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“Not worth the price”

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Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Ranked #3 of 13 Hotels in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Not worth the price”
Reviewed June 16, 2014

There are many good hotels in Franz Joseph and Te Waoni is certaily one of them. Having said that, it is not a great hotel and the service was not up to what one would expect for the price. The tasting dinner included with our stay was just so-so, and the front desk staff messed up our excursion reservations. They did give us a credit when we left, but this caused us to miss a half day of touring, and when you're so far away from home, time is precious. I'd recommend staying somewhere else and booking your own excursions.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Joe A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, June 22, 2014
Dear Joe

Accepting blame for your river rafting activity cancelled owing to river flooding 6 months ago is not a "pot shot" I will take on the nose ... At the time we assisted you with booking alternative activities as the last thing any of us at Te Waonui wanted was for you to spend the majority of your 2 night stay in Franz Josef Glacier in your bedroom with your DND sign displayed! Your mention of the Hotel affording you a "credit" for this cancelled activity is confusing, as no money was ever exchanged in the first place. Yes, I personally met you at breakfast on your 1st morning taking this window of opportunity at 9am to also slip a chilled bottle of bubbles into your room. Realising on departure that you continued to hold my staff responsible for the cancellation above, and that this had totally tarnished what should have been an amazing stay, I picked up a portion of your drinks bill, a gesture made from the bottom of my heart.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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664 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (112)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2014

We absolutely loved our stay of four days at Te Waonui Forest Retreat ! It is definitely by far the best place to stay in Franz Josef. Richard , the General Manager , is outstanding - he is there to greet every guest personally and his attention to every request is simply amazing. His staff follow his lead and were all charming. Rooms are beautiful with incredibly comfortable beds and gorgeous outside deck looking onto lush forest of ferns and tall trees. Great underfloor heating in bathroom and great shower. Degustation dinner was absolutely superb. Excellent location - 2 minutes walk to town. A wonderful and unforgettable stay. Thank you Richard and all your staff !!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Karen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, June 15, 2014
Dear Karen

Belated thanks for your glowing reponse below! Glad that I could assist in ensuring your time with us was an enjoyable one and please do not hesitate to contact me directly if ever you want to make the trip from Sydney to NZ's South Island again.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Hoppers Crossing, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 16, 2014

On a tour and only one night here but it was the most beautiful place. Setting - incredible. Room - fantastic - bed heavenly, wonderful shower, heated bathroom floor, decking amongst the ferns. Staff wonderful - attentive, helpful. Food - amazing! Want to go back and just stay there for a few days.

Room Tip: Any room is a wonderful room
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Cheryl W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, June 15, 2014
Dear Cheryl

Thank you for your review and for sharing your experience at Te Waonui Forest Retreat with others. We are still a relatively new entrant in the Luxury Hotel Market but we understand the power of word-of-mouth recommendations after excellent service delivery so thank you for assisting in this regard!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Egg Harbor City, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2014

We enjoyed staying here for 2 nights - really great modern hotel with nice facilities and a comfortable bed. There is a glass door that opens out to a patio facing the rain forest courtyard. Service was good. The location is convenient to the next door Glacier Pools and the rest of the town. We had a great dinner in their restaurant which faces the rain-forest. One area for improvement is the breakfast - food was a little hit or miss and below what I expect for the price and luxury rating. I usually have pancakes but theirs were same as any school cafeteria.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Hitesh S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, May 13, 2014
Dear Hitesh

Thank you for your mail and I will definitely take a closer look at those pancakes!

Yours sincerely

Richard
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Ogdensburg, New York
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
73 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2014

We found Te Waouni after our original hotel had no power, heat or food when we arrived. We were thrilled to find Te Waouni and their very friendly and welcoming staff. The room was nicely appointed and had free wifi, which was a welcome surprise. We were only there one night but really enjoyed it. Dinner and breakfast were good.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank lcshea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, May 5, 2014
Dear Icshea

Thank you for your valued feedback about your bedroom, meals and our service staff at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.

We appreciate this feedback.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2014 via mobile

Apart from a handful of small settlements the 5 hour drive from Nelson to Franz Josef is one of solitude and breathtaking landscapes. There are very few cars on the road and even the omnipresent farmland of NZ recedes into virginal native forest and the rolling surf of the West Coast.
Te Waonui Forest Retreat is set at the base of the Southern Alps in the small settlement of Franz Josef which serves 250,000 annual visitors who make the journey to view Glacier Country.
In many countries you may expect this remote location to be a tourist trap of overpriced amenities and poor quality of service however our experience at Te Waonui was excellent. We were welcomed by friendly and knowledgable staff who upgraded us and helpfully directed us to the adjacent hot pools which were restorative after a long drive.
Although the restaurant was quiet we had a very memorable meal and the Chef proved to be creative and of the quality one would expect in London or other major culinary locations. The produce was very fresh and of the highest quality, despite the journey it has to make from Greymouth! The presentation of the Hapuka and Lamb is well finished and the chocolate fondant was superb.

Thanks for a wonderful stay!

Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank MPHBartley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, May 5, 2014
Dear MPHBartley

There was a time when we were having our challenges with certain menu items and I would hold my breath when receiving guest feedback in this regard ... Anyway, it is clear that Chef Andrew Hayward-Swain and his team at Te Waonui are doing some amazing things, especially considering parallels can easily be drawn between meals enjoyed in haute cuisine restaurants of London and Te Waonui's Canopy Retaurant.

Yours sincerely

Richard
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London, England, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2014

The hotel is well situated on the edge of the rain forest in close proximity to the glacier. The management and staff did everything to make us feel welcome. The accommodation was first class and the dinner excellent. We could only stay one night; we would have liked to stay longer. The only mild criticism was about the breakfast - service was rather slow and disorganised.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Frank B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard B, General Manager at Te Waonui Forest Retreat, responded to this review, May 5, 2014
Dear Frank

Pleasing to read that you enjoyed the treatment you received from our cosmopolitan team of service professionals at Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Thank you for your kind "pat on the back" as it is only through feedback like this that we can continue to go from strength to strength as a Hotel.

Yours

Richard
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Property: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Address: 3 Wallace Street, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) 7856, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu) > Franz Josef
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Franz Josef
#1 Romantic Hotel in Franz Josef
#2 Luxury Hotel in Franz Josef
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Te Waonui Forest Retreat 5*
Number of rooms: 100
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxury hotels in New Zealand don't get any better than this! Nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest at Franz Josef is a very special five-star Qualmark rated retreat. Designed with utmost care of its precious environment, guests at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will find themselves encircled by rainforest and accommodated in natural and sustainable luxury. Te Waonui Forest Retreat promises all its guests a truly unique and memorable experience. At one with nature, the five-star Qualmark rated Te Waonui Forest Retreat is the ultimate coming together of luxury escape and environmental awareness. Great care has been taken to ensure this exceptional forest retreat steps lightly upon the earth, from the organic cotton bedspreads to its recycled local building materials. Discerning travellers will appreciate the hotel’s attention to detail, which starts with attentive personal service upon arrival, and continues throughout all the hotel facilities and every aspect of your stay. As our guest you will enjoy exceptional quality and service, including: Luxuriously appointed guest rooms, generously proportioned and featuring the highest standard of room amenities, such as your personal pillow menu, natural wool mattress underlay, and high speed Internet access. Dining among the tres in ‘The Canopy’ restaurant, and savouring quality local cuisine, including an indulgent five-course degustation dinner. Innovative, environmentally sustainable architecture and building materials that create a healthy, warm and quiet haven for you to enjoy. Easy access to many excellent local attractions, including the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, just minutes away. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel Franz Josef

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