Home away from home in Mata­mata

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By ABBY BROWN

A wel­com­ing at­ti­tude to­wards trav­ellers is at­trib­uted to a Mata­mata ac­com­mo­da­tion provider win­ning sev­eral awards from a travel web­site.

Chest­nut Lane Cottage has been voted num­ber one in New Zealand in the bed and break­fast and inn sec­tion as part of the Trip Ad­vi­sor’s 2015 trav­ellers’ choice awards. It also gained first place in the South Pa­cific and eighth in the top 10 in the world.

Hosts Kath­leen and John Day said the per­sonal touch, car­ing for their guests’ needs and not treat­ing the guests as just a num­ber is what helped them stand out.

They ad­vise other bed and break­fasts to lis­ten to your guests. ‘‘Some peo­ple are like ‘ break­fast is at this time, this is what you’re go­ing to get’ but I’ll ask them what time they would like their break­fast, what they would like and I cater for their needs and di­etary re­quire­ments,’’ Kath­leen said.

The cou­ple also try and make their guests feel at home.

‘‘That’s what most peo­ple say in re­views, that it feels like a home away from home.’’

They also ad­vise per­cep­tive.

‘‘If they have just come off the plane and have trav­elled a long time, leave them alone,’’ John said.

‘‘A cou­ple of hours later they will wake up and might want

hosts

to

be to have a beer with you.’’

Kath­leen agreed. Read­ing peo­ple is a big thing and know­ing when they need their space, she said.

Kath­leen

al­ways

sends

a per­son­alised email to the guests a few days af­ter they have left to thank them for com­ing.

‘‘I try to make a note in my di­ary of just some lit­tle per­sonal thing that they were go­ing to do or some­thing about the fam­ily and I’ll al­ways men­tion that in their email.’’

The cou­ple’s friend­li­ness has meant they have en­joyed open­ing their home, which they built six years ago, to a wide range of peo­ple. They ini­tially built their home with­out the in­ten­tion of start­ing a bed and break­fast, which they started five years ago.

Guests send let­ters and Christ­mas presents and the Days will spend time with one Ger­man cou­ple that were guests when they head off on a cruise down the Rhine later in the year.

At first, the Days only used the cottage for guests, but now make two dou­ble bed­rooms in the main house avail­able for larger par­ties as they said they were in­un­dated with re­quests.

Tourists use the ac­com­mo­da­tion and Mata­mata as a hub for ac­tiv­i­ties in Ro­torua, Wait­omo and Hob­biton, the cou­ple said.

The house can only ac­com­mo­date seven peo­ple at a time. ‘‘That’s a nice num­ber. We can sit round and chat and I can make seven break­fasts,’’ Kath­leen said. They like that they can only have that many as it keeps a per­sonal touch to their in­ter­ac­tion.

Eighty per cent of the guests are from over­seas, with a lot of Sin­ga­porean fam­i­lies.

Most of their New Zealand vis­i­tors use it as a base to get ready for a wed­ding or for a hon­ey­moon.

Chest­nut Lane Cottage was the only New Zealand bed and break­fast to make the top 25 in the world in their cat­e­gory. They were up against com­pe­ti­tion from Italy, Greece, the UK and Amer­ica on the Amer­i­can travel web­site that pro­vides re­views.

Photo: ABBY BROWN

WEL­COM­ING HOSTS: Chest­nut Lane hosts John and Kath­leen Day have won sev­eral awards from a travel web­site.

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