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Rotorua, on New Zealand’s North Island, is the gateway to a symphony of landscapes. Situated on a volcanic fault line, it’s home to geothermal hot springs, geysers, still-blue lakes and Te Wairoa, a ghost town buried by an eruption of Mount Tarawera. The opportunities for adventure are numerous – think white water rafting, kayaking and zip-lining through ancient forests – but you’ll need a base to call home.
Set on the edge of Rotorua, this five-star lakehouse is all about luxury. There are just three suites, with the flagship Lake Okareka Suite – an upscale option with predictably epic lake views and its own spa-style bath – occupying most of the top floor. The luxury doesn’t stop there: you can hire your own chef to prepare pre-dinner drinks and canapes, before a five-course dinner, and there’s 24-hour butler service too. Spend your days fly-fishing off the jetty, cruising Lake Okareka by kayak or speedboat, windsurfing, sailing or even water-skiing – all can be arranged with the friendly staff at reception.
Set in a beautifully restored 19th-century building, the Prince’s Gate Hotel is the ideal choice for those wanting a sophisticated place to stay that’s within close range of the city’s finest attractions. Rotorua’s Government Gardens are within a five-minute walking distance from the accommodation, and the hotel’s restaurant is quite popular among locals, hotel guests and other passing visitors. All rooms come with free wifi, flat-screen TV, a minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. The elegant bedroom suites also have their own living space and kitchenette for the ultimate weekend escape.
Quest Rotorua sits right in the city centre, and is quite close to public transport if you’re looking to venture a little further out. There are 36 serviced apartments for guests to choose from: the hotel-style studio suites which come with their own kitchenette, plus a selection of one and two-bedroom apartments that aptly cater for large groups and holidaying families. Breakfasts are available for an extra fee if you don’t want to fix your own meal in the mornings.
Millennium Hotel Rotorua is a modern hotel within close range of attractions such as Lake Rotorua and the Polynesian Spa. Child-friendly facilities including a toddler swimming pool make this an ideal choice for families. Eco-friendliness is this hotel’s strongest selling point: heating is primarily provided by geothermal resources, which are also incorporated into the accommodation’s very own spa facilities. Many of the rooms come with lake and garden views, and there’s a fine-dining restaurant right on the premises.
The Regent of Rotorua is a boutique hotel known for its opulent decor and luxurious amenities. Both the accommodation and its fine-dining restaurant have won several awards for their service and prestige. All rooms and suites come with complimentary internet access. Families and large groups can choose between staying at the lavish two-bedroom family and executive suites, and there are Cutie rooms available for solo travellers and couples wanting a cosy hint of glamour.
Regal Palms Resort has something for everyone. Holidaying families like this accommodation for its mass offering of leisure activities (there’s a heated swimming pool, outdoor BBQ area, mini-golf course and a tennis court on-site). Business travellers are drawn to its conference packages and function rooms but you will be in good company if you’re happy to enjoy a quiet weekend getaway with a spa pool, incredibly stylish suites and bedroom apartments to suit all group sizes.
Apex on Fenton is a motel with an upscale flair. It’s set in a quiet street that’s quite handy to the city and has private spa facilities for guests seeking a bit of indulgence. All rooms are equipped with self-catering amenities and range from spacious vintage and queen studios to one- and two-bedroom spa suites. The Pohutu Geyser is only a five-minute walk from the accommodation.
Distinction Rotorua is adjacent to the Redwoods and Whakarewarewa Forest, a popular mountain biking destination. True to its location, the hotel has its own bike hire, storage and cleaning facilities. Its Maori cultural experiences feature a hangi feast (cooked using a pit oven) and traditional performances. There is an extensive range of rooms spread across five different floors. Children under 12 can stay in a parent or guardian’s room for free and there are interconnecting rooms available for those travelling in larger groups.
The Executive on Fenton is one of Rotorua’s newest motels. Its location is one of the most convenient you could ask for. Not only is the accommodation quite close to the city, it is also notable for its ease of access by car and proximity to the popular Urbano Bistro restaurant. Each room has a kitchen with basic cooking amenities, along with featuring their own individual spa pools or baths, the option of queen or king-size bedding, plus free internet access throughout the premises.
Kim Gregory contributed additional reporting to this article.