We are off on an amazing 4 day tour of the upper North Island in conjunction with Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, Hamilton Waikato Tourism, Destination Rotorua and Destination Great Lake Taupo!
Despite a thunderous night in Hamilton we slept really well at the Quality Hotel Ambassador and started our day with a seriously good breakfast buffet at Retrospect Cafe, Bar & Grill on site. There were gluten-free options as well as hot oatmeal, fresh muffins, a comprehensive cereal bar, toast and a full cooked menu of bacon, eggs, kransky sausages, potatoes, baked beans and mushrooms. Awesome spot, no hesitation about staying again – would love to try the brand new Clarion Suites, which have been purpose built using green principles and a firm dedication to use local tradesmen and suppliers to fit out these luxe suites.
The drive between Hamilton and Rotorua is quick and quite lovely, particularly so at this time of year as the leaves change colour – the Waikato was looking beautiful this morning! We made it to the Skyline Rotorua in just over an hour and headed straight up the hill on the gondola. We seem to be getting really lucky with the weather this weekend despite many parts of the Waikato getting pummelled. It was a blue sky morning heading up and the view across Rotorua from both the gondola car and the summit of Mt Ngongotaha makes this a must-do activity.
The age gap between the boys sometimes makes activities a little difficult, but Nix was able to tandem ride with Dave and I on the luge so this was another fun family morning when we were all able to participate, TOGETHER! Love that.
The rain set in after lunch so we took the team down to Kuirau Park for a cruise around the hot pools and a lovely foot soak in the public mineral pool. Fun, free and a definite taste of local Rotorua.
Despite checking in early (which I really appreciate on a rainy day with two tired kids!) we were greeted with warm smiles, patience and time at Econo Lodge Cleveland. When doing some background reading about the property, I came across the quote that proprietors Brij and Ronnette are aiming to provide five star service at a 3 star price and I can attest that this is absolutely the case. Ronette is a wealth of knowledge about what to do and where to go and most importantly what would best suit your travelling party – I really appreciate this when I encounter it, it’s such a value-add to anywhere you’re staying, as is free unlimited wifi which is available in each unit!
You know when you’re first settle into a hotel/motel room and you’re feeling a little bit dodgy and wondering if you should check the sheets, but maybe it would be better if you didn’t?
Yeah well, that’s not happening at Econo Lodge Cleveland. This is the cleanest accommodation I have ever stayed in. The stainless steel bench tops could make a grown woman cry – so shiny! We settled in quickly and hit the beautiful heated pool for some fun before the sun went down. This is classic kiwi accommodation done right. Brij and Ronnette are working hard at property upgrades and it looks great. The latest addition is Cleveland Cottage, a stunning period villa that has been beautifully restored, boasts a full, modern kitchen stunning bathroom and sleeps 7-9 guests. I want to stay here!!!! So gorgeous.
We didn’t manage to squeeze in a soak in either of the 2 mineral pools on site, with the kids sleeping, we opted to enjoy the comfy separate lounge, free wifi and Sky TV in our unit. We are planning to bring the kids back here over summer, the awesome outside facilities plus the close proximity to the lake and amenities tick all the boxes for excellent family accommodation in my book.
FYI, all units have new beds and they are hands down the BEST beds ever. Slept like a baby……..until our baby woke at 2.40am groan!
Nix is wearing LFOH Frost Henley and Macpac Astro Hooded Down Vest (see bove), Ethan wears Macpac Pack-It-Jacket, Dave wears the Macpac Uber Light Down Jacket and I’m wearing the Macpac Uber light Long Down Jacket