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“A family friendly resort”

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Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Waitangi
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A family friendly resort”
Reviewed January 10, 2014 via mobile

My husband and I stayed here in a standard Garden View room for three nights in December 2013. The reception staff were professional and the rooms were clean.
The room had a decent sized balcony and a large tv. However the king sized bed was two single beds pushed together which had an uncomfortable gap in the middle.
The pool and spa facilities were very nice, I would have liked to have an adults only spa though.
The bar had a limited cocktail menu and had run out of some liqueurs so not all cocktails were available and not all the bar staff new how to make cocktails.
The free wifi is available in the reception foyer for 20 minutes a day with only one log in allowed per day. We were here for a holiday so this wasn't an issue for us.
We really enjoyed our stay in the Bay of Islands, a few small improvements would make this good resort a great one. I would recommend my friends and family to stay here.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Sally M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (341)
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 8, 2014

Would not recommend
Frustrating that room cards are affected by phones. Needed to change twice.need to sort out. I travel a lot and never had the issues
Towel policy of signing for is ridiculous !
Buffett at $45 per head is terrible value. Asked manager twice for towels to go swimming. None were forthcoming. Left over food piled up on cocktail bar in heat not picked up for ages. Rooms look like something out of 1980's decor
Great location just not backed up
Could be so good here !!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Dickie46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Waitangi hotels

Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
106 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2014 via mobile

This hotel has the potential to be a lovely location, but I'm afraid the upkeep leaves a lot to be desired. It needs a good upgrade and better housekeeping. The bathroom had no plug and had hair in the bath. The exterior windows on the staircases needed a really good wash and we're full of cobwebs. Pool areas look scruffy and weedy in the gardens. I'd also like to add the that Copthorne website is confusing, leading me to believe that I had paid, when I had not. DO visit the tarty site next door as it really is worth a visit.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Martin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Got to the desk at 12:30 and they said check in was at 2pm.hung around until then. Went back at 2pm and they said it was still not ready. We went to the pool for a swim and they said they would let us know when it was ready. At 3pm it was still not ready so we went to the bar for a drink. At 3:30 we went back and the room was still not ready. After much complaining about this they finally got the room ready for us?

No apology and there were a lot of people in the same boat as us.

Won't be back

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Brassy89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2014

We stayed almost a week as a winter break away at a special rate. Enjoyed the friendliness of nearly all the staff. Breakfasts were lovely which was included in our price but the evening meal was pricey and limited if requiring a lighter meal. Although plenty of places to eat out around the area. Bed was comfortable, rooms clean and nothing was a problem when requested. Cosy log fire in the bar room with choices of hot and cold drinks on request made it feel special and homely especially after venturing the lovely walks in the area. Definately worth the stay on their 'special rates'.

Room Tip: Second floor, view over the pool side (not car park side) is a good choice.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Christine W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 4, 2014

The hotel is set out on its own across the Waitangi river, immediately next to the treaty grounds, giving it both an exclusive and historical feel.

The Copthorne Bay of Islands hotel was to be our most expensive stay in the whole of our north island summer trip. We stayed at good quality places up and down but cost wise this topped the budget of anywhere else we stayed across our trip, and as such I had reasonable expectations about the quality and service I thought would be received at that price. It's fair to say that considering the high cost of the stay, the majority of the experience at the Copthorne fell short of those expectations.

From a positive point of view, the pool area is great. Really family friendly with great visibility to watch the kids and relax at the same time. Great jumping and playing area as well as a warm spa. Lots of space for the loungers and to soak up the sun whilst listening to the sea just a few metres behind you. Could really benefit from some side tables for the loungers. Everything has to go on the ground and as the area is built on a slight hill, drinks etc fall over regularly. A few cheap side tables can't be too hard to stick out there but overall, great area, much used and great fun.

The rooms are spacious enough, and open beautifully onto the view (if you pay for a sea view room). The room configuration is useful, especially if like us, there are a few of you and you can arrange adjacent rooms and roll away beds. The addition of the rollaway beds does obviously restrict your room space notably. The sea views are beautiful, but even though they're only metres away that's pretty much all that they are; sea views. It's a rocky shoreline that's only really good for rock pooling. Not for laying down, relaxing or swimming. Rock pooling is fun... For a bit.

However, I'm glad we opted for the sea view. Not purely because of the great vistas, but because the other sides of the hotel appear to act as car park spill over. The car park is tight and gets full easily, at which point guests park on the grass and even in front of other guests' rooms and decks. This doesn't appear to be controlled or managed by the hotel, and it's only an assumption that it would frustrate other guests as I was fortunate to have rooms facing the sea.

If you're downstairs at the Copthorne you have French doors that open up to your deck where you can step out into the beauty of your surroundings (at least on the sea-view side). However, the ceilings and walls of the rooms are paper thin so if there is anyone in the room above you, be prepared for the thudding, banging, door shaking that you'll hear. Constantly. And until late. If there's a family above you it's endless, annoying and like a herd of cattle being driven through. I don't believe we were subjected to a particularly noisy family above, and I overheard other guests comment in the same way, that if you were downstairs the noise coming from above was significant. It really is noisy and disappointing if you're underneath it and will prevent any opportunity for that much sought after lie-in.

The hotel staff are keen and pleasant, but woefully understaffed and obviously inexperienced for a service industry. The front of house staff are predominantly made up of young travellers or students on a break. Asking someone for help or advice would see them having to find out the answer elsewhere and often never returning, leaving you to repeat the exercise two or three times with other people. Happened daily over different subjects and ran through the whole experience. Not a lot gets done unless you chase it up, several times. On our check-in something non-essential in the room was broken. Not a show stopper but something basic. I took it to a member of staff who said they'd replace it, gave many unnecessary apologies and off they went. I still hadn't seen hide nor hare days later, despite chasing up

The understaffing and inexperience extends to hotel cleanliness and there's clearly not enough people to service the many rooms. Throughout our stay we could go out for the whole day and still find the room unserviced by the time we returned, having to wait for housekeeping to get round to our end of the hotel. There was no predictability as to when it would happen.

Once they do get to you (one day 9am, another day 3pm another day 4.30pm, etc...) they're then working to such a tight turn around time that in five mins they are in and out. No chance to do a good job in a sandy, insect loving environment and there's no attention to detail. (I found my missing board shorts stuffed into the bed one day after they'd made it). On certain days I could tell the room hadn't been vacuumed as the sand brought in earlier from outside was still on the floor.

After a week of being there I had to ask for the sheets to be changed on the beds, and they asked me why they needed to done. Really. I don't buy the hotel's claims of trying to be greener. Not washing the towels when you're a beach side hotel or not changing the bed sheets after nearly a week of your guests being in them, is a lack of cleanliness and a sign of cheapness, not a desire to save the planet.

Again, for the cost we paid for our stay, I'd expect air con. A fan in the room is great for wafting air about and is very retro but doesn't do the job and is too noisy. Air-con in a hotel room is not unreasonable to expect for the Copthorne prices and especially as we're living in the 2014 not the mid 80s. In the evenings you have to deal with a noisy fan and/or open your doors, inviting every light-attracted blood-sucking biting creature within the bay into your room.

Another 'out of touch' feature is the lack of free wi-fi. It's not as if Paihia is a remote area with limited broadband, it is a 4G mobile area and there is Ethernet broadband and wireless internet across the hotel. They just want you to pay for it, like they expect you to pay for everything else in the hotel that guests assume to be part of a stay these days. Like I said, out of touch.

Our package included breakfast, and all I can say is, avoid the food. All of it. At all times. I accept that buffet food is often the lower end of the quality scale in these mid range hotels, but this was a new low. The meat and fish was low quality and over cooked. We did the buffet twice (neither part of the nightly cost, and it isn't cheap), one of which was their 'gourmet buffet new year dinner' at $85 per adult which was anything but gourmet. Burned pork, beef cooked to a point there was no moisture in it, fish looking like plastic. Steamed veg was reasonable and the dessert was standard fayre. Cook it all off early and leave it all in the heating bowls, appears to be their approach to food preparation. If you're going to eat there, cold foods are the better choice; salads and shellfish. If you happen to prefer volume to flavour, even this isn't for you as they stop cooking quite early. Whilst the daily 'bbq' buffet is cheaper, it's still poor quality, and for NZ$85 per adult (yes, $85) I expected significantly more from a new year celebration dinner. I think that might be worth writing a separate letter to the millennium chain about as some of it was inedible and the rest of it was ruined or cold.

Breakfast is supposed to finish at 10, but starts to runs out of food before 9 and they stop replacing it. This drives a bottleneck of people around that time... especially the 'take it all, pile it high' guests. So, despite paying for breakfast as part of the package we often simply avoided it, choosing to buy our own from the supermarket or treat ourselves somewhere out of the hotel. It ended up costing us more but was the much better option. Do that, or stick to the cereals.

At both dinner, breakfast or any other service activity, they simply don't have enough staff. It always worth repeating and referencing throughout this review that the staff are pleasant and polite, but simply don't know the hotel services, or how to help you or provide answers most of the time. They take way too long to do anything (not being unreasonable here, I'm talking about little things like bringing a glass of water to you, clearing empty plates from your table and bringing drinks/food menus).

Make sure you time when you go the bar very carefully. Ten minutes later you could still be waiting and then make sure you don't ask for anything complicated, as again, the pleasant and keen staff are inexperienced. Anything beyond a bottle of beer or a glass of wine will, and did, confuse them.

Amenities are low. This is not a resort despite its name. It's a tired, worn, dusty motel with a pool (a really good pool that the kids enjoyed jumping into and a small, warm spa pool). Along with the lack of wi-fi, there are other glaring omissions, eg. No gym or health amenities, which seems a really outdated premise. You even have to 'hire' tennis balls for the single, but adequate, tennis court. The bikes are really expensive to hire for reasonable periods, especially if there are a few of you. They're gearless bikes so only useful for a quick trip into Paihia, not to follow any of the beautiful and surrounding bike trails with.

For a hotel that boasts being in a famous reserve that is a breeding area for our endangered kiwis, they are incredibly lax. We saw a number guests bring their dogs in with them, and the hotel allowed them to walk them around the grounds. The Copthorne sits the far side of the Waitangi river, and at that point you're not allowed to bring in any animals, not just keep them on a lead or in a room. A key rule you'd think, however was not followed through.

In addition, the cleaning up around the hotels is not up to standard for what I'd expect of a company that claims to be considerate of its environment. A guest (not a member of our party) was reminding the staff in the lobby of the need to keep the environment cleaner especially due to its reserve status. Unfortunately, and as soon as he left, the staff openly discussed the guest and their opinions of him instead of arranging for it to be resolved. Again, a clear lack of service experience evident and of who might hear.

If you're a non-smoker, be prepared to have to ask someone not to smoke in the non-smoking areas (which again, I'd have thought for a reserve area was pretty much everywhere). The pool area is supposed to be non-smoking, and whether I'm outside or not, I don't enjoy having to smell cigarette smoke. It wasn't constant, but it was annoying.

I choose non-smoking places because it is my preference. The staff confirmed that it is a non-smoking establishment especially around pool and communal areas, but they didn't wish to speak to the smokers and remind them it was non-smoking, leaving you to have to accept it or speak to the people yourself, which can become the only option.

Checkout was hardly seamless. We'd booked and paid in advance so it should have been simple. Before we arrived, I called the hotel to confirm the room types, the breakfast package etc, and whilst that involved some to-ing and fro-ing, I'd assumed that having called to confirm that it should have been all ok. The only items that should have been on the final bill was the cost of the buffets and the associated drinks / room service during the stay.

However, on trying to checkout, and once I'd waited behind the line of people slowly being checked out, my bill was astronomical because of additional (and unnecessary) daily charges they'd somehow added for room upgrades and breakfast charges. As mentioned, I'd booked and paid the extras as part of the package to get sea view rooms and have breakfast included.

To the credit of the lobby staff (again, courteous, polite and keen to help), it was sorted after a while, but a guest should be able to trust that their bill is going to be at least somewhere in the ball park of accuracy, not the kind of arbitrary supplements that we faced.

I know this all sounds like a royal whinge, but it's completely the experience we faced. It's also really important to remember that I had a really great time in the Bay. Went out daily, charted boats, did lots of activities, visited sights, drove up to Doubtless Bay. It's a beautiful, hot and welcoming place. I'd come back to the Bay of Islands and Doubtless Bay in a heartbeat as well as recommend it as a destination for anyone and everyone, this is simply about the hotel we chose to stay in. It wasn't anywhere near enough to ruin our holiday, not even close, and perhaps we just faced a perfect storm of underperformance from the hotel, but we all trade off hotel costs for the service we expect to receive, and the Copthorne costs were considerably above the service levels and amenities it provided.

If the Copthorne had been around NZ$200 a night per room (Still high for what it is, but I accept it is peak season), there actually would be little argument from me, especially if we'd only been there a night or two. A room, breakfast and a pool in a great location at peak season might justify that price, knowing that everything else gets charged on top. However, it was an extended stay, across multiple rooms, with a few of us prepared to increase the hotel's takings at the restaurant and bar, and we were charged nearly NZ$290 per night per room including breakfast. By comparison, we stayed in The Langham in Auckland on the way up, a truly quality five star luxury hotel in NZ's biggest city... and the Copthorne Bay of Islands was nearly NZ$90 more per night to stay in.

It is worth saying again that I've had a great time in Paihai and the Bay of Islands. but the Copthorne appears to more focused on low cost, higher profit delivery for its chain and doesn't make use, maintain or even deserve its beautiful location. It is clearly targeted at short stay guests and seems geared to leverage as much income from those few nights as possible, hence very little amenities available as part of the room cost and simply forming add on costs to its guests. If it hadn't been for the pleasant, happy and keen staff (despite their clear lack of experience and knowledge), my frustration would have got the better of me and I'd have asked for some money back.

Recommendation:
Stay in Paihia itself and stay somewhere cheaper. You'll have access to more quality, more amenities, restaurants, activities, better service for significantly less money and be closer to better, usable beaches. Doubt you'll get a better pool area though, but also doubt that the pool is enough of a draw to get over the high price of the Copthorne and the low service it provides.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dmartora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 4, 2014

Overall not a bad place to stay but could definitely do with a bit of a makeover. The bed was not exactly comfortable and no free Wifi. When in the spa pool the bottom of the pool seems to be breaking up and is quite weird on the feet. Friendly staff though but I would probably look at other alternatives next time.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jaminben22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands

Property: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands
Address: Tau Henare Drive | PO Box 150 (Paihia), Waitangi 2150, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Bay of Islands > Waitangi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Waitangi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands 3.5*
Number of rooms: 180
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Copthorne Hotel And Resort Bay Of Islands
Copthorne Hotel Paihia
Copthorne Hotel Bay Of Islands
Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay Of Islands Waitangi

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