We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Leighton Lodge.
We came to Opito Bay just for a couple of hours three years ago and decided we wanted to come back for a stay. The attraction for us was its isolation - no bars, restaurants or shops, just a glorious beach with very few people where you can be the only person swimming in the whole bay despite the perfect conditions. Most of the road into Opito Bay is now sealed so the journey here is a lot less scary.
We booked the (B&B) Pacific Room which is not as spacious as the (self catering) Seahorse Suite but it is comfortably furnished and has superb views from the top floor veranda. The walk down to the beach takes about three or four minutes.
Maire and Wally are very generous hosts. We enjoyed breakfasts together outside on the deck and also opted for dinner on our second night which was excellent. Maire is a super cook and most of the produce is home grown or reared. Wally has a great sense of humour and we enjoyed our chats with them both.
BRILLIANT! Is the only word to describe this delightful get-away place in an "off-the-beaten-track" destination at Opito Bay. It's 10km of gravel road from Kuaotunu (halfway between Whitianga and Coromandel Town) but worth every kilometre for the fantastic unspoilt beach at the other end. The Lodge is situated up a hillside which gives a splendid view of the Bay from the upper Pacific Room and sea views from the ground floor Seahorse Suite. Because we are self-catering, we chose the Seahorse Suite which is a very well-appointed spacious one-bedroom apartment, beautifully decorated (with much of the owner's craftwork). Our hosts were very attentive and helpful without being obtrusive. We also chose to have breakfast with the hosts upstairs in their lovely dining area with a view over the Bay to die for. Breakfast was full continental, with fresh-baked bread, home-made jams and yoghurt (different each day). The best part was being able to share this breakfast with our hosts, who welcomed us as part of the family. Nice to have normal conversation after travelling on our own for several weeks prior, with no-one else to talk to! We had a wonderfully relaxing four days here and hope to come back again soon.
We now make jokes about it, but this place was terrible. after a long journey, My sister got put on an uncomfortable camp bed in the living room, we were in a tiny back room, looking out onto ugly prefab houses next door. The owners had advised us to buy dinner there, so we each paid $50 for a watermelon and feta salad, a fettucine salad with a bit of beef and a pavlova. While eating it, we had to listen to the racially bigoted rants of the husband. Breakfast was poor too:we couldn't wait to get out of there.
Being in Opito bay - one of the most amazing places on the planet - it would be easy to forget the accommodation and hospitality at Leighton Lodge but if you are looking for a character room or small self-catering unit in East Coromandel then see if these lovely people have vacancies! Wally and Marie were great to chat to and there meals were just what we wanted! Phone them direct to avoid paying agency surcharges (and avoid agency mucking up the booking and causing a double booking, as seems to have happened to one unlucky soul writing here!)
Leighton Lodge might be a wonderful place, but we wouldn't know, because, despite paying full price, and not being advised previously, our room was given to the hosts' relatives. We were informed on arrival, late in the evening, that we were "overflow", so we would be staying with the neighbours.
The room we were given was nothing like what appeared on Leighton Lodge's website, and was full of cobwebs, dust, dead insects, and other people's clothes in the wardrobe.
The toiletries provided were half-full, and had been purloined from a hotel chain. We had to share a toilet with the residents, and there was a complete lack of privacy, and we had a view of the driveway.
Upon complaining, we were offered a rate reduction of $10 per night. So, obviously customer satisfaction is of little interest to the proprietors.
Although we booked 2 nights, at the price we were being charged, we felt that we didn't want to stay for the second night, and drove back to Auckland instead.