Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier New Zealand
9 / 10
Despite being just three minutes’ walk from the village, with its shops, cafés and West Coast Wildlife Centre, there’s a feeling of exotic remoteness at the hotel. Rainforest and river walks (and helicopter trips) begin on its doorstep, while the Franz Josef Glacier visitor centre is a 10-minute drive. The hotel is about five hours by car from Christchurch.
Style & character
8 / 10
A pair of statues of giant, extinct moa birds standing on the lawn near the entrance set the tone. The accommodation is in twin, two-storey wings; there’s a bit of an upmarket motel impression, though wooden balconies, rustic stonework and lush plantings create a tropical ambience.
The restaurant has full glazing (though no great views) and a sloping wood ceiling, while the charming bar has an open-log fireplace and small outdoor terrace.
Service & facilities
7 / 10
You come here for the great outdoors, but there’s enough to satisfy in terms of facilities. If the spa pool is not enough, the Amaia Luxury Spa in an adjacent sister hotel caters for most demands. The laundry is useful for tourers, there’s lots of free parking and the complimentary Wi-Fi is a bonus, as are the internet terminals. There’s an equipped meeting room for business guests. The affable staff can advise on local hikes and attractions.
- Room service
Standard rooms are decorated in a restful pale green and white theme with unusual art on the walls. Beds – most rooms have a double and a single – are especially comfortable. An ironing set, tea- and coffee-making facilities and a minibar are handy extras. Each room has full-width windows with patio doors opening on to a narrow balcony or patio, very welcome considering the environment. Superior rooms and suites are also available.