Location, location, location. It’s everything when you’re deciding where to escape for a little R&R and even more crucial when you’re holidaying with the kids in tow. We’ve travelled with the kids a wee bit internationally and A LOT around New Zealand and after a few less than ideal accommodation choices, Dave and I both agree, that your home-away-from-home whilst travelling can set the tone for the entire trip.
Initially planning only a two night stay, we headed south last weekend and checked into the Novotel Rotorua a day early to make the most of the stunning weather and squeeze as much out of our stay as possible. Rotorua is the perfect destination for an adventure filled, family getaway. Just over three hours from Auckland, my two crazy boys survived the trip with only 1 quick toilet stop for Nix – the worst part was negotiating Auckland traffic on the way out of town!
While still at home, we had completed online check in, so upon arrival at the Novotel we were able to quickly settle our two very excited boys into our adjoining Family Rooms and THIS amazing view!
Even Nixon, who rarely sits still, was completely enamoured with the view over Lake Rotorua – a mere 600m from the hotel lobby to absolute lakefront, a great playground, paddle boats, the Rotorua Walkway and the Soundshell Market (which we visited on Sunday).
Before we could explore (and then again after we had finished exploring each day), we had to hit the pool. I’m pretty sure a pool in your hotel (or Holiday House as Nixon called it!) is The Best Thing EVER when you’re a kid, Dave and I get that, so we happily made the twice daily pilgrimage to the indoor pool complex on the ground floor.
It wasn’t exactly a chore mind you! Dave had packed his running gear (oops I totally forgot mine – ha!) so he made good use of the really well appointed gym whilst the kids and I swam in the geothermal mineral pool and hot tubs – totally luxe, plus the perfect routine to get the kids off to sleep peacefully each night. I was able to sneak a couple of saunas in when Dave had finished working out, so I totally got a sweat on too, albeit a more relaxing one.
5 Things you NEED to do in Rotorua
If location is everything, then the Novotel Rotorua is smack bang in the middle of where you want to be. Basing your family here allows you to make the most of every, precious, get-away-day by minimising time in the car and maximising family fun.
Check out these Rotorua Must-Do activities before you plan your next trip;
- Tutanekai Streat – Eat Streat Food and the constant search for the next meal is always a massive consideration as the mum of two boys. Deciding what and where to eat when on holiday can literally eat up much of our day. Novotel Rotorua is across the road from Eat Streat, home to quality restaurants, cafés and bars as well as the famous Lady Jane’s Ice Cream Parlour. With it’s covered central walkway and thermally heated footpath, Eat Streat (and surrounds) is an awesome, family friendly place to dine. We loved Indian Star and Fat Dog Cafe (just around the corner).
- Happy Ewe Cycle Tours Located at the Rotorua I-Site, a mere 6 min walk from the Novotel, owner-operator Roger will have you falling in love with Rotorua as he guides you on an 8km FLAT cycle around the geothermal wonders of Rotorua. Nix was well catered for with a toddler seat and Dave, Ethan and I were riding in style on the comfiest bikes ever. DO THIS TOUR GUYS!
- Skyline Rotorua A nine-minute drive from the Novotel, we had a great time on the Skyline Gondola and Luge. Another perfectly family-friendly activity, Nix simply rides tandem with either Dave or I as we have a race to the bottom with Ethan.
- Redwoods Treewalk We were already enamored with Rotorua’s breathtaking Redwood Forest after a previous visit, but the 6-12m high treewalk is next-level beauty. A quick 12-minute drive from the Novotel, this is another family must-do. No skill required all you do is walk and take it all in!
- Polynesian Spa Lakefront Rotorua is where you want to be and spending an afternoon at The Polynesian Spa was exactly what our family needed after a busy couple of days. This was another activity that catered beautifully to both parents and kids alike. We spent some time relaxing at the Lake Spa and finished up in the Family Spa where the boys could splash, swim and slide to their hearts content! Again, super-close to the Novotel, just a 15 minute walk – keep in mind Rotorua is pretty much completely flat!
Dave’s working on an American project right now which means he has to start work at 2am every day. Our adjoining family rooms (when you stay as a family the second room for children is half price!) made this so much easier as he was able to sneak out and head down to the lobby (where there is a dedicated workspace) without waking the kids – or me! We were free to laze in our beds and wake at our leisure (6am!) to watch the All Blacks play Ireland on Sunday morning – Sky Sport in our room made me a very happy mama!
An early tip-off that the staff and service were going to be amazing at the Novotel was the personalized welcome we found in our room; a handwritten card, super cute swim towels for the boys, swim diapers for Nixon (I’d forgotten those!), water and mud masks for me! This wasn’t special treatment either, it’s just part of the awesome service you get when you book a Family Room.
On Saturday night we were just too tired to venture out to Eat Streat but were equally wowed by the buffet and a’la carte menus available in house at the Novotel Rotorua’s award winning Atlas Restaurant. Dave went on a seafood bender, I demolished the most amaze salad bar ever whilst Ethan and Nixon just ate pretty much everything, including fresh SUSHI – they were actually in heaven. As an Accor Plus member I can receive up to 50% when dining in hotel restaurants plus the kids eat breakfast free! Little perks like this and (free wifi) really make these mini getaways that much more accessible, enjoyable and #closerthanyouthink. Likewise, having amazing kid-friendly amenities and services within the hotel itself makes me want to start planning ahead to our next long weekend!
If travelling is your thing, either in our own backyard here in NZ or internationally, then joining Accor Plus (NZD$385 per 12 mths) will not only make you feel like a VIP every time you stay, but also make your getaways #closerthanyouthink. Member benefits include a complimentary nights stay when you join, 10% off best available accommodation, automatic Silver Status which gives you online and priority check in, free internet, a welcome drink and late check out as well as the dining discounts mentioned above.
#weloveaccorhotels #accorplus #closerthanyouthink