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New Zealand Accommodation Recommendations Needed

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Nov 24th, 2013, 02:30 PM
  #1
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New Zealand Accommodation Recommendations Needed

My husband and I will be spending 3 weeks in New Zealand in February, and would love to have your input on the following list of potential places to stay - what you recommend and what to avoid, pros/cons, etc. We are in our early 60s, and looking for 3-4 star hotels/motels (or B&Bs where appropriate) in the mid-range of price. We will NOT have a car in either Auckland or Christchurch so would like something centrally located in those destinations. We will have a car in all the rest of the cities. The ideas were mostly gleaned from travel guidebooks, Trip Advisor, etc., and we are not set on any of these, so your suggestions would be most welcomed.

AUCKLAND: Mercure or CityLife or Quay West or Waldorf Stadium Apartments Hotel
PAIHIA: Breakwater Motel
WAITOMO: Abseil Breakfast Inn
ROTORUA: Silver Fern Rotorua
WHAKAPAPA: Bayview Chateau Tongariro
WELLINGTON: Bolton Hotel or Rydges Wellington or BEST WESTERN Wellington
CHRISTCHURCH: CentrePoint on Colombo Motel or City Centre Motel
HOKITIKA: 252 Beachside Motels & Holiday Park or Beachfront Hotel Hokitika
FRANZ JOSEF: Franz Josef Oasis or Alpine Glacier Motor Lodge or 58 On Cron Motel
QUEENSTOWN: Pounamu Apartments or Crowne Plaza Queenstown or Oaks Club Resort or Hurley's
DUNEDIN: Dunedin Palms Motel or 315 Euro Motel

Thanks in advance for your help.

Betty
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Nov 24th, 2013, 08:01 PM
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Hi Betty -

Of the accommodation you've mentioned on the SI, I can only vouch for 58 on Cron in Franz Josef, which I wholeheartedly recommend. They're also conveniently located across the street from the glacier hot pools, which is a nice way to spend an evening after a day of exploring the glaciers.

Just to confuse matters, I can recommend these:

Hokitika - Shining Star
Christchurch - Merivale Manor, Roma on Riccarton

An FYI about Queenstown - accommodation can be noisy - many places are located right on the main drag through town. If memory serves, Hurley's and Pounamu Apartments are in potentially noisy locations, which could be an issue if you're a light sleeper.

Likewise, accommodation in Christchurch can be noisy as so much of it is on busy roads - Papanaui, Bealey, Deans, all pretty noisy. Riccarton is a noisy road too and along a train line to boot, but Roma has sound proofed windows.

This may not be an issue for you, but thought it was worth mentioning, as it's always an issue for us.
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Nov 25th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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Thanks, Melnq8!
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Nov 25th, 2013, 07:27 AM
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Thanks, Melnq8!
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Nov 27th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Hello my fellow Fodorites - you have been so helpful to me in the past. If you live in or have traveled to New Zealand, please help me out with mid-range to budget (not hostels) hotel/motel suggestions for our February visit. See my original posting for the list we've put together so far.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Betty
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Nov 30th, 2013, 11:48 PM
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I can advise you on your Dunedin choices.

I have never stayed at the Breakwater in Paihia, but I am familiar with it. It would be a great choice. Walkable to restaurants, tour and cruise operators. It is a short drive away or longer walk to Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is across from the beach.

What would you most like to see in Dunedin and how do you plan on seeing it? If you want to mostly walk to attractions in the city center, your choices are extremely convenient. Or do you plan on visiting the wilder, more natural landscapes of Dunedin (such as Tunnel Beach, its huge Otago Peninsula, St. Clair and St. Kilda Beach, the West Harbor, etc.) and would you be driving or taking a tour (in which case they will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation)? Keep in mind, Dunedin is NZ's second largest city area-wise, covering 3,314 km² or 1,280 sq miles (slightly smaller the US state of Rhode Island), so it contains many areas of natural beauty.

The Palms and Euro 315 have lovely modern self-contained units and are both close to Dunedin's urban center (the Octagon), so near hundreds of shops, a couple of large supermarkets (Countdown and New World) and many restaurants. The area around the Palms is a wee bit old and rundown, but it is very close to the casino and Speight's Brewery, about a five-minute walk to the I-Site office, City Art Gallery and the Octagon, a 10-minute walk to the Cadbury Factory, the Railway Station, and the adjacent Toitu Settlers Museum. It would be a longer walk to the Otago Museum and university. From the Palms it would be a short drive or bus ride to Dunedin's Botanical Garden.

315 Euro is about six to seven blocks from the Palm on George St., which is the high street. So it is surrounded by shops, eateries, other hotels and businesses, a few residences. The area is nicer than that around the Palm, but busier. 315 Euro is closer to the Octagon, City Art Gallery, the railway station, the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, and the Otago Museum, and supermarkets. Free Wi-Fi is available in many places in the CBD, such as the City Art Gallery, Library, and Starbuck's (which is near 315 Euro).

It can get crazy-busy downtown, especially on cruise ship days. Imagine when there are two cruise ships in town! The university students will also be back by then and it can seem like a great percentage of them spend their time walking up and down George St., smoking cigarettes.

If you have your own car, you can stay in a more scenic. less frenetic area of Dunedin, should you choose. I would rather stay across from St. Clair Beach. The pricier, top-end choice is http://www.hotelstclair.com

Hotel St. Clair has one of the city's top restaurants (good food, small portions, fantastic views). It is also steps away from several other restaurants/bars, a salon and spa, about 50 metres from the outdoor saltwater swimming pool (water is 28 degrees celsius or 82 fahrenheit), and a few blocks from a "Four Square" (ubiquitous NZ convenience store with groceries and a post office) and fish and chips takeaway.

From the Hotel St. Clair, it would be about 15 minute drive to the urban center (the Octagon) or you can just hop on the bus behind the hotel, which will drop you off at the Octagon in 15 minutes. It runs every 15 minutes until late. The bus also goes all the way to the Botanical Garden.

If you stay at St. Clair Beach and drive to the city center that radiates around the Octagon, then parking will cost $1 to $3 per hour, but is free after 6 or on Sundays.

From Hotel St. Clair, it would be about a 15-minute drive to the start of Dunedin's Otago Peninsula, about a 15-minute drive to Tunnel Beach as well.

The more modest choice at St. Clair Beach would be Esplanade Motel, just down the block.
http://www.esplanade.co.nz
If you look at the photo on their home page, that's the Otago Peninsula in the background. So it's close.

There are also several B&Bs within blocks of St. Clair Beach.

The St. Clair Beach area can be busy on a sunny weekend, but at night it reverts to the sleepy neighborhood that it is.

Another choice, but it would be a two bedroom apartment, is the Clearview Apartments, a few minutes drive up the hill from St. Clair Beach.
http://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/properties/13471.asp

Here on this forum and elsewhere, Larnach Castle is also said to be a wonderful place to stay. The views are amazing from up there.
http://www.larnachcastle.co.nz
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Dec 1st, 2013, 05:56 AM
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I have stayed at Pounamu Apartments in Queenstown and I loved it. No problem with noise, but I was at the back in a non-view studio apartment. Compact, but stylish and convenient. It's probably a 15 to 20 minute walk to "downtown" Queenstown (around Eichardt's or the Marine Parade). When we needed to go downtown for dinner or to ride the gondola, we just drove there, but we were there in autumn when it was way cooler, so this was another reason we drove rather than walked.

Many seem to like Villa del Lago, which is just a tad farther out of town on Frankton Road (the main road into Queenstown), but it is on the lake side of the road, that is, below the road, so nothing stands between it and the lake.
Pounamu Apartments is on the other side of the road, with Frankton Road being right in front of it.

I always wear ear plugs when I sleep, so I am rarely bothered by noise.

Crowne Plaza Queenstown has a great location in terms of accessing central Queenstown as it is the heart of the commercial center.
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Dec 1st, 2013, 06:24 AM
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Correction: Crowne Plaza Queenstown has a great location in terms of accessing central Queenstown as it is IN the heart of the commercial center.
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Dec 1st, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Hii..
This post is very interesting..Following it for a while, as I am in same dilemma as which hotel to choose..

Diamantina - your dunedin post is very informative. What would you say about Scenic Southern Hotel. Having a tough time between hotel St Clair or Scenic Southern.

Also for Queenswtown having tough time between Rees 2 bedroom apartment or 2 rooms at Crown Plaza. Staying for 5 nights.
We are family of 4 adults..
Sorry for jumping in Betty, but we can help each other out!!

Thanks
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Dec 1st, 2013, 04:36 PM
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Will you also have a car? And will you have to pay extra for parking at Scenic Southern Cross?

The Scenic Southern Cross Hotel is near the Palms Motel that Betty is considering, so it would be close to all the inner city sights. It would be convenient if you plan on spending most of your time seeing inner city attractions, or doing a lot of shopping, or would like a wide choice of restaurants, bars and cafes.

I've only ever been in its lobby, but the Scenic Southern Cross seems to be a good hotel with a comfortable and modern interior. It is across from the casino and about a block from Speights Brewery (and pub), and only two or three blocks from the I-Site and Octagon. There is a health food store up the street and popular gourmet pizzeria (Zucchini Brothers) nearby. it's also a stone's throw from the Toitu Settlers Museum (and cafe), which is not far from the Railway Station.
http://www.dunedin.nz.com/railway-station.aspx
http://www.odt.co.nz/slideshow-secti...most-beautiful

As I said before, the urban center is called the Octagon, which is kind of a central plaza or town square, but multi-sided. The main commercial street dissects through the Octagon, on one side it is called George Street, which has most of the shops and eateries (malls, department stores, boutiques, etc.) and is well kept up, the other side is called Princes St. and it is not as busy though not as well-kept up (but recently some effort has been made to spruce up the historic architecture). Scenic Southern Cross is right off Princes St. When I first moved to Dunedin, I lived in an apartment quite near here and found it convenient. The old rundown funkiness of the neighborhood did not bother me, so if you stay here, make sure you see the greener, prettier parts of Dunedin, as well!

You should be aware that there are two Scenic hotels in Dunedin, the Scenic Southern Cross is a block or two from the other Scenic Hotel. They are about the same in terms of appearance and location.

St. Clair Resort Hotel is across from St. Clair Beach, the city's main beach, so not as convenient to inner city sites, but great if you like being by the sea (more enjoyable if the weather is fine). St. Clair is an upscale suburb with extremely well-kept up old Victorian villas surrounded by lusciously tended gardens. I live in St. Clair now.
http://www.newzealand.com/int/feature/st-clair-beach/

As you are a family of four adults I would highly recommend Clearview Apartments, also in St. Clair, but on the hillside. You will be able to make your own meals if you get tired of eating out, have a parking garage, have WiFi, have views of the city, surrounding hills, beach, and harbor. It will be like home away from home.
http://www.billboardme.co.nz/billboa...1#.UpvMC6Vtw6U

I have never stayed at the Crowne Resort or Rees Hotel in Queenstown, but of course I have seen the Crowne Resort as it is in the heart of Queenstown. I am sure others on this board have stayed at these places. Will you have a car for Queenstown? If not, it might be convenient to stay in the center. If you have a car, you are free to stay farther from the center.

You are going to be there for 5 days. The Crowne is a large hotel, so they have all the usual amenities, such as a business center, gym, etc. I've found the large hotels in general usually charge extra for parking, WiFi, and of course laundry. The Rees seems to be apartments--and quite luxurious, too, which, again, will give you the freedom of making your own meals, doing your own laundry, not having to pay extra for parking. Dining out is part of being on vacation, but I prefer to make my own breakfasts as I don't want to be slowed down in the morning!

Again, others would be more qualified to comment on Queenstown accommodation. I have stayed several times at accommodation on Arthurs Point Road, about 10 minutes out of Queenstown. It's quieter up there and there are great views of the Shotover River. But I enjoyed Pounamu Apartments and being near Lake Wakitipu during my last visit. it's Queenstown! You will be out and about and busy most of the time.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 05:06 PM
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Thanks so much..
Which is one too choose between scenic? Southern Cross or Dunedin City?
St Clair is full, so decided on scenic.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 02:26 AM
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They're only two blocks apart! Which gets better reviews on Trip Advisor?
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Jan 31st, 2014, 02:34 AM
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You'll be able to walk to many downtown attractions from either Scenic Hotel. They're both modern, stylish.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:11 PM
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Traveler-India, it's just as well you aren't staying at St. Clair because the weather forecast for the rest of summer does not look too great.
http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/29...ot-long-enough
This last week the beach was gorgeous, warm and sunny. Lots of surfers, swimmers and even fur seals frolicking in the waves. We were all hoping it would stay like that.
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Feb 1st, 2014, 07:22 PM
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I can only offer advice for one of your cities: Auckland. We LOVED the Hotel DeBrett, the decor and the location were perfect!
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