The fifth-oldest house in Auckland, built between 1847 and 1855 in the leafy Remuera suburb, welcomes travelers of all types. Two guestrooms and two suites blend Regency and Victorian architecture with furniture that trends toward art nouveau and art deco. Hardwood floors and molded windows, alcoves, and fireplaces define the house’s bones, while such antiques as carved Chinese elm chests and black lacquer armchairs fill the rooms. Communal areas include two separate lounges and dining areas, outdoor verandas, a swimming pool, and courtyard gardens punctuated by surprising sculptures.
The property bears much New Zealand influence, from custom upholstery and draping to a vast collection of permanent and rotating artworks—Arthur Amon's striking Humpback Sushi sculpture swims through the garden despite the whale being dissected like a sushi roll. The Colombian-born, French-raised maître d'hotel Gloria is responsible for curating the art and furnishings and is happy to arrange visits to artist studios as well as informal teas on property. Cotter House is especially lively during the annual September Auckland Heritage Festival; it’s a historic icon that offers a glimpse of the past amid the comforts of the present.
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An affluent suburb southwest of downtown Auckland, Remuera is known for 18th- and 19th-century homes, gothic and Romanesque churches, and scenic natural areas such as Mount Hobson, a volcanic cone that affords views across Waitemata Harbour out to Rangitoto Island. Prime shopping and dining surrounds Cotter House, and there’s easy public transit linking Remuera to areas like Newmarket and Parnell. The Remuera Golf Club, operating since 1935, is also about five minutes from the hotel. For guests using Auckland as a home base for their North Island explorations, Cotter House arranges a number of unique adventures, from a fishing trip to stunning Kawau Island with Auckland Seaplanes or deer hunting at the Balnagown hunting grounds.
Need to Know
Rooms: 2 rooms, 2 two-bedroom suites. From $446. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: There’s no restaurant on-site, but indoor and outdoor dining areas are available for guests, and the Blue Lounge, with its burr walnut table and Regency rosewood chairs, offers a smorgasbord of croissants and pastries, fruit, yogurt, and homemade muesli every morning. Special dinners and high teas are often held at the marble table surrounded by gilded friezes in the Gold Dining Room. For lunch or dinner, the maître d' will recommend neighborhood restaurants such as Thai Village, Banque, and the Phoenix Garden. Spa and gym details:Cotter House provides access to an exercise pavilion, run by a team of physiotherapists. Spa treatments from manicures to massages laced with lavender and wintergreen are offered in guestrooms. Yoga and Pilates classes are available by appointment. There’s also a swimming pool and sauna at the hotel.
Who's it best for: Fans of heritage interiors, and art lovers. Our favorite rooms: The two-room Bronze Suite was used as an upstairs parlor until 1978 when the two-flat house was merged into one. The original fireplace has been tiled three times. Today, it’s clad in travertine marble and runs on gas. The decor is very French, featuring antique furniture, armoires, French linen, a silk duvet, and a Jean-Claude Delepine tub in the bathroom. A storied cellar:Cotter House has arguably the most famous wine cellar in New Zealand. The hotel has hosted the Winestate Awards for several years and has a stellar selection of New Zealand and Australian vintages as a result. But more interestingly, the cellar was once an old prison cell where convicts were held overnight before being transferred to the Fencible prison in Howick during the Maori Wars of the 1860s. “Lap of Luxury” weekends include five-course degustation dinners, a French-style high tea, spa treatments, and guests’ pick from the star wine cellar.