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“A Hotel Like No Other”

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Waitomo Caves Hotel
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Waitomo Caves
Auckland Region, New Zealand
2 reviews
“A Hotel Like No Other”
Reviewed May 19, 2012

My partner and I have stayed twice at Waitomo Caves Hotel. It is one of the only places I know that has tried to keep the 'old school' look, and to be honest, if it lost that, I probably wouldn't go back.
You definitely feel as though you have slipped back in time. It really is magnificant, and well worth the visit.
The manager Richard is lovely!! And the staff are very helpful (especially when you are wanting some ghost stories).
We love the hotel so much, we have decided to get married there next year!
Is sad to see many people give this hotel bad feedback stating "the wallpaper is peeling, its old, its cold, rah rah rah". I mean, come on! Look at the place!! It's meant to look 'old'. I personally, cannot find anything to put down about this hotel.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Danielle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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507 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (108)
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Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2012

worth the stay as it has its own charm and history including the ghost of a maori princess. Bf and i took photos of our rm (rm 12) and found orbs in the photos. We were told the ghosts were friendly and we werent bothered my them. The bathroom needs a revamp and the doors are a bit noisy. Restaurant looked good however meals wer 30dollars plus. We dined at the pizzeria which was fantastic

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Danielle W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard H, General Manager at Waitomo Caves Hotel, responded to this review, April 17, 2012
A nice review of our lovely old hotel - thank you. You were honoured indeed to be visited by the orbs which I have seen myself a number of time in photographs dancing around people with good or excitable engeries; all very friendly as you say. I assume by noisy doors you are referring to the comings and goings of guests - so I will see what we can do to soften their closing. The bathrooms although clean and tidy will be redone with the proposed refurbishment. Sounds like our dining room was slightly outside your budget but next time I encourgae you to try because it is all very delicious and a charming experience.
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2012

we stayed friday night april 6th with a large group, we were all very impressed with the friendly helpfull staff which couldn't have been more pleasant and helpfull. yes this is an old hotel but the cleanliness was outstanding, the hotel catered a dinner for our group which was excellent. we were very happy with the secure parking for our cars we had a good nights sleep without any ghostly disturbance

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank brettnsue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard H, General Manager at Waitomo Caves Hotel, responded to this review, April 13, 2012
Thank you. We loved having the club come to stay. A great bunch of people; and we enjoyed making your stay memorable! See you next year I hope, if not before.
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Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2012

We arrived at this lovely old hotel on Easter Friday 06.04.12 as part of a large group - we booked out the entire hotel (American Muscle Car Club). This hotel has a wonderful and interesting past and although it has a very dated decor, the friendly and wonderful staff make up for the peeling wallpaper, not to mention being very inviting and clean.

We arrived at the hotel at approximately 2.00pm and after parking all of our cars around the back of the hotel for an impromptu fund raising event for the local school, we did some exploring of the grounds and attended the Waitomo Caves etc.

On our return from the Caves, we all sat in the bar and had a few drinks with the staff bending over backwards to make sure that we were all catered for and comfortable. After this, we all went into the dining room where the food was mouth watering (ups to the chef).

I would not hesitate to stay here again and if you can look past the dated decor, you will have an awesome, comfortable stay.

Also, after having a conversation with the manager of the hotel, he did inform us that the hotel is going to be undertaking an extensive renovation so can only but imagine what it will look like once this is completed but will certainly stay again to find out!!

Room Tip: We only had a standard room but found it more than adequate with access to the large balcony above t...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Justin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard H, General Manager at Waitomo Caves Hotel, responded to this review, April 13, 2012
Excellent to have your positive feedback - thank you. we love having interest groups coming to stay and dine with us. The Muscle Car Club stay became an event for the hotel and the whole community which made it very sepcial.
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Tauranga, New Zealand
Level Contributor
178 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2012

2011 - My husband and I decided on the spur of the moment to book into the Waitomo Caves Hotel on our way back to Tauranga as we had just finished a week camping (staying in a tent) in New Plymouth, so felt like a bit of pampering! (We also love a bit of a ghost story, so having heard about the history of the hotel we felt we couldn't pass up a great opportunity to experience a bit of New Zealand's history.

We arrived late, so it was dark as we drove up the steep driveway to the most amazing, breathtaking sight of such a grand old hotel from a bygone era, illuminated by the exterior lighting, this hotel looked so elegant and full of mystery. Our adventure began by being greeted by a very helpful member of staff, our spontaneous check-in at this late hour was not a problem and we were shown to our room (we had asked for a room in the older wing). Honestly, the interior had seen better days & the place was in need of a darn good clean (cobwebs, ripped curtain netting). My partner and I have done a lot of travelling around NZ and have stayed in a lot of hotels, but never have we been transported so perfectly back into the past.. and we loved every minute of it!!

We started exploring straight away (with permission from the staff member) very quietly. We made our way through the foyer with the elegant chandelier, to the ballroom.. out of this world! amazing pictures on the walls from yester-year and grand old furniture. The rest of this historic building was just as amazing and we took heaps of photos which we still love showing friends and family - the atmosphere of the building is like nothing we had experienced before.

The next day after a very comfortable nights sleep (bed was super-comfortable & had old world glamour), we were given another tour of the building by one of the staff, who shared the Waitomo Caves Hotel's history and then we settled in the grand old dining room for a delicious breakfast & ended up having an interesting conversation about the history of the hotel with the American couple at the next table who had overheard us being taken on a tour of the building.

After some exploring outside the building and around the township of Waitomo we headed home and we are now planning for our next stay at the hotel in September - a few more nights this time & we can't wait:)

Room Tip: Pay extra for the luxury room with the magnificent view and interesting history of the elegant lady...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rochelle C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard H, General Manager at Waitomo Caves Hotel, responded to this review, April 6, 2012
Thanks for a great review, lovely to see. Just goes to show that people have such vastly different perceptions o ftheir experience of the hotel. Always dissappointing to hear that people dodn't find the cleaning up to scratch and I never quite understand why when people say this - we have a very professional house keeper and team that takes great pride in the rooms and public areas and we are getting many comments on how clean the rooms are. It's odd. In addition we have also undertaken a deep cleaning process, carpets, curtains, upholstery. Cob webs are a constant challenge in the country and those little critters just love coming inside as much as we dissuade them. Rest assured that if you see a cob web then it is a recent and clean cob web! Hope to see you again soon.
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Chichester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2012

We booked this hotel over the phone last minute. We were offered 2 rooms with shared balcony overlooking the Waitomo Cave Entrance for NZ$165 per room. At no point during the phone call were we told that the hotel had no restaurant facilities. We pulled up in front of this lovely old building with tables and chairs invitingly displayed on what I took to be the restaurant terrace. When we checked in, a charming young man told us that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles had used the rooms we would have! He also told us the hotel restaurant was closed (so much for the inviting tables) but suggested a couple of places for lunch and dinner, both of which were excellent. Apparently the Chef had departed! As we mounted the stairs with our luggage (no lift), I noticed the beautiful crystal chandelier in the hall. The euphoria was a little dimmed as we opened the door to our room. If Queen Elizabeth had indeed slept here in 1953, I very much doubt that the decor has changed since then. However, we dutifuly took a photo of the bathroom door handle, which does indeed bear the profile of the Queen. The "shared balcony" was a very shabby affair, in need of a coat of paint at the least. Not very large, it had an extremely uncomfortable set of metal table and three chairs. Certainly did not invite us to tarry! The bathroom was small, shower over bath, very old fashioned. At least we did have plenty of hot water. But there was no mirror in the room and no electric socket in the bathroom. So I had to dry my hair from memory! I found out what the problem is talking to one of the locals. The hotel is on Maori-owned land and the Maoris refuse to give a reasonable length lease. So nobody wants to invest in a hotel when they might be turfed out at any moment. But even without a chef, the hotel could offer wonderful afternoon teas on that gorgeous terrace. People would be happy to pay to enjoy a cream tea in such evocative surrondings. Surely the income from that would at least pay for a pot of paint? Sad to see a grand old hotel come to such an end but if the management is completely paralysed by the problems surrounding the hotel, wouldn't it be easier to hand on the baton to someone who might inject the place with a bit of enthusiasm?

Room Tip: Personaly, I wouldn't stay there at all.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Babsanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richard H, General Manager at Waitomo Caves Hotel, responded to this review, March 23, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay at the hotel; we always find the different and wide ranging guest perspectives valuable, the many compliments are accepted with thanks and the issues are taken into account in our facilities and service improvement efforts. I am always concerned when guest expectations are not met to the extent that we are able; given the age and circumstances of the hotel. I am also always interested in what guests choose to focus on during their stay - and I completely accept the point of view of each person as their real perspective. I have noted also however that once a guest is dissappointed in one aspect of the hotel experience, they tend to find another and another and this tends to blind them to the numerous excellent qualities. We have a charming, beautifully positioned, iconic old hotel with, gorgeous gardens and amazing views on our hands here which we are lovingly bringing back to life after some decades of decline and abuse by previous long time leaseholders. We have in fact made substantial progress with reinstatement of the grounds and gardens, repairs and maintenance, a massive effort in deep cleaning all the rooms and public spaces. The rooms are old fashioned in decor with certain aspects definitely needing some more love but they are also large, well appointed, clean and comfortable with superbly comfortable beds. There is an elevated view from every room. I completely agree with this reviewer that she should have been warned that the dining-room was not open that evening; due to extremely low demand for our fine dining atthis time of year - we have introduced a pre-arrival communication as a result. Our next step is a decorative make-over of the whole hotel which will be a huge investment by the owners and is curently in the planning stages. We are holding an outstanding vision fro the hotel on behalf of this local community and I think people will be amazed by what we are in the process of creating. Accordingly there is no way that we will be laying the hotel to rest.
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Travelers are raving about these Waitomo Caves hotels

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2012

My partner and I and another couple visited New Zealand North island recently on a self-drive tour.
Part of our tour included a trip to Waitomo Caves, so we decided to stay at the Waitomo Caves Hotel overnight – not realising at the time that this hotel has a haunted reputation.
We checked in around 5pm and were greeted warmly and shown our accommodation, when my partner suggested I may get a little scared as we were told the Hotel is haunted, the manager just laughed and seemed to have a quirky sense of humour, he dismissed it saying a good haunting never hurt anyone.
He then took our booking for dinner and told us the bar was open if we wanted to relax and have a drink I joked with him and asked if he was also the bar tender to which he replied no - but he was as it turned out. He then gave my friends the room key to someone elses room who was staying there, that was funny watching our friend come out of the room somewhat embarrassed.
The accommodation was nothing special but we didn't expect it to be, it was clean and comfortable and the ambiance of the place was fascinating and warm during the day, but pretty spooky after dark.
We decided to dine at the hotel and went for a walk around the local area taking some photos of this amazing 100yr old Victorian Hotel.
We took a stroll down the hill to Curlys Bar which we quite liked and the pub food looked good if you want a reasonable priced burger & fries etc.
Our booking was at 7.30pm and that’s when the weird things started to happen. It was busy in the dining room and we drank a few drinks, had a few laughs and took some photos at the dining table, some of them although taken seconds apart appeared to be extremely bright for some reason almost white glowing, so we just dismissed it as flash reflection.
Our meal was taking for ever and eventually around 9.40pm we asked what is taking so long? And how much longer do we have to wait for our food? By this time we were the only ones left in the dining room besides one other couple who we joked and chatted with about the long wait, at that moment the door to the dining room swung closed by itself and it went very cold, my friend and I commented who closed the door! No one was there.
The manager came and apologized and couldn’t understand what had happened with our meals, saying they had been very busy.
We eventually ate around 10pm and then retired to our rooms, I could not sleep as every noise played havoc with my mind, creeping floor boards all night long, footsteps coming from the room above and then around 1.30am I heard a strange moaning, crying coming from the room above, I woke my partner up so scared and he said go to sleep it must be a dog, but I knew there were not dogs here at the hotel and the noise was definitely coming from the room above.
The next day we checked out and told the receptionist what had happened with our dining experience. She looked our bill up on the computer and said that’s odd and went to get her manager. When she returned they both examined the computer and said everything seems to be taken care of there is no charge for the meal or drinks? so we have to give them credit for accommodating us for the late dinner, they bid us farewell and off we went to explore the caves.
When we returned from our holiday we examined the photographs and this one in particular caught our eye.
The photograph was taken in daylight by a digital Nikon SLR camera – no flash was used, there appears to be an orange glowing ball in front of us and above our room where we stayed there appears to be a strange green light top center a little to the left.
Overall a memorable experience, reminded me of faulty towers on t.v. would definitely recommend staying there as it is interesting place and not often you get to stay in a 100yr + hotel, but having said that I would not stay there if you are easily spooked or afraid of ghosts and I would not stay again myself.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 7 and our friends stayed in room 6 although ours seemed a little nicer.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joanne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Waitomo Caves Hotel

Property: Waitomo Caves Hotel
Address: Lemon Point Road | RD7, Waitomo Caves 9999, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Waitomo Caves
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Waitomo Caves
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Waitomo Caves Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Waitomo Caves Hotel provides a taste of the early 19th Century grand tour hotel experience in our own time. Majestically positioned on a promontory above the Waitomo village and the world famous Waitomo caves the hotel offers sweeping views across the lush farmland, the hills and bush of the King Country. The hotel boasts sparkling crystal chandeliers, a vast art collection, spacious clean rooms, deliciously comfortable beds and a decadent spa area. Stay with us and experience the elegance of travel from a bygone era. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Waitomo Caves
Waitomo Caves Otorohanga

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