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Reviewed 8 October 2009

The Treetops Lodge completely lived up to the descriptions other travelers had provided on this website and in guide books I had read. There aren't enough superlatives I could use to describe the warmth of the greeting we received, the magnificence of the architecturally beautiful modern wooden lodge decorated with local Maori carvings, the large and oh-so comfortable villas with every possible amenity, including a golf cart to drive ourselves to the lodge, the made-to-order meals (breakfast and dinner) that came with our package rate...and the list goes on. The drive from Rotorua is probably about 45 min (half of that one the Treetops property!) so I would recommend just staying put on the property and enjoying relaxing or hiking rather than running off into town, as we made the mistake of doing. Although it is a very expensive place to stay, Treetops is well-worth the splurge!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Lovetravel1883
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2009

We stayed at the Treetops in a forest view villa for 3 days in July. Overall, we would highly recommend Treetops for its large eco-reserve, the cozy accommodation and, above all, the highly personal service.

Positives

The service. Service was attentive, personal and friendly. We were greeted by name by many of the staff. Everyone at Treetops: owner John, General Manager Heiko, Graham (sp?) and Collette at the dining hall, Paul the walking trail guide etc acted like “hosts” in its best and most traditional sense, and treated us as friends and family more so as “customers.” It was very different from the kind of service that one gets at luxury hotels, which is attentive all the same but typically formal, and you know you’re getting the service because you paid for it and it’s a commercial relationship. Here at Treetops, many of the staff are passionate about the estate, they genuinely want you to have a good time, and they want to get to know you as people. We heard stories of someone in a wheelchair being _carried_ up a walking trail so that he can enjoy the reserve and be with family. Yes, I know the price at Treetops is very expensive, but paradoxically I also feel that we have been serviced in a way that money can’t buy.

The reserve. We only had two full days and took things slow, so we only went on the Maori food trail and did a walk up to the Bridal Veil Falls. There’s however lots to do onsite; there’s I think 70km worth of walking trail, clay shooting, horseback riding, archery amongst other things. If you are the active type, there is no way you would run out of things to do here.

The cozy accommodations. We stayed at a forest view villa, which was basically an open studio type place with the bedroom area connected to a living area. There was a lovely fireplace which we lighted, as we stayed during the winter. The back of the villa opened up to a small garden with a view of the forest; we could smell the forest and hear the trees creak in the wind. The bathroom had a large stand-in shower (two separate shower heads) and a jacuzzi bathtub. The interiors of the villa and of the lodge had a feeling of home and quite befit the eco reserve theme / setting. We had no issues with cleanliness. The villa was not huge by any means, and it’s not what I would consider ultra luxurious, but it was definitely very comfortable to stay in.


Issues

To emphasize upfront, on balance, we would recommend the estate as a wonderful experience without hesitation. However, for completeness and objectivity, I include a couple of issues for your consideration.

The food. As a disclaimer, we are very, very, very picky about food, so do please take our comment with a grain of salt (pun intended). We did not have any disasters with the dinners that were included with the stay, but at the same time we didn’t feel they were anything special either. The dishes sounded interesting on paper, but the execution was off. Examples of appetizers: various types of cream soups (quite generic); duck confit (tasted rather “canned”); soft shell crab tempura (most definitely was not tempura batter and the seasoning was quite off). For the main courses, we had a range of fish, poultry, venison and lamb dishes, and they were all rather overdone with the exception of one lamb dish during the first night of our stay, which was juicy and tender with fragrant and elegant seasoning as it should be.

The forced congeniality. This is perhaps a function of personal preference more than anything else, but I am trying to escape from people like casual acquaintances and clients while on holiday, not to meet more. Yes, you don’t have to go to the pre-dinner drinks, and yes, you can request separate tables rather than being seated with everyone at the large dining table (subject to availability – I have a feeling they may not necessarily be able to accommodate at peak season). All the same, there’s a feeling of trying to be one big happy family with people you don’t know, and that may or may not work for everyone.

Internet connectivity. There's no wifi access in the villa (and no LAN either, AFAIK). Phone and blackberry connections are extremely poor, in fact BB doesn't seem to work at all. Look, I know it's the concept of the lodge for people to relax etc and I have a certain level of respect for that, but in this day and age, to deny people of connectivity is a rather big inconvenience.

Recommendation

All in all, again we would definitely recommend Treetops. The estate offers loads to do, the service is great, and the villas comfortable to stay in after a day of outdoor adventure. To do the property justice, try to stay at least a couple of full days if you can. Chat up John or Heiko – both are amazing people.

Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
3  Thank gutguido
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2009

This is a long overdue follow-up to our original review (see below).

I wanted to acknowledge the excellent follow-up to the review by the manager - Heiko Kaiser. Heiko was very disturbed to read of our experince, and did everything he could to take on board our comments. We were offered a refund, and have been invited back to stay on our next trip to NZ. We definitely will give Treetops another go.

Original Review

We’ve thought long and hard about what to write in this review. Previous reviews have been glowing. Unfortunately, however much we didn’t want it to be, our experience was not good.

Treetops is internationally renowned, and was planned as one of the accommodation highlights of our recent NZ trip. We were therefore really looking forward to our stay.

Things started off well. The directions to the property are accurate, and the entrance promising. We were buzzed in remotely, and directed to take the “adventurous” route to the main building as we were in a 4x4 vehicle. The drive through the native rainforest is nothing less than spectacular.

The main building & reception lodge is lovely. Beautiful setting, and very creative use of architecture & design to “bring the outdoors indoors”. Very large public areas, and lots of things to keep guests busy. We were met at the car with umbrellas to keep us dry during the short walk into the lodge, and were efficiently shown around. So far we were happy.

We were taken back to our car and led to our villa (about 0.5km away) by a member of staff. The drive there was also through dense rainforest – lovely. The villa was a disappointment though. Considering the size of the estate, we were surprised that the villas are semi-detached. We were given the villa right next to the service road even though there was only one other guest on the property. This meant that the serenity was broken by staff and delivery vehicles early in the morning and late at night.

The villa itself was well laid out – separate living room and bedroom, with huge natural stone bathroom. Very nice complimentary toiletries. Great valley views through enormous plate glass windows. Very large sofa, armchair and bed, with a separate dressing area. Cleanliness was patchy though. When we arrived, the staff member took our luggage through to the bedroom, trailing mud and grass along the carpet in the living room. This was still there when we left two days later. Bathroom was generally wiped down, but definitely not thoroughly cleaned each day. At the high daily rates charged, refreshments really could be complimentary.

We used the individual golf buggy to go to dinner both evenings. On the first evening we had a table to ourselves, and were well entertained along with pre-dinner drinks and canapés. The main meal was awful. We had read about the great food at Treetops, so were expecting something very special. We didn’t even get something mediocre. The main course (fish) and dessert were like school dinner fare, and gave my partner a mild bout of food poisoning. The next day the meal was marginally better, but still nothing special at all. There were more guests on the second night, and we were all seated together at the one end of a large table. We had expected that guests would be given a choice, and didn’t like the “forced” congeniality. Neither did the others it seemed, as we all went back to our rooms straight after dessert.
Breakfast on the last day was fantastic. I was puzzled as to how the meal standards could be so different, until it turned out the head chef had arrived back at Treetops after being away for a few days. So had the general manager.
We wrote to the owner a number of times when we got back home, but to date (three months later) have had no response.

The estate itself is wonderful. Beautiful natural setting, and (apart from the semi-detached villas & communal dinners) mostly very private. It is well worth going on one of the many nature trails. We walked to the Bridal Veil Falls – stunningly gorgeous.

Service was patchy. The skeletal staff running the estate when we were there (e.g. only two on duty our first night, including the cook) were friendly and tried very hard. They were inexperienced though, and shouldn’t have been left alone like that. We paid a lot to stay there, and expected service to match.

The overall experience was distinctly mediocre – severely let down by the low standard of meals & cleanliness. We couldn’t help but note from other reviews that things should have been better. Properties of Treetops’ calibre have no excuse for not offering consistent service. We stayed at a variety of luxury places in NZ, and this was the only disappointment. Otahuna Lodge, Eagles Nest and Delamore Lodge were far superior.

Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
3  Thank SussexCpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2009

We stayed at Treetops in February at the end of our honeymoon trip around New Zealand and absolutely loved it. The service was incredible and so personal - every need was met. Heiko and his staff were always on hand to answer our questions, offer suggestions and generally take care of us.

We were upgraded from a lodge room to a villa as a honeymoon gift from Treetops. The villa was lovely with one of the biggest hotel bathrooms I've ever seen, complete with spa bath and two showers. While it is a shame that the villas are semi-detached, we barely noticed the guests in the villa next door and the villa's little garden seemed fairly private.

The estate itself is just beautiful and best seen, in our opinion, on horseback, accompanied by Treetops' resident guide. Our horseback ride was one of the highlights of our stay at Treetops - so peaceful and a great way to see the beautiful wildlife and scenery on the estate. Another highlight was the Maori food trail. Treetops' resident Maori chef took us on a private tour of the grounds and then cooked us a delicious Maori lunch by the beautiful waterfalls.

Our meals at treetops were also very memorable. On the first night we sat at "chef's table" and were able to interact with the chef and ask questions while he cooked. On the second night we had a private dinner in the library for just the two of us, which was equally lovely. The food both evenings was fantastic, as were the breakfasts.

All in all our stay at Treetops was perfect, we only wished that we could have stayed for longer (the one drawback of treetops is that it is very expensive).

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Kitpup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2009

We stayed at Treetops Lodge for one night in mid-June 2009. I had booked the stay as a surprise for my girlfriend's birthday.

What can I say? The stay was perfect from start to finish, and we could not have wished for a better trip!

The service was spot on, discreet yet warm and welcoming, and very helpful. We were greeted at the door by Heiko, and shown around the main lodge. I had advised the hotel that this was a special occasion and they did not disappoint. A large box of chocolates was waiting for us in our villa, and we were set up in the library for a private dinner in the evening. Our car was valet parked, and all our belonging unpacked with discretion and very neatly - really made checking in a breeze!

The room exceeded expectations. We stayed in a villa 500m from the main building. This came complete with its own golf buggy to ferry ourselves around the property. The villa was large, complete with living room with a lovely real fire, large bedroom and huge bathroom, including a spa-pool. Extremely clean and welcoming - we even had use of Treetops rain coats, torches and umbrellas for exploring the grounds.

The food was simply superb - freshly made from local ingredients. We had a private dinner in the Library, which is a great, cosy setting. The chefs came in to talk us through the food we were eating, which we enjoyed. Breakfast was equally satisfying, our hot meals being cooked right in front of us.

As for the setting, Treetops is surrounded by a huge woodland, with some excellent walking tracks. We hiked up to the bridal veil falls, which was an enjoyable 1.5 hours return, and got to see some of the deer, water buffalo and had a chat with the friendly horses to boot. The hotel is also situated reasonably close to Rotorua or Taupo - we managed to fit in Wai-o-tapu thermal park and drive back to Auckland in an afternoon.

Overall I cannot think of an improvement to Treetops, and would highly recommend this hotel - a must if you are visiting nearby Rotorua or Taupo!

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ClarenceMicklel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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