Perhaps Pinewood Lodge and I got off on the wrong foot. Or maybe the staff are just rude to new guests.
Speaking to a couple of guys with jobs / trying to find jobs in Queenstown, the name ‘Pinewood Lodge’ came up as a recommended hostel to stay in long-term. The reason being they have reasonable weekly rates:
6-bed dorm: $140 a week
4-bed dorm: $160 a week
I too needed a cheaper base in Queenstown so I rang up to book a room. The pleasant receptionist informed me that I could have a twin room for $160 a week.
Then things went sour.
Perhaps the staff use different accommodation lingo than each other, but when I checked in, I was told I was booked into a 6-bed dorm. After telling the receptionist that his colleague had promised a twin room, he said that meant a 4-bed dorm. Oookkk then… Looks like there was a lack of communication between the team here, but instead of apologising, his attitude made me feel like I was a nuisance.
In fairness, I only shared this 4-bed dorm with one other person so in a way it was a twin room…
If that incident didn’t make me feel “welcome” enough, the receptionist then went on to tell me how I had to find another place to live, like, now! Wow, nice to meet you too. I guess he was helpful in that he gave me an address to the lwb.co.nz to find a room to rent, but I was taken aback. The recommendations I’d had were that Pinewood was a good place to stay long-term. Turns out this only means if you stay with them a good while before the winter season kicks off. As winter draws closer, the less welcome you are made to feel. There are much more valuable potential guests coming for their skiing holiday than dirty little backpackers. Christ.
So during my stay in Pinewood, I became one of the desperate backpackers trying to find alternative accommodation with the lack of working WiFi the lodge has to offer. Free WiFi is a blessing in NZ, indeed, but the WiFi here only works part-time in Reception and the common area known as The Hub.
Stop ranting and tell us about Pinewood Lodge’s facilities.
Judging by the storage space in the form of inbuilt wardrobes and chest of drawers, it would seem Pinewood expect people to stay here a while. My 4-bed dorm was spacious for the two of us staying there. Plus, it was refreshing having a thick pillow rather than the usually pancake pillow provided by hostels.
Laundry is $4 for wash and $4 for a dryer. Although the dryer didn’t dry, the receptionist allowed me to put my clothes in another machine without me having to pay again. Little did the receptionist know that he slightly redeemed my low opinion on staff attitude.
Shared between two blocks, the kitchen was big enough for the amount of people using it. An issue with many hostels is when people do not wash their own dishes. You’ll find in all walks of life that some people are lazy and inconsiderate, but hostel cleaners deal with the leftover dishes so everyone can continue to enjoy their stay… usually.
One sink in our kitchen was full of dirty dishes when I arrived. A couple of days later, we all received a note on our doors saying our rates would go up by $10 each if the one responsible does not clean the sink. Yes, this is annoying for the cleaners, as is probably scrubbing skid marks from the toilet bowl, which they still manage, but there is no need to be a bitch about the pots in the sink. Being the bigger person (or maybe a pushover) in this ridiculous situation, I asked reception: if I clean the dishes will they remove the charge? I knew full well no one else would do it. We came to an agreement and I received a “thanks for being cool with it.” Oh mate, there is nothing ‘cool’ about this.
Anyway, the showers and toilets were fine. I always appreciate a shower cubicle big enough to shower in then for a dry section to get changed in. Foot towels and hand towels were provided.
As the week went on and as I spent more time in reception using the WiFi when it actually worked, the receptionists became quite chatty and friendly. I’ll give them that. But making me determined to only spend a week here as soon as I arrived is not the reaction a hostel should aim for when dealing with their guests. I agree with their slogan – Queenstown’s best value accommodation – as they do have decent facilities (and a semi-functional laundry that was resolved). In conclusion, this is not a place I would even want to stay long-term if I felt I had the choice.