Life with little wanderers, simplified

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Surprised Our Kids – Hotel Review

by Kida
Written on Revised on

* This post is not sponsored but contains affiliate links. Meaning at no cost to you, we may receive a tiny referral commission when you purchase through our links. (Full Disclosure)

We may have just found our family’s favourite hotel in Hamilton. Novotel Hamilton Tainui has exceeded our expectations of a 4* hotel, and they stand out from the rest with impeccable customer service and attention to details. We’re truly impressed and would gladly recommend it to our families and friends.

As Aucklanders, we often travel through Hamilton to other popular destinations on the North Island, such as Rotorua and Taupo. Although Hamilton has a lot to offer on its own, we’ve never really had a good reason to stay on previous trips until now.

In this post, we’ll share our honest and unbiased thoughts and experiences during our 2-nights stay here at Novotel Hamilton Tainui.

Family Travel Blog Hotel Review Novotel Hamilton Tainui

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About Our Stay

Purpose of travel: Leisure, family holiday
Travelling with: Family and friends: 2 adults + 4yo + 1yo & another family of 4
Length of stay: 2 nights
Days: Friday & Saturday night
Room type: Superior Double Room on level 3
Package: Valet parking & 2x breakfast for $69/night

This weekend, we’re super excited to book a 2-nights stay at Novotel Hamilton Tainui. We’re taking the kids (4&1) to Balloons Over Waikato festival to watch the Zuru Show and fireworks on Saturday, then head over to the land of the Hobbits on Sunday morning to tick off the legendary Hobbiton Movie Set Tour from my bucket list.

First Impression

A couple of days before our trip, I rang Novotel Hamilton Tainui to let them know about our split bookings. Initially, we had only booked for Saturday night. But we added an extra night due to a change of plan and wanted to make sure we were allocated the same room. The receptionist understood my request immediately and pulled up our bookings within seconds.

We arrived early in the evening on the day, after 3 hours of drive from Auckland (over an hour delay due to congestion), everyone was getting tired and hungry, so we decided to have dinner first. As always, our little 4-year-old girl boss got to decide what we were having, and she chose pizza! Coincidentally, we found two highly-rated Italian restaurants right across the road from Novotel – Caffé Centrale and Adriana’s Restaurant. Thus we didn’t need to go far at all.

At a glance, Novotel Hamilton Tainui is a contemporary hotel with a beautiful Maori totem gate at the entrance leading a pathway to the hotel. The hotel was well-lit and decorated with warm lightings, which made us feel rather welcomed.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui
Novotel Hamilton Tainui

© Photos by Kida

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Italian Restaurant Review: Caffe Centrale Best Pizzas in Hamilton


We pulled up at the hotel forecourt debating whether we should check-in first or eat first when a porter came to greet us. She informed us we were only allowed to park there for 15 minutes, so if we were to have dinner first, we had to find valid parking.

What are the parking options at Novotel Hamilton Tainui?

1. There are limited self-parking at the hotel on a first come first serve basis. Unfortunately for us, they were full at the time of our arrival.
2. The parking on the side of the streets is free on the weekends, but they are very limited.
3. Find a pay parking somewhere else. (e.g. SkyCity)
4.Or secured hotel valet parking at $25 per car per night.
(They had a promo deal going at the time of our stay, which had the option of valet and breakfast combo for a slightly discounted price.)

I never worry about driving or parking in our family, so I took the kids to one of the Italian restaurants – Caffé Centrale (read our review here), while my partner went to find parking.

He came back later and said he could only find timed parking, so we had to move our car again after dinner. When the porter asked my partner whether he would like valet parking for the following day, he said yes, completely unaware it was a paid service. I mean c’mon, common sense?! That was really silly of him.

Nevertheless, our valet experience had been pretty good. They required 15 minutes notice, and we didn’t experience any delays in bringing up our cars during our stay.


Novotel Hamilton Tainui sits on the banks of the Waikato River. It’s centrally located near shops, restaurants, Waikato Museum and Sky City.

We had an incident where one of Kyra’s jandals broke late at night, and we were only a few minutes away from major shops like Kmart and The Warehouse, which was super convenient.

During our stay, we were able to rotate and took the kids out for walks while the other parent napped. My partner had a great time with Kyra at TimeZone, and I had a great time walking along the riverbanks with Joah.

© Photos by Kida

♥️  You might be interested in:

Family Travel Guide to Hamilton New Zealand


We were very pleased with the customer service received from every department of the hotel during our stay. From the first phone call to the last check out, staff were friendly, efficient and willing to go above and beyond.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Family Gift Kiwi Bird Soft Toys
Novotel Hamilton Family Gifts

My partner checked us in while we were waiting on our food at the restaurant, all went smoothly and he mentioned there was going to be a surprise for the kids.

It turned out, the front desk organised 2 cute kiwi bird soft toys for our kids and left them on the bed for them to discover. That was a super nice touch that made us feel special immediately. Our kids loved the kiwi birds; they even made cute chirpy noises!

Novotel Hamilton Tainui vlog

On the first night, we only found 2 packets of hot chocolates and called the front desk to bring up more for our kids. The receptionist was very thoughtful and asked whether we needed more towels as well.

Due to our regular naps, we didn’t have our room serviced at the usual times the next day. We bumped into housekeeping late in the afternoon and asked whether they could service our room around 5 pm. We came back to a clean and tidy room that night.

Hotel Lobby

The hotel lobby’s most noticeable feature was the concierge desk and the display of top attractions in Hamilton on the wall. Straight away, we got a feel of what Hamilton had to offer and the top things to do while we were here.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel Lobby Concierge
Novotel Hotel Lobby

© Photos by Kida

The hotel lobby bar gave us an impression of a luxurious ambience with comfortable seating. Sadly, we never really get to enjoy bars anymore since kids, so I couldn’t comment more on the lobby bar.

The business centre looked very sleek against the wall there for hotel guests with free Wi-Fi access.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel Lobby Working Station Free Internet
Hotel Public Working Station

© Photos by Kida

We had a stroller with us and had no problem accessing the hotel and its facilities. That was another reason why we voted Novotel Hamilton Tainui one of the best family-friendly hotels in Hamilton.

Our Room

The Superior Double Room at Novotel Hamilton Tainui was cleverly designed for modern compact living. As we walked in, the bathroom on the left-hand side was equipped with a contemporary vanity set. The good-sized sink allowed us to wash baby Joah without breaking our backs, hooray for that!

The best part of the bathroom was its dual shower heads/tub combo. We had a fun bubble bath night with the kids, and for once, it was stress-free! We found a hairdryer in the drawer, and all of us came out like spring chickens.

We later found out our friends who checked into what we thought was the same room type didn’t have the tub. Maybe it wasn’t a superior double room… we weren’t quite sure.

There were two double beds in the room, neatly covered with freshly laundered white linens. One special thing that caught my attention was the very interesting European style pillows that folded in halves. As a breastfeeding mum, little things like that made our stay very comfortable. I was able to fold the pillow to provide better neck support while breastfeeding my baby on my side, then flattened the pillow again when I slept on my back.

Hotel Pillow

© Photos by Kida

However, the mattress was too soft for my liking as a back sleeper, but I slept well on both nights, so no complaints there.

The bed headboards had wooden frames and upholstery of beautiful turquoise and blue impressionism paintings of what looked like pampas grass waving in the wind. The curtains and abstract wall art by the minibar had also adopted this pattern. The same rich sea blue was used on the upholstery of the chairs to match the colour theme. Overall, the decors gave us a feeling of serenity.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Superior Double Room
Double Beds

© Photos by Kida

There was a small bedside shelf desk between the beds and an adjustable reading light on either side of the bed. A small compact working desk was neatly tucked in the corner with an arc floor lamp hanging overhead next to the beds.

© Photos by Kida

The Superior Double Room had a big smart TV mounted on the wall, as you can see from the photo above, we all had a cosy movie night with chips and hot chocolates. The luggage rack/bench below the TV provided ample space for bags and luggage.

This hotel seemed pretty up to date with their technology. I was excited to see the state of art USB charging station, as I didn’t feel like digging through a pile of clothes to find the charger late at night. However, to my disappointment, it didn’t work. Perhaps there was a switch somewhere? I didn’t bother to call the reception and went looking for a power socket instead. It took me a while to find the power sockets hidden beneath the bedside shelf. Minor details, I wasn’t bothered at all.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Modern USB Charging Station
USB Charging Station

© Photos by Kida

Over to the mini-fridge area, we found a small kettle, a couple of cups, glasses and teaspoons. There were 15ml long-life milk capsules in the fridge and a pull-out drawer of tea, coffee and hot chocolates above.

Out the windows, we had views of the Waikato river, but the ‘river view’ was mostly obscured by trees. Nothing the hotel could’ve done so technically, we did get ‘river view’.

The AC worked very well and the touch screen control was easy to understand. However, the low humming noise was a little disturbing at night, so we turned it off before sleep. The room was otherwise very quiet and comfortable.

Free unlimited Wi-Fi was available with an easy sign in. We didn’t experience any drop-outs so that was a plus.

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Restaurant & Buffet Breakfast

The following morning, we went down to Restaurant on Alma for breakfast. I wanted to check-in with the front desk first to put the charges to our room, but instead, I found a promo flyer with package deals. One of which was ‘choose two options for $49 or 3 options for $69’, so we went with the valet parking & 2x breakfast combo as I mentioned above.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel Restaurant On Alma
Restaurant on Alma

© Photos by Kida

We were so glad we chose to have breakfast here at the hotel. The buffet breakfast had such a large selection of hot food and continental choices. We were all very spoiled and ate way too much.

© Photos by Kida

The staff was very caring and provided a high chair for our baby. I asked if there were any plastic bowls for the kids, and she went inside the kitchen and found a paper takeaway bowl for us. Our 4-year-old fussy eater had so much food, she stuffed herself with pastry and scrambled eggs and still didn’t forget to free her hands for thumbs-ups.

© Photos by Kida


After breakfast, we went up to level 1 to check out the hotel facilities. We saw a sign pointing to the boardrooms for functions and events. On the other side of the corridor were the fitness centre, spa and sauna. Our kids were allowed to use the spa with supervision, but we weren’t prepared to get wet this weekend.

© Photos by Kida

Our favourite had to be the open outdoor deck. It would’ve been a great place to chill and hang out on a sunny day. Unfortunately for us, we ran out of time to try out the spa and gym this time round, but we could certainly see ourselves coming back to Novotel Hamilton Tainui for our next trip in Hamilton!

Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel Outdoor Deck Balcony
Outdoor Area

© Photos by Kida

Check availability at Novotel Tainui Hamilton


Below is a list of hotel booking sites I personally use myself. You can find a range of accommodation from holiday parks to holiday homes from these websites and apps.


  • If you only travel occasionally, you may get a better price and service from booking with the hotel directly.
  • However, if you’re a frequent traveller that stays in hotels often, we recommend sticking with one hotel booking site/app to reap the benefits of its loyalty program.

Hotel Comparison Sites

trivago hotel comparison
Trivago is the first hotel comparison site I’ve used and still love today.
How to use Trivago & tips
google hotels comparison
Google Hotels is the most convenient to use for me as I use Google maps to bookmark the places I want to go.
How to plan a trip in 30 minutes

Hotel Booking Sites hotel booking
I use app to book for hotels after browsing through hotel comparison sites. The loyalty program is my favourite and customer service has been excellent so far.
Agoda hotel booking
Agoda also offers some of the best prices around, and its rewards system is simple to use and is one of my go-to hotel booking apps. hotel booking
Sometimes I find the best prices on, so I use Trip as an alternative hotel booking app.
Booking hotel booking
Occasionally, the hotel I’d like to book is only available on This site has the most complete list of accommodations.

Holiday Homes

Vrbo holiday home hotel booking
Vrbo is a holiday home booking site. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you may be more familiar with the name Homeaway, which is now acquired by Vrbo.

New Zealand travels: use
Australia travels: use
Airbnb holiday home hotel booking
I personally find Airbnb is getting more and more expensive with fees, so I don’t use it often anymore. However, Airbnb still remains one of the largest holiday home booking sites.

* This page contains affiliate links. Meaning at no cost to you, we may receive a tiny referral commission when you purchase through our links. (Full Disclosure)

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