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Hidden Gems: New Zealand’s Best Boutique Hotels

Falcon Brae exterior at night, one of New Zealand's Boutique Hotels

Discover our favourite New Zealand boutique hotels, offering an authentic glimpse into this enchanting country.

One of the best ways to get to the heart of a destination is through a stay at a boutique hotel. If you want an insider’s experience of New Zealand, steer away from the global hotel chains and towards family-owned estates, heritage homesteads and private lodges.

An intimate escape at New Zealand boutique hotels means staying in hidden areas usually only frequented by locals and gives you the opportunity to chat to the hotel owners one on one to gain insider knowledge on the best places to eat, things to do and unmissable natural wonders.

Here is our pick of the best New Zealand boutique hotels.

Read more: Things to Do in New Zealand: 10 Unmissable Experiences 

Stay lakeside at Hidden Lodge Queenstown

Counteract the heart-racing adventure that comes with a Queenstown holiday with a blissful stay at the lakeside Hidden Lodge Queenstown. This five-star boutique hideaway is perched on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and offers jaw-dropping views over the surrounding snow-capped mountains.

The hotel is perfectly positioned for Queenstown explorations: find boutique shops, trendy restaurants, cool galleries and wine bars stocked with high-quality local drops nearby. Queenstown is renowned for adventure, and the perfect end to a day filled with bungee jumping, sky diving, canyon swinging and jet boating is to slip into the hotel’s outdoor hot tub or steamy sauna to soothe tired muscles.

Looking for more inspiration? Things to Do in Queenstown: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay & Play 

Heritage luxury in the Oamaru hills at Pen-y-bryn Lodge

It doesn’t get more charming than a stay in a former 1889 Victorian mansion. At Pen-y-bryn Lodge, feel like you’ve stepped back to a time of refinement. The lodge’s five rooms are individually decorated with ornate antiques and heritage furnishings, while the property’s grounds are immaculately manicured and perfect for an afternoon stroll.

Pen-y-bryn Lodge dining room.

For a taste of the Waitaki region’s incredible local produce, there’s no need to travel further than your lodge’s dining room. Think venison striploin with plum sauce and purple cauliflower purée, or Provenance lamb rack with pomegranate jus. The lodge is just a hop and skip from the world-renowned Central Otago Wine Region, so lovers of a good pinot noir, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc will delight in a quick venture into this gourmet province. 

Go off-grid at Falcon Brae Villa in Stanley Brook

Reconnect with nature and escape the demands of daily life at Falcon Brae Villa, a five-star hilltop escape on a 350-acre private property in Stanley Brook. Feel on top of the world with 360-degree views over the surrounding mountains and majestic Motueka River.

Unbeatable shared facilities include a sunken bar, media theatre, multiple dining areas, a games den (housing modern gym equipment, a pool table, table tennis, darts and board games), an outdoor pool and a heated spa, with spectacular native bush walks on your doorstep. Picture yourself soaking in the outdoor hot tub, looking out over endless rolling valleys and mountains – this is off-the-grid luxury at its finest.  

Family-run charm at Tipapa Estate near Christchurch

Heritage homestead charm is in abundance at Tipapa Estate, a 19th-century estate just an hour’s drive from Christchurch. The family-owned homestead is surrounded by rolling hills and patchwork vineyards, creating a sense of being worlds away from city living. Only four lavish bedrooms are available on this intimate property, each sporting unbeatable views over the proudly manicured grounds.

Make friends with fellow lodgers in the communal lounge and dining room and enjoy a homecooked meal in the kitchen. On chilly evenings, gather around the fireplace with a full-bodied glass of red. You’re not too far from the South Island’s incredible natural wonders: visit stunning Motunau Beach, relax at Hanmer Spring Thermal Pools & Spa or take a road trip to Gore Bay and Cathedral Cliffs to admire the dramatic coastline. 

Cabot Lodge: Your gateway to Milford and Doubtful Sounds

The undeniable dramatic beauty of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is yours to marvel at from Cabot Lodge, an ultra-luxe private property in Te Anau. Here, it’s all too easy to switch off your devices, pour yourself a glass of New Zealand red and take a seat overlooking lush farmland dotted with baa-ing sheep, with the glistening waters of Lake Manapouri and craggy fiords in the distance.

With only four suites, an intimate experience is guaranteed. The best part? The lodge is your perfect gateway to Doubtful Sound and the majestic Milford Sound – the only fiord in New Zealand accessible by road. Here, plummeting waterfalls, soaring cliffs and glacial waters are guaranteed to leave you in awe.

Bay of Islands bliss at Marina Cove Boutique Luxury Accommodation

The North Island deserves a little love on our list! When you’re after a luxurious boutique stay and self-contained apartment living, head to Marina Cove Boutique Luxury Accommodation. Located in Opua in the Bay of Islands, this stunning retreat is perfectly positioned for exploring the surrounding 144 subtropical islands.

See the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Haruru Falls, and cruise to Hole in the Rock, all easily accessible from this luxe boutique property. Discover a home-away-from-home in your own self-contained apartment, where you’re welcome to relax on your private deck (with a Weber BBQ set-up) that serves up sparkling 180-degree ocean views.  

A keen traveller and hot choc enthusiast, Felicia is all about getting to the nitty gritty of each destination she visits and discovering its hidden gems (and then running home to write about it).