We wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing and were tossing between The Park and another provider. The Park's package was cheaper but the other provider had a much earlier shuttle. We emailed The Park re shuttle times and were told that the manager had said they could organise a 6.30am shuttle for us no problems (theirs goes at 7.30am, which is way late unless you like going at snail pace because of the crowds ahead of you). So with the promise of a 6.30am shuttle, we booked (and paid unfortunately).
When we arrived, we received a very lukewarm welcome from the receptionist (you know, the kind who won't even hide that she doesn't give a toss about you). When we asked for the 6.30am shuttle, we were told that no, they don't do that, the person who told us that did not work there any more and there was nothing they would do about it. Another receptionist came who was friendlier but made it clear she didn't care about the whole situation. And then she said "It doesn't matter anyway because the Crossing will most likely be cancelled tomorrow because of the bad weather". Actually, it did matter a LOT to us, because if we hadn't been lied to, we wouldn't have booked there in the first place. When I booked, I put a note in the comment box about wanting the 6.30am shuttle, so they had plenty of time (I booked back in August) to ring us and tell us it wasn't possible IF they cared. We felt we had been lied to so we would book (and hand our money over upfront) but they knew all along they would never keep their promise. If you have any special requirements, be aware that they are unlikely to be fulfilled even if you have it on an email from them.
Disappointingly (and unlike other providers), there is no refund or alternative offered when the Crossing is cancelled. So read the T&Cs very carefully. If it's cheap, you'll get cheap service. We asked if they could drop us off at the Old Coach Road instead, but they refused. Given that they'd got our booking through false promises, you'd think they would at least try to make up for it and do a small gesture to keep us happy-ish.
Our room was dismal: tiny and badly designed. The only window in the bedroom faces onto the covered walkway, so everyone who walks past can see into your room. If you want privacy, you have to pull down the blinds, which plunges you into darkness. There are two inadequate ceiling lights and a number of fluorescent tubes on the walls, which make you feel like you are in a supermarket or an office. Not very cosy. The TV is on the wall opposite the bed but to the side, so you end up with a crick in your neck by the end of a movie. The furniture is tatty (I think even the Sallies would reject it) and recycled from the office. The only bedside table still had labels on it that read "cleaning supplies" and "lost and found". As mentioned, the room had only one bedside table for a double bed and no bedside lamp at all. If we wanted to read in bed, we had to turn on the fluorescent lights on the opposite wall. This made it impossible for one person to read and the other to sleep, as it was way too bright. Not to mention that you had to get in and out of bed every time you wanted to turn the lights on and off. Apart from the bedside table, there was no other table or desk to put things on, so not a very practical room. Whoever designed it, should be fired. The bathroom was adequate although tiny (you couldn't do a star jump in there without maiming yourself). Because the window leads onto the walkway, you cannot sleep with the window open as it wouldn't be safe. Our first night was very hot and uncomfortable because of this. We had the bathroom window fully open but that didn't provide much in terms of air flow. The partition walls are incredibly thin and you can hear everything in the rooms next to and above you. The floorboards creak awfully, so every time the people above us moved about in their room, it made a hell of a racket for us.
The spa was filthy. It was full of leaves and bits of blue foam from the cover floating on the surface and sitting at the bottom. Clearly, it hadn't been cleaned for a long time. Again, we felt we were promised something that was not supplied.
The breakfast and packed lunch were good. We didn't have any other meals at The Spiral as we were loath to spend another dollar in that place. I think the worst in all of this for us was that we were never give an apology for being misled. The old "this person doesn't work here any more" has got to be the worst cop-out in terms of customer service. Needless to say, we will never return to The Park. We finally did the Tongariro Crossing yesterday and stayed at our first choice of accommodation and we had an absolutely fantastic time. Good to see customer service still does mean something to some.
All in all, it was dreadful customer service, poor facilities and dismal value for money,
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Your place to stay and gateway to all Tongariro National Park adventures and the outstanding Whakapapa, Happy Valley and Turoa snow resorts. The hotel enjoys stunning views of Mounts Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe — perhaps better known as Mt Doom in The Lord of the Rings. We are the only genuine 3 star hotel in the region and our restaurant has the most extensive menu. We offer a quality mix of Queen, Twin and Family Mezzanine rooms for your comfort. We provide a friendly, relaxed environment for you to stay after your day’s activities. Whether you’ve walked the Tongariro Crossing, skied, snowboarded or ventured onto a mountain bike trail — our outdoor hot tubs are waiting to soothe you on your return. Then treat yourself to a drink or two in front of our inviting log fire before dinner at The Spiral, our cosy Aspen lodge style restaurant. Conference, team building, special interest group & wedding facilities are also available at our Tongariro National Park hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Park Travellers Hotel National Park Village