In the main cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch the types of luxury accommodation on offer include 5-star luxury hotels, lodges, apartments and bed and breakfasts. Get out into the rest of New Zealand however, and the options may be more limited. Take Lake Taupo for instance. Taupo is a popular tourist destination in the centre of the North Island. There are a number of upmarket boutique accommodation options, but nothing that would really qualify as a 5-star hotel. So does this mean (a) you should avoid Taupo? (b) downgrade to a 4-star property or (c) consider an alternative?
In my view, visitors to New Zealand who do not experience a lodge or a 5-star b&b are missing out on something uniquely NZ: the ambience, wine & cuisine, vistas, personalized service and interesting conversations that can only be found in such accommodations, and which epitomize the NZ experience, attitude and lifestyle. So, in the example above, consider an alternative. A great website which lists around 100 such properties can be found at Heritage & Character Inns of NZ.
These are all individually owned properties each with their own distinctive style, but sharing some values in common such as exceptional hosting and fine cuisine.
If you’re a reasonably affluent traveler, no doubt you have experienced fine hotels in many corners of the world, but how often have you enjoyed a more unique accommodation experience? Concerned that the environment may be too intimate? Don’t be. Most of these properties offer plenty of space, both inside and out, in which to enjoy some privacy. (Space, of course, is one thing which is abundant in NZ.) Concerned that the services you’re used to won’t be available? Don’t be. Most of these properties offer services such as complimentary airport transfers, complimentary advice on activities as well as booking services, complimentary shuttles to local restaurants (if you’re not dining at the property), complimentary high speed internet (when was the last time you got free internet), even in many cases, complimentary laundry services.
New Zealanders are renowned for their hospitality. And there is no better way to experience this hospitality first hand than to stay in a New Zealand luxury or boutique lodge, or upmarket bed & breakfast.