Hotel DeBrett

2 High St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand

This funky boutique hotel on the edge of the Britomart shopping district goes way back in Auckland history. Built in 1841 as The Commercial Hotel, the DeBrett building survived two fires and two rebuilds plus a stint as a hostel before becoming the quirky place guests experience today. The Housebar has always been the center of hotel life, and today, the intimate wood-and-mint venue exudes its original art deco style and serves classic cocktails and local beers and wines alongside refined pub snacks.

In addition to restoring the bar and adding a glass-roofed atrium that houses the hotel restaurant, DeBretts Kitchen, the current owners affixed contemporary artwork and photography throughout and sheathed the entire building in candy-striped carpeting, custom designed from 100 percent New Zealand wool. Besides the carpet and small-batch minibar selections, no two rooms are the same. Each features unique furnishings from the 1930s on, and every bed has an original screenprinted throw. Two of Hotel DeBretts centerpieces, the chandelier and water sculpture in the restaurant, were crafted by Auckland artists from materials salvaged during the latest renovation. The result is a local experience from top to bottom that gives guests a real taste of New Zealand.

More Recommendations

Spoil yourself

‘Boutique’ is an understatement for this hotel. Hotel de Brett in Auckland’s CBD has the special sort of charm that makes you feel loved. Complete with retro furnishings, open fireplace, three separate bar areas, and an award-winning restaurant – oh, did I mention a Juliet balcony from your bedroom overseeing the eating and drinking atrium? I won’t even get into the private library that only guests can access or the live jazz on Sunday nights…

A Personable Auckland Boutique Hotel

At the end of a recent adventure trip through New Zealand, I hung my hat for a night (and aired out my hiking boots) at this vibrant boutique hotel. It was just what I was looking for. The DeBrett is smack in the middle of downtown, and it’s not just travelers that are passing through. Busy Aucklanders populate the place, whether they’re having dinner at the well-regarded Kitchen restaurant or downing Bluff oysters and Kiwi craft brews in the clubby Housebar. I found plenty of convenient stuff mere steps away, including the hotel’s (fairly rudimentary) off-site gym and Shaky Isles, a nice café in Britomart that’s also a perfect place to get some work done. It’s a design-conscious hotel. Much of the look is mid-century modern, for a dash of a “Mad Men” flavor—the owners have snapped up some awfully nice vintage furniture at auction—but with extra pops of color and some cool Art Deco details. I crashed in a Loft Suite, where I had the luxury of two bathrooms. I didn’t have time to borrow a DVD from the guests-only library, but I did grab a complimentary evening drink there. (Another fun touch.) All in all, I’d say, a hospitable headquarters for anyone exploring New Zealand’s only metropolis.

Information on this page, including website, location, and opening hours, is subject to have changed since this page was last published. If you would like to report anything that’s inaccurate, let us know at

Nearby highlights
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR