Val, Dale and Chris Martini, Las Vegas, USA. 12 day self drive tour, South Island, November 2008
I will try and keep this fairly short but just want to let you know about all the positives from our trip last month. Our 1st 2 nights at the Crowne Plaza were fabulous. The rooms, staff and breakfast buffet were A++++. I have to rate this breakfast buffet the best of them all! We ate all other meals in town so did not try their in-house restaurants. Our stay at the Hermitage Hotel at Mt Cook was good but we had an unusually long dinner wait. I mentioned this to the receptionist but never received an explanation as to why such a long wait. The chalets were clean and tidy and the staff very accommodating. The Luxmore Hotel in Te Anau was incredible. We had the triple room which was perfect for the 3 of us. The breakfast buffet was nice but not as good as the other hotels. The staff, location and cleanliness were superb and I would highly recommend this hotel. As Claire recommended the Doubtful Sound Cruise, we were glad she did. Real Journeys did a fine job and had a friendly and knowledgeable staff. We did Milford Sound the very next day on our own and it was awesome due to the heavy rainfall which provided hundreds of waterfalls (more than normal). I preferred Doubtful Sound due to the remoteness but Milford Sound was worth seeing as well. The Millennium Hotel in Queenstown was super too but they had us booked for November 2009 but they said it was a computer error and upgraded us. Bella assisted us with our tour plans and couldn't possibly do more. Great location but a definite climb up the hill back from town. Our stay at the Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat was phenomenal (except for the cancellation of our heli- hike). Loved everything about this accommodation but it was a good few minutes out of town. Pleasant staff, very very clean and my 2nd favorite breakfast. The staff here was more than accommodating in every regard and thanks to the wonderful staff , they located a camera lens that we left behind and notified Fine Tours New Zealand. This gesture could happen in the US but I just don't think it would be likely. The car rental company was A+ and the cell phone was useful in calling hotels for late arrival. But best of all, thanks to the staff at Finetours for making our holiday a memorable one! We will have to return for our Franz Josef HELI - HIKE!
—Valerie, Dale and Christopher Martini , USA
14 November 2008