Take your holiday to new heights at New Zealand’s best hotels

Next time you head across the ditch, these are the five star hotels you need to be checking into.

By Chris Ashton, July 11 2022
Take your holiday to new heights at New Zealand’s best hotels

Few destinations stir the imagination like Aotearoa. The ‘land of the long white cloud’, known as much for its rugged good looks as the inviting warmth of the locals, is more striking in person than any photo could portray – and its high-end hotels fit the landscape like a glove.

Whether you’re in the mood for an urban escape in downtown Auckland and Wellington, or maybe an off-grid adventure amid the rustling grasslands of Ahuriri Valley has fired up your imagination, there’s a luxury New Zealand hotel with your name on it.

Blanket Bay is designed to complement the wild majesty of the Southern Alps.
Blanket Bay is designed to complement the wild majesty of the Southern Alps.

As expected from one of the world’s most celebrated wine growing nations, food and wine forms a big part of the experience at each of these five star escapes, yet there’s more to discover too, from championship golf courses to working farms and private yachts.

In no particular order, and by no means a definitive list, these are some of the best lodges and luxury hotels New Zealand has to offer.

The best hotels and lodges in New Zealand

Huka Lodge

One hotel to rule them all. Huka Lodge is an icon of New Zealand – a sprawling 17-acre estate on the banks of Waikato River, some 300-metres upstream from the mighty Huka Falls.

Dine among the elements alongside the deep turquoise Waikato River.
Dine among the elements alongside the deep turquoise Waikato River.

Part of the Baillie Lodges family, which also includes Longitude 131 and Capella Lodge in Australia, the luxury hotel is intimate and refined, with 20 elegant Junior Lodge suites and two exclusive owner’s residences, paired with an award-winning seasonal restaurant.

Inside the beautiful Alan Pye Cottage, the two bedroom owner's residence.
Inside the beautiful Alan Pye Cottage, the two bedroom owner's residence.

Guests can try their luck at fishing, delve into the 4500 bottle-strong wine cellar, or take their holiday to new heights on an ‘Ultimate Huka Experience’ helicopter tour, and more. Possible sights include Huka Falls and the volcanic majesty of Tongariro National Park.

Blanket Bay

Just 45 minutes drive from Queenstown, Blanket Bay is grand on every scale, with a ruggedly-beautiful design featuring exposed beams and soaring 30-foot ceilings in the main lodge. Plus, its generous rooms, villa and suites all have pinch-worthy views of Lake Wakatipu.

Blanket Bay is the picture of alpine splendour.
Blanket Bay is the picture of alpine splendour.

The Qualmark five-star rated hotel is as striking as its setting, with facilities to match. Among them? A gorgeous outdoor heated pool, wine cave, and the inviting Blanket Bay Spa, which boasts therapy suites, steam rooms, and a hot tub with lake and mountain views.

The Villa at Blanket Bay houses four spacious king suites and a private lounge.
The Villa at Blanket Bay houses four spacious king suites and a private lounge.

Another highlight is its restaurant, a fine dining experience where chef Dan Reynolds plates up inventive five-course degustation menus, evolving daily to suit the available local produce. Being New Zealand, it also comes with a fabulous wine list to boot.

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour

The name ‘Sofitel’ immediately sets expectations when you hear it: cosmopolitan French style, impeccable service, and haute cuisine, being just a few. Overlooking shimmering Waitemata Harbour, the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour more than lives up to its moniker.

A slice of French sophistication just 15 minutes stroll from the heart of Auckland City.
A slice of French sophistication just 15 minutes stroll from the heart of Auckland City.

Extensively refurbished in 2020, the hotel’s lobby, reception, restaurant and spa are now more stylish than ever. The rooms? They deliver in all the right ways too, with deep soaking tubs and rain showers, Juliet balconies, Chromecast televisions and an espresso machine.

Pop a bottle at Sabrage Champagne Bar, or indulge in seasonal cocktails and local wines.
Pop a bottle at Sabrage Champagne Bar, or indulge in seasonal cocktails and local wines.

La Marée restaurant – French for ‘the tide’ – and Sabrage Champagne Bar are your go-tos for taste bud-pleasing delights, while Club Millésime executive lounge is also at hand for eligible guests. If it’s pampering you need, Sofitel Spa is sure to have the ideal treatment.

The Lindis

Architecture is often built to stand out – a contrast from the surrounding urban or natural landscape. The Lindis takes the opposite approach, with its undulating timber-slat roof helping it fade into the rolling hills and grasslands of the Ahuriri Valley.

The Lindis' connection to the valley extends far beyond its doors, with fishing, horse riding and more on offer.
The Lindis' connection to the valley extends far beyond its doors, with fishing, horse riding and more on offer.

Interiors are a different story though. The lodge features two spacious master suites, three lodge suites, and three pods, each furnished with rich Spotted Gum panelling and chic brass fixtures. Floor-to-ceiling windows blur the lines between indoors and out.

Interiors feature Spotted Gum panelling and bluestone masonry throughout.
Interiors feature Spotted Gum panelling and bluestone masonry throughout.

Reading in bed and curling up by the fire or indulging at the bar and restaurant are great ways to spend your stay. But, if you crave a little more adventure, you can venture out on a high country horse riding trek, or relax beneath the stars in a steaming outdoor hot tub.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Hawke’s Bay may be synonymous with wine, yet it’s also prime sheep and cattle country, with the 6,000 acre property housing The Farm at Cape Kidnappers one of numerous farms within the region. None are quite as luxurious as this one though.

Cape Kidnappers has been named among the world's best hotels by the top 20 hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveller.
Cape Kidnappers has been named among the world's best hotels by the top 20 hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveller.

All 22 of its country-styled suites and the four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage feature impeccable attention to detail, from the sturdy barn doors to wrought-iron chandeliers. All suites also enjoy easy access to lodge facilities, including gymnasium, pool, spa and library.

The lodge is also home to one of the country's top golf courses.
The lodge is also home to one of the country's top golf courses.

For the keen golfers among us, there’s a beautiful Tom Doak-designed par 71 course that will challenge players of all skill levels (if you can take your eyes off the view, that is). Day visitors are welcome too, although advance bookings are required.

Park Hyatt Auckland

Have a taste for five star hotels? You can’t go past the Park Hyatt Auckland, which holds prime real estate overlooking Wynyard Quarter’s Lighter Basin and out to Waitemata Harbour.

Park Hyatt Auckland enjoys an impressive outlook over Wynyard Quarter's Lighter Basin to the harbour beyond.
Park Hyatt Auckland enjoys an impressive outlook over Wynyard Quarter's Lighter Basin to the harbour beyond.

Opened in September 2020, all 195 rooms and suites feature beautifully-woven rugs and custom Tukutuku panels – a traditional Maori textile, along with elegant marble bathrooms, private balcony, Nespresso coffee and TV with Chromecast functionality.

Traditional woven textiles are featured throughout the hotel's rooms and public spaces.
Traditional woven textiles are featured throughout the hotel's rooms and public spaces.

When hunger calls, choose from sensory indulgence at the produce-driven Onemata steak and seafood restaurant, tapas-style eats and cocktails of Captain’s Bar, or more casual fare in The Living Room. The Pantry Café is also on hand for easy grab-and-go bites.

Wharekauhau Country Estate

In the foothills of the Remutaka Mountain Range east of Wellington lies Wharekauhau Country Estate, a grand hotel evoking the spirit of a Scottish Highlands retreat. Set on 3000 acres, dotted with numerous sheep and cattle, it’s much more than a typical country farmstay.

Wharekauhau sits in a dramatic location alongside the cliffs of Palliser Bay.
Wharekauhau sits in a dramatic location alongside the cliffs of Palliser Bay.

Each of its 16 Cottage Suites and one Villa feature heated floors, private fireplaces and deep sofas for you to curl up on, with nightly pre-dinner drinks and canapes, multi-course dining and breakfasts over at the main lodge all included in the experience.

Each of the hotel's villas and suites features a calming, neutral palette.
Each of the hotel's villas and suites features a calming, neutral palette.

A multitude of optional activities are available to help you get more out of your visit, including wine tours in the Martinborough Region, beach fishing on the black sands of Palliser Bay, and a four wheel drive tour of the farm, plus included tennis, hiking and more.

Matakauri Lodge

Queenstown is breathtaking in every season – and Matakauri Lodge is an ideal vantage to witness its many colours. The icy-blue of Lake Wakatipu, pink cherry blossoms in spring, slate-grey and olive mountains capped in stark white snow… it’s a photographer’s dream.

Matakauri Lodge affords striking views of The Remarkables, and Cecil and Walter Peaks.
Matakauri Lodge affords striking views of The Remarkables, and Cecil and Walter Peaks.

Interiors are simple yet elegant in a caramel and cream palette, with clean lines of timber and glass in each of its 12 luxurious suites. In addition to a cosy communal lounge for chats by the fire, there’s an infinity edge pool and spa, à la carte dining room, and onsite spa.

Fine dining with a view, from head chef Jonathan Rogers.
Fine dining with a view, from head chef Jonathan Rogers.

Only seven minutes from Queenstown, Matakauri makes a wonderful base for mountain biking and wine tours, skiing at The Remarkables and Coronet Peak, or scenic drives. There’s also a fly-in par 3 helicopter golf course on Cecil Peak, if you want to elevate your stay.

The Hotel Britomart

A darling of the Auckland boutique hotel scene, The Hotel Britomart is proof you can never have too much exposed brickwork. Housing just 99 calming rooms and five suites, the hotel is striking in its simplicity, yet it still delivers a luxurious experience to all who enter.

Designed by Auckland-based Cheshire Architects, the exterior is clad in 150,000 hand-made bricks.
Designed by Auckland-based Cheshire Architects, the exterior is clad in 150,000 hand-made bricks.

It also comes with some impressive green credentials, as the first hotel in New Zealand to achieve a Green 5 Star rating, with careful considerations and commitments required in everything from its design to air-conditioning and even the bedding.

Kingi (short for kingfish) is steps from the lobby in the adjacent Masonic Building, refurbished as part of the hotel project.
Kingi (short for kingfish) is steps from the lobby in the adjacent Masonic Building, refurbished as part of the hotel project.

Surrounded by numerous restaurants in the Britomart foodie precinct, the hotel also has a gourmet drawcard of its own: Kingi – open from breakfast till late. Locally caught seafood is the star of the dinner menu, complemented by a delicious selection of Kiwi wines.

Bay of Many Coves Resort

Light and bright apartments, world-class Marlborough seafood and wine, and a revitalising spa, all in a secluded location overlooking Queen Charlotte Sound; Bay of Many Coves Resort is a gourmet wonderland. You can even arrive on your own yacht (if you have one).

Bay of Many Coves has been described as the 'jewel of the Marlborough Sounds'.
Bay of Many Coves has been described as the 'jewel of the Marlborough Sounds'.

Take in sweeping balcony views of the water from your one, two, or three-bedroom apartment, enjoying fresh fruit and the complimentary mini bar. Then, mosey on down to the resort’s trio of casual and fine dining options: The Foredeck, The Kumatage and The Quarterdeck.

Fine food and fabulous wine are both part of the experience.
Fine food and fabulous wine are both part of the experience.

Bushwalking, birdwatching, wine tasting and sailing are some of the popular ways to fill your days, with the renowned 72km Queen Charlotte Track also right on the resort’s doorstep.

InterContinental Wellington

InterContinental Hotels can always be relied on to deliver the goods. The group's five star hotel in windy Wellington is no exception, with always-impeccable service and a flurry of fabulous dining options, all within easy reach of TSB Arena and Wellington Museum.

Sweet dreams are made of the Harbour View Junior Suite at InterContinental Wellington.
Sweet dreams are made of the Harbour View Junior Suite at InterContinental Wellington.

Adjacent to the waterfront, many of InterContinental Wellington’s 236 rooms and suites enjoy expansive views of the harbour, while the Lobby Lounge and casual Two Grey Café make excellent spots to fuel up for the day’s exploration. High Tea is worth biting into too.

Two Grey has you covered, from your morning coffee hit to indulgent dinners.
Two Grey has you covered, from your morning coffee hit to indulgent dinners.

While you’re there, why not visit the Te Papa Museum, which delves into the cultural and natural history of New Zealand, or take a short drive over to the Weta Cave in Miramar, where you can enjoy a behind the scenes look at the special effects masters behind the Lord of the Rings.

Fiordland Lodge

New Zealand’s Fiordland region is widely considered one of the most captivating sections of the country. High praise, given the wonders that exist from North to South. In Te Anau, Fiordland Lodge (and its sensational outdoor tub) is a perfect base to immerse yourself in its wild, untamed beauty.

Soak in the view while you relax in the outdoor tub.
Soak in the view while you relax in the outdoor tub.

Set on the edge of Te Wähipounamu World Heritage Area, which encompasses both Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the lodge welcomes just 27 guests at a time, with each of its cosy rooms and log-style cabins gazing out to glassy Lake Te Anau and the snowy peaks beyond.

The lodge's open interiors are designed to reflect the vastness of Fiordland National Park.
The lodge's open interiors are designed to reflect the vastness of Fiordland National Park.

A regional approach to food sees head chef Francisco Fioriti take guests on a multisensory local journey, stretching from the land to the ocean, paired with an extensive collection of Kiwi wines.

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

Foodies, golfers and families are all in for a luxurious treat at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs – an exclusive hideaway with three private beaches, a championship golf course, day spa and fabulous dining room.

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is part of the illustrious Relais & Châteaux family.
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is part of the illustrious Relais & Châteaux family.

Set on 6,000 acres in the Bay of Islands, an easy drive or just 45-minutes flight from Auckland, the Robertson Lodges hotel – a sibling to Matakauri Lodge and Cape Kidnappers – offers 22 light filled suites, along with an owner’s cottage and four bedroom villas ‘The Residences’.

Interiors are elegant and understated, with soft furnishings, blonde woods and warm carpets.
Interiors are elegant and understated, with soft furnishings, blonde woods and warm carpets.

With five sets of tees to challenge every skill level, the par 72 golf course stretches along the Pacific Ocean, with cliffs plunging to the sea and beautiful inland holes weaving amid marsh, forest and farmland. It’s a stunning course voted #37 in the world by Golfers Digest.

Helena Bay Lodge

In the northeast corner of the North Island, Helena Bay Lodge is the kind of hotel you visit once and dream of revisiting again. It’s a wildlife paradise, with whales, dolphins and a myriad of birds regularly sighted from the balconies of its waterfront suites, of which there are just five.

 

Welcoming just a handful of guests at a time, you won't have trouble finding a chair by the pool.
Welcoming just a handful of guests at a time, you won't have trouble finding a chair by the pool.

With four private beaches, a 25-metre swimming pool, outdoor fire pit for staying warm while enjoying the dazzling natural lightshow unfolding above, not to mention a luxury yacht, gym, sauna, library and several dining venues, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Whale watching in bed is a distinct possibility at Helena Bay Lodge.
Whale watching in bed is a distinct possibility at Helena Bay Lodge.

Private lunches at the Mohei beach pavilion, bird watching and scenic walks along winding trails, drives amid the 800 acre property in an electric Polaris Ranger, or simply relaxing with a massage or facial, Helena Bay is where adventure and luxury come together.

In the mood for a holiday closer to home? These are some of the best luxury hotels and resorts in Austalia


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Take your holiday to new heights at New Zealand’s best hotels