Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Vacations in Cow Land
The venue was the Okoroire Hotel - in its day, allegedly, one of the finest in New Zealand. It was built in 1889 of native timber in the Victorian style with sash windows and verandahs, and became famous for its level of comfort and service, as well as the healing qualities of its hot springs, and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. In the old days, tourists and travellers would arrive by train and coach from Auckland, relax for a few days and then continue onwards to Rotorua and Taupo.
Now it is a case of faded glory, but efforts are continuing to upgrade the facilities. The original small guest rooms have been renovated in Colonial style and now each contains an ensuite. A set of 1970s motel type units are unfortunately where our group stayed - and they’re really not up to scratch, considering that the tariff is the same ($160) for a night. They are the old concrete block wall and natural timber ceiling style cookie-cutter motel units, but with original 70s drapes and odd features (like the deafening fan heater right by the bed, which has a timer/thermostat so it cuts out every 15 minutes or so after it has spewed out mild heat and 40 year-old dust). Or the power point located so far from the fixed mirror – so the lady has to dry her hair with binoculars for a good view.
On the plus side, the old hotel proper has a cosy lounge with gas fireplace and a renovated Colonial dining room. The tariff includes a hearty country brekkie, starting with cereal, fresh fruit salad, tea/coffee, toast and jam. Then it’s a choice of French toast, Pancakes and berries, mixed grill, etc. The dinner menu has lamb shanks, Porterhouse steak, Chicken curry, fresh fish and a standard pub desserts – like sticky puddings.
For the active souls (unlike moi) there is a 9-hole golf course, bush walks, natural hot pools, petanque, croquet, and volleyball.
I opted for sloth, indolence, napping, shopping in Tirau and drinking in the middle of the day.
All up – pretty good for a 2 night stay. Old world atmos, hearty country menu and a bit of peace and quiet.
Posted by Phil at 4:57 AM