The Hermitage Mt. Cook

The Hermitage Mt. Cook

An Overpriced Monopoly Saved by the View.

Because of the very limited options available in Mount Cook due to the isolation, we had no choice but to pay $450 per night for a basic room with a view – Many reviews here rave about the view of the surrounding mountains, so let’s move on from that.

We arrived by helicopter that was conveniently 6 or 7 minutes drive from the airport, InFLIGHT airline dropping us at the front doors. Upon arrival, we met with 2 sets of great heavy glass doors spring-loaded to stay closed, which wouldn’t be any problem if you are not pushing luggage. We did have luggage (as you do) and fought our way through the doors. They were clearly challenging for all of the guests, but not one staff allocated to opening them or holding them or welcoming us to The Hermitage.

Check in was efficient and friendly, and then we began a very long walk to our room in the Wakefield wing. Along two corridors up one level, along with another corridor, up 2 more levels then along another 2 long corridors carrying our luggage. Either the hotel construction was added on to over years without a master plan, or simply not thought out well at the design stage. All of these things I know are trivial I know… we are not snobs, but quite conscious we paid $900 for only 2 nights and would have appreciated any form of concierge. We remained positive, upbeat and excited to get to the restaurant and bar.

The hallways are long and straight, looking a bit tired, feeling like a hospital. I looked out the windows as we walked and noticed thick cobwebs framing them. Arriving at the room, besides of the breathtaking view we could see it was very basic. No gowns nor slippers, no toiletries and not even a single bottle of drinking water supplied. There is a shower curtain over a bath rather than glass frame. Again – Not snobs but every hotel over $250 that we stay at in the world provides these basics. They did have instant coffee and some little capsules of long-life milk. That is sad to me being a Kiwi, because New Zealand is all about Dairy and I just love checking into NZ hotels and proudly being handed a bottle of our country’s famous export – Fresh Milk!

The beds were great! The sheets were quality and the mattress very comfortable .. pillows were okay. I have read reviews complaining about the beds so can only assume they must vary from wing to wing – room to room, perhaps the hotel can answer that? Time to go exploring –

We went down to the Cafe and found quite nice but very expensive food – Plain pie $7.00, Turkish bun style sandwiches $9.00, small sausage roll $5.00, drinks like a juice $7.00 (All $NZD) … free filtered water, you beauty! We could see down into a museum and decided to take a browse after our snack. Oh, not included in the $450 per day hotel price sorry…! I think that was another $40 for two so we didn’t go – it looked rather small like it would be a 10-minute experience. I do realise this is a secluded location but I am also aware of not over excessive transportation/supply costs are in NZ, and thinking of the words ‘Delivery Cost’ were well dampened by the word ‘Monopoly’ in my mind.

We didn’t like the sound (or the other reviews) of the $63 each Buffet, so we took the free hotel shuttle down to The Chamois bar 2 or 3 minutes drive away. This is in another hotel owned by the same Hermitage owners, so no breaking the Monopoly. Things were a bit more reasonably priced and we enjoyed great Craft (Mainstream Craft like Monteith’s) beer and average $30 meals and that was all very nice.

We only found one Hermitage Kiwi staff during our stay. Mostly only foreigners will work in places like this, accepting minimum wage plus the lifestyle and the beautiful surroundings and experience make it worth it. Kiwis normally won’t, because we grew up around the natural beauty and no longer consider it a perk. The hotel will say they ‘employ so many foreigners so they can interact with the guests’ in their own language. Personally, if we visit France I do want to be checked in by a French person, or in Japan a Japanese etcetera… not a Kiwi in France and of course I think that works both ways – We like being hosted by Kiwis when in NZ.

Day Two and a storm set in… no going outside at all, the view now sadly hidden by the blizzard. We headed down to breakfast only to discover that it neither this was included in our pricey room. That was another $30 each, so back to the Cafe we went. All we could do that day was sit around in our room but unfortunately, the storm knocked out the internet, making it really quite boring. We could go and see the museum or planetarium but scared of dropping hundreds of dollars stepping out of the room. We just waited until 3 pm when Chamois bar opened again and went back there. We almost couldn’t wait until morning when the storm lifted and INFLIGHT (awesome Helicopter company – the best! See my review) could come and take us back to Fox Glacier so we could carry on our driving holiday.

When paying for anything at the Hermitage you will insure a 2% Credit card surcharge on top of the already very expensive prices.. I note this angers many people, talking about it also in the reviews. Why should we now also pay for the hotels bank fees? It really screams penny-pinching greediness.

A good experience for the really rich and big spenders. But we would not want to be here for any longer than we were without your own Chopper for Heli-skiing or/and thousands of dollars that you really don’t want..!

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