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TRAVEL & LEISURE

12 Luxe Boutique Hotels to Inspire Your Next New Zealand Getaway

Book into Auckland's striking brick-clad hotel, Dunedin's new five-star boutique or an eye-catching Queenstown property with a complimentary drinks hour.
By Stephen Heard and Ruby Romanos
June 18, 2021
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By Stephen Heard and Ruby Romanos
June 18, 2021
  shares

We firmly believe that no one should ever have to settle for weak tea bags, cheap toiletries or anything less than a well-stocked bar downstairs when booking a hotel stay. Thankfully, New Zealand is teeming with boutique hotels that are high on class and have everything you want for a special overnight stay.

We've rounded up the boutique hotels and plenty of newcomers that are worth your time. The thick of a global pandemic seems like an unlikely time to open a brand new hotel, but the past few months have seen a surprising number of boutique properties pop up across New Zealand. That's great news for locals, and also for Australians looking for an excuse to take advantage of the trans-Tasman bubble on their next holiday.

If you're looking for some inspiration for your next getaway, how about booking a room at Auckland's striking new brick-clad hotel? Dunedin also has its own new five-star boutique worthy of a visit, and there's an attractive design-led property in Wellington, too — and they're just a few of the new places to consider.

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NAUMI STUDIO HOTEL, WELLINGTON

This eclectic new boutique hotel in Wellington's Cuba Street precinct showcases the work of local artists and designers. The 116-room Naumi Studio Hotel Wellington is the fourth property to arrive from Singapore-based private hospitality label Naumi Hotels in New Zealand and, like its sister properties, the Wellington outpost is an absolute feast for the eyes, with bold spaces "inspired from seafaring, the literary world and an enduring love." Guests will see the work of several New Zealand artists and designers. A large-scale floral backdrop in the reception area was created by Art Dep't NZ and is completely covered in gold leaf. Underfoot the botanical theme is brought to life by rugs from painter Karl Maughan, while the lobby features a larger than life floral sculpture from light artist Angus Muir. There are six room types to choose from, and the onsite bar serves up the likes of lychee mojitos and bourbon sours.

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THE HOTEL BRITOMART, AUCKLAND

The striking brick-clad Hotel Britomart was officially the country's first 5 Green Star hotel when it opened last year. That certification marks a commitment to sustainability during the build and the use of eco-friendly materials. It offers 99 guest rooms and five suites — three of which have lush sky gardens and front-row seats overlooking the Waitemata Harbour. Cheshire Architects, who also master-planned the Britomart neighbourhood, looked after the new hotel both inside and out. Inside are "cocoon-like" rooms with timber-lined walls, tiled bathrooms and built-in sofas. Smaller touches include hand-made ceramics, bronze-and-paper table lamps and minibars full of locally sourced treats. You don't have to walk far for a first-class meal, either. The ground floor is home to several new food and beverage offerings, including a seafood-focused restaurant from the Orphans Kitchen team, the new 70-seater from top chef Michael Meredith, and the refreshed outpost of Cafe Hanoi.

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HOTEL FITZROY, AUCKLAND

Privately owned hotel group CPG Hotels is currently in the process of opening a collection of boutique five-star hotels across New Zealand. One of the first under the Fable banner is Hotel Fitzroy. Located just a short walk from the main strip of Auckland's shopping and dining precinct, Ponsonby, the property takes over a historic two-storey villa. A contemporary black-panelled building stands behind the property, bringing the room count to ten. Inside, each guest room has been outfitted with premium soft furnishings, linens and amenities. There's also an intimate library for guests to unwind or enjoy complementary snacks and fine wine. Hotel Fitzroy offers custom experiences including a dedicated host service and tailored activities. While the property doesn't offer an on-site restaurant, guests can order continental or cooked tray service breakfast direct to their room. The complimentary mini-bar is also replenished daily, while the room service menu is available 24 hours.

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THE DAIRY AND THE CENTRAL PRIVATE HOTEL, QUEENSTOWN

The folks from Naumi Hotels haven't only brought their bold, design-led approach to the capital. Queenstown also welcomes two new eye-catching properties from the Singapore-based private hospitality label. Rustic glamour and old-world charm meet in Queenstown's The Dairy Private Hotel, while sister property The Central Private Hotel brings a fresh take on retro postmodernism. At both boutique properties, guests can take their pick from 14 spacious rooms — every space comes with its own bright cacophony of colour. Each property comes equipped with an inviting lounge area and its own complementary drinks hour serving award-winning New Zealand wines. With a nod to its past as Queenstown's original 'dairy' (corner store), The Dairy also offers an old-fashioned sweet selection. Here, you'll also find an outdoor jacuzzi with views across the picturesque Remarkables.

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FABLE DUNEDIN, DUNEDIN

Dunedin's historic Wains Hotel has been given a new lease on life under the new masthead Fable Dunedin. The boutique five-star opening, found just a short walk from the Octagon, brings the Victorian-era hotel into the modern age without losing the glory of its past. Guests are welcomed by a concierge in a top hat and tails, before being guided to one of 50 luxurious rooms or suites that come lined with vibrant, custom-designed carpets and specially commissioned tartan blankets paying homage to the city's Scottish ties. The Press Club restaurant and bar is led by Fable Group executive chef, Jinu Abraham. Abraham has prepared a menu sourced heavily from local suppliers alongside an extensive whisky menu. There's slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with miso-glazed pickles, Otago wild fallow with venison boudin noir, and pork belly matched with scallops.

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OHTEL, WELLINGTON

Just a skip, hop and a jump from Wellington's iconic Oriental Bay, Ohtel is New Zealand owned and operated and was architecturally designed and built by Alan Blundell. After being inspired to create a baby 'design hotel' following a trip to New York in 2000, Alan set about bringing the 10 room, four-storey structure to life. Ohtel is known for its locally-sourced menu offerings, such as freshly baked goods from Pandoro some 300-odd metres down the road, and organic dairy products from Zany Zeus in Lower Hutt. Keep your eyes peeled for their sister site which has recently opened in Auckland's Viaduct.

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THE INTREPID HOTEL, WELLINGTON

New kid on the block and dubbed the 'traveller's hotel', The Intrepid Hotel brings the wide world to Wellington, without the MIQ requirements. Having just undergone earthquake strengthening, the former Cadbury chocolate warehouse, built in 1909, is situated on Ghuznee Street, which means it has some of the city's best bars and restaurants at your fingertips. On that note, be sure to venture around the corner to Pomodoro Pizza, then satisfy your sweet tooth at Lashings. As an added draw, you can forego the kennels and bring your beloved pooch with you because The Intrepid Hotel has set aside a special room — complete with a designer dog bed — to accommodate you and your furry friend. 

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THE MARTINBOROUGH HOTEL, WAIRARAPA

A self-proclaimed "beautiful old girl", the Martinborough Hotel is the perfect place to stay once you've braved the sketchy Rimutaka Hill road from central Wellington. This hotel began as a way station for prosperous travellers to and from the South Wairarapa's huge isolated sheep stations back in the 1880s. The hotel was restored back in 1996 to become a hotspot, known for its bar and restaurant, among locals and tourists alike. In the heart of the town centre, this is an easy place to crash after a few glasses of Pinot Noir on your tour of the local vineyards (via crocodile bike, of course).

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PLUME VILLAS MATAKANA,  AUCKLAND CITY

If the fast-paced city life is driving you to a near on meltdown, then a peaceful country escape may be just the ticket. An hour drive north from Auckland (depending on the state of the traffic) brings you to the up-and-coming town of Matakana. Here you'll find the quaint-yet-modern Plume Villas. Joining the already established vineyard, restaurant and conference centre, Plume Villas is the latest addition to the family and it is evident that the owners have poured their love into the properties. Plume has all the basic amenities, as well as a petanque court, swimming pool and even a wine library. A great place to stay for a weekend of wine tastings, and of course eating your way around the local Saturday markets.

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HOTEL DEBRETT, AUCKLAND

Hotel DeBrett is an art deco-style, luxury hotel located smack bang in the middle of Auckland City. The hotel offers a range of room styles, each uniquely decorated with eclectic interiors, and the in-house restaurant, DeBretts Kitchen, is also worth a visit, even if just to scope out the grand glass atrium roof overhead. Although, this boutique inner-city hotel is arguably best-known for its decadent 1920s-themed high teas, where the dress code is 'Flappers and Dappers'. Don't fret if your suitcase doesn't include any Great Gatsby-esque attire, because for just $15 you can deck yourself out in a house-provided costume kit containing faux pearls, a feather boa and more. So, in short, there's no excuse for party poopers. 

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THE BOATSHED, WAIHEKE ISLAND

If you're wanting a piece of laidback island time luxury then The Boatshed on Waiheke Island is the place for you. This 5-star boutique accommodation is tastefully nautical and there is a range of modern sea-themed rooms to choose from. Each room boasts magnificent panoramic views of the ocean but if you're looking to celebrate a special occasion, we suggest you opt for the Owner's Cottage, which sleeps four. Here, stretching across a generous 210 square metres, you will find three fireplaces, a full chef's kitchen, BBQ, heated pool and to top it all off; a grand piano.

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QT, WELLINGTON 

Part art gallery, part eclectic collector's showroom, checking into the QT Wellington is a surreal experience. Situated on Cable Street, opposite Te Papa Museum, this swanky hotel is a treasure trove of oddities. Despite Wellington's fantastic hospitality scene, you're forgiven if you don't want to venture out of the hotel into the wind gusts that whip around Tory Street. There are three stellar options to eat and drink on site. And it's worth noting that the hotel's French-inspired Hippopotamus Restaurant and Cocktail Bar does an exquisite high tea. This is a great activity to schedule for your next weekend away.

Published on June 18, 2021 by Stephen Heard

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