New Zealand was Oceania’s first country to legalize gay marriage, thus transforming it into a hub for the LGBTQ population of the region. Hence, its cities are extremely open-minded in general, and Auckland’s no exception. So, as LGBTQ travelers looking for gay accommodation in Auckland, we found no shortage of options. We loved the wide selection of wonderfully LGBTQ-friendly digs that made for the perfect base for a memorable Kiwi getaway. What’s more, quite a few of them are either in or close to the gay Auckland hotspots of Karangahape Road (K Road) and the Ponsonby district.
This gayborhood is also where we found many of Auckland’s most popular gay bars. It’s also where the Pride Parade takes place, which is part of the extremely popular Auckland Pride Festival. In fact, this annual event is the largest event of its kind in New Zealand. But that’s not all. When it came to everyday life, we saw the needs and issues of the LGBTQ community being addressed by the Rainbow Communities Advisory Panel. Known as Te Rōpū Kaitohutohu Take Hapori Iwi Takatāpui in the Māori language, this panel operates under the auspices of the Auckland City Council.
But that’s not all that we did in the city. When it comes to sightseeing, Auckland offered a wealth of choices. We watched the daily Maori cultural performances at the Auckland Museum and shopped till we dropped in Queen and High Streets. However, we experienced the thrill of a lifetime doing the Auckland Tandem Skydive from a height of 18,000 feet! It was an exhilarating experience that we’re never going to forget.
So, whatever your jam, there’s a lovely sight, a gay bar, and an LGBTQ-friendly Auckland hotel waiting for you in the ‘City of Sails.’
Table of contents
- The Grand by SkyCity
- Haka Lodge
- Grand Millennium Auckland
- Hotel DeBrett
- VR Auckland City
- Nesuto Stadium
- Cordis Auckland Hotel
- Rydges Auckland Hotel
- M Social Auckland Hotel
- The Shakespeare Hotel
- The Great Ponsonby Arthotel
- Our Verdict!
- Just So You Know:
The Grand by SkyCity
Best for sightseeing. Culture vultures like us will be thrilled with the central location amenities of The Grand by SkyCity. This gay-friendly five-star hotel lies smack dab in the heart of Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD) and is close to most of the top things to do in Auckland. Plus, we reached the gayborhood of K-Road in a mere 15-minute-long walk.
But that’s not all. The hotel is part of the SkyCity entertainment complex, making it perfect for travelers like us who’re seeking an adrenaline rush. We were thrilled at the 24-hour casino where we could dally with Lady Luck, no matter the time of day or night. The truly unforgettable part of the vacation was our visit to the Sky Tower – also within the complex – for a heart-pounding SkyJump. The 11-second freefall from the top of one of the highest buildings in Auckland is an experience that will stay with us for years.
Coming back to the hotel, it features spacious and opulent rooms and suites, many with panoramic views of Waitemata Harbor. We chose the Grand King Room with Harbour View, but all rooms come with flatscreen TVs with movies, luxe bathrooms with slippers and bathrobes, and coffeemakers. The rest of the hotel is equally impressive, with superb facilities, including the sophisticated East Day Spa, where we enjoyed relaxing massages. Apart from the state-of-the-art gym, we loved swimming in and lounging by the heated lap pool. Wrapping up the amenities is a wonderful restaurant, which serves all meals, including options for Chinese dishes at breakfast.
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Backpacker accommodation needn’t be seedy and third-rate, just like we found out at the Haka Lodge Auckland. Think of it as a five-star hostel sitting in a historic building in central Auckland – it can’t get any more value for money than that. Plus, it lies on K Road, which meant that we were bang in the middle of the Auckland gay district. So, we’d step out to party as late as we wanted to, without worrying about how to get back to base!
We saw traces of the building’s past in the red-brick walls and the heavy wood table and benches in the communal kitchen and dining area. The upmarket dorm-style rooms with custom-made bunk beds and privacy curtains are much appreciated. But if you’d prefer your own space, you can choose any of the private rooms too. Nevertheless, the dorms are amazing and actually saved us a ton of money.
There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel, so we were able to plan our itineraries in the common area while mingling with other guests. When we got hungry, we prepared light meals in the shared kitchen. Plus, the shared lounge area was an excellent place to meet new people. Are you here for an extended stay? There’s a shared laundry too!
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Grand Millennium Auckland
Since we were looking to splurge and spoil ourselves with a luxury hotel stay, the Grand Millennium hit our sweet spot. This five-star hotel is one of the best gay hotels in Auckland and boasts a total of 452 rooms and suites equipped with all the modern amenities. At the same time, they have a warm and friendly feel due to all the natural light, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. We appreciated the well-designed and modern private bathrooms with separate areas for showering and bathing. The best bit? Luxury toiletries, mini-bars, and in-room entertainment are also standard, which meant that we didn’t have to carry anything.
Downstairs, the amenities impressed us as much as the digs did. For one, the hotel features a state-of-the-art fitness center and a wonderful heated indoor pool. After long days of exploring the city, the pool felt inviting, to say the least. Moreover, we had a bunch of dining options, including delicious local and international cuisine at the Grand Millennium Brasserie and authentic Japanese fare at the Katsura Restaurant. Plus, we’d enjoy a cuppa and even pre-gay scene cocktails in the leaf-shaded courtyard balcony of the Atrium Lounge.
What about the gay scene? The Centurian Sauna, a popular gay sauna, is a mere five-minute walk. Moreover, K-Road is a 10-minute walk away.
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Best boutique hotel. Bold and beautiful are the words that came to our mind when we stepped into Hotel DeBrett. We found striped carpets in vibrant colors throughout the property, including the air-conditioned rooms and suites. Modern prints and paintings, chairs in vibrant hues, and well-placed lamps, as well as natural light, make for accommodation that is always cheery and upbeat. We loved the individually-designed rooms, which come with satellite TVs, EcoStore bathroom products, and New Zealand art and photography.
Even though it’s a boutique hotel, we loved the bespoke and regular hotel amenity offerings here. For instance, there’s a free continental breakfast on offer every morning. Plus, the House Bar always has local beers, wines, and cocktails on hand. Finally, the hotel also has free Wi-Fi throughout and even an off-site modern fitness center.
With its bright colors and funky decor, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular boutique gay hotels in Auckland, New Zealand. But that’s not all. This five-star boutique hotel sits on High Street in the heart of the CBD. So, the gay scene, as well as Auckland Harbor, is close by. We ended our day with the fabulous Auckland Harbor Dinner Cruise, which included not only a welcome drink but even a three-course dinner.
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VR Auckland City
Since we were looking for peaceful and tranquil gay accommodation in Auckland, VR Auckland City is perfect. Our extended stay in the city was very comfortable, thanks to the one-bedroom serviced apartment here. Not only is it air-conditioned, but also it offers a stellar inner CBD view. Plus, it had a ton of facilities, such as in-room laundry, a full kitchen where we were able to cook meals, and high-speed Wi-Fi. And no matter which serviced apartment one chooses, it comes with a wonderful complimentary breakfast. If that wasn’t enough, most of them boast floor-to-ceiling windows with gorgeous views of the harbor and the city skyline.
The rest of the amenities were no less great, despite this being a budget hotel. Besides great apartments, they have private paid parking, which is a big deal in the city, especially in the center. Free Wi-Fi and business facilities wrap up the amenities here. The best bit is that most of the city’s amazing attractions and sights are within walking or a short driving distance.
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Formerly known as the Waldorf Stadium Apartments Hotel, Nesuto Stadium is another fine example of LGBTQ-friendly Auckland accommodation. It offers more than 100 beautifully appointed units. We loved the open-plan and spacious design of the studio apartments, which are available in one and two-bedroom configurations. What’s more, each of them comes with private balconies, separate living areas, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and weekly housekeeping.
Even though this is a serviced apartment hotel, Nesuto did have hotel-like amenities for us to indulge in. We used to begin our days in the cozy lounge with a filling continental breakfast with all sorts of hot and cold items. There’s also a wonderful alfresco-style bar and restaurant where we’d enjoy an early dinner before heading out to K-Road. On days when we wanted to relax or work out, we’d head to the indoor lap pool or work out in the fitness center.
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Cordis Auckland Hotel
Best for leisure. Operated by the Langham Hospitality Group, the sprawling Cordis Auckland Hotel exuded luxury from every angle. This gay-friendly Auckland hotel features 411 elegant rooms and suites. What’s more, they all come with decadent Dream Beds, high-quality linen, and hand-crafted furniture. We also found signature toiletries, a rain shower, and a tub in the marble bathroom. Plus, a smart TV, wired and wireless Internet, mini-bar, and workstation are all standard room features. Nevertheless, we wanted to indulge ourselves a bit, so we chose the Superior Room, which had not only a spacious room but even a luxe bathroom with a spa bathtub right across from the bed.
According to us, this is where you should stay if you want to relax, which is what we did. We loved indulging in relaxing couples massages at the Chuan Spa, followed by a rejuvenating soak in the saunas and steam rooms. After a long day of exploring, the heated rooftop pool was just the thing we wanted. Besides a fully-equipped fitness center, the hotel also has excellent drinking and dining opportunities in the form of the stylish Eight Restaurant and the lovely Lobby Lounge. Finally, Cordis sits in uptown Auckland, which put us just a short distance from K Road’s gayborhood. That’s why it’s one of the best hotels in Auckland, NZ.
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Rydges Auckland Hotel
Best chain hotel. We wanted to soak in the stunning views of Waitemata Harbour while staying in Auckland. That’s why we chose the gay-friendly Rydges Auckland Hotel, whose best rooms and suites enjoy stunning views of the harbor. Our Premium King Room with Harbour View not only had a plush Dream bed, but also a mini-bar, a cable TV, high-speed Wi-Fi, and an ergonomic work desk. Plus, spacious, sleek bathrooms are standard in all rooms across the hotel. That’s why it was our favorite chain of gay accommodation in Auckland.
We loved the amenities at this high-end hotel too. Since we’re coffee connoisseurs, we loved the onsite “Barista on the Corner,” which was the perfect spot to enjoy an espresso and pastries. When the hunger pangs came calling, we dig into traditional Kiwi cuisine at the CUT Restaurant & Bar. But the star feature of the property is the lovely rooftop terrace, where we’d enjoy pre-dinner cocktails before heading out to dive headlong into Auckland’s gay scene.
Besides all this, this CBD hotel is within walking of the best sights of Auckland.
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M Social Auckland Hotel
Best value for money. LGBTQ travelers from near and far will feel right at home at M Social Auckland. This outstanding luxury hotel, centrally located on Quay Street, is among the warm and welcoming LGBTQ+-friendly luxury digs we found in Auckland. Each of the property’s 190 air-conditioned and soundproof rooms offers splendid views of the Princes Wharf. What’s more, they all come with all strappings of modern stays, like ensuite bathrooms, refrigerators, and satellite TVs. Since we chose to stay in the Social View King room, our digs had panoramic views of the harbor. Plus, the bathroom was luxe and sexy, to say the least, with see-through walls (with fogging options, of course).
We had a ball exploring the amenities of this amazing hotel. For instance, the Beast and Butterflies restaurant offers delicious cuisine that pleased even the fussiest eaters among us. Meanwhile, the bar was perfect to enjoy a relaxing drink before hitting Auckland’s gay scene. The hotel’s 24-hour fitness center allowed us to be able to grab a workout no matter the time of day or night. Do you need to take care of some business? You can take advantage of the sophisticated business center’s state-of-the-art audiovisual technology.
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The Shakespeare Hotel
To sleep, perchance to dream is perhaps one of the most on-point quotes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And at The Shakespeare Hotel, nights of peaceful slumber are just some of the things we enjoyed. Since we’re fans of the bard and the eras about which he wrote, we instantly fell in love with the charming 1898-built Victorian heritage building.
On the inside, though, the rooms and suites were as modern as any other in Auckland. Each of the double, queen, and triple rooms has its own bathroom, TV, and mini-fridge. While they’re on the basic side, they’re very comfortable with lots of space, comfy beds, and contemporary bathrooms.
One of the best features of this LGBTQ-friendly three-star hotel is the presence of the Shakespeare Brewery, which is New Zealand’s first brewpub! So, we were literally in the presence of an institution. Every evening, we’d try out the wide selection of local beer, wine, and spirits and play a game of billiards in the adjoining gaming room. And when we were hungry, the restaurant even served delicious burgers, steaks, and whatnot. Since the hotel sits in the heart of CBD, we were a mere 15-minute drive from the gay nightlife of K Road.
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The Great Ponsonby Arthotel
We cannot talk about Auckland’s best gay hotels without mentioning The Great Ponsonby Arthotel. It lies in Ponsonby, which is regarded as Auckland’s historical queer quarter owing to the many gays and lesbians who have lived here since the 1970s. In fact, we loved exploring this groovy inner-city suburb, which is so noteworthy that it’s one of the major stops on this Inside Loop Tour of Auckland’s Most Vibrant Neighborhoods. In fact, Ponsonby has such a culture that we found tons of LGBTQ+ locals and travelers at ease, walking the neighborhood’s streets hand in hand. Even then, Auckland’s gay saunas and bars in the K Road area aren’t too far, either; they’re just a 5-minute drive away.
“We wanted to stay at a B&B rather than a hotel – and to stay at a place as historic and cute as the Great Ponsonby was an amazing experience!”WOW Travel
Coming to the hotel itself, we fell in love with it the minute we laid eyes on it. It occupies a heritage villa dating back to the 1890s. On the inside, we didn’t find cookie-cutter, vanilla rooms. Instead, the rooms at this charming luxury B&B are painted in the warm colors of the Pacific and adorned with traditional art. Since we were on a romantic sojourn and wanted some privacy, we went for the Penthouse Suite, which is basically a separate space. It had everything from a hot tub and a well-equipped kitchen to a balcony with amazing garden views.
Our days began with delicious home-cooked breakfasts that the hosts prepared using fresh and organic ingredients. We’d sit comfortably on the cool verandah or in the homey dining room and dig into breakfasts as the hosts regaled us with stories of the city. Finally, personal touches like welcome drinks and the honesty bar made staying at this gay-friendly hotel a real delight and pleasure.
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While we love all the above-mentioned gay hotels in Auckland, New Zealand, the ones below are a specialized list due to their specific features:
- Best for sightseeing: The Grand By SkyCity
- Best boutique hotel: Hotel DeBrett
- Best for leisure: Cordis Auckland Hotel
- Best chain hotel: Rydges Auckland Hotel
- Best value for money: M Social Auckland Hotel
Just So You Know:
- In 2013, New Zealand legalized same-sex marriage and was the first Oceania country to do so.
- The clothing-optional Karekare Beach on Auckland’s west coast is among the world’s best beaches, according to the gay travel publication Passport Magazine. This dramatic black sand beach was also featured in the movie The Piano.
- Auckland-born and bred Chris Carter was New Zealand’s first openly-gay Member of Parliament. He came out of the closet soon after being elected in 1993.
Get Some Culture in Auckland:
- Auckland Pride Festival – Established in 2013, this lively annual festival usually takes place in Western Park. For 2 weeks, the LGBT community and its allies enjoy a variety of events ranging from drag and burlesque shows to food festivals to the colorful and joyful Pride Parade. The Big Gay Out, a big party with live performances, is a major part of the festival.
- No Homo: Queer Comedy – The Comedy Club at Queen Street becomes a gay Auckland hotspot on the last Friday of the month when it hosts this delightful show.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Auckland:
- The Eagle Bar – Set on K Road, this is among the most popular gay bars in Auckland. Come on a Thursday to enjoy karaoke night or enjoy live music on the weekends. The always-friendly barmen serve awesome cocktails at very reasonable prices.
- Family Bar & Club – It’s amazing that something with this name is actually an iconic Auckland gay bar, also on K Road. It’s where people from all walks of life gather for drinking, dancing, and all-around fun. Theme parties, drag shows, male strippers—there’s never a dull moment here.
- Caluzzi Drag Cabaret – The city’s fabulous queens have been entertaining the city since 1996. Laugh along to comedy shows while enjoying a delicious meal in this legendary Auckland gay bar.
Best Gay Saunas in Auckland:
- Centurian Sauna – This is a well-known Auckland gay sauna boasting clean and extensive facilities and services. Private rooms, a spa pool, a dry sauna, and a steam room are just some of its assets. Free condoms and lubricant, as well as complimentary tea and coffee, are also available.
- The Wingate Club – Set on a 5,000-sq-m property beside the Whau River, this is the largest Auckland gay sauna. The standard bathhouse features include a steam sauna, private rooms, and a cruising area. Also notable are the outdoor swimming pool, open areas for sunbathing, and secluded nooks and crannies for private moments.