award winning Castle Garden. Rooms are individually decorated in a colonial style and all have private facilities. Every room has a dramatic sea view. Lodge guests are invited to dine in a Castle dining room. Bookings must be made by 5pm. Breakfast is included in the room rate and is served in the historic Stables. Complementary entry to Larnach Castle is also part of the package. Larnach Lodge is a 20 minute drive from the City of Dunedin and 20 minutes from the famous wildlife attractions on the Otago Peninsula. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Larnach Castle Hotel Dunedin

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