Sunday, July 13, 2014

At the Holiday Inn

So Holiday Inn Rotorua offered our lucky, lucky family complimentary rooms in their hotel, and this is our personal account of all they had on offer.  We went with the intention of feeling out how well they catered to families with young children, and so I will focus on the salient info that I think will most help a traveling family decide if this is the place for them.  Sidenote: after writing, editing, linking and preparing this post for publication, my *beloved* computer crashed and lost my. entire. post.  :-D  So much funs!  Here we go with #2.

1. Eleanor takes imperatives very seriously, with some Suess-esque artwork.  2. Our geothermal view.   3. Hotel essentials.  4. Eleanor's suite.  5. Breakfast buffet.

The Rooms:  The minute we entered our hotel suite, we were greeted with warmth, comfort, and ample space for our kiddos to *ahem* relax in.  The decor was tasteful, simple and our rooms featured a geothermal view that was such a novelty for us!  Rotorua is really a whole other world with all it's geothermal activity and whatnot, and the view provided an immediate connection to a pretty special environment.  

Our rooms were kitted out with every packaged essential you could ask for, from the typical soaps and shower potions, to dental sets, shaving kits and even shoe mitts, because... erm... I'm not exactly sure what a shoe mitt is for, actually.  But hey, anyway!  We were also provided with complimentary kid packs that comprised of stickers, colouring pencils and a variety of paper activities to keep them busy.  Little touches like this, appreciated.

The interconnecting room was a life-saver, actually.  Eleanor claimed it immediately, asking "can we live here for all times?" and spending the next two hours singing whilst running in and out of 'her' room  showing me the things that had been left there for her - pens, pads, hotel booklets etc.  Hehe!  Spot the country kid.  And the garnish to her happiness-dessert?  Two complimentary Disney channels for her to (parents permitting) indulge in.  

1. The pool!  Amaze!  2. Kuirau Park.  3. Gym entrance.  4. A little quiet spot.  5 & 6. Kuirau Park.  7. Dessert buffet. 

The Facilities:  Holiday Inn Rotorua has a whole bunch of useful facilities, a full list of which you can find here.  We didn't have a chance to try them all, but they have put a lot of considered thought into what might be most helpful to guests, taking a lot of stress out of holiday planning.  

Our personal favourites were the geothermally heated hot pool and spas where we spent the majority of our hotel minutes.  We even enjoyed a rainy swim, which is better than any spa treatment I can think of.  Tha. Best.  I managed to sneak away and utilise the 24hour gym too, while the fam had a late evening bathe, and found that my view overlooked the pool. "Hi Family! Yep, Garly, I see you trying to steal that kid's toy."  Both facilities were well kitted with towels and icy water, and as a bonus were conveniently close to our rooms.  

1. Kid packs.  2. Kuirau Park.  3. Dessert buffet.  4. Cute lobby art.  5. Girl at breakfast.  6. Seafood buffet.  7.  Kuirau Park.  8. Hotel lobby.  9. Kuirau Park.

The Food:  We sampled both the breakfast buffet and dinner buffet at Chapman's Restaurant, and were really happy with both.  They have a la carte options, too, if that's something you would prefer.  The breakfast selection was extensive, all the expected foods along with extra treats such as pancakes (so many toppings!) and DIY smoothies.  So naturally my kids opted for Ricies ;-).  I was pretty pleased to discover their full range of coffee options too, breakfast was just happiness all round. 

Chapman's Restaurant offers a pretty insane seafood buffet at dinner.  Oysters, in the shell!  They were legit, and I ate quite a few :-).  We are pretty maniacal about seafood, so this whole scenario played out like the very best of food fantasies, and only Garland, intent upon the dessert spread, wasn't completely absorbed with eating alllll the seafood.  We barely had room for dessert (but you know, we took one for the team), and certainly didn't have room to sample the variety of roast vegetables, meats and other delicious dishes, but I made a point of walking down the table and peering at all the options, so that I knew exactly what I was missing out on.  I'm really kind to myself, like that.

1. Breakfast buffet.  2. Hallway games.  3. Dessert buffet.  4. Parental suite.  5. Seafood buffet.  6. Hotel lobby

The Service: I think the staff at Holiday Inn might be the loveliest on earth.  They were immediately friendly, welcoming and incredibly helpful, providing maps, information, and consistently going the extra mile to make our stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible (without any knowledge of this review, I might add).   Everything had been thought of, every comfort, need pre-empted. They were quick to point out that free internet came with (also free) IHG Rewards Club membership (um, AWESOME!  Hotel internet is not usually cheap!), and greeted us at every point with smile, a friendly word, and sometimes even a chat.  Honestly, this doesn't happen everywhere, and I think this is a real credit to Holiday Inn Rotorua.

1.  Spirited two-year-old + hotel lobby.  2. dessert buffet.  3. More feather art.  4. Kuirau Park.

For Families:  Holiday Inn definitely felt family-oriented, providing a number of services aimed to make guests feel comfortable, relaxed and secure.  They have a 'kids stay and eat free' policy, which is such a plus for families traveling on a tight budget, and have early start times for their dinner buffet, specifically for young families.  Our kids were so happy and at home that Eleanor stated on multiple occasions, "I don't want to leave this place.  I wish we could stay here." 'Nuff said, really.

1. Seafood buffet.  2. Freebies (they're always fun). 3. Kuirau Park.  4. Dessert buffet. 5.  Heading 'home' to our hotel suite.

Overall this was such a memorable trip for our family, a welcome respite from some miserable weather, and an exhausting school term.  We topped our trip off by visiting some of our favourite spots in Rotorua, including Kuirau Park and Lake Rotorua itself.  Time and weather permitting, we would have visited even more of Rotorua's incredible selection of tourist destinations, but for this visit it was enough  to relax in these hotel spaces, that felt a little like a (nicer, drier) home away from home.


  1. Sounds wonderful! Garland has grown up so much

  2. This post comes at the perfect time- just yesterday I decided it would be great to go on our next family holiday to Rotorua after I was scrapbooking a page of when I went there as a child and my eldest was asking me questions. So thanks for the heads up on what looks like the perfect place to stay! Kids Stay and Eat free looks like a definite bonus.

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing time! We just got back from a short holiday in Rotorua - though our shoe-string budget only stretched to a glorified bedroom in a holiday park (the 2am toilet trip was Not Fun) - the Holiday Inn sounds like paradise! So glad you had a bit of a luxury break from the craziness that is the far North right now! xx