February 21, 2014
Located on the edge of Whakapapa Village, the Chateau’s setting with views of the peaks and it’s spacious lounge areas make it a pleasant and convenient base for visiting Tongariro National Park. However, don’t expect the grandeur that the name “chateau” may evoke. This is after all a New Zealand mountain retreat and not a European palace.
Guest rooms have a business hotel vibe rather than a lodge or chateau feel.The main difference between the old standard rooms and the pricier new wing premium rooms is the newness of the room and not the amenities or size.
The large bell époque style Ruapehu dining room, painted in reds and greens with large heavy drapes, has a white table cloth ambiance where “tidy” dress is appreciated. Tables are formally set and generously spaced.
The dishes off the limited menu are surprisingly well presented and tasty for such a large establishment. A definite cut above your typical big hotel fare.
Dining in the restaurant both before and after the Tongariro Circuit Trek we tasted:
Paradise Prawns on a chili and cilantro corn cake with a saffron glaze and sugar snap peas
Caramelized pork salad with green mango, cilantro, mint and bean sprouts
The fish of the day (salmon and snapper) served with cauliflower and seared scallop mousseline with a caper dressing
My favorite, the wild New Zealand venison served with a razor back black pudding spring roll, snow pea sprouts with a vanilla and garlic jus
Caramelized lemon and lime tart with a citrus confit and an orange mint salad
Mixed berry stack with brandy marinated berries sandwiched between crispy snap wafers and mascarpone cream
Breakfast includes the typical selection of cold and hot buffet items of average quality.