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“Magical Solitude with views to die for”
Review of Bay of Many Coves

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Bay of Many Coves
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Arthurs Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 January 2017

I stayed at BOMC for two nights in a 2 bed apartment with my husband and 4 yo son. It was such a unique experience to stay in a luxury environment in such a remote part of the Sound. Elaine and Murray were simply wonderful throughout our short visit.

We arrived on a wonderfully sunny and warm day just after Christmas by private boat transfer from Picton (we joined the shared water taxi for the return trip). It was an exhilarating journey that I think any child would enjoy and my son was in awe. The journey out to Arthur's Bay is spectacular and seeing the dramatic scenery from the water is an absolute must in Queen Charlotte Sound. Then before you know it you spot BOMC built into the hillside. Like most people mentioned we had a warm welcome at the jetty from Elaine and Murray who gave us a tour of the property and showed us to our room - our little one was offered a couple of biscuits which he devoured. I loved the architectural style of the modern cabins that sit nestled in the hillside looking completely at ease in nature. The two bed, two bathroom apartment was well appointed in a clean scandi style with kitchenette and a laundry cupboard with washer and dryer. The bathrooms had huge walk in showers and there were lots of super fluffy towels. There was fresh milk and a bowl of fresh fruit provided plus further snacks and wine via the minibar. There were local touches like blankets from Stansborough, who made the cloaks in Lord of the Rings. I mention the cosy blankets as we needed them the following day when the weather significantly turned.

The driving reason for staying here is the view as far as I am concerned. I could lie back in bed and watch boats and dolphins passing, listen to bird song and completely escape. All three of us took up water watching hoping (and failing) to see an Orca but we slowly turned into bird geeks and loved watching the boats come and go.

I took part in the complimentary wine tasting session with the other guests given by Murray. He's definitely passionate about New Zealand wine and that's certainly infectious. It was a very enjoyable hour spent with a small group drinking good Sauvignon blanc and sharing NZ travel stories.

We ate (and drank) at the jetty Bight cafe, in the Foredock restaurant, breakfast in the lounge and even had room service. The Foredock restaurant has a policy that children must have dined before 7pm which I was aware of before we arrived and we actually never ate in there with our son. Instead he had room service and then we ate in the restaurant later using a listening device and popping back to the room to check on him.

Overall it's not an overly children friendly environment but you're also not made to feel unwelcome. By this I mean that you aren't going to find a playpark but in one corner of the Bight cafe there were toys. There is lots of child friendly outdoor fun though down at the beach and on some of the easier walks - base trail, loop track and to the waterfall all of which we all enjoyed. with our son we spent a lot of time looking for birds like Weka and the (smelly!) cormorants and spotting interesting bugs and plants. We would have used the pool but it was too chilly and the hot tub was broken. If we'd had another warm sunny day like the one when we arrived I think we would have gone out in the row boat too...... My son loved it though and actually cried when we left - he said he liked the room and the walk to the waterfall best. I also think he was getting quite used to being able to ask for any type of food and someone bringing it to him.

The staff throughout the resort were incredibly personable and keen to "chat" which I think makes a huge difference. Plus our son was greeted by name by pretty much all of them, and his teddy was asked after too. Small things but big impact especially since so many of the staff had only just started for the season and were only 2 weeks in. My highlights were the heavenly solitude the location afforded, the amazing view, huge comfy beds and wonderfully powerful showers.

Personally on reflection I think we should have booked 3 nights rather than 2 to have got the most out of this beautiful location. Especially as we'd had to cancel our stay in Kaikoura due to the earthquake. Another night would have meant we could have gone out to Motuara Island or a marine life cruise. We'll just have to wait till next time.

Room Tip: I think all the room look on to the Sound, but that's definitely what you're there for
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  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Peagreen98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 January 2017

My family and I stayed here in December until New Year's Day. This is an amazing place. So good, I encourage any visitors to New Zealand to consider a visit to BOMC when building an itinerary if you have time (it is a bit remote and a good stay really requires 3+ nights).

It is a 5 star resort and I feel like I should judge it accordingly. The only other resorts of comparable quality during our visit were Solitaire Lodge and Fiordland Lodge and I will note below how it compares on different fronts.

Before reviewing, I should also note that we took our young girls and I think they would tell you upfront the resort is not designed around young kids. It is important to note this as as couples experience would be much different. That said, they did a nice job being gracious about that and catering to a family's needs.

BOMC wins easily over Fiordland and Solitaire for its location. The Queen Charlotte sound is gorgeous and I cna imagine just spending days on your deck watching the activity and enjoying the sounds of the cove.

Rooms are well designed. A Scandinavian feel overall in a well built unit. Believe me - we appreciated the well built unit during the strong winds during the last night of our visit. I saw someone compare it to IKEA - yes Scandinavian, but not comparing the craftmanship. The unit connects brilliantly with the outdoors with a deck, big french doors off the main room and folding glass windows in the bedrooms. When it was all open, it was heaven. The kitchen was clean, sock and well organized. It has everything you need - except a frying pan. Included clean, well stocked bathrooms with nice towels and products.

There was a washer dryer in the unit but they encouraged us toe use the central laundry (also free). The dryer in the central laundry was much quicker. There was also a library with books and DVDs.

For food, quality is excellent and they overcome the typical shortcomings of an all inclusive (breakfast and dinner included) resort - better the Fiordland, not quite up to Solitaire.

Dining is slow. Breakfast took upwards of an hour and dinner multiples of that. In some ways, this is the right approach - it's mostly adults who have escaped from the cares of the world to this oasis. So it's not really a knock - as much as something for families to note. One last day, we ordered breakfast to our room but to avoid long waits.

One other comment on dining. We were there on New Year's Eve. They only offered 2 options for dinner - a 6pm chicken dinner (our kids don't eat chicken) or 7:30pm six course meal that went to past 10:30pm. While we made it work, it was a disappointment since they otherwise catered to your needs.

Room was stocked with fresh fruits and there were some snack and drinks in the refrigerator. I thought charging for the one beer I took from the refrigerator to be ticky tacky or having a exorbitant price tag on a bag of chips. I'd say don't stock, may prices reasonable or include in the price of the room. Fiordland offered nothing, Solitaire includes snacks and drinks in the overall cost.

Service is excellent. Natalie met our water taxi when we arrives, showed us around and worked hard to ensure we had a great stay. She is a great asset for the resort. Murray seems to really care about the resort and the resort experience. We never really had a chance to connect with him - he hosted a wine tasting our first night but missed chance to learn more about his role. The other staff really worked hard and catered to your every whim and request. One particularly nice feature was that there was no nickel and dining - our bill was what is was. While it's service was not quite a the level of Solitaire Lodge - BOMC would receive an A against any other competition I have seen and was on par if not better than the outstanding service of Fiordland. This may be a big hurdle as much of the staff we saw was transient (there for the season or a few weeks in) and upping service level may require more long term dedicated staff - maybe one member of wait staff for example.

For what its worth, the difference is Solitaire made you feel like you were a family member vs. just another guest of the resort. BOMC (or Fiordland) could never reach that level of intimacy. It's a tall order but having experienced it, I see it's value.

There was lots or nothing to do. We hiked to waterfall - less than 15 minutes, the look-out - a challenging hour hike uphill; used the kayaks to explore the cove. There was also a pool and a hot tub. There were other water activities - stand up paddle board for example - but we didn't have time to take advantage of everything. One part that was lacking was the manager acting an activity guide and taking a more active approach in making sure you took advantage of everything. Perhaps this is because so many folks just relax here (and we enjoyed that as well) but I felt like other resorts focused on guest experience a bit more. An example would be the Glow worm cave - was that a can't miss; should BOMC encourage families to visit, etc.

A few notes for families:
Unit set-up is great for families. 2nd bedroom with 2 twins has dark shades aiding putting kids to sleep during daylight and letting sleep later.

As mentioned, kitchen will cater to kid's taste in foods. As BOMC, will tell you there are a few ways for families with young children to eat dinner. (1) all eat early (before 7pm) at lodge or in room; (2) Having kids eat early and have dinner delivered to you room. Dinner generally starts around 7:30pm. (3) Having kids eat early and the eating in restaurant with other adults. We chose 3 which worked well as it's a small resort and you are only about 50 steps from your room. My wife and I alternated for the first course or two and then took turns between courses checking on kids.

Finally, was it worth the money? For us it was. Items I noted made it closer and hope BOMC can continue to improve. I would love to have BOMC within 5 hour of my house - I'd book another trip for this spring.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 602 - we photo for unit layout. 100 and 200 units seem most private and quietest
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  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank BH136
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Murray M, Owner at Bay of Many Coves, responded to this reviewResponded 22 January 2017

Thank you so much for your comprehensive review. We are constantly striving to improve and exceed guest expectations so your feedback is most welcomed. We thank you also on behalf of our friends and colleagues at Solitaire and Fiordland Lodges. We are all members of the NZ Luxury Lodge network and we aim to deliver a unique yet exceptional experience for discerning guests. We are thrilled you enjoyed your stay at these Lodges as well as our own.
In response to your points about New Year’s Eve and catering. NYE is, by its very nature, an adult event and so it becomes very challenging (for all Lodges) hosting families with very young children for this particular evening. We acknowledge our “main event” for the evening is geared towards adults but we did offer three “family friendly options” for the evening. As a reminder, here is the relevant part of the letter we popped into your room prior to NYE.

Family Friendly Options
Option One:
• Full Degustation for parents and children ( note this could be a 10.30pm finish)

Option Two:
• Full Degustation for parents
• Children’s Degustation- 4 courses (developed especially for a child’s palette) – served alongside the parents.

Option Three:
• 7 pm - dining for all the family – your choice of Pasta or Chicken and Vegetables for a main and a selection of ice creams for dessert.”

Of the other two families we had with children for NYE, one chose their children to join them for the full degustation, one chose the children’s degustation - both were delighted with their family experiences. Based on the feedback we received from all other guests we will take the same approach next NYE. Many of these guests complimented us on the incredible dining experience with a number commenting it was the “best food they had ever eaten.” That said, we take on board your feedback and will ensure we have additional food choices available for young children on NYE.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2017 via mobile

Whenever we mentioned where we were going to be staying in the Marlborough Sounds to New Zealander's we met on our travels they were impressed so we were very much looking forward to three days of rest and relaxation in the middle of our trip.
We arrived on the water taxi from Picton and were met at the jetty by Natalie,the owner Murray and staff who took our bags.
From that first moment we realised we had come to somewhere special and isolated...no other restaurants ,other than the hotel's , no shops, and only the noise of birds, boats and the occasional helicopter ferrying people in and out.
Our room, like all others, had the most spectacular view, with windows you could fling wide open and a balcony. The bathroom was nice with a walk in shower ,the bed was extremely comfortable, enough cupboard space and a separate lounge with two couches,TV kitchen area which had a fridge tea and coffee making facilities, and some cooking facilities. There was also a bowl of fresh fruit. Wine to buy at a reasonable price in the room was also available.
They are very environmentally conscious so when a fly was buzzing around annoyingly refusing to leave and we asked for fly spray we were told to leave the window open and it would eventually leave...it did!
It was a very peaceful environment, except for the helicopters landing and taking off and the only other method of transport was by boat or foot.
The staff are absolutely delightful and helpful. There had recently been a changeover so I think some staff were not fully trained but they always did their best with a smile on their faces.
Natalie and the owners Murray and Elaine were extremely helpful and were always gentle to ensure even if you were stressed over something it was sorted.it was as if you were part of their family while you were staying at their place.
We were lucky in that the weather was kind to us so we spent most of our couple of days relaxing by the pool ,which was a bit cold to swim in, in the hot tub,or down at the cafe at the waterside. When it got a bit chilly from the wind there were lovely cosy blankets to wrap around yourself.
There were various walks and before breakfast we did the peanut slab challenge..so called because when you reached the lookout point after a tough uphill climb for around 50 minutes you were rewarded not only with a gorgeous view but with a chocolate peanut bar for energy.
If you were not so energetic then there were other shorter and less strenuous walks.
Food was excellent although there were some inconsistencies.
Breakfast had huge choices and we made he most of them all with smoothies, toasted granola,fruit, yoghurt, porridge freshly made, perfect poached eggs with smoked salmon and avocado, pancakes, nutribullet recipes...over the three mornings.
There were home made biscuits and fresh fruit in the guests lounge complimentary and 22 choices of different teas, which we were given the impression were included in the complimentary offerings but were not.
Lunch could be taken by the jetty but all we could manage was an ice cream and glass of their very excellent Sauvignon blanc. But we spent some time down there chatting to boat owners who had stopped by for lunch.
Dinner was in the restaurant with the beautiful view and they made sure that everyone had a turn being by the window. There you had a choice of the a la carte special menu or the casual menu.
On one night we had the special menu which was fine dining and delicious with perfectly cooked waygu steak and short rib. We wanted some potatoes with it and so as an extra we had fries which were worth the calories.
The second and third nights we opted for the casual menu. There were inconsistencies in the dishes...we ordered goats cheese salad and got a big plate with iceberg lettuce which was plenty for two people. The following night we ordered it again and it came with different lettuce and was half the size with a glaze over it which hadnt appeared the night before.
The burger we had one night and the fish the following night were delicious as was all the food.
On the first night we ordered a bottle of red wine and a glass of white and as we didn't finish the bottle we could have it the second night too and it was stored in a room temperature fridge.
Murray the owner did a wine tasting of Sauvignon blanc which was very informative one early evening and gave us an understanding of this particular wine and how it shouldn't be served very cold as it spoils the flavour.
There is also a free guest laundry , a library for books and dvds, and games for a rainy day and free wifi.
We noticed all the personal touches like the turn down service not being done until you had gone for dinner. As it is such a small place the staff knew what time you were having dinner and didn't disturb you.
It was also the type of place where you could chat to fellow guests or be antisocial...we had some lovely interesting chats with fellow guests.
The only thing that bugged us was that at the end of dinner they didn't give us a bill to sign, even though we asked. For my accountant husband that was against everything he knows and expects and it did lead to some mistakes at the end to the bill,mainly because of the price differential between items on the casual menu and the fine dining one . We also thought the water,both sparkling and still, on offer as soon as we walked into the dining room was included as there was no price for it on the menu but the sparkling certainly wasn't. To some this may seem petty but to an accountant these things are part of his nature. Again the mistakes were sorted out in a very pleasant way.
We had a relaxing stay in what is a very special place. We were lucky to have some good weather otherwise I'm not sure what we could have done if it had been raining and cold.
I can see why those New Zealanders we met were impressed with our choice. We consider ourselves lucky to have been able to experience the BOMC.
Thanks to all for giving us a relaxing three nights and days.

Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank debbiebreslaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2017 via mobile

This boutique hotel is built into the hillside in one of the bays in Marlborough Sound, or more specifically, Queen Charlotte Sound. We arrived via a boat from Picton (about 25 min). En route, you see the grand scale of the Sound with the lush green hills and mountains and the many bays. As you approach the hotel, you can tell the hotel integrates itself into nature and has a true appreciation for preserving it as much as possible. It almost looks like it organically grew into place there, neatly fitting into the rocks, trees, bushes, and flowers.

We were welcomed on the dock by Murray and our luggages were brought up from the boat to our apartment. We were given a tour of the place - including the different eating places, the trail path up to the Queen Charlotte track, laundry, and pool and hot tub. We were then taken to the apartment, which had floor to ceiling windows and a balcony looking out to Queen Charlotte Sound. It was so breathtaking and serene! The apartment was very comfortable and I loved how the furniture was set up to enjoy the view.

I heavily appreciated the included laundry services (they have detergent packages) and the sink with a brush where my husband and I could scrub our hiking boots and clean our hiking clothes. The laundry was a short outdoor walk from our apartment. They also have drying racks which you can take back to your apartment to air dry clothes.

The food overall was really great. I enjoyed the green lipped mussels (only found in New Zealand from what a tour guide told me), gnocchi, and the lamb.

The hot tub was great! My husband and I sat in it for about 20 min while it was lightly raining and cold outside. The pool and hot tub area also had a beautiful view of the bay.

If I had more time there, I would have loved to walk up the trail to the Queen Charlotte track and see the scenery from the top. It was raining the day we arrived and were told it was probably too slippery for us to walk it. The next day, we did part of the Queen Charlotte hike from Ship Cove to Furneaux Lodge, so we were pretty tired by the time we returned. Would have liked to see the glow worms as well, but we didn't make it to that either.

Highly recommend this place as a stay in Marlborough Sounds. It's incredibly relaxing and such a gem!

Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank kwc15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2016 via mobile

We did stay for 2 nights after Christmas, the views are amazing and very tranquil but this does not relate to value for money.
Breakfast & dinner on our rate we're extra.
Staff very friendly and mainly consisted of many young people, many appear to of only been there for a few weeks

Unfortunately there were many inconsistencies in service
2 of dinners incomplete with key ingredients missing - staff seemed unsure of what should be on plate. Offered breads & olives one night but not other. Also not given casual menu only on request just offered a la carts menu. One night given list of specials but not other

Rooms good, but furniture in rooms bit like IKEA. Not sure what you could could cook in kitchenette with one small pan & microwave. If you are visiting you may wish to bring microwave meals if you don't wish to eat in hotel restaurant!! You get milk in room for tea / coffee selection, we were also promised chefs ganache- but the bowl remained empty for the 2 days.

Hot tub was not working, but we were told pool heated to 24 degrees- it was freezing

Walking tracks, paddle boards & kayaks available free for hotel guests

Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank The_hammonds_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bay of Many Coves

Address: Queen Charlotte Sound | Private Bag 382, Arthurs Bay 7250, New Zealand
Phone Number:
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Marlborough Region > Arthurs Bay
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Arthurs Bay
Price Range: S$693 - S$2,478 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Bay of Many Coves 5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just a short water taxi ride from Picton Harbour, and within easy reach of all major New Zealand airports, you’ll find a slice of pure paradise.At Bay of Many Coves, we will make you feel right at home in the tranquil Marlborough Sounds. You’ll find a world of adventure waiting right at the end of our private jetty and in the bush-clad hills all around. Or you may simply want to relax within our luxury facilities and beautiful surroundings. So pure, so natural, so full of new experiences: at Bay of Many Coves, luxury has found a new expression. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bay Of Many Coves Hotel Picton

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