A Stylish Stay – Hotel DeBrett, Auckland

If you’re looking for a stylish stay in downtown Auckland, Hotel DeBrett ticks the box.

Our bright and light Classic Room

Our bright and light Classic Room

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.

Bathroom with beehive shaped tiles

Bathroom with beehive shaped tiling

You stand on 100% New Zealand striped wool carpet throughout the hotel, but it was … 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

Unusual Accommodation – Solscape Eco Retreat in Raglan

When I saw a little mushroom house on Solscape Eco Retreat’s website I knew that was where I wanted to stay. What I call a mushroom house is actually an earth dome. Solscape has two earth domes, both were built by hand using materials including earthbags, lime plaster, barbed wire and bottles.

Large earth dome at Solscape Eco Retreat

Large earth dome at Solscape Eco Retreat

We booked the large earth dome which has the added extra of a mezzanine floor – useful for stowing luggage or better still, lying back on the cushions and getting lost in a good book. Part of Solscape’s philosophy is to … Read the rest

Turkish Delight – Sea Breeze B&B in Napier

There are three themed rooms at Sea Breeze B&B in Napier – Imperial Asian, Turkish and Indian. Our choice was the Turkish room – it’s a visual delight with its rich red walls and gold trimmings. The room, and infact the whole B&B is so well maintained we felt like the first guests, however Cafer and Fiona have been hosting visitors for over 10 years.

Turkish Room, Sea Breeze B&B

Turkish Room, Sea Breeze B&B

Indian Room

Indian Room

The Turkish room has its own ensuite, the rich colours don’t continue in to the bathroom – it’s all white and spotless. There’s an LCD TV in all … Read the rest

Stable Stay – Larnach Castle, Dunedin

My first castle stay was at Bolebroke Castle in England. I was living in the UK at the time and had been to a few castles so thought I knew what a castle looked like. I was surprised when we pulled in to Bolebroke Castle – it looked like a big house, if there was a tower it was easily mistaken for a chimney. One of Bolebrook Castle’s claims to fame is that it was reputedly used as a hunting lodge by Henry VIII when he courted Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn lived in nearby Hever Castle, she definitely had … Read the rest

Quirky Creeksyde Holiday Park – Unusual Accommodation in Queenstown

Curious, quirky and unusual all describe the facilities at Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde. From the ‘Tapas Room’ barbecue pavilion to the trompe l’oeil (deceive the eye) murals in the communal bathrooms …..

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

The ‘Oast House’ communal bathrooms are built with timber recycled from an old brewery.

Oast House communal bathrooms

Oast House communal bathrooms

The trompe l’oeil (deceive the eye) murals inside ‘Oast House’ – mind the stairs in the mens room.

Mens bathroom - mind the stairs

Mens bathroom – mind the stairs

Girls get a Body Sanctum bathroom with the Skyline Gondola in the shower.

Body sanctum bathroom

Body sanctum bathroom

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A night behind bars – Jailhouse Accommodation, Christchurch

The white collar crim has always used his ill gotten gains to pay for his own ensuite bathroom, but I convinced him to do time at Jailhouse Accommodation in Christchurch. Although we had to share a bathroom, spending the night wasn’t a harsh sentence. Warm beds, a light and sunny social area, and the chance to spend the night somewhere unusual made it a worthwhile stay for us.

White collar crim JA8941

White collar crim JA8941

Time: One Night

Time: One Night

You stay in what remains of Addington Prison – the Mountfort Cell Block, completed in 1874. (The prison closed in 1999, part of it was … Read the rest

Curious in Kumara

I didn’t get to share my Kumara pronunciation with the locals, I heard them say it before I could call their place a vegetable. Ku-mar-a (stressing the mar) is how they say it on the West Coast of the South Island.

Kumara developed after gold was discovered in nearby Dilmanstown in 1876. According to information at Shantytown, the Kumara – Dilmanstown area is known as the place of New Zealand’s last gold rush*. The rush is said to have been started by two moonshiners who went bush to set up an illegal still.

During their preparations Cashman and Connor … Read the rest

Unusual Accommodation – Te Nikau Retreat in Punakaiki

On the West Coast of the South Island you’ll find Te Nikau Retreat in Punakaiki. The Star Gazer is the retreat’s most unusual accommodation option – it’s a little wooden hut on a platform with a partial glass roof, for you guessed it – star gazing.

There’s no electricity but candles can light the hut when the stars can’t. A short walk along a bush pathway takes you to shared bathroom and kitchen facilities at one of the lodges. The Star Gazer has sitting and lying room only, pack a small bag for a summer stay, from $51 double.

Star Gazer, Te Nikau Retreat

Star

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Tophouse, St Arnaud

-Tophouse reopened in July 2015 under new management-

Tophouse near St Arnaud was established in 1887 to accommodate drovers travelling between Nelson and Canterbury. Today Tophouse operates as a guesthouse, cafe and tiny bar. The white washed walls cover a mix of cow manure, horse hair, straw and sand used in its construction.

Tophouse, St Arnaud - tiny bar on the right

Tophouse, St Arnaud – tiny bar on the right

The tiny bar at Tophouse is an addition to the building, it could squeeze in a standing dozen with the front lawn handling the over flow (insect repellent recommended). The bar started serving alcohol again in 2008 after … Read the rest