Stephanie Holmes checks into the Airport Motel @ Rainbow Point, Taupo.
As far out of town as you can get. It's literally just before the welcome to Taupo sign on the east side of the lake, but that's still only a 5-minute drive to town. And it's walking distance to the lake — just a five-minute amble from the motel.
Check-in experience: My mum, in the country from England and arriving in Taupo by coach from Rotorua, had checked in earlier in the day and said everything was friendly and helpful. My partner and I arrived late at night after driving down from Auckland, so we didn't venture into reception.
Price: Studios start from $135 per night.
Room: A two-bedroom ground-floor corner unit with lounge and kitchen. The bedrooms were pretty compact with cosy double beds and not much storage space. The lounge had comfortable sofa and armchair, plus a four-seater dining table and the largest wall-mounted flat-screen TV I've ever seen. It was at least 50 inches and really overpowered the room. Outside there was a small courtyard area with table and chairs, which got evening sun. A nice spot for a glass of wine after busy days playing tourist.
View: Nothing much — just the carpark on one side and the road on the other.
The bed: Small and too soft for my liking. But the linen was high quality and sparkling white.
Bathroom: The kind of basic bathroom you'd find in an unrenovated villa — stainless steel shower cubicle with shower curtain, old sink with taps hard to turn on and off, and toilet with noisy flush. Everything was clean though, and there was a decent amount of space.
Toiletries: Generic shampoo, conditioner and body wash, plus small bar of soap.
Food and drink: Although the unit had a kitchen, there were no pots and pans supplied. The woman at reception told my mum they were available on request. Perhaps they've had issues with transient tourists pinching them before? There were also a couple of signs stuck up in the kitchen prohibiting guests from cooking trout and strong-smelling food in the units. Fair enough, I guess. Continental breakfast of orange juice, cereal and toast was provided.
Exercise: Nothing on site; head to the lake and walk or jog along the path. The scenery is too good to miss.
Noise: Our neighbours were out on their patio quite late, making a bit of noise. And on the second night there was frequent applause from supporters cheering on the last of the day's Ironman contestants completing their marathon. But who could get angry with dedication like that?
Entertainment: Stay in and watch that giant TV? Otherwise, Taupo's delights are a short drive away.
Wi-Fi: Free and fast, even with four of us all using at the same time.
Would I return? It's a fine option if you're looking for budget accommodation and don't mind being a bit removed from town.
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