Not too sure why so many negative reviews as we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Mountain River Lodge. Arrived late at night and owner was friendly and booked us a nice cabin.
Best asset is the location in a beautiful valley by a river surrounded by forrest.
Great 'bar' to have a couple of beers.
Only negative I can think of are the outdated kitchen facilities. Other than that, great place to stay the night when travelling from Taupo to Napier.