The Best Hotels in Nelson, New Zealand, for Every Traveller

Nelson has something for every type of traveller be it waterfront apartments, Gothic castles or modern motels
Nelson has something for every type of traveller be it waterfront apartments, Gothic castles or modern motels | © Te Pania Noonan
Amy Blyth

Nelson, surrounded by wild mountains, wineries and the Tasman Sea, showcases New Zealand‘s beauty in all its forms. The South Island city is also known as one of the country’s sunniest, making it a magnet for beach lovers. Experience its charms for yourself by checking into one of these top hotels in Nelson – there’s something for every type of traveller, be it waterfront apartments, Gothic castles or modern motels.

1. Boutique Hotel Warwick House

Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Inn

The charming exterior of the Boutique Hotel Warwick House as seen through a neat archway on its manicures lawn.
Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Warwick House /

Warwick House, known locally as the Castle, was built in 1854 and is one of New Zealand’s top Victorian Gothic buildings, with an octagonal tower, bay windows and archways. The property overlooks the Tasman Sea, and today serves as a boutique hotel in Nelson with historic rooms; opt for the Bayview Suite for a four-poster bed and clawfoot bathtub. Many of the suites also have kitchenettes, while breakfast is served in the ballroom to classical music.

2. The Waters

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

The cabins at The Waters sit between a serene lake and the beach.
© The Waters

As the name suggests, the Waters’s star feature is its sweeping views of the Tasman Sea. Four self-contained suites – Aria, Oriwa, Tahuna and Moana – are just metres from Kina Beach and boast cantilevered decks that stretch over a pond. Make the most of the waterfront location and enjoy the private barbecue area, picnic table and outside fireplace that comes with each suite. Breakfast provisions are refreshed daily and include organic eggs, plus there’s a quiet policy between 10pm and 8am for a peaceful break.

3. Rutherford Hotel Nelson


A double twin room at the Rutherford Hotel Nelson with mountain views.
Courtesy of Rutherford Hotel Nelson /

The Rutherford, smack in the city centre, is Nelson’s only 24-hour, fully-serviced hotel. Rooms have a view of either the harbour or skyline, while you’ll find some of Nelson’s top attractions right outside the front door. Expect modern, open-plan suites with lounge areas; there’s also a two-bed family room if you need more space. Hotel perks include a health centre with gym, sauna and pool, as well as secure parking if you’re taking a New Zealand road trip.

5. Trailways Hotel Nelson


Trailways Hotel Nelson as sin from the river it sits on with the mountains behind.
Courtesy of Trailways Hotel Nelson /

Seeking a tranquil riverside getaway? Many of the rooms at the Trailways Hotel in Nelson open right onto the banks of the Maitai River. There’s a variety of studios and suites at the Trailways – some boasting spa baths – and a communal heated pool for year-round bathing. Locals love the award-winning Tides Restaurant and Bar, which serves up regional meat and fish dishes, plus Nelson’s main shopping precinct is just a few minutes’ walk away.

6. The Hotel Nelson


The Hotel Nelsons outdoor pool area with a large palm tree towering over it.
Courtesy of The Hotel Nelson /

The Hotel Nelson, offering studios and up to four-bed apartments, has a neighbourhood feel. Cook meals in your kitchen or the sunny barbecue area, which is also home to a large heated pool. You can expect four-star Qualmark rated apartments, some of which have spa baths and open directly onto manicured gardens. Looking to explore the local area? Nelson’s city centre and its vibrant Saturday market are just a short walk away.

7. Parautane Lodge

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

The deck at the Parautane Lodge looks out over the Tasman Sea and mountain vistas beyond.
Courtesy of Parautane Lodge /

Offering the best vantage point of the Tasman Sea, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away from Parautane Lodge’s wooden deck – particularly if you have a glass of New Zealand wine to hand. Enjoy the lodge’s hilltop location from your suite, too; many suites boast French doors that open onto a deck overlooking the sea, vineyards and the lodge’s orchard. Other highlights include the secluded jacuzzi and substantial breakfast with homemade muffins.

8. Shelbourne Villa

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

A simple bedroom at Shelbourne Villa.
Courtesy of Shelbourne Villa /

Experience true Kiwi hospitality at this family hotel in Nelson, run by local hosts Val and Wayne Ballantyne. Originally a 1920s doctor’s practice, the grand villa has a homely feel, from its peaceful English-style garden to its generous breakfast spreads. There are just four suites that share a welcoming guest lounge offering free port and sherry, plus you’re a five-minute walk from Nelson’s main shopping area.

9. Century Park Motor Lodge

Motel, Hotel

A living room opening out to a private patio at Century Park Motor Lodge.
Courtesy of Century Park Motor Lodge /

Century Park Motor Lodge, an affordable motel located right in the heart of Nelson, has 14 apartments that come with contemporary amenities like Italian marble bathrooms and Netflix, plus electric vehicle charging stations in the car park. There are studios as well as one- and two-bed options, many have their own balconies or terraces, and the most lavish feature kitchenettes and spa baths.

10. Palazzo Motor Lodge

Motel, Hotel

A hotel room with a lounge area and private balcony at Palazzo Motor Lodge.
Courtesy of Palazzo Motor Lodge /

Stay at the Palazzo Motor Lodge, a luxury motel in Nelson. The 16 five-star rooms range from executive suites to two-bed apartments, and all come with smart TVs complete with Sky boxes. Fancy your own patio area? Opt for a ground floor studio. This property is ideally placed for exploring Nelson’s city centre and visiting the nearby Rutherford Conference Centre.

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