So the story starts with a mouse and ends with the most unpleasant man we have come across in the whole of New Zealand in our 7 months here.
Let me take you back to Wednesday 24th of April in Queenstown. As many of you know me and John are travelling around the whole of New Zealand for 9 weeks in a spaceship (a camper-car!). We have been staying in campsites and next stop on our trip was Queenstown where we had chosen the Shotover Top 10 holiday park. We had done lots of research comparing all the campsites in Queenstown and this seemed the best – but we were very wrong. I will tell you more! We decided on this occasion – mainly because my husband is currently working from home and needs power and a good base to work from – to treat ourselves to an ensuite cabin for a couple of days. This would be a break from the spaceship and sharing showers/sinks and would give us some space.
Next comes the ‘mouse’ incident. It was the evening of Weds 24th of April and me and John were relaxing in our cabin. John got up to make a cup of tea and suddenly asked ‘what’s that?’ – and looked over at the bin. I looked over and saw the lid of the small swing bing in our kitchen was moving. It moved again and as we both watched in horror a mouse jumped out of the bin, ran across the floor and under our fridge. As I am sure you can imagine we were both incredibly shocked to see this! Now, neither of us likes mice particularly (John especially) – who does? – so were quite freaked our by this, and decided we need ed to leave the cabin asap and go and tell the holiday park people who would sort it out. John spoke to the on-call duty manager (who we later discovered was also the owner) as it was after hours and his response was very poor – he didn’t even apologise for the incident. He just asked us what we wanted him to do about it, and when we suggested possibly moving offered us a downgrade to a basic cabin. Obviously, this wasn’t suitable and we were not keen on staying there after what had happened. The response of this person was really disappointing – at the very least we would have expected an apology, and for him to come out in person to us to apologise and to come and look in the cabin with us or show us an alternative. Following this quite incredulous response we decided to leave the holiday park. We had to go back into the cabin (mouse and all!) and quickly pack up our belongings. We then called around to secure alternative accommodation and swiftly left.
The following morning (25th April) I received an email from the owner informing me of a $100 refund because we had left early – no mention of the mouse incident! At the very least I would have expected a phone call with a very heartfelt apology for such an incident like this and a discussion with them regarding this matter. We felt $100 insufficient compensation for what we went through and when we had spent $300 in total staying there for 3 nights – and only stayed for 1 night.
I then rang the holiday park and asked to speak to the owner – and was informed by the general office he wasn’t in and would be in later. I explained I had just received an email from him and wanted to speak to him, so only then did they give me his direct dial number. I called the owner directly and explained the situation and how unhappy we were to find out a mouse in our cabin. I also explained that having spent 7 months in New Zealand this was by far our worst accommodation experience and also that having extensively read reviews for the whole country on Trip Advisor we had never read any that mentioned finding a mouse in their room/cabin.
His response was awful really – he was very evasive, and said he didn’t really want to discuss it on the phone. He asked me to send an email with my concerns – when my main concern and desire was for an apology for this incident. I also explained I was an avid user of Trip Advisor and rely on it to make my accommodation selections and that following our incident I would be posting about what happened – mainly because I didn’t want want anyone else to experience what we have. He said I was entitled to my opinion but it didn’t mean they agreed with it! I asked him what justification they could have for having found a mouse in our cabin? I asked him how they could possibly ‘disagree’ with my opinion that finding a mouse is completely unacceptable. I explained that I was very disappointed in both the incident and the extremely poor way he was speaking to me and dealing with the issue. He then told me the way I was speaking to him was poor and unnecessary. At this I told him I was going to make a formal complain about it – as it certainly warranted it – and put the phone down.
We then sought external advice from local bodies in Queenstown – who shared our disgust – and who suggested we email the park directly to give them a chance to respond. We then wrote a simple and rational e-mail outlining our reasons for our complaint. The response we received to this was frankly disgusting! In this email the owner the owner the audacity to completely avoid the issue at hand and instead invent some story about me having a mouse phobia and needing to seek professional help for this – questioning my mental health in the process!! Utter utter craziness in our opinion.
I was in shock to be honest to be personally attacked by the owner of the holiday park when they were so far in the wrong!!
Anyway, we have posted to both trip advisor and rankers as don’t want others to go through this, and are pursuing our complaint with the Top 10 company.
As anyone reading this will probably know myself and John are avid travellers and have not experienced anything remotely close to this appalling incident in New Zealand (or in our lives before for that matter). We are also extensive readers of reviews on Trip Advisor and have never read about a mouse being found in accommodation, nor about such a completely and utterly unprofessional response from an accommodation’s owner.
Anyway, just thought I would share and it’s good to get it out. Myself and John feel much better about the incident now we have been able to share our experience with others and hope nothing similar happens to them – as it was a pretty stressful time. We now plan to put the whole incident behind us, and consider that despite this awful ignorant owner being the exception there are hundreds of other amazingly friendly and helpful kiwis we have met during our time over here and will instead think of those wonderful positive experiences. 🙂