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.
As expected from one of the world’s most celebrated wine growing nations, food and wine forms a big part of the experience, 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.
- Huka Lodge
- Eichardt’s Private Hotel
- The Lindis
- The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
- The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
- Park Hyatt Auckland
- Blanket Bay
- Wharekauhau Country Estate
- Matakauri Lodge
- The Hotel Britomart
- Bay of Many Coves Resort
- InterContinental Wellington
- Fiordland Lodge
- Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
- Helena Bay Lodge
The best hotels and lodges in New Zealand
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.
Part of the Baillie Lodges family, which includes Longitude 131 and Capella Lodge in Australia, the hotel is intimate and refined, with 20 Junior Lodge suites and two exclusive owner’s residences, paired with a stellar seasonal restaurant.
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.
You’ll need to get in quick if you want to experience it in its current form though, as the hotel is set for a substantial redesign from April 2024, before reopening with a new look in December. That said, if the above render is anything to go by, it’ll be worth waiting.
Eichardt’s Private Hotel
The South Island mecca of Queenstown is well known for its adventurous pursuits: jet boating, snowboarding and bungee jumping et al. But there’s a luxurious side to the alpine town too. Take Eichardt’s Private Hotel, for instance.
First opened in 1861, the lauded private hotel houses a collection of suites and penthouse apartments, together with a grand three-bedroom residence, all mere steps from serene Lake Wakatipu.
Speaking of the lake, that’s where you’ll find one of the hotel’s trump cards: a gorgeous 80-foot yacht, ‘Pacific Jemm’. It’s available to whisk guests off on half and full day excursions, paired with handcrafted menus and a myriad of equipment for embracing lake life.
That said, there’s still plenty to enjoy within the hotel too, from Eichardt’s Bar – where gold miners once lounged while sharing tall tales and big dreams – to The Grille Restaurant.
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.
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.
If you crave a little adventure, you can venture out on a high country horse riding trek, or relax beneath the stars in a steaming outdoor hot tub.
That said, reading in bed and curling up by the fire or indulging at the bar and restaurant are certainly great ways to spend your stay.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When hunger calls, choose from 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. Grab-and-go bites are also available at The Pantry.
As you would expect from a Park Hyatt, there is a fantastic spa too, offering massages, facials and hydrotherapy.
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.
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.
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, you can be sure it comes with a fabulous wine list to boot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A regional approach to food sees guests embark on a multisensory local journey, stretching from the land to the ocean, paired with an extensive collection of Kiwi wines.
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.
Refurbished in 2020, the hotel’s lobby, reception, restaurant and spa is as 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.
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.
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.
With four private beaches, a 25-metre pool, outdoor fire pit for staying warm while enjoying the natural lightshow above, not to mention a luxury yacht, gym, sauna, library and several dining venues, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.
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.
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