These Levin Lions certainly know how to gad about. Our big night out at the Station Cafe on Saturday evening was followed by Sunday lunch at the Chateau Tongariro. We could get used to all this high living! Two mountains dominated the skyline as we drove towards the Chateau.
Conical shaped Mt Ngauruhoe
And it’s always exciting to get our first view of the Chateau Tongiriro. Built in 1929 by Fletcher Construction Company, and using penal labour, as we have just found out, it has been added to and extended over the years.
First view of Chateau Tongiriro
Another view, showing the driveway
The organizers of the Lion’s weekend away had arranged to give our group a “behind the scenes tour”. Quite easy to arrange when the son of the organizer works as a hotel manager. Andrew took us upstairs to check out the several types of rooms on offer. All very nice but the Te Heu Heu Suite at a mere $1000 a night was the one to aspire to. It was certainly very grand, and roomy, with a huge granite lined bathroom complete with a spa bath, plus a separate bathroom in the lobby for any guests who might come calling.
The lounge of the Te Heu Heu Suite
Then we were taken downstairs to check out the guests facilities, movie theatre, spa pool and plunge pool, laundry and drying room. It was really interesting to seeing some of the different areas of the hotel not usually on view to lunch guests, and hearing some of the history of this grand old building. Tour over, it was time for our carvery lunch. The dining room was rather busy with our group of 20, two bus loads of Japanese tourists, and a large table full of teachers, who were obviously getting ready to tackle to new school term. The carvery buffet lunch was very tasty, with soup, salads, roast beef and ham, desserts, cheese and biscuits, and tea and coffee. Certainly plenty of choices to suit all tastes.
I love the lounge with the plush red curtains, the crystal chandeliers, and the open fires flickering away. Several groups were enjoying their High Teas as we did on a visit a couple of years ago, read about our High Tea Adventure here.
View of the lounge
The pianist tinkling the ivories
Relaxing at the Chateau
By this stage, the weather had closed in and covered the mountains, and rain falling steadily. While the others from the Lions group were driving back home, we are staying another night at our camp site in National Park, and continuing our caravan trip tomorrow. Next stop, Hamilton.