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“Time travel!”

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Waitomo Caves Hotel
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Waitomo Caves
Reviewed February 17, 2014

What some call charming others just call old and this hotel is much more the latter. It's like going back in time, but not in a charming, antiquey way, more a moldy, threadbare, run down way. It looks like nothing has been updated in 70 years (I don't think anyone's even produced a carpet that horridly pink in at least half a century). I've never seen a toilet or tub so old and the one-temperature-and-it's-scalding, watering can strength shower came up to my chin, and I'm only 5'5". Please don't look up while you're in there though lest you spend the rest of the time thinking giant dust clumps are going to fall out of the filthy vent onto your head while wondering how a ceiling rusts like that. Round that out with musty smells, chipped paint, peeling and battered wallpaper (I tried to figure out how you get a wall to look that bad and am at a loss), ceiling stains, mysterious aged items and you get the picture. My wall heater was smeared with lipstick - what on earth happened in here? They try to cover up the musty smell throughout the hotel with heaps of carpet and room deodorizer (in a grandma's house sort of cloying scent) and I'm not all that fragrance-sensitive and I had a headache in minutes. Word to those who are, the bathroom products are also heavily and badly scented. Thankfully I was able to open one of the windows in the room (one wouldn't budge but had a nice large dead insect on the sill when I went to try) and while it didn't stay open I was able to prop it open using the 30 year old kettle. (Carefully, using some of the pre-stained towels to protect the relic.) I had a room at the back so I thought there might be a redeeming view but its just someone else's parking lot.
The final and most disturbing flaw was coming in and standing around the lobby for 15 minutes at prime afternoon check in time, waiting for someone to show up at the front desk (I couldn't bring myself to ring the bell, I thought that only happened in old movies) and noticing on the unattended desk that they had all the day's reservations printed out with complete credit card numbers (not to mention names and addresses) clearly visible.
I've stayed in great places throughout NZ, in similarly touristy areas, for half the price and this place would still be overpriced at that. There's not a lot of options in Waitomo, it seems it's either low end motels/backpackers, B&Bs or this place. I thought the extra money might be worth it after a day of cave activities but you still get that staying in someone's house feel you get in a B&B as the walls are paper thin and you'll hear everything from all rooms around you and the hall. Also, weirdly, there's a notice on the wall that management has to approve any visitors you might have. Was this place once a 1950's boarding school, (which might explain the lipstick), or are they really serious? I didn't eat in the restaurant, menu wasn't impressive and there's a dress code (and I didn't have a ball gown handy while here cave rafting). Nice roses out front though.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled solo
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1  Thank MSCHY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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419 - 425 of 583 reviews

Reviewed February 5, 2014

This hotel was true to its era with well maintained furnishings and gardens. The hotel rooms were nicely decorated & were clean. The only negative comment to be made is that a hotel of this calibre in this day & age should offer guests complimentary Wifi.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Libby D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014

This hotel is in the best location of all the little accommodations in this hotspot, it sits on a hill with sweeping views of the valley below. We took to the turret room as reception told us this is where Queen Elizabeth apparently slept in in January of 1954 ...it's a great little room with awesome views in the top corner, but with no A/C so you don't want to be in there if it's too hot...we had all the windows open which made it ok, also there are no lifts - so you'll need to haul your own luggage up the stairs if going on the higher floors,, The place overall is old and of another era, but has great character. We were only here for 1 day so didn't get to the bar or restaurant as we had another function on nearby, but we'd stay here again to get a better feel for the place. I'd say it's pretty good value here and a must see if in the area

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Western_Expat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2014

We were very disappointed with our stay. It looks so grand from the photos, but I can't understand how people can write that it is. Old tired rooms, unfriendly smoking staff. The woman in the reception and who also was the waitress, she was very unfriendly to not say rude! It felt like a bad version of Faulty Tower!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank AucklandC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2014

Although I had heard that the hotel was in need of updating, we found that we really liked its old timeless facade, it gives it character and an enjoyable reason to stay there. The food in the restaurant was very good and everyone was only too willing to help, we would say that if you wanted an hotel to stay in that was full of old fashioned quaintness, then the Waitomo Caves was an ideal place to stay whilst visiting the caves.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
2  Thank kathryn11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2014

We have just spend Xmas at the hotel with my family, It will be the most memorable stay ever, The staff couldn't of been more helpful we felt like we were part of the family. We have travel the world and stayed in many 5 star hotel, but nothing can compare with the character and grandness, the place is a bit tired but that doesn't take any thing away from the place. loved our stay xxx

Room Tip: we had the first floor balcony room wonderful
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lee M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2013

We Stayed at the Hotel on 21st October 2013 as part of our three week honeymoon. We were the only people staying in the Hotel. The hotel is full of character and has an almost magical feel to it. We were very lucky to be given an upgrade, the room had its own private balcony and overlooked the front of the Hotel. We had dinner and breakfast while we were staying and the food was fantastic, our dinner was cooked to perfection and the wine was delicious. Breakfast was fresh and filling, and the hospitality was exquisite. We will definitely be staying again when we return to New Zealand, and look forward to seeing the revamp of the hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank katie C
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

Address: Lemon Point Road | Rd7, Waitomo Caves 9999, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Waitomo District > Waitomo Caves
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Waitomo Caves
Price Range: $77 - $136 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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