Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Chateau Tongariro is a New Zealand hotel and resort complex located close to Whakapapa ski-field on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu. It is also close to the volcanic peaks of Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe, within the borders of the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand’s oldest national park.

The Chateau Tongariro Hotel building was finished in 1929 and remains in a pre-Depression era style, despite recent refurbishment.

Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Chateau Tongariro Hotel

History

In 1887 the Ngati Tuwharetoa chief, Horonuku Te Heu Heu Tukino gifted the Maori tribes land to the people of New Zealand. The intent was ensure the area, including the sacred peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, was protected for all time, for all people.

In 1923, the Tongariro National Park Board investigated a site for a hostel to encourage tourists to visit the newly formed National Park. In 1925 the New Zealand Government offered to lease the land and lend up to £40,000 to any company which would build and operate a hotel on the site. That same year a new road was pushed through towards Mt Ruapehu using labour from the Whakapapa prison camp early in 1925. Until then the trail to Whakapapa had been a rough and potentially dangerous trek with many kilometres of untamed country to cross on foot or horseback, wild rivers to ford and mountainous terrain to navigate.

The Chateau was designed by Timaru-based architect Herbert Hall , who based his design on the Canadian Resort of Lake Louise and design it in a neo-Georgian structure of four stories and basement.

The foundation stone was laid in early 1929. Using a workforce of over 80, with the construction company offering an incentive of free accommodation and a free suit to workers. Most of the labourers were recruited from the Waikune Prison. Construction was completed on 1st August 1929.

The Chateau was commandeered by the New Zealand government as an asylum when an earthquake damaged a hospital in Wellington and then served as a rest and recuperation centre for Air Force personnel returning from service in World War II. In 1948, newly renovated, the Chateau reopened to provide accommodation for visitors to Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro National Park.

Reported Hauntings

Chateau Tongariro Hotel’s spooky tales date back to its use as a women’s asylum in the early 1940’s, following the temporary closure of the Porirua Lunatic Asylum due to the 1942 Wairarapa earthquake. The staff tell stories of a nurse named Charlotte, who was said to have died in one of the rooms. It is believed that Charlotte continues to make her presence felt in the hotel, particularly in one of the rooms which was said to be her favourite.

Staff and guests also report mysterious instances of fires stuttering in their fireplaces, and curtains moving as if blown by a strong breeze, despite no breeze being felt. Many also remark on the hotel’s resemblance to the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s The Shining, which was based on the notoriously haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado.

Is it possible the presence of former staff, patients and soldiers still linger in the halls of this remote landmark? If you have a tale to tell about Chateau Tongariro Hotel, let us know in the comments below.

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Waikune Prison - Ruapehu | Paranormal NZ

  2. olive

    Me and my older brother were in one of the long hallways with the rooms stretched out between the walls. There was absolutely no one else in the hall but there was a cleaning cart left outside of a room, with some dirty plates in it and had a little Pedal down to prevent it from moving. We then started to hear whispering and it felt really creepy so I said out loud, this place must be haunted or something. It was exactly when I said that when the cleaning cart started rolling down the hall at a very fast speed, and crashed into the wall and all the plates flew out and shattered everywhere. We stood there nervously laughing because we thought that was really weird, and then suddenly this really old cleaning lady came out the lift and looked at the cart and just started cackling with laughter. We were so freaked out and we ran away

  3. Hayden

    I read that Charlotte has haunted room 308. My pregnant wife and I were in room 312 last week at the end of the hall on the top floor. It was a very windy night. As soon as we stepped from the hallway to the room we felt cold. We asked if we could have a second heater as the hallway was warmer. We had the heater going for a few hours while we enjoyed the hotel foyer. When we went to bed we still didn’t feel the room was warm enough so we left it going. I woke up a couple of times to my wife saying she couldn’t sleep. Finally at about 2:30am I woke up and I was hot but my wife was freezing and she was uneasy and wanted to move rooms. I went down to reception and asked to move. We got shifted to a room in the new wing and we went straight to sleep. It may have been the weather that night that made her cold and uneasy but after reading and hearing about other experiences on that floor I thought it worth mentioning ours incase someone else had a similar experience.

  4. Carol Whitmore

    Hi we stay there every year for the Mid winter ball, I only stay in the newer part of the Hotel Tongariro part not the Ruapehu part my friends stay in rooms 314 and 315 and want us to stay next year on that floor – no way I sense things

  5. Wendy

    Hi, I was a cleaner there in 1996 for about 9/10 months. I had an experience in room 308 that still crosses my mind to this day. I went in to service the room, however I didn’t usually work on the 3rd floor but I was needed on 3rd this day. The bathroom door was closed, when I went to open the door it was locked, I knocked even though I knew the customer had already left, I knocked and tried again. I actually started to worry that maybe the customer were still in there and something was wrong. I asked one of the porters to try and he too couldn’t open the door so I rang my manager to come up which she did and she promptly opened the door first try. I continued on as normal but this event still crosses my mind at times. We always tried to be in pairs when we had to go to the basement which was daily. Other than that room most I found fine. 305 had a presence so in the evenings when I did turn down I would always leave an extra chocolate.

  6. Bern

    I went to stay at the Chateau in April 2014 for a surpirse long weekend get away with my partner. We were staying in room 312 which at the time we had no idea of any apparent hauntings in the rooms near buy. We had an amazing time and a good nights sleep the whole weekend, but the morning when we woke up to get ready to leave, I got up and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and my girlfriend was still lying in bed, she was chatting to me through the door way while i was brushing my teeth and then one of our room swipe cards just slipped of the table and onto the floor in the bedroom, ( my girlfriend was still in bed, and I was in the bathroom) we both stopped and looked at each other and tried to figure out what just happened, as I leaned through the doorway to look at the table the second swipe card just slid off the table onto the ground as well.
    Needless to say we both jumped up and got ready and checked out as fast as we could. It was very creepy and I cant explain how it happened.
    I have been back and stayed since but I request to stay in the new wing.

  7. Niamh

    Me and my boyfriend were in room 122. At about 10:30pm I was trying to get him to come and play cards with our mates in the foyer. I came in and he was watching tv on channel 8. He refused to come down and almost instantaneously with the tv remote on the bed, the channel changed to a horror hotel movie on channel 11. My boyfriend jumped and turned the tv off then gladly came with me as he was terrified to be in the room alone. Next morning we turned it back on and it was still on channel 8. With that we also had a large amount of blood on our shower curtain which neither of us knew where from.

  8. Char

    My husband and I stayed in room 315. I could not sleep and in a half awake half dream state I saw a nurse and psychiatric patients being shackled to beds. It was super creepy and I didn’t sleep a wink. I will never stay there again.

  9. Sarah

    I stayed in room 312 one night in transit south on a business trip. It was off season & there were few guests. I think I was the only guest on that top floor in the old wing. For unknown reasons I felt uneasy all night, and although it’s such a gorgeous hotel, I didn’t sleep at all & was totally creeped out. If I ever stay again, it will only be in the new wing.

  10. I was there today with my friends and we had a tour they told us that the room was haunted so we wanted to cheek it out we unlocked the room and the bed had a shape of a human and the shower curtain had blood on it even though no one had been in the room for months they told us the story and for the rest of the day we just had the name charlotte in our heads and we are going back in a few weeks to stay again I am never going in that room again

  11. Colene McBride

    I stayed at the Chateau back in 2008, unfortunately I dont remember what the room number was these days, but im pretty sure it was in the old wing. I was staying there with my Mum. I had alot of trouble getting off to sleep as I couldnt get comfortable, at one stage I felt the sheets lift & someone get into the other side of the bed, at the time I just assumed that for what ever reason it was my Mother, I asked her in the morning & she hadnt moved all night.

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