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FAQs

Below is a list of common questions about Grasmere Lodge and Grasmere Station. Feel free to contact us if you have other questions.

Grasmere Station - what is a station?

These days a station is the New Zealand term generally given to a large grazing farm or ranch in the high country. The early settlers called the area around a homestead ‘the station’, and the farm itself was a ‘run.’ A minimum size for the term is about 5,000 acres – Mt White Station, to our east, is 120,000 acres.

What qualifies as high country?

The South Island mountain foothills and the mountains themselves, usually tussock-covered and used for sheep-grazing. In his book ‘Down from the Tussock Ranges’ David McLeod says it’s now ‘more of a type of life rather than a definable area, although of course confined to a rather narrow strip of land on the eastern side of the Southern Alps from Marlborough to Southland.’

What time is dinner?

In the warmer months of October-March we usually serve pre-dinner drinks from 7p.m. and dinner at 8p.m. In winter, when the days are shorter, we bring that forward by an hour because people aren’t out so late doing things.

What’s the dress code?

We like our guests to relax. There’s no need for men to wear a jacket and tie at dinner, unless they feel relaxed like that. The general code is smart/tidy casual. All our guests are on holiday, rather than being corporate.

What if I can’t eat something?

We serve a set menu, decided by the chefs each day. Please let us know at the time of booking if there is anything you can’t eat or don’t like, and they will design the menu accordingly. This far from suppliers, it is impossible to get alternative food stocks at the last minute, so advance notice is much appreciated.

Does Grasmere Lodge accept children?

Yes, with some restrictions. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions.

What happens if our plans change?

Please let us know as soon as possible. We do charge a cancellation fee if you cancel within 30 days of arrival. Click here for details. We recommend you take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy which covers loss of deposits and cancellation fees. Some credit card policies will not cover you for this. Please read your policy carefully.

What do you do for water and other services?

Our water comes from a reliable spring on the mountain beside the lodge. It is clean and pure, but to be quite sure, we run it through a fine filter and treat it with UV light to kill any bugs. It has no chemicals, fluoride or chloride added to it, and you can drink it from the tap.
We have a comprehensive recycling programme for all waste, including a sewage treatment plant which returns potable water to the soil.

What is there to do at Grasmere?

You can curl up with a book in a library armchair or under a tree in the garden. Or you can get out and be as active as you like. Head to our Activities page for more information.

We are booked to leave on the afternoon train. Can we stay in our room till then?

If you have advised us of the need for a late checkout, we will try to allocate your room accordingly. If we are very busy and have morning train arrivals, we may have to ask you to move your luggage to an alternative room which has a full bathroom available. We will try to avoid this, but please understand if it is necessary.

What's the protocol for tipping?

Tipping is not obligatory anywhere in New Zealand, although some hotels and restaurants leave a gap at the bottom of the credit card docket for you to add something. If you feel service anywhere has been above your expectations, no-one will turn a tip down. This can apply just as much in a roadside cafe where the staff helped you find someone to fix a puncture, or were simply super-friendly, as in a fancy restaurant.

If you do wish to tip our staff, you can leave cash in an envelope from the room compendium, or ask for a sum to be added to your credit card bill at check-out time.

Staff are advised of your appreciation, so they can thank you personally if they see you before you leave.

If the gratuity is directed to a specific staff member, that person will receive it. Otherwise, tips are pooled and divided evenly between all staff at the end of each month.

Any notes sent to us by guests are shared with staff, so they can celebrate their successes and evaluate any constructive criticism.

Can we watch CNN?

Our lounges have TV, and the ones in the Homestead and the Chalet have Sky satellite reception which receives CNN, a movie channel and sports coverage, as well as the three New Zealand domestic channels. If something big is happening, we will keep you informed.

We receive the Christchurch Press newspaper in the mornings Monday to Saturday.

We don’t get good radio reception in the high country, but we do provide CD players in the rooms. Our CD library has good selections of jazz and classical in particular.