The 10 Best Art and Culture Hotels in New Zealand

Courtesy of Kauri Cliffs Lodge / Expedia
Photo of Andrew Kingsford-Smith
21 October 2020

New Zealand’s natural beauty attracts tourists from all over the globe, but it is also a destination rich with art and culture. Enjoy a stay in one of these top hotels – their design, history and artistic focus will inspire you.

Solitaire Lodge

Solitaire Lodge offers an unforgettable experience that allows its guests to enjoy the abundance of natural beauty that New Zealand has to offer. The sophisticated suites available feature large-windowed living areas that give sweeping views of the spectacular Lake Tarawera. Priding themselves on the range of activities offered, guests can enjoy world-class trout fishing, private flights to the volcanic White Island and trips to natural geothermal baths. Solitaire Lodge is the perfect accommodation in which to appreciate the outdoors.

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Kauri Cliffs Lodge

Located in the Bay of Islands in the Northland region, Kauri Cliffs Lodge offers some of the best views for which New Zealand is so famous. Spanning 2,428ha (6,000 acres), this luxury lodge features a golf course designed by David Harman that was the home to the Kiwi Challenge PGA Golf event, and is ranked as one of best courses in the world. Inside the lodge, elegant furniture and artwork can be found that make this hotel stand out on multiple levels. The surrounding area also has a fascinating Maori history, making Kauri Cliffs a great location for travellers from all walks of life.

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Hotel DeBrett

Renowned in Auckland for its distinct design and comfort, Hotel DeBrett is an exciting boutique hotel set in the lively centre of New Zealand’s largest city. The hotel features a striking exterior of bright colours and geometric shapes, while the interior is filled with a magnificent and eclectic mix of furnishings and artworks. Running throughout the hotel is owner and designer Michelle Deery’s bespoke carpet, made from 100% New Zealand wool. The hotel prides itself on its fusion of style and comfort, claiming to be a “home away from home – but with better service”.

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QT Wellington

Located in New Zealand’s capital, QT Wellington is internationally renowned for the range of art it has on display. The hotel exudes an aura of decadence and luxury, and is aptly named with an array of extraordinary artwork being displayed throughout. Information on the exhibited art is available through books and from the helpful staff, allowing visitors to further enjoy the gallery. Outside of its wealth of art, the hotel is also famous for its nickname – the hotel that moved – with the entire structure being relocated via railway tracks in 1993 to make way for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa.

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Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses

Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses

Designed and run by a New Zealand family of architects, Hapuku Lodge is a fantastic blend of design, location and innovation. Set in the beautiful area of Kaikoura, Hapuku Lodge offers a range of accommodation types, with the most notable being their tree houses. These lodges sit 10m (33ft) above the ground in a canopy of native trees, offering fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. The tree houses also contain incredible interior design, with the furniture being made by local craftsmen from a rich range of woods.

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Eagles Nest

Eagles Nest is a luxury accommodation located on an island-like peninsula in the Bay of Islands. Designed to maximise views of the surrounding beauty, this accommodation exudes sophisticated contemporary design in an open and tranquil environment. The five separate villas each explore this brief in unique ways, allowing distinct calming and romantic atmospheres. Eagles Nest also offers delicious cuisines, spa therapy and numerous activities to further enjoy the paradise of the Bay of Islands.

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  • Art Deco Masonic Hotel Napier

    Art deco enthusiasts will love a stay in the city of Napier, where art deco dominates the skyline. And there’s no cooler place to spend a night there than at the Art Deco Masonic Hotel, a centrally located, boutique hotel with stylish accommodations ranging from individual rooms and studios to suites and apartments. The luxurious Pacific View Suite, for example, offers views over Napier’s Art Deco Soundshell and Marine Parade Promenade to the Pacific Ocean. You can even sleep in the same place where Queen Elizabeth II stayed during her 1953 Coronation Tour – the Royal Suite – where you’ll find art deco furniture, Renaissance prints and fine bone china to really make you feel like royalty.

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    King and Queen Hotel Suites

    King and Queen Hotel Suites sits right in the arts and cultural centre of New Plymouth, next to the Len Lye Gallery and the TSB Showplace. If you fancy luxurious, boutique accommodation with a cutting-edge architectural design and magnificent views, look no further than this four-star hotel. The spacious suites offer fine European furnishings – everything from leather sofas to deep French bathtubs – so this is definitely a place to go when you want to treat yourself.

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    SO/ Auckland

    This luxurious urban hotel in Auckland city features avant-garde design elements inspired by Auckland’s volcanic origins; that is, guests have five choices of themed accommodations, each with a different layout and decor: solid, liquid, vapour, caldera and exposure. If the sound of that alone doesn’t intrigue you, you can preview the hotel’s modern and funky rooms in a virtual tour.

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    Woodlyn Park

    Boutique Hotel, Resort
    Map View
    Courtesy of Woodlyn Park / Expedia

    Woodlyn Park is an entertainment motel park that is located close to the Waitomo Caves in the Waitomo District. Featuring a range of world-first types of accommodation, visitors can choose to stay in a hobbit house, a train carriage, a warplane or a battleship. These unique experiences are tailored to fit in with their exteriors, with a nautical-themed interior in the Waitanic Ship Motel and the unmistakable round windows from JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in the Hobbit Motel. The park is also home to an abundance of local fauna and flora, and hosts family festivals that explore Kiwi culture.

    Christina Collins contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on October 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.