With New Zealand becoming increasingly popular for travel, here is a list of hotels that have been greatly influenced by art and design that is rather Instagram-worthy! From stargazing at The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley to a 130-year-old Victorian villa just 500 metres from the centre of Queenstown, there’s room for both the young and old at heart.
Built in 1928, the 10-storey heritage-listed building on Queen Street in Auckland’s CBD that now houses the Hotel Grand Windsor was the city’s first skyscraper. Originally housing teams of bakers and confectioners who made Auckland’s most famous ice-creams, the upper floors of the classically designed building were later converted into offices. Inspired by the art deco style popular at the time of its construction, the Hotel Grand Windsor MGallery by Sofitel opened in 2016 with glamorous public spaces and 79 elegantly designed rooms and suites. The Hotel Grand Windsor has been named the Best New Hotel (in the world) and won the titles of Australasia's Most Inspired Hotel Design, and Best New Hotel in Australasia at the 2018 Boutique Hotel Awards in London.
There’s an awful lot to explore in New Zealand’s biggest city, but equally beguiling are the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, each offering a wildly different experience. Lap up the wineries and eateries on Waiheke, climb the Summit Track on volcanic Rangitoto or rediscover nature on Great Barrier Island.
Located on a Jack Nicklaus-designed 254-hectare golf course on the shores of Lake Taupo, the Lodge at Kinloch is a remarkable white modernist building complete with turrets that are intended as a modern interpretation of a Victorian-era castle. The building was designed by internationally award-winning New Zealand architect Andrew Patterson, while the lodge interiors were conceived by renowned interior designer Virginia Fisher. Inside, there’s a baronial feel: think velvet, fox fur and brass contrasted against whitewashed walls and high ceilings.
Lake Taupo lies about three-and-a-half hours’ drive south of Auckland, in the centre of the North Island. The fitness-minded might like to tackle the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a popular day hike, or just amble along Lake Taupo’s 71 kilometres of walking trails. The lake is famed for its trout, so a little fly fishing is highly recommended.
Gallery 4 is the latest edition of the evolving design story at the QT Wellington. Once owned by art collector and entrepreneur Chris Parkin, the QT Wellington Hotel features on Yahoo’s list of the “Best Hotels in the World with Magnificent Artwork”. Located across the road from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the waterfront walkways, the hotel is scattered with original artworks from local and international artists, including a life-size bull made from corned beef cans by New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery as well as huge canvases and glass display cabinets with small oddities. There’s a whole new collection at Gallery 4 where the work of 19 New Zealand artists is displayed in the new rooms, matched with bold interiors styled by architect and designer Shelley Indyk.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital and sits at the base of the North Island. Explore the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s permanent and current exhibitions. Wellington is also considered the craft beer capital of the country: a wee ale is highly recommended.
New Plymouth, on North Island’s west coast, has become known as an arts and cultural hub so it’s fitting that it should have a luxury hotel with cutting-edge design. Located in the West End precinct opposite the Govett- Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, the King & Queen hotel’s exterior features a distinctive vertical louvre screen. Inside, the rooms, suites and apartments showcase art from both local and international artists.
A four-and-a-half-hour drive north-west of Wellington, New Plymouth is dominated by volcanic Mount Taranaki: the summit walk is a challenging eight to ten hours for the experienced climber. More sedentary activities include the town’s lovely parks which shine in rhododendron season and its galleries/museums, including the Puke Ariki and the afore-mentioned Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand’s only museum of contemporary art.
Queenstown might have a reputation as New Zealand’s adrenalin capital, but the historic Hulbert House offers respite from the action. An elegant 130-year-old Victorian villa just 500 metres from the centre of Queenstown, the boutique accommodation has six opulent suites featuring canopy beds, chandeliers and antique writing desks. With a colourful history that includes being used as a refuge for girls, a maternity home and a backpackers’ hostel, the homestead was restored by leading interior designer Neil McLachlan and is protected by the Historic Places Trust.
Queenstown isn’t called the Adventure Capital of NZ for nothing. Skiing, jet-boating and bungy jumping will get the adrenalin pumping. If you want to go a little easier, cruise the peaceful waters of Lake Wakatipu, follow the Queenstown Wine Trail or take a scenic flight to see the landscape from a new perspective.
The Lindis, New Zealand’s newest luxury lodge is an architectural tour-de-force featuring a roofline that follows the natural undulations of its South Island high country resting place, nestled in a conservation park in a dark sky sanctuary. Interiors are pared back with natural materials, wood and stone, bringing the magnificent Ahuriri Valley landscape indoors. With the night sky and Astro-tourism in mind, the next stage of The Lindis will include individual glass pods as an extension of the main lodge.
The Ahuriri Valley is in the central South Island, near Omarama, a tiny town on the edge of the Southern Alps, just south of Aoraki Mount Cook and north of Lake Wanaka. There’s plenty to do outdoors in this stunning outdoor environment from horse trekking, hiking, fishing, e-bikes, buggy tours, to gliding or stargazing by night.