After a hair-raising jetboat ride and a very filling salmon lunch at The Trading Rooms, I was ready to have somewhere to put my feet up when I arrived at the Akaroa Criterion Motel. Luckily, it was a great place to do so!
I met the owners, David and Gabrielle, when I checked in. They were both very friendly and helpful — and they also let me know that while there were other guests in the hotel that night, I would be the only guest the following night. This was because the hotel was about to close for six weeks to undertake major renovations.
When I saw my room, I was surprised that the hotel needed renovations. It was very light and airy and everything seemed to be in good order. Importantly, as I was on the second floor, the room had a great view over the tops of the waterfront houses to Akaroa Harbour beyond. All twelve of the rooms in the hotel offer these views, as the first floor is only used for covered parking.
The room itself was a studio apartment, consisting of a kitchen, bathroom, bed, lounge area, and balcony. I really enjoyed the lounge area because I could sit looking out on the harbour with the balcony door open, listening to birds squawking and water slowly lapping at the shore. It was definitely a significant improvement on my desk at home!
Fairly soon after I checked in, Gabrielle arrived with my continental breakfast for the next morning so I could have it at my leisure rather than trying to rush to squeeze it in before my dolphin swim. It was a healthy meal of cornflakes, sliced peaches, and toast with orange juice — filling, but light enough to not cause any problems with seasickness!
I had no trouble at all sleeping at the hotel — Akaroa itself is quiet enough, there wasn’t any noise at all around Rue Jolie, where the Criterion Motel is located. The bed was very comfortable and, after having been a bit cold in Hanmer Springs, I was happy to be able to set the heater to high to keep the room nice and toasty warm.
I found the hotel to be very well situated within Akaroa. It’s on the side of Akaroa near Daly’s Wharf, which is roughly a five-minute walk from the side of town with the Main Wharf that houses Black Cat Cruises and the Blue Pearl Centre. It was only a one-block walk to the waterfront, which offered great photo opportunities at all times of day.
By far, the most memorable event from my stay at the hotel was arriving home after dinner at Ma Maison. There were three fire trucks parked out the front of the hotel — luckily I’d been warned this didn’t actually mean there was a fire — and there was a steady stream of firefighters carrying all sorts of furniture downstairs to the large storage container in the parking lot. They were quite efficient and left reasonably early…and importantly, they left all my furniture where it belonged!
I had a very comfortable stay at the Akaroa Criterion Motel and would love to go back to see the results of their renovations…and to spend a few more evenings with my feet up while watching the sun set over Akaroa Harbour!
The Akaroa Criterion Motel is located at 75 Rue Jolie, Akaroa. They will be reopening on 8 June 2012. Rooms can be booked through Wotif.com.