The Top Hotels in New Zealand

New Zealand’s city hotels combine comfort with modern design touches, while the lodges and country houses—set amid coastal cliffs, pristine fjords, and the soaring Southern Alps—serve luxury with a side of drama.

Highlights
Tawa and Huia Street, Oneroa, Auckland 1081, New Zealand
Perched just up the hill from the white sands of Oneroa Beach on Waiheke Island, the Boatshed fulfills the wainscoted, shuttered, pitch-roofed holiday images that dwell in the minds of beach lovers the world over. Originally the vacation cottages of designer David Scott, the Boatshed now offers six sun-drenched accommodations that complement the laid-back island vibe—a magnet for a free-spirited set of artists, vintners, chefs, and water lovers. Many furnishings were custom-designed by the Scott family and exude the feeling of a boat cabin, especially when placed among the built-in shelves and cabinetry of the bachs—the local word for an authentic New Zealand beach shack. Accommodations range from old boat sheds to a three-story tower that feels like a lighthouse, and outdoor decks provide many opportunities to enjoy the sea breeze. The boutique hotel was the realization of Daniel Scott’s dream—to share the simple pleasures of the beach life with travelers from around the globe.
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.
271 Huka Falls Rd, Taupo 3377, New Zealand
The most exclusive lodge in New Zealand, having hosted everyone from Queen Elizabeth II to the late Robin Williams, Huka Lodge feels like a refined country getaway set on the banks of the Waikato River near the North Island resort town of Taupo. Founded in 1924 by a charismatic Irishman named Alan Pye, the property was later reimagined by entrepreneur Alex van Heeren with the help of interiors specialist Virginia Fisher and famed New Zealand landscape designer Suzanne Turley. The surrounding grounds are ranked as a ‘Garden of National Significance’ by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. Whether staying in the lodge suites—which feature French doors that open up to a wooden terrace just steps from the river—or the lofty private cottages, guests will feel like royalty here.
139 Tepene Tablelands Rd, Matauri Bay 0245, New Zealand
At this luxury property perched over Matauri Bay near the top of the North Island, the colonial-style buildings are dwarfed by the endless wavy greens of a championship, par-72 golf course that ends at the Pacific. The ocean views and holes positioned adjacent to plunging precipices make Kauri Cliffs one of the most famous golf resorts in the world. The hilltop infinity pool is another crowd-pleaser, especially when it reflects the pinks and purples of the sunset. Featuring a beach-meets-country vibe, lodge interiors are outfitted with New Zealand artwork and furnishings imported from Europe and Australia. Outdoors, patches of totara trees dot the 6,000-acre property—one section houses the tranquil spa. Walking paths lead to a waterfall, three secret beaches, and picnic sites that offer sweeping views of Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands.
83 Symonds St, Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
On the site of a former brick windmill in what is today central Auckland, an old Sheraton tower underwent a $9 million renovation in 2006 to become one of the city’s most luxurious hotels: the Cordis. Across the common spaces and 411 guestrooms, this property is draped in fine silks and velvets, appointed with antiques fit for royalty, and crowned by gilded dome ceilings and chandeliers. It’s a popular meeting place for the corporate elite, featuring a striking ballroom that seats 860 people, banquet style. High-tech conferencing equipment and an in-house audio-visual team create a seamless experience, which has helped the hotel earn Earth Check certification. When work is complete, there are ample options for unwinding, from the high tea at the elegant lobby lounge—a more delicate version of the London lobby—and the Chuan Spa, which specializes in traditional Chinese medicine. Also on site is an exclusive Club Lounge, a fitness studio, a swimming pool, and the renowned Eight restaurant, which offers an interactive dining experience with eight specialist kitchens, each dedicated to a different cuisine and led by an expert chef.
216 Okuti Valley Rd, Okuti Valley 7591, New Zealand
A farm-style experience about an hour from Christchurch, Okuti Garden caters to travelers who love to create and play. An art box encourages crafting; “tree circles” are great for yoga and meditation; and a small lake features a boat popular among readers and small children. Bohemian accommodations include yurts, a tepee, a caravan, and a cabin. Each is homespun and handmade, decorated with drawings, wind chimes, and dream catchers left by former guests.

The property is completely off grid, relying on composting toilets, a solar shower, and a gray-water system that recycles wastewater to irrigate the wetlands. One area of the wetlands grows willow rods, which are woven into arches, domes, and tunnels—turning waste into wonders.
21 Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Rising before one of the world’s most famous sailing sites—the host of the Louis Vuitton Regattas, the Volvo Round the World Race, and the Auckland International Boat Show—the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour blends French and South Pacific influences while respecting the maritime heritage of the area. Glass walls maximize views of the marina and its many yachts as well as the reflective pools that create optical illusions in the hotel lobby. The color palette sets cherry and dark woods, jade greens, and slate grays against cream and white backdrops, while artwork—from ceremonial pieces to a Maori tribal sculpture in the atrium—pays homage to indigenous New Zealanders. Some of the treatments at the SO Spa, like the greenstone massage, also reflect local culture, while others use French products in a nod to the hotel brand’s heritage.

References to Auckland’s volcanic origins also abound, most notably in the back-lit marble walls of the Lava Dining restaurant, an all-day spot for French- and New Zealand-accented dishes; the casual 21 Viaduct Café and panoramic Sabrage Bar are other dining options. And then there are the rooms: from the Superiors and Junior Suites to the exclusive Opera Suite, all have contemporary décor, signature MyBed mattresses, marble baths with Lanvin products and separate showers and tubs, and walls of windows opening out onto a Juliet balcony with views of either the hotel’s atrium, or the city, harbor, and beyond.
Ocean Beach 5773, New Zealand
Built in the 1840s as a sheep station that still operates today, Wharekauhau—meaning “place of knowledge” in Maori—pays homage to the area’s tradition of feeding the wise and the cultured. Thirteen cottage suites were positioned to take in this dramatic slice of North Island pasture that landslides into Palliser Bay southeast of Wellington. The cottages are unpretentious yet filled with such luxuries as four-poster beds with curtains, private terraces, separate lounge areas, writing desks, gas fireplaces, double baths, and walk-in showers. Each space is homey, cushioned by soft rugs and upholstery and enclosed by rustic wood panels and beams. The Edwardian main lodge, adorned with cream-toned furniture and antiques, invites guests to curl up by the fire, or chat with the chef in the open kitchen that flows into a charming country dining room. Outside, there’s inspiration all around, extending from the sheep herds to the Palliser Bay lighthouse.
1490 Birchwood Rd, Ahuriri Valley 9412, New Zealand
Why we love it: Epic views and high style on the South Island

The Highlights:
- Design that maximizes the views
- A small size that makes for an intimate, exclusive experience
- Access to a variety of outdoor adventures

The Review:
Set in the South Island’s Ahuriri Valley, on 6,000 pristine acres bordered on three sides by conservation parks, is your own slice of natural paradise. Opened in late 2018, The Lindis is a striking, contemporary lodge that blends into the landscape, with a sloping roof that mimics the mountain and river backdrop and, inside, floor-to-ceiling windows framing magnificent views.

There are just five rooms to choose from—two master options and three lodge suites, all with private indoor and outdoor lounge spaces, fluffy king beds, and gas fireplaces. (Master suites also have separate living rooms and oversized bathtubs.) Beyond the accommodations, there are endless activities to choose from, from horseback riding, fly fishing, and e-biking to eco- and buggy tours and spectacular stargazing. Fuel up for your adventures with the lodge’s refined, contemporary cuisine, crafted by house chefs using locally sourced ingredients—think South Island crayfish, foraged porcini mushrooms, and Wild Fiordland venison—and paired with fine New Zealand wines from the well-stocked cellar.
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