New Zealand places to stay: Six of the best boutique hotels

THE HOTEL BRITOMART, AUCKLAND

Ideally located in the heart of Auckland's buzzy nine-block Britomart precinct, this 99-room property became New Zealand's first 5 Green Star hotel (Australasia's leading sustainability rating system) when it opened in October 2020. Sustainability is woven into the very heart of the property, from the native totara tree in reception to the slippers fashioned from recycled coconut husks. Rooms are cosy but well-equipped, with handmade ceramics by local artisans and large refillable bottles of Sans [ceuticals] toiletries. At kingi, the hotel's chic in-house eatery, guests can feast on sustainably sourced snapper under a striking chandelier made from 1400 pieces of recycled glass. Rooms from $NZ320. See thehotelbritomart.com

THE MARLBOROUGH, BLENHEIM

Handout image supplied by Tourism NZ - Sarah.Lipkin@tnz.govt.nz
dec11nzhotel New Zealand boutique hotels ; text by Ute Junker
The Marlborough Queenstown

Photo: Tourism New Zealand

A former Sisters of Mercy convent, this stately Victorian mansion has found a new lease of life as an elegant 10-room retreat. Located 10 minutes from Blenheim in the heart of the South Island's Marlborough wine region, the 6.5-hectare estate is a bucolic blend of manicured parklands and vineyards, with a heated outdoor pool, tennis court and croquet pitch. After descending the sweeping kauri staircase, enjoy a pre-dinner tipple in the Chapel Bar (once an intimate 1911 timber chapel) before feasting on seasonal produce cooked in a Mibrasa charcoal oven in onsite restaurant Harvest. Rooms from $NZ1800. See themarlborough.co.nz

EICHARDT'S PRIVATE HOTEL, QUEENSTOWN

Handout image supplied by Tourism NZ - Sarah.Lipkin@tnz.govt.nz
dec11nzhotel New Zealand boutique hotels ; text by Ute JunkerEichardt's Private Hotel cr: Dawn Thomson Photos

Photo: Dawn Thomson

Even with Queenstown's many diversions on your doorstep, no one would blame you if you never set foot outside this boutique gem. The property has a welcoming regal air, with exposed brick walls, roaring fireplaces and antique Victorian furnishings. Thanks to a front-row position overlooking Lake Wakatipu, it enjoys spectacular views (and sunsets) over the lake and the Southern Alps. Accommodation includes seven luxurious suites, four lakefront apartments and a sumptuous three- bedroom residence. Special occasion? Splash out on the stunning 240-square-metre Penthouse with expansive deck and alfresco hot tub. Rooms from $NZ1500. See eichardts.com

NAUMI STUDIO HOTEL, WELLINGTON

Handout image supplied by Tourism NZ - Sarah.Lipkin@tnz.govt.nz
dec11nzhotel New Zealand boutique hotels ; text by Ute Junker
Naumi Studio Wellington Hotel 

Photo: Tourism New Zealand

Don't be fooled by the sober heritage facade, the interior of Naumi Studio Hotel is a riotous explosion of primary colours, patterns and prints. After an extensive renovation last year, the 116-room property on buzzy Cuba Street is now a showcase for leading New Zealand artists and designers. Highlights include a stunning gold leaf-covered floral backdrop by Art Dep't NZ in reception and colourful bespoke rugs by artist Karl Maughan. After a pre-dinner cocktail at the grand island-style bar, enjoy pan-Asian inspired fare in the newly opened Lola Rouge restaurant. Rooms from $NZ153. See naumihotels.com

DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH HOTEL, RUSSELL

Handout image supplied by Tourism NZ - Sarah.Lipkin@tnz.govt.nz
dec11nzhotel New Zealand boutique hotels ; text by Ute Junker
Duke of Marlborough 

Photo: Tourism New Zealand

"Refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827", the Duke of Marlborough claims to be the country's oldest licensed hotel. With an enviable waterfront position in the centre of Russell, the 38-room heritage property enjoys sweeping views over the subtropical Bay of Islands. Splurge on a premium waterfront room and you'll get a balcony with an A-list panorama of nearby Paihia and Waitangi, the historic site where the country's founding document was signed in 1840. Look out for colourful pop art by Northland artist Lester Hall and don't miss sunset on the deck of the in-house restaurant. Rooms from $NZ135. See theduke.co.nz

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THE GEORGE, CHRISTCHURCH

Handout image supplied by Tourism NZ - Sarah.Lipkin@tnz.govt.nz
dec11nzhotel New Zealand boutique hotels ; text by Ute Junker
THe George

Photo: Stephen Goodenough

Christchurch's first and favourite five-star hotel continues to impress, quietly delivering its trademark attentive service (thanks to a 1:1 staff/guest ratio), elegant accommodation (52 spacious rooms and suites) and acclaimed New Zealand art collection (it has the largest private collection of Ralph Hotere works in the country). A short walk from the Art Gallery and Arts Centre, the property enjoys verdant views over Hagley Park and the Avon River. In-house restaurant 50 Bistro champions seasonal South Island produce but save space for the hotel's elegant three-tiered high tea with a glass of Bollinger. Rooms from $NZ300. See thegeorge.com

Rob McFarland was a guest of The Hotel Britomart.

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