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“If it's surf you want then camp at Solscape”
Review of Solscape

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Solscape
Ranked #6 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Raglan
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“If it's surf you want then camp at Solscape”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Enjoyed my stay here and it was perfect for what I needed.

I camped here for 3 nights with the sole purpose of being close to the surf. If you're planning to surf Manu Bay / Whale Bay etc then there is no closer campground than Solscape. Super close to all the main breaks and just a short drive from Raglan town. I liked the vibe and the views over the bay from the sun drenched front lawn are majestic.

I found the property well maintained and clean. To be sure the actual campsite for my tent wasn't the prettiest I'd ever stayed in but it did the trick for me as far as proximity to the ocean goes.

One or two less tent sites on the campground to create more room on the site would be beneficial. My tip would be to try and book tent sites number 4, 5 or 6 - which seemed to be the most private and pleasant of all.

Room Tip: Try and book tent sites 4, 5 or 6
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rideonthewaves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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186 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Queenstown
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

The staff were very friendly and helpful upon arrival and the views/ scenery were fantastic. The reception area and conscious kitchen cafe were very tidy, warm and welcoming. From our brief initial walk round the cabooses and other alternative accommodation, solscape painted a really pretty and creative picture. However, tent site No1 (our tent site for the first night,) was not so attractive. In desperate need of some maintenance, patchy and very lumpy uneven ground is not what you expect for a $17 per person, per night, small tent site. After finding a tiny bit of semi flat ground to pitch out tent we decided to have a proper look around. It turned out the camp site was not the only thing in need of a little maintenance. Both kitchens were what I can only consider a mild health risk. I am a very environmentally conscious and aware person. Sustainability and good ethics are a big part of both mine and my partners lives. (My partner being manager of a cafe and sustainable food business that won several awards at the 2012 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards. And me being a keen yogi currently training to be a yoga teacher.) But there is a big difference between consciously working toward ensuring recycling, food waste and power saving measures are in place, and the grimy half labeled containers and bins dotted around these kitchens. What's worse is you can barely see anything as the "low energy consumption lighting," is actually just a couple of inadequate light fittings that probably use more energy than your average light fitting with an energy saving bulb. So so dark. And with only two dim lights in both kitchens I'm not surprised they were so dirty and neglected. No one can see what there cleaning. I know this may sound like a harsh criticism but I see no need for unhygienic, badly maintained food preparation areas under any circumstances. The pizza oven outside was a nice touch except for the bright orange safety tape strewn everywhere declaring dangerous live cables to be below. This was the general theme of solscape to be honest. Rather than the eco conscious, forward thinking vibe we had expected. We got more of a sad, uncared for collection of good ideas left to fall into a desperate state of disrepair.

This was confirmed furthermore when we moved into our "caboose" on the second night. Although the train carriages looked fantastic and were an awesome idea, there were a couple of serious flaws. Firstly the old vents on the roof that had been blocked to prevent birds nesting in the space right above your head, were not so blocked. Ours had at least three or four nests and the noise was fairly intense. I have no problem with the beautiful songs of birds in the morning, but when there are several nests of baby birds screaming for food from mum at the crack of dawn right above your head in the amplifying chamber of a metal train carriage roof, it's a different and avoidable story. I would like to please request though that these nests are not removed until the birds have flown there nests! One of the members of staff came to investigate the roof and ended up removing a nest full of baby sparrows. Needless to say they would not have made it through the night after being prematurely evacuated from there nest. Very sad.

The same was nearly true of me and my partner. After staying in the tent the previous night with fairly high winds and chilly temperatures we were looking forward to a cosy night in the caboose. No, not so lucky. As the temperature outside dropped so did the temperature in the caboose. The econo heater kept us from getting really cold but it seems metal train carriages don't hold the heat all that well. Therefore the heater is no longer so econo I guess. And for $72 a night!!!! I was shocked, very shocked at our experience of the caboose.

Although this is a generally negative review it is only because I saw so much potential in solscape. Maybe not so long ago it was the haven of sustainable living with its solar water heaters, compost systems and many vege patches (which was a really nice sight, I have to say.) However there are certain areas of this potential garden of eden that are in desperate need of some tender loving care. To the many long term inhabitants of solscape (birds and young care free travellers alike) I'm sure it's a paradise. But for me and my partner it was a big disappointment and an incredibly over priced one at that. Sorry solscape.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tom R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SolscapeEcoRetreat, Front Office Manager at Solscape, responded to this review, May 5, 2013
Thank you for your review and the opportunity to use your feedback to make improvements. We regret that you had a disappointing experience, and were quite shocked ourselves to read your review points, and the mention of the bird nest removal as we had only removed it due to your request that day. Very sad for us too.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2013

We really enjoyed staying at the solscape main camp site but weren't convinced on the tipi experience! They leak and don't have mosquito nets so be prepared to rough it or book to stay in a caboose instead. Also the walk from the car park to the tipi site is much longer than you expect especially when carrying gear. Overall it was a cool experience and would stay again but only in the main camping site.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jude W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SolscapeEcoRetreat, Front Office Manager at Solscape, responded to this review, May 5, 2013
Thank you for your honest review. We have now included mosquito nets to improve guests comfort. The Tipi's are described as luxury camping - futon bed and linen included - and are intended to be an earthy experience.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 9, 2013

What a Gem... Kinda reluctant to share... If your in to an Organic of the grid experience this is the place for you... Our family of four stayed in the overlander Train cabin...and it was just perfect..oh so clean. the kids loved it... the owners were so great..our kids have major allergies and it was absolutely no problem for them to cook for us if we needed (one of the owners is Vegan so easy as) . We only stayed for one night...but could have easily stayed for a week... My kids were so relaxed it was the first time I got to lay in the sun and read my book... The calmness just flows through the whole complex. Would love to come back with just my husband ;-)..but my kids would never let me... Thanks Solscape... see you next year!!!!!

Room Tip: We had a cabin to ourselves which was perfect... there was a lady there that ended up sharing a cabi...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Philippi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed January 7, 2013

No doubt in a few days time there will be a response under this review detailing how they've fixed the shower, repaired the door and given themselves a big pat on the back. We're pretty easygoing people and I wouldn't write a negative review unless I felt really disappointed.

My wife and I stayed four nights in the goldfish bowl that is the overlander in November 2012. The little time that we did spend at Solscape during the day was mostly inside with the curtains closed as there is a total lack of privacy. This is not made apparent in the photos on their website. Unless you want folks able to see your every movement you need to book one of the more expensive lodgings. Although for what they charge, the overlander seems pretty expensive in any case.

On our first night he window in the bedroom rattled about in wind which woke us up and kept us awake until I fixed it the next day. Our shower was rubbish, it would just stop and then run cold and then run extra hot again. I can see reviews on here from two years ago saying the same thing. The lock on our front door broke the third day we were there and I had to kick the door down. We spent the rest of our stay with our front door unlocked. The service was blase, I felt like we were an inconvinience more than anything else. The complimentary coffee was about enough to put your eye.

I wouldn't recommend staying here to anyone. I can see it's for sale, I hope whoever takes it on cares more than the people who are running this currently.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank ZenithReptile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SolscapeEcoRetreat, Front Office Manager at Solscape, responded to this review, May 5, 2013
We regret to hear of your disappointment and although cannot change it now we thank you for your review and the opportunity to use your feedback to make improvements.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2013

We stayed at Skyhaven for 4 nights over New Years. With our friends staying in an earthdome and cabooses, our little place became a mecca for brunches and dinners over looking the beautiful Manu Bay.

Solscape as a whole is well kept, the gardens look (and are!) delicious, with winding paths between properties that seem to span for ages. The property is about fifteen minutes drive from the town centre.

Check-in for us was easy and straight forward (although our friends arrived at 2pm and check-in was closed, but it opened by 4pm when we arrived).

Skyhaven had enough, without being too much when it came to linen, kitchen utensils and seating. The little bit of lawn out the front was big enough to fly a kite around, the deck a great addition on a balmy summers evening to settle down with a couple of beers.

The only thing I would like to suggest is that staff pop in every few days to top up things like toilet paper, coffee and maybe a change of tea towels.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ton3s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 1, 2013

A large group of our friends stayed here over the New Year period, some in the tipis and some in the cabooses. There is an amazing view from the large front lawn and a really nice vegetarian cafe.
Apart from a little rain and some drips my friends enjoyed the tipis but the general consensus was that they would probably stay in the cabooses if they returned as they were a bit more comfortable. The facilities in the tipi area were really cool with a pizza oven and large tables where you could relax and enjoy each others company.
They try really hard to create a relaxing atmosphere and this isn't a party place even if we did push the boundaries for New Years eve.
I thoroughly recommend coming here if you want to relax.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Littlebigl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Solscape

Property: Solscape
Address: 611 Wainui Road, Raglan 3297, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Raglan
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Raglan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Solscape 2*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Diverse eco accommodations from beautifully simplistic to luxurious with options to suit all budgets - each lightening our ecological footprint. Our self-contained options offer a comfortable stay with private facilities for couples, families or small groups. For those happy to share facilities take your pick from recycled railway cabooses and earth domes or experience glamping in our Tipi Forest Retreat set in native bush. The Te Ao Whanga Eco Camp provides a limited number of tent and van sites with solar heated showers and an indoor-outdoor kitchen. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Solscape Hotel Raglan

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