5 Rankers Reviews
Shambhala offers quite a different hostel experience on a special site overlooking the beach.
South Island ▷ Nelson Region ▷ Motueka
We stayed at the Shambhala over the New Year holiday. To begin, the reservation was easily made and we were invited to store our luggage at the Shambhala a few days before our official arrival, for which we were grateful! To our surprise, when we arrived, we were invited to store our belongings in an outdoor woodpile. We were in a crunch for time and simply had to accept the offer as it was. When we returned to officially check in, we were impressed by the grounds, which are lovely; the view of the Bay is superb, the landscaping in pristine and you are a 2km walk, on a dirt road, from the Mussel Inn. We had booked a private double room, which fell short of expectations based on the website (please see photos). We were told the rooms with ocean views were sold out and that we could have the room without views for $10/night less. To our disappointment, the room didn’t just lack views; it was also musty and dank, with mold on the walls. In John’s defense, we didn’t express our disappointment, though he never asked if we were settling in nicely either. We had to rent our towels for $2/each and had to retrieve them from his place ourselves. While there, we were treated without much respect, as though we were young children paying very little money when, in fact, we are in our mid-30’s and we paid $70/night for our accommodation; an affordable rate, but by no means the $30/night rate of a backpackers accommodation, which was how it felt. While there, a guest made a negative review and, in response, she was asked to leave. The police were called and a scene was made. An older guest was given an apology and an explanation for the disruption; we were ignored. Overall, if you are young and glad to pay the $35 for the lodge accommodations, the grounds are lovely and the people drawn there are pleasant, but do NOT book the cottage that lacks sea views (it’s really just a damp shed in the woods), and do NOT expect quality customer service.
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Super-respect to the owner for choosing this wonderful place with camping spots located on green terraces overlooking the sea in few minutes walk to the beech. The territory as well as common areas are cozy and stylish - from cool barbecue zone and terrace outside to kitchen/ living room with fireplace and big table. Good hot shower with no limit to use.
However a few cons as well. Maybe not the owners fault but kitchen was super dirty from the eve we arrived until the morning we left - food leftovers, bunch of dirty dishes, filthy floors, oily sinks, we even had to first clean those before feeling comfy to clean our dishes. One of the biggest con influencing the score was the age & state of kitchen equipment - kettles, pans, etc - which resembled non-usable antiques but again very dirty ones. This would be ok on the low-priced place but not when you pay $25 pp (vs $20 pp in the app) for non-powered site (plus with no possibility to pay by card).
And last but not least - when we were already on the parking lot rearranging the stuff in our van the owner came up and 'reminded' that we should be out in 10 minutes - given we didn't have much interaction, welcome or useful info from him before this was just another sign for us not to come back even though we loved the location & nature around.
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We camped for two nights at this small bohemian property and really enjoyed our stay. The owner has put a lot of love in to landscaping and developing this property and it has a tranquil relaxed feel, set overlooking the ocean with private beach access. We had hot gas showers and clean composting loos. There was access to a BBQ and a full kitchen and living space in the main lodge and lots of spots around the garden to relax and enjoy views out to Farewell Spit. We arrived after heavy rain so had to ford the river, but this had dropped by the following day and was below running under the crossing.
Very special atmosphere here - terraced camping with amazing landscaped, grassy grounds and sites above a private access beach. Lovely views across the bay. Wonderful native planting and birdlife. Very basic but clean and thoughtful facilities - composting loos (can use hostel facilities). $20 per person per night - you pay for the special atmosphere and location rather than flash facilities which suited us. Narrow steep access - may be tricky to negotiate camping spots with a bigger vehicle than ours (14ft caravan). Room to turn around outside the hostel at the end of the road.
Were spent 2 1/2 months altogether camping here - often had campsite to ourselves. Hostel is right on the beach in Golden Bay with beautiful grounds.