Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Napier

There’s a rave review ahead for Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Napier. We remember when the hotel had a Breakers Cafe on the ground floor, what a transformation! In 2012 the hotel was renovated significantly and many of its Art Deco features were restored. The work of the owners’ was recognised recently when they picked up two awards at Hospitality NZ Awards for Excellence – Best Accommodation, and the top award – Supreme Award Winner.

From Breakers to Emporium Eatery & Bar

From Breakers to Emporium Eatery & Bar

We checked in to a Superior Queen Room to find we had French doors opening to the balcony … Read the rest

Waitomo Big Bird B&B

Before getting to Waitomo Big Bird B&B I’m going to put some context around our B&B (bed and breakfast) experiences to date. Our first B&B stay was in Northland six years ago, we were so impressed with the quality of the property that we decided to stay in B&Bs more often. All B&Bs are not created equal though which is part of their appeal, and on occasion, our disappointment. Sea Breeze B&B in Napier stands out as our favourite and it’s the most immaculate B&B we’ve stayed in, our least favourite cost $255 a night and we didn’t think it … Read the rest

Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay, Inglewood

We arrived at Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay after a long drive down the Forgotten World Highway. We were ready to lay our heads almost anywhere but as it turned out hitting the hay in The Barn at Stoney Oaks was an excellent choice – rave review ahead.

Love at first sight - Kunekune piglet

Love at first sight – Kunekune piglet

The Barn’s interior is built of macrocarpa and corrugated iron and has heaps of interesting features. Deer antler has been turned into light fittings, door handles and towel rails. Some of the fixtures are ingenius in their simplicity – two hunks of wood … Read the rest

House truck stay in Waitomo

I’m a fan of house trucks and after a night at Wacky Stays in Kaikoura I came home and Googled house truck stays in the North Island and found Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens. In late March we booked a night in their big house truck with its rusting Thames Trader cab and higgeldy-piggeldy designed living space on the back.

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

The interior of the house truck is full of honey coloured wood and there’s a good sized kitchen and a couple of couches to sit on. As the truck is now in its … Read the rest

Hauraki Blue Cruises – floating accommodation in Auckland

On Auckland Anniversary Day we cruised away from the crowds in Viaduct Harbour onboard Ipipiri, a four level catamaran equipped with 30 cabins, all with king size sea views. It was to be our second overnight cruise on the catamaran, our first was in the Bay of Islands in 2011. The vessel relocated to Auckland in 2014 and still looks brand new, but a few decor changes in the cabins and dining area have smartened it up even more. Ipipiri now travels under Hauraki Blue Cruises and you can sail away for a long lunch or spend the night.

Cabin - bed can be split to make two singles

Cabin

Read the rest

Suite As – Rutland Arms Inn, Wanganui

I picked up a ‘Made in Wanganui’ flyer from the Rutland Arms Inn and read that helmets used by the New York Fire Department are made in Wanganui, as well as leather seats for Air New Zealand and Jetstar planes. If your cat eats Whiskas chances are it comes from the Mars petfood factory in Wanganui too. I stayed at Rutland Arms for the night, although it’s at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation continuum it’s definitely a good option if you’re in the city on business.

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

I stayed in the spacious … Read the rest

Home Sweet House Truck at Wacky Stays

Wacky is the right word to describe the collection of unusual accommodation and the farm park that make up Wacky Stays in Kaikoura. We spent the night in the 1951 Bedford house truck, there’s also a yurt, colonial wagon, teepee and farm cottage. I’ve always wanted to stay in a house truck (and truth be told drive off into the sunset in one) so it was a bucket list ticking night for me.

1951 Bedford House Truck at Wacky Stays

1951 Bedford House Truck at Wacky Stays

The house truck was built in Nelson by a couple who eventually lived in it full time before it was … Read the rest

Museum Art Hotel, Wellington

I’ve read that interior designer Michael Nolder was tasked with creating ‘New Zealand’s best bar and something completely over the top’ when redesigning Hippopotamus Bar at Museum Art Hotel in Wellington. In my opinion he nailed it, here it is in all its elegant glory ……..

Hippopotamus Bar, Museum Art Hotel

Hippopotamus Bar, Museum Art Hotel

The rooms at the hotel are currently undergoing a ‘Coco Chanel inspired’ renovation. The Classic Rooms we’ve stayed in were definitely missing the quirky and creative touches apparent throughout the public areas of the hotel. There was nothing at all wrong with the rooms, but it sounds like the … Read the rest

A Stylish Stay – Hotel DeBrett, Auckland

If you’re looking for a stylish stay in downtown Auckland Hotel DeBrett ticks the box and quite a few more. There are 25 individually styled rooms and suites, we spent the night in a Classic Room. I loved the colour bursts of orange in our room, especially in contrast with the classic black and white ensuite. There was plenty of natural light and we looked out over High and Shortland Streets, double glazing kept the city sounds away.

Bright and funky decor in our Classic Room

Bright and funky decor in our Classic Room

Ensuite with bee hive mosaic tiles

Ensuite with bee hive mosaic tiles

There's a deep bath and separate shower

A good deep bath

You stand on … Read the rest

Stay in a Guard’s Van at Waipara Sleepers

We were surprised to find that a stay in a former guard’s van at Waipara Sleepers cost only $65 a night. Throwing caution to the wind we booked two nights, how bad could it be? It wasn’t bad at all, but we do think some facilities could do with attention. Waipara Sleepers is advertised as unique budget accommodation though and I think they’re on the right track (toot toot).

Our guard's van at Waipara Sleepers

Our guard’s van at Waipara Sleepers

Our guard’s van had a little TV, a small basin, and all you need to make tea and toast. The carriage was divided in half … Read the rest