Rate or nah – Part 1 of 2
As you may know, last December/January I travelled through New Zealand with my mom. We had an amazing time and I still have heaps of travels stories and photos to share. For this blog post, I thought it’d be a cool idea to review all the hostels that we stayed at during this trip (due to length, cut in two parts). Of course everyone is different and will have their own experiences and their own opinions on things, so please bare in mind that this is what we did and didn’t like about the places we stayed at.
1. Grand Central Services Apartments
- URL: https://grand-central-serviced-apartments.business.site/
- Address: 26 Te Taou Cres, Auckland, 1010
- Length of stay: 1 night
- Cost for two people: NZD 150,- (en suite room)
- Reason for choosing: convenient location close to Jucy Rentals, where we would pick up our rental car the next day. We just needed a place to crash and to sleep off our jetlags.
- Our experience: the accommodation is located in the old railway station. I thought that was a nice touch and the building itself was quite nice. I hadn’t realised there were people living in the building as well, so that was a bit unexpected. The area felt a bit shabby to me and I didn’t feel hugely comfortable. The staff at reception was friendly enough. The room itself was ok, it just smelled weird and it was super hot inside. The biggest plus of the room was the bathroom, which was modern and clean.
- Rate or nah: nah. I don’t see myself staying here again. If I go back to Auckland, I’ll dish out some more money to stay at a nice hotel (or a hopefully really nice hostel).
2. Tatahi Lodge
- URL: https://www.tatahilodge.co.nz/
- Address: 9 Grange Rd, Hahei Beach 3591
- Length of stay: 3 nights
- Cost for two people: NZD 258,-
- Reason for choosing: I’d never been to the Coromandel but was very keen to, so we decided to spend a few days there. We decided on Hahei because it was close to Cathedral Cove. We chose Tatahi Lodge because of the location and the high BPP rating on the BBH website (last time I checked: 88%).
- Our experience: we loved it! The place was cozy, clean and well equipped (kitchen, games, places to sit), the managers were friendly, helpful, hard working and totally on top of things. Our room was clean and comfortable. Ticks all the boxes!
- Rate or nah: rate! This is a great place to stay if you are in Hahei and we would absolutely stay again.
3. Rotorua Central Backpackers
- URL: http://www.rotoruacentralbackpackers.co.nz/
- Address: 1076 Pukuatua St Rotorua 3010
- Length of stay: 3 nights
- Cost for two people: NZD 174,-
- Reason for choosing: I wanted to stay in another hostel than before, just to change things up and to be in a different part of town (in retrospect, I think Funky Green Voyager is still the better option). The BPP rating was good (82%), the location was good and they offered off-street parking.
- Our experience: the off-street parking is very limited and as there was no space for our car, we still had to park on the street. The room was small, and very warm, and the beds were too soft. Facilities were ok, but a bit unimaginative and the kitchen was too small. I think the place could use some sprucing up. The manager came across as rather deflated and ‘over it’, which was not very motivating for us.
- Rate or nah: nah. In our experience, this hostel seems to be frequented by young backpackers, who may not have had a lot of experience with hostels and don’t set the bar that high. For a seasoned traveller like myself (and who isn’t 18 anymore), this place is a pass.
4. Moana Lodge
- URL: http://www.moana-lodge-accommodation.co.nz/
- Address: 49 Moana Road, Plimmerton, Porirua 5026
- Length of stay: 2 nigths
- Cost for two people: NZD 196,-
- Reason for choosing: I’d heard great things about this place and it has a BPP rating of 91%, so I was already keen on staying here, but never got around to it on previous travels to New Zealand. And now that we had a car, it would be easy to get to! I also didn’t want to stay in a hostel in Wellington, because my previous experiences weren’t great (Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers and Rosemere’s Backpackers *shudder*). I also wasn’t keen on driving in Wellington. Plimmerton is close enough so we just took a train to Wellington and had no hassle at all!
- Our experience: we loved it a lot! We had a room in the front of the building with beautiful views over the water! We could hear the waves coming in and it was the most soothing sound to fall asleep to. The beds were comfortable (great mattresses!), facilities clean, and the living room had plenty of space to sit and relax. The kitchen was clean and well equipped. The owner (with navy background) runs the hostel like a smooth operation, and the WWOOF’ers working there were friendly and helpful. In the evening we would take a stroll along the water’s edge and were treated to the most beautiful sunset! The only thing that bugged me a bit is that early in the morning the music went on and stayed on all day, but it wasn’t something worth complaining about.
- Rate or nah: rate! Beautiful place in a beautiful location with an owner taking good care of the place. Would love to stay here again.
5. Almond House
- URL: https://www.almondbackpackers.co.nz/
- Address: 63 Grove St, The Wood, Nelson 7010
- Length of stay: 4 nights
- Cost for two people: NZD 312,-
- Reason for choosing: I’ve been to Nelson quite a few times and stayed at different hostels. This place was recommended to me by fellow travellers a few years ago.
- Our experience: I think this one is a bit of a mixed bag. The fellow travellers who had recommended the place to me had stayed at Almond House when the previous owners still ran the place. The current owners had taken over the hostel only a year before mom and I stayed there. The owners also own ‘The Bug’, another hostel in Nelson. We didn’t see the owners until Christmas and didn’t see them much after either. It seems they had their hands a little too full. They weren’t unfriendly in any way, just not present (enough), in my opinion. What we liked about the hostel was that the facilities were quite good, the room comfortable enough. We stayed for Christmas and we had a great time baking pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven! We brought our own toppings, the owners provided the pizza dough and helped with the pizza oven. What we didn’t like about the hostel was that the WWOOF’ers were inaccessible people and had pretty much hogged the living room. They were always there and it felt like we were intruding, instead of us feeling comfortable to roam around and share the space. The hostel was pretty much run by them, and they clearly weren’t on top of everything. So that was a bit awkward and I feel that this could be the downfall of the hostel (unless the people it attracts like it that way). The advertised free bread was past use by date and/or had mold on it. Every time.
- Rate or nah: I’d say nah. The hostel has a lot of potential. I’m just not sure which direction the owners are taking the hostel in and while it could be absolutely fantastic, I don’t think it’s for me. BPP ratings were quite good (over 80%), but they’re no longer part of the BBH network. I’d honestly rather go back to Tramper’s Rest, which is still the highest rated BBH hostel in Nelson.