South Street, Nelson

If you like cute cottages take a wander down historic South Street near Nelson’s town centre. South Street was originally known as Town Acre 456 and the first little cottages were built in the 1860’s.

Over time some of the cottages became run down and in 1981 a few could have been demolished to make way for a motel. However South Street residents campaigned to keep the street intact and today it is recognised and protected as a Heritage Precinct.

To help enhance the character of the street, cobblestone footpaths were laid, overhead wires were removed and placed underground, and … Read the rest

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation spectrum, but it’s a charming red brick complex built in the style of English terrace houses. The Grand Mercure isn’t in Nelson, but in the suburb of Monaco, it’s five minutes drive from the airport and about 15 minutes drive to Nelson city centre.

The Grand Mercure has a mix of hotel rooms, one bedroom studios and one and two bedroom cottages.

We’re members of the Accor Plus programme and last year I wrote about some of the advantages to membership. One of those advantages … Read the rest

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.

We checked in to a Superior Queen Room to find we had French doors opening to the balcony overlooking Marine Parade, it was a lovely … 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.

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 built into walls are bed side tables, … 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.

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 final resting place a bedroom extension and little … Read the rest

Suite As – Rutland Arms Inn, Whanganui

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 Whanganui, 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 Whanganui 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.

I stayed in the spacious Taylor Suite, all the eight suite … 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.

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

Museum Art Hotel, Wellington

* Museum Art Hotel is now QT 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 ……..

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 … 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.

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.

You stand on 100% New Zealand striped wool carpet throughout the hotel, but it was the goose down mattress topper that was even more dreamy than … 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