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“Great location, but more about the promise”

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The Portage Resort Hotel
Ranked #9 of 16 Hotels in Picton
London
Level Contributor
146 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Great location, but more about the promise”
Reviewed December 25, 2012

We stayed in Portage Lodge for 1 night, and were encouraged. The main reception-lounge-terrace-restaurant area of the hotel had been completely renovated, and was very charming. It went one or two stages beyond 'simple NZ' and was closer to Boutique.

It is true that the bar and restaurant staff had arrived the day before, and that they did have trouble telling the difference between a spritzer and pimms, and the coffee was served cold, not to mention many other minor bungles, but they were trying hard. Very hard. And they were very polite and accommodating. Most importantly, the chef was very good; providing dishes that were thoughtfully presented, with just the right variety and choice of ingredients. The only criticism is that maybe the dishes were too large, but is probably not a valid criticism, especially given it is two-thirds the way through a 24hr trek??

The room was great; with two large windows and a nice sized bathroom. Very clean and thoughtfully laid out. The views were amazing, albeit we did have to walk across a building site to get to it. This will change, I dare say.

The swimming pool was empty, but a) who needs one when you have the beach with great views?, and b) the owner/management could be seen clearly doing their best to rectify the situation. The price was not completely outrageous for what we got, especially given the location.

Overall, I feel that if we had visited this great resort one-two months later, we would have been blown away. But I have to rate this place on my stay there, which was definitely a 3*, which is a shame. But it has the potential to be a 4* very shortly. I wish portage the best of luck.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank fresh1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PeppersPortage, General Manager at The Portage Resort Hotel, responded to this review, January 5, 2013
Kia ora Fresh 1980,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts in this forum. I appreciate your objective comments and have taken a lot of information out of your review.
You have stayed with us only days before we have officially taken over the management of the hotel and all of your comments are very valid. We were getting ready for the take over and I believe we have made good progress since then. I have discussed your review with the whole team here and we will continue to work on the improvements. Thank you again and all the best for 2013.
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358 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
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English first
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed November 23, 2012

Terrible place to stay, the view is the only saving grace. Booked into a room having walked the Queen Charlotte Track that day and were greeted by maintenance/construction going on everywhere. When we got to our room the bathroom was in need of an update and we were met by the kind of shower curtain which should be banned in all hotels - who wants to shower with a curtain creeping onto them that the previous guest's bum cheek has been up against?! Foul.

The TV in the room didn't work and reception told us they had just installed the TVs and that they were waiting for someone from Nelson to connect them! Why install them before they were connected??!! Looking at the other reviews there's clearly a few stories behind that issue.

The store in the info booklet was closed and looked like it had been for months, so we were forced to eat in the bar. The bar was very busy with all the staff having end of work drinks – odd.

Finally, we called reception to get the shuttle back to the track and the person who answered basically had no idea what we were talking about – I had to repeat 3 times what was in their info booklet just to get them to agree to take us to the track. This was obviously not a normal service provision despite what was stated in the room pack.

Picky, but no headboard on the bed either, which was against a window, so attention to detail missing.

We’d never stay at Portage again. Very expensive for what you get.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Edinburgh111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Picton hotels

Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2012

This review is based on what two couples experienced at Portage resort this month. We are all in the hospitality industry and own our own hotels. First we made the booking and it took a number of emails to get it confirmed over five days. Upon confirmation we were told that our CC had already been charge and that there was no refund. We were staying in a two bedroom apartment $500.00 per night. We ask if we could book in early as we had to get an early boat at 8 am and was told that we could not book in before 3pm. Not a good start. Upon arrival we were greeted with a bomb site as there was construction going on and the dust was incredible. There was a ditch that we had to step over with no temporary pathway at all. OSH would have a field day with that one alone. We checked in and once again had to step over the open ditch. Made our way to our room up a flight of stairs that had a fire hose running down it and once again had to step around it. Another OHS issue. The room was on the hill and had great views but that is all. The balcony was full of cobwebs, the bathroom had a shower curtain as well as large gaps in the window sill. The upstairs bedroom had the stain of all stains on the carpet. See photos attached. The carpet also was that old it needed to be renewed. There was only four sachets of coffee and enough milk for two cups. The fridge was half the size of a standard bar fridge that you find in most hotels. We had to ask that the upstairs bed be made up into a double as there was three singles in the room. Their web site stated that the rooms had two TVs. We only had one and it didn’t work. We then phoned reception to ask about the TV and why it didn’t work and was told that a workman had put a spade though the cable. Please note that we have read others reviews and there is one back in September that quoted the same issue and the same response. All this in a $500.00 per night apartment. Dinner that night was a beautiful meal although what we were told with respect to the vegetables was a joke. We were told by the waiter that the best way to describe the vegetables was generous. If you call small potatoes cut in half with two slivers of carrots, a piece of broccoli with sauce and one sprig of asparagus generous then I would hate to think what lean was. By the way the waiter also worked as construction worker during the day and his finger nails and hands showed that. Breakfast the next morning was not much better and not value for money. We also wrote on the servery where the cups and saucers sat the words (CLEAN ME) in the dust and they were still there the next day. Photo taken and attached. The grounds are in need of a lot of TLC and the swimming pool was green. I could go on but I think enough has been said and no doubt I will get the same response from the owner along the lines as the other reviewers got. It is a great shame as Portage is a beautiful place and from an hoteliers’ point of view Portage Resort is a 1 star resort for a 5 star price. Also places like Picton and Havelock rely on places like Portage for the summer employment and therefore there is no need to bring in outsiders as there are plenty of experienced locals that need work.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Shane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Island nz
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

October 27th

We routinely stop at 'The Portage' every year on our way from Blenheim out to Titirangi. It's usually a welcome break from driving along the twisty roads and a chance for an enjoyable, relaxing cup of coffee whilst taking in the amazing scenery.

We knew there was a 'new management' but we still expected the same standard or better. How wrong could we possibly be? The place looked very uninviting but we carried on in to the lounge/bar for our coffee. The girls were pleasant enough and I asked for two lattes and specifically asked for them to be extra hot.

The coffee duly arrived but it was tepid and just about undrinkable and in fact it was difficult to determine that it was coffee. I could not drink mine after the first initial sips. The coffee was so weak it had no taste and I suspect the milk used was dried milk!

There were a couple in the lounge looking less than happy and a family having lunch. The way the meal was served was poor with no sign of the person serving having had any training in such matters. The food certainly looked over priced for what was being served. I'm glad we decided against having lunch.

We will no longer be calling at the Portage for coffee or anything else unless there is a dramatic improvement. I have told our friends who also call in at The Portage to stay away

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank LADS2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barrington22, Manager at The Portage Resort Hotel, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Deary Deary me, how awful it is here?
I am sorry to say but this is just fictitious nonsense. Our locals are all telling us how much improved it is over recent months since it came out of receivership. We get dozens of locals calling all the time now and complementing us on our improvements. From careful reading of this review you will notice that she / he did not even read the menu. How does a couple calling in for coffee determine that other people sat in the bar / lounge look unhappy , or for that matter that the food in the restaurant next door is overpriced ?
My advice to this reveiwer is: next time return to the bar, make your complaint on the coffee known to the wait staff, and enjoy another good cup of Douwe Egberts famous coffee. Oops, sorry, your not returning ever again. Good on yer mate!
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2012

We stayed at the Portage on the third night hiking the Queen Charlotte track. We came off the hardest leg of the track after walking for 6 hours. We were tired and hungry. When we arrived the manager was rude and unhelpful. We were chased out of the restaurant/bar and told to go to the public bar for a"barbeque" . The barbeque catered for meat eaters only, much to the consternation of the vegetarian in the group. The meat eater waited for an hour before her food was ready. The vegetarian resorted to drinking beer and eating the last of her hiking food - nuts and muesli bars. The room was poorly appointed, with no insulation, dirty, broken light fittings and noisy. The staff were frazzled and badly managed. In the morning, the manager was unhelpful (again) and could not provide an itemised bill. We ended up walking over 1km to the wharf to make sure our packs actually made it onto the boat back to Picton. I am never going back to this terrible place and I recommend no one else goes there either.

Room Tip: don't go in the first place
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank cowboywriter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
barrington22, Owner at The Portage Resort Hotel, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Recently the hotel was invaded by a group of track walkers who stayed at the walkers lodge attached to the Hotel. The hotel was very busy as it was labour week end. The 12 member group decided to take over the lounge of the hotel, dropping bags, shoes , socks, water bottles, packs, lots of gear strewn around the whole area. I could see that other normal hotel guests were distressed by this group of rowdies taking over and so I approached them, requesting they dress themselves by putting on socks and shoes and tidy up the mess and also remove their packs from the lounge floor. Regretably the whole situation went downhill from there on in as they became beligerant to say the least, threatening to wreck the hotel reputation on Trip advisor being just one of their voiced retorts. I eventually told them to smarten up or remove themselves from the Hotel lounge as we endevour to offer a 4 star service to our Hotel guests. We are open to the public and sometimes scenes like this occur. I will not tolerate group rowdies taking over the lounge of the Hotel and bad behavour does not go unnoticed, threats of trip Advisor bad reviews falls on deaf ears too. There are 2 sides to every story. If you wish to use the Hotel public areas my advice to you is treat it with respect and do not disrupt the relaxation of our other hotel guests. The best thing groups like this can do is stay away, we do not want you. Reveiwers should note the other similar bad reviews around this timing eminate from this group as they are all from the same mob !
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Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 21, 2012

This was not a good experience. It seems the hard working staff are in a difficult position as the property has gone through receivership.
However, for the reputation and prices charged, this was more than disappointing.

After a seven hour hike, a decent meal was expected at a 'resort hotel'. Only a very basic BBQ was offered, no vegetarian food, no care and no option. We had a jacket potato for dinner.

The 'luxury' room was tiny, noisy and far from luxury.

It is hoped that the new owners can turn this place around, and the well meaning, hard working staff get a break.

It is not a good advertisement for nz tourism at present.

Room Tip: Stay elsewhere, the rooms are over priced.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Pamela1026
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed October 20, 2012 via mobile

THE GOOD: the stunning location, the quite nice (although somewhat pricey) food, and a couple of friendly staff

THE BAD: the new owner is awful. Half of the facilities/services advertised on the website don't work or are closed (hot tub, pool, Snapper cafe and general store), hidden charges ($5 per bag each way to/from the jetty), overpriced rooms, and awful AWFUL customer service.

I actually could have lived with the mysteriously closed facilities and pricey rooms... but when combined with terrible service from the owner- it actually put a real downer on our trip and we found ourselves regretting our decision to stay.

To put things into perspective- my husband and I were tramping the Queen Charlotte Track as part of a group of 10 friends in our thirties- and had travelled over from Wellington for the experience. We're all professionally employed full time in various roles, with 4 of us working in the tourism industry.

Given we were a 'group' of ten, we elected to stay in the walkers lodge for $50 a person for a single bed in a shared room- literally just the bed and a thin duvet. Pricey! But not the end of the world.

From there, things went rapidly downhill. We explored the lovely grounds and it soon became clear that the ONLY thing open (and in working order) was the restaurant next to the reception, and reading other reviews on here, it looks like it may have been like this for months. So the fact that we were paying full price for a half-baked resort kind of 'erked' us... but we shrugged it off and decided to treat ourselves to a night at the restaurant.

This is where we ran into the owner/director of the resort. Some of our group were keen to watch the rugby game on television in the restaurant's bar (while eating and drinking) and the owner's first comment to us was that we would have to 'clear the good seats when the locals came to watch the game'... he continued to make several comments of this nature over the next couple of hours even threatening to pull a fire alarm to force us to evacuate so the seats would be clear for his 'local' friends. As paying customers, this didn't sit right with us at all! He also made derrogatory references to us being 'backpackers' and paying 'backpacker rates' although we were clearly not backpackers- this was a bit strange.

Having tried several times over the course of the evening to approach the staff (all new and not very knowledgable) to find out where to leave our bags for collection in the morning (we had pre-paid ferry/luggage transfers for the whole length of the track), I personally ended up speaking with the owner. The conversation I had with him was an absolute shocker! Firstly, he opened by advising me that he had charged my credit card for the cost of transferring the entire group's bags from the jetty up to the rooms. I do appreciate that the jetty is 1.6km away from the resort by road, however this was not an advertised charge and certainly not one I had agreed to pay- which came to $240 in total, just for the record!

I mentioned to him that I thought it wasn't very fair to be charging full price for a resort where clearly half the facilities aren't available or working- AND then to throw an additional charge on top for luggage. I asked him to consider waiving the luggage fee as a gesture of good faith. I won't go into too much more detail, but his word for word comments were:
'you're paying backpacker rates, what did you expect'
'I don't care about what you think of us, you're backpackers'
'you're lying if you didn't know about the luggage charges'
'write a bad review (on tripadvisor), I'll write back and say you were troublemakers'
'why don't you just pack your bags and leave now' (10pm at night)
'I am the director of this hotel and I can run it how I like and charge for what I like'
'you've backed me into a corner, I have no choice but to charge you'
'I don't care what any of our customers want or think'

I honestly couldn't believe it! Our group is very well travelled, and none of us have ever experienced anything like this before.

I hate to think that he is like this to real backpackers and travellers. He is an embarrassment to the New Zealand travel industry. I'm sure he'll respond to this and say we were rowdy and unreasonable (or something similar) but I can assure you, we're pretty normal respectable people who simply wanted to enjoy the beauty of Queen Charlotte Sound. Unfortunately this 'gentleman' dampened our experience somewhat... a real shame!

Definitely not recommended.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank J010h0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Portage Resort Hotel

Property: The Portage Resort Hotel
Address: 2923 Kenepuru Road | Picton, Picton, New Zealand (Formerly Peppers Portage)
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Marlborough Region > Picton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Business Hotel in Picton
#7 Luxury Hotel in Picton
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Portage Resort Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Base yourself at THE PORTAGE and experience the best Marlborough has to offer. We are an ideal 2 or 3 night stay so that you can enjoy winery tours in and around Blenheim and Picton, cruising the Marlborough Sounds, walking New Zealand's famous Queen Charlotte Track, wildlife eco tours, or sea kayaking , fishing and sailing on Kenepuru Sound. Let us know your favourite adventure activity when you book and we'll arrange it for you. Food options range from quality restaurant dining featuring seafood to a cafe overlooking the spectacular Sounds view. Located 10 minutes walk from the acclaimed Queen Charlotte Track, THE PORTAGE offers a selection of accommodation from our premium Kowhai suites to two story villas and hillside sea view rooms as well as a few budget rooms. THE PORTAGE RESORT HOTEL's central location in Marlborough makes it easy to reach from all over New Zealand. Access is easy - its only 15 minutes from Picton by boat or 1.25 hours by road. Blenheim Airport has multiple flights from the major cities of Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, every day. THE PORTAGE is your Marlborough accommodation base to explore the magic of the Marlborough Sounds on the south island of New Zealand. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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Portage Hotel Picton

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