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“Drab, Drab, Drab”

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Distinction Whangarei Hotel & Conference Centre
Ranked #17 of 34 Hotels in Whangarei
Reviewed April 28, 2012

As soon as you walk in you see the place is run-down, cheap crocked signs and very dated decor. Rooms match the rest of the place, i.e. drab. Some rooms have quite a hike to get to them, also you have the joy of seeing some sweaty gust in the glass wall gym every time you walk to it. I think the solution here is a bulldozer. On top of this the check in desk staff were a mix of stupid and rude.

Room Tip: Go to a different hotel
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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4  Thank WgtnS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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243 - 249 of 271 reviews

Reviewed April 23, 2012

We stayed in this hotel after surveying the rather meagre offerings that Whangarei has to offer. It may have been a good place once but it is well past its best. We took the best room - advertised as overlooking the marina. it does overlook the marina but in between the hotel and the marina is the main road where the Whangarei boy racers practice overnight. There are a lot more rooms in the complex but none of them offer a balcony or some way to enjoy Whangarei's lovely climate. The room was big but sad. We got out as fast as possible. The hotel is expensive but really not much better than your average motel. Depressing.

Room Tip: A tough choice. If you want a big room with balcony you get the road noise to go with it. I did no...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank GeorgehRosenberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2012

I had the pleasure of staying at the KIngsgate whilst in Whangarei for a conference. I found the staff to be most helpful, very friendly and welcoming. I asked a man at reception if he could book us a bus to Paihia as we had a free day before retuning home and I found him to be very helpful and gladly did this for us on the computer. Checking in was a breeze as was the the check out. Will cetainly stay there again if we are back that way again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled on business
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Thank BrendsCanterburyNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2012

For the first time in six years my wife and I weren't hosting a family Christmas. So we booked a room at a hotel in town so we could stay overnight and take a taxi to and from the Christmas day festivities at another family member's home.

We made our reservations well in advance and had stayed there before. So we knew the rooms were very modern, clean and comfortable. When we booked I specifically asked if there would be room service on the night of the 25th and was told yes (important since every restaurant in town would be closed). I also asked if the hotel restaurant would be open for breakfast the next day.

Over the years I've gotten into the habit of phoning to confirm reservations and when I did a couple of days before Christmas, I again asked if room service would be operation on Christmas night and the restaurant open for breakfast (included in the price) the next morning. The answer to both was, yes.

We had a wonderful Christmas, but because it takes place during summer in New Zealand, we didn't feel like eating much while we were there and returned to the hotel around 7:30pm expecting to be able to order from their room service menu. Instead we were informed (and I do mean informed) by an extremely unfriendly, officious and thoroughly unpleasant man that the restaurant was closed and that we "supposed" he could "rustle us up" something from the all-night menu.

Long story short, we opted for what this petulant person could rustle up in a microwave using pre-prepared, probably frozen foods. It was delivered to our room by a very nice young woman and I tipped her for her trouble, as she was clearly embarrassed by her colleague's behaviour.

Next morning we went into the lobby of the hotel to find it empty. So we wandered into the dining room to find one other couple and a buffet table with a few packets of cereal on it. No juice, no coffee, no water.

After wandering around for a few minutes a rather dozy, disinterested waitress delivered some coffee to the other couple's table, ignored us totally and turned around to leave. After catching up to her I asked about breakfast and she said she'd be back to take our order.

The other couple finished and left before she returned, but by that time we were keeping ourselves occupied by talking about the previous day's experiences. Nor were we all that hungry, so my wife ordered coffee, fried eggs on toast while I ordered poached eggs, toast and coffee.

It's said that one of the first things a restaurant cook should learn to make well is an omelet and the second, poached eggs. Don't know about cook's omelets, but his poached eggs were overcooked and the yolks were solid. Maybe I should have asked for hard-boiled eggs instead.

Having worked as a waiter and been trained by a demanding Swiss-German maître d in silver service, I not only know what good service should be, I reward it wherever I am with a tip. This was one of the rare times I didn't leave any tip. Not that the waitress was anywhere in sight after she delivered our breakfasts.

After the previous night's experience I expected to be confronted by the unprofessional and unwelcoming man I had to deal with earlier. Instead, we were greeted by a very professional, welcoming young woman whose morning we didn't want to spoil with our complaints.

Instead, I've saved them for Trip Adviser and would like to remind the Kingsgate Hotel Whangarei that service is a 24-7, 365 day a year profession and that just because you're located in a provincial town like Whangarei is no excuse for the kind of slack, sloppy service my wife and I were exposed to on Christmas night, 2011. Shame on you.

Room Tip: Unless you want to hide away from the world, I recommend the new unit at the front of the hotel. All...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank PerfectStrangerNZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 20, 2012

I accompanied my daughter on a business trip and we stayed one night at Kingsgate in Whangarei. When we arrived there was a feed back form on one of the beds so I picked it up and was unhappy to note that it was badly stained with either dry tea or coffee. Who leaves a dirty feedback form? Then when we closed the curtain I found the net curtain, the type that you cut rather than sew, not very attractive BUT the problem was the right hand side of the curtain was cut like a dogs hind leg, totally munted. The feed back form was handed in the next morning with these comments plus the fact that there was a large handprint on the mirror as well. I would not be writing this review if the hotel bothered to get back to me to address these issues. I included my email address and as I complained I would have thought for the sake of good service they would contact me. I also commented that at $169 per night, the normal rate, was very pricey for what we got. Maybe the hotel will read this and think about contacting people as the feedback form and curtain was not nice for the price.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled on business
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Thank PeppyAuckland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2011

I must admit though I've travelled to and through Whangarei I had never thought of staying at the Kingsgate. I didn't actually realise it was so handy to shops and the Town Basin.
A friend and I were having a catch up and wanted to be near enough to town (and shops!) to walk in. The Kingsgate is just over the river -so a 5 minute walk over the bridge back into the shops and Town Basin. We got a great deal - a room with 1 Queen and 1 single for $125pn - including a $50 voucher towards food or drink from the Restaurant/Bar! We had a beautiful meal - which cost us a total of $2.00 each!! The room itself was adequate, everythig we needed. If you go - take your togs (we didn't) as there's a great swimming pool, spa and sauna.

Room Tip: Tip - make sure to ask for no-smoking room.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank morecambegirl60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2011

Stayed here early November and have to say that the service was fantastic.

The double bed was too small but really uncomfortable it needed updating, perhaps to a queen and one that didn't let you feel every move that the other person made.

Not really of the standard I've come to rely on with Kingsgate Hotels but as the only major chain hotel in Whangarei I did expect better room facilities, the ensuite was a small shower and was very basic with the toilet and a basin.

The meal was delish!! and I was pleased to see a number of Gluten Free options on the menu for dinner. However breakfast did not cater well for a wheat free or Gluten Free diet and was I feel over priced and again not the standard that I have come to expect from Kingsgate hotels.

But the service and late check out along with the dinner made this a great stay and provided I was not returning with the children, I would defineatly stay again!

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank kawitravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Distinction Whangarei Hotel & Conference Centre

Address: 9 Riverside Drive, Whangarei 0112, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Whangarei
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 34 Hotels in Whangarei
Price Range: $96 - $127 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Distinction Whangarei Hotel & Conference Centre 3.5*
Number of rooms: 115
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Distinction Whangarei Hotel & Conference Centre is perfectly suited to both business and leisure travellers. All 115 comfortable guest rooms & suites are air-conditioned and offer free unlimited WiFi & 50+ SKY TV channels. Conveniently located opposite the stunning Whangarei Town Basin and a few minutes walk from the city centre and Whangarei’s most tranquil bush walks. The majestic Bay of Islands is less than one hour’s drive from our 4 star hotel. Savour delicious cuisine at the on-site Portobello Restaurant and Anchor Down Lounge Bar. Work out in the fitness centre, swim in the indoor heated pool or relax in the spa. The hotel also caters for conferences and functions of up to 130 guests. ... more   less 
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