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“Beautiful views”
Review of Donegal House

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Donegal House
Ranked #26 of 32 Kaikoura B&B and Inns
Reviewed November 8, 2009

I spent the last three days at Donegal House it was for a family wedding, so the whole complex was booked out. The services we received was very good. The view of the mountains and the gardens attached are absolutely outstanding. The rooms are very basic, with no fridge, which we found a problem. The cost is quite expenisve for the basic room. The room I had, had a double bed and a single bed, with ensuite bathroom, tv and no fridge. The room a friend had, was a double bed, ensuite bathroom, and no tv or fridge, yet the price was the same. I was very dissapointed in the owner of the lodge, who harassed a few of the single ladies the whole time they were there. Very uncomfortable, and one lady who had her husband pass away 3x weeks ago, which he was aware of was totally harassed to the point that she decided she did not want to stay, but drive back to Christchurch after the wedding. This is totally unprofessional from a person in his position. In fact left a lot to be desired.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled with family
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Thank holidaymode58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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103 - 109 of 113 reviews

Reviewed April 25, 2009

We selected Donegal House because of book reviews describing how charming this Irish inn was. What we found was, by far, the worst place we stayed in 9 weeks of traveling in New Zealand. We had one small motel room with no TV, no internet, thin walls, bare lightbulb in bathroom, a strong smell of grease from the restaurant, and a room we couldn't wait to leave. The check in was at the bar, the staff (unlike all of our other experiences in NZ) was unfriendly, and breakfast was very mediocre. The gardens were pretty but the junk thrown around the outside grounds rather spoiled that too. Compared to everywhere else we stayed, it was incredibly overpriced.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank kayteeMilwaukee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2008

We went to Donegal House for evening dinner and it was a huge disappointment.
From the car park the place looks rather run down and scruffy. The gardens are lovely but its a shame the furniture lets the outdoor area down.
We had a pleasant welcome from the staff and the customer service couldn't be faulted.
The menu was very limited and what was on there was overpriced and very disappointing.
I would not recommend eating here.

  • Stayed: December 2008
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Thank aligali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2007

We spent one night at Donegal House in early September 2007. The room was very bland - OK, but nothing special, certainly no better than the average motel, which would be considerably cheaper! Virtually no sound proofing between rooms. We were only over night guests (big point made of this!), until walk-ins arrived at mid-night, and were put in the next room to us. So, that was us woken up and disturbed for an hour or so. Placing these guests in a room at the opposite end would have been smart! Although there was a large party in for dinner, no fire had been lit in the bar area, so we huddled over an electric bar heater! Dinner was very mediocre - fish over cooked, vegetables under cooked, and we felt very overpriced for what we got. Don't mind paying these prices for good food, we do it all the time, but not for sub standard stuff. Breakfast similar, and again, huddled over a heater, which we had to unplug in order to plug the toaster in! Overall, we will not be recommending this to anyone! You could certainly do a lot better - we felt that the "Irish Hospitality" was a gimmick that just wasn't followed through. J&C, Picton

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JandC23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2007

I have mixed views on the DH. The property enjoys fantastic views of the Kaikoura mountains when the weather is clear and is set in the grounds of a former farm. The buildings are totally uninspiring, looking like a run-down motel when you approach from the main road. No attempt has been made to tidy or beautify the place and it looks quite uncared for. There's no dedicated reception desk, instead my taxi driver directed me down a narrow corridor to a restaurant/bar/open office area where the duty manager welcomed me and checked me in. Rooms are modern and comfortable with good quality en-suite shower rooms. Most seem to have the sliding door arrangement which opens onto a communal deck/walkway and gardens.
I loved the area but was a bit misled by the brochures showing the location of the Donegal House in respect to anything else worth visiting in Kaikoura (let's face it, a tour of the town is over very quickly). I was without a car and therein lies the first problem, DO NOT whatever you do, stay here if you don't have your own transport! Once you've paid the $NZ 20 taxi fare to get there you probably aren't going to pay to go back into town just for the thrill of it, so it's the Donegal House bar for you! The continuous playing of the large screen video showing irish folk bands over and over just got annoying on my first evening there, a bit of peace to talk to others staying and visiting would have been refreshing.
The food was OK, a little on the pricey side but the portions are generous. Generally drinks and food at DH are on a par with city prices in Wellington or Christchurch. Bar service is really hit or miss, I found. Breakfast is a serve-yourself affair of cereals, fruits and toast. You pay extra for eggs etc.
I probably wouldn't stay there again as it's just too far out of town and the atmosphere and service in the bar was just really not good enough on my second night.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled solo
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1  Thank Pilotbloke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2007

I loved our stay at the Donegal House. It is a bit of a drive from downtown, but well worth it. Beautiful grounds filled with ponds, statues and bridges. A full Irish Pub for dinner and/or drinking located on the property.

The rooms were clean, large and quiet. Ours had a sliding door to a patio area with chairs and a table to relax after a busy day.

I would definitely recommend staying here.

Stayed: December 2006
1  Thank jg17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2006

We stayed at the Donegal for one night in November.

It is slightly outside of Kaikoura , about a 5 - 10 min drive from the centre of town. It is too far to walk so if you are planning on staying here you really will need a car if you want to go out and about in the evening.

The rooms are functional yet comfortable. A nice sized room and clean with new bathroom suites. The curtains are very thin - if you are someone who needs darkness to sleep, bring your eye mask or hang some blankets from the curtain rail to darken the room a bit.

Veiw from room - fabulous! You will be overlooked by stunning Kaikoura mountains. There is lots of space around the Donegal to go for a walk and it is very peaceful.

There is a bar and restaurant on site which are Irish themed - this isn't our thing so we didn't use these but they certainly looked very popular and the food portions looked big! There is a good pub to eat about 5 mins away on the main road into town called Robbies if you don't want to eat on site.

Breakfast included is basic but does the job!!! Toast / cereal etc.

Would stay here again.

Stayed: November 2006
2  Thank Tammy123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Donegal House

Address: Schoolhouse Road, Kaikoura 8280, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Canterbury Region > Kaikoura
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 32 B&Bs / Inns in Kaikoura
Price Range: $105 - $138 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Donegal House 3*
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Donegal House 'The Little Irish Pub in the Country'. Steeped with history of the Boyd family who came from County Donegal, Ireland in 1865, with host Murray Boyd continuing the Irish hospitality. Offering 30 Ensuite rooms, Bar, Restaurant, Function facilities, Gardens & Lakes enjoy the warmth & humour that Donegal House is now famous for. You don't have to be Irish to appreciate the atmosphere & hospitality dispensed at this Kaikoura landmark. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Donegal House Hotel Kaikoura

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