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“Great views, but approach with a good sense of humour.”

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Waitomo Caves Hotel
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Waitomo Caves
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great views, but approach with a good sense of humour.”
Reviewed January 9, 2013

This hotel is in a fabulous location with great views over the surrounding countryside. From outside the hotel doesn't look too bad but the internal decor lets it down. Nor is it helped by the quite bizarre artwork on display & the plastic flowers dotted around the place.
The receptionist greeted us warmly and all looked to be on the up. I'm happy to forgive some shabbiness if the service is good. We made the huge mistake of booking for dinner at the hotel. We were lead to believe that the restaurant gets very busy & that booking was recommended.

There was one table of approximately 6-8 people in just before us & no-one else for at least another hour after we arrived. Our order was taken & the waitress brought us the bottle of white wine we had ordered, along with an ice bucket. The wine had never been near a chiller, so was warm. Our dinner took an hour to arrive, when we enquired why it was taking so long the waitress explained it was due to the 'large party' that were before us. I asked for a steak knife for my steak (possibly the worst steak I've ever tasted in NZ) and the waitress didn't know what a steak knife was!!!! Then there was a mix-up with the bill.

The room (16) itself wasn't too bad if you go armed with a sense of humour. The furniture is cheap & functional. The bed itself was comfortable which is important. However, the door is poorly fitting so rattles everytime someone walks past it in the corridor, rather annoying. The bathroom had me in hysterics, I last saw something like it in my Nan's house back in the '60's. Shower was adequate, the Mor toiletries are a nice touch though. The door from the bathroom sticks, so I kept getting stuck in the bathroom.

We didn't make the mistake of having breakfast in the hotel as who knew how long it would take. We couldn't understand why the hotel only starts serving breakfast at 8am. Surely for a tourist resort where people may need to be up & out early (as one of our party was), breakfast should start at 7am.

Requesting more English Breakfast tea bags & milk, seemed to be a problem for the receptionist. Two tea bags & four small cartons of milk are not enough for 24 hours in my view.

Whilst we realise that this hotel needs significant investment, there is no excuse for poor service. The owners need to decide what they want this hotel to be & charge accordingly. It is most certainly not value for money in its current format.

Room Tip: The Abseil Inn is fantastic, stay there instead.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MrsACN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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523 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (112)
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Washington, DC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2013

I almost feel bad reviewing this place because it feels a bit like making fun of the poverty stricken kid in the back of the classroom who is wearing a member's only jacket, is slouching in his chair and kind of smells bad. The staff did try hard in a sort of defeated this-is-what-it-is sort of way and I truly have nothing but sympathy for the folks running the place.

Having said this, we did just spend close to $200 NZ for a very sub par experience. On arrival it is hard not to appreciate the beautiful location on top of the hill and some hint of the victorian sheen does still cling to the overall architecture. As you walk in the lobby, however, the faded liver carpet, water stained ceiling, and buzz of an occasional insect present play counterpoint to your efforts to carry your own luggage up the steep stairs. There is no lift nor is there a offer from the staff to help you with your bags.

We stayed in room 15 which was relatively clean, had all amenities (like the en suite) listed in the reservation, however, the bathroom itself was about the size of a 747's with a shower tacked on. Indeed, our bathroom - a converted closet - had a waft of sewer gas leaking up from the floor drain so we had to keep the pocket-door open lest we be overcome.

In summary, I would definitely not recommend this place to anyone I know. I feel like for the price we paid we were all but robbed. $85 NZ? Maybe. For 185, definitely was hoping for better food, better service, a better room... Entropy has finally taken its toll here folks - in my opinion there is no victorian charm left in this place; not even the haunted house version evocative of "The Shining" hotel. The Shining would have been a major upgrade. Stay elsewhere.

Room Tip: A room in a different property all-together would really be your best choice.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank kennedan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Waitomo Caves hotels

Auckland, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Extremely dated but must have been fantastic in its day, a long, long time ago. Given it asks double the price of other accommodation close by I think it is only fair to expect a little more for the money.
The cracked paint on the ceilings is not a big deal but please clean the bathroom ceiling, that is not a good look. An alarm clock would not go a miss either, saves getting out of bed to where the phone was plugged in. Huge room, not a great bed or sleep in it, bathroom a little cramped and once again, very dated.
Staff were very reserved, but once pushed provided the information required.
Food was average at best with a small menu and the bread appeared to have been heated in the microwave.
Staff struggled to use the till and had to come to my room between 9.30pm and 10pm twice to get the bill right for a few very basic drinks.
The place looks great on the hill, big round about and roses at the top and so quiet, however, simply too pricey for what you get.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Ericstravelguide
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2012

I am between 3 and 4 stars for this place but have to settle on 3. This place had to be GREAT in the day and it's still pretty good now. I was told that it was built in 1908 and it feels in many ways as though not much has been done to it. It really needs some loving care and it could be the crown jewel of the area. Everything seems old and not in an antique way. Some really shoddy repairs to walls (I assume plumbing or electrical) don't help image.

Our room was clean, comfortable and had a great view!

Restaurant had a nice menu but we didn't have a chance to try it. Staff was friendly but a little miffed at my request for another towel. I got it, but I felt like they weren't happy about it.

In spite of the negative comments, I would definitely go back. Great location, views and building. I really do hope somebody comes in and spends a few dollars to update and renovate this potential beauty.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank jon5cts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2012 via mobile

The hotel is a grand look at the past. The rooms are large , and clean . However it is showing its age, especially the ceilings .that didn't stop us enjoying a fantastic overnight, the food is excellent, the staff friendly and helpful. We loved it. We also went on a glow worm cave tour called the Footwhistle, which was really worthwhile. There are walks in the bush, and an easy stroll to cafes and the info site.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tea_Stain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2012

This place was great! It was pretty empty when we went, just a few other couples scattered throughout. Pulling up to the place was a nice drive through a leafy driveway, to a victorian entrance (for us, complete with a gardener digging a grav...er, hole) We were greeted by a lovely receptionist (which turns out later on was also the bartender and waitress - equally as hospitable and lovely in each role) - the rooms are what they are, if you want 5 star everything, this isn't the place for you; don't come expecting it, and don't complain when you don't get it. It's true to its victorian/vintage ethos. I loved the decor and the vibe of the place - straight out of the set of the Shining. We had a balcony room and it was a beautiful view of the rainforest and waitomo caves.

We also had dinner there, which had a pretty good menu, and the food quality was above average. Having some red in front of the open fireplace was also icing on the cake.

All in all, we had a great stay, and enjoyed the friendly staff and soaking up charm of this place.

Room Tip: Pay a little extra for the balcony rooms - ask for the one with the 'shared' balcony, it has...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Shamwich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm, Sverige
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed November 24, 2012

It feels a bit like the place has been abandonned, and that a few locals put uniforms on and charged people to stay at the hotel, just waiting for the day it will fall into one big pile of rubble. I got the honeymoon suite, and that was ok, but overpriced. He other rooms I looked at was not ok. The restaurant served me some under cooked salmon that I had sent back to the kitchen. But the staff, or dressed up locals, are very friendly and helpful. I asked about the state of the building, and restauration was is the planning, but I wonder for how long that had been the answer. Perhaps why started using that line in the early 70s?

Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
Helpful?
2 Thank Jonas L
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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