This is a great place for families with young children. My kids were convinced that we were staying in a fairytale castle, a notion bought on by the hotel’s old-world charm and character, prominent Victorian turrets, grand entrance, and wide staircase leading down from the upper floor. The girls spent many happy moments searching for the resident princess through the Fred Mace room with its wooden dancing floor (now a large function and conference area), the airy all-white conservatory-style breakfast room, and the dining room overlooking the terrace and sweeping driveway. Massive chandeliers and ’30s music added to the effect.
Poised on an escarpment overlooking the village, the Waitomo Caves Hotel provides a range of guestrooms to cater for all budgets. We stayed in the three-bedroom family suite, which offered sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and had everything we required: comfortable beds, a fridge, tea- and coffee-making facilities, and a large ensuite bathroom.
The hotel opened in 1908 to provide visitors to the Waitomo Glow-worm Caves with top-end accommodation. A regular coach service once transported guests from Hangatiki and Te Kuiti, and by 1928, the hotel was so popular that a new concrete wing, built in fashionable art deco styling with Cape Dutch pillars and façades, and thick concrete walls, decks and patios, was added to provide extra room.
Today, although faded, the hotel exudes an authentic feeling of days gone by, and is an unpretentious, family-friendly place to stay.