Queenstown is often described as ‘the adventure capital of the world’ for its year-round adventures and bungy jumping. The birthplace of bungy jumping has a smorgasbord of activities to offer adrenaline junkies and the not so adventurous. However, this is not all that defines this resort town on New Zealand’s South Island. Built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, the surroundings are a feast for the eyes. You’ll find many hotels in Queenstown, NZ right on the shores of the lake while others sit higher up on the hills offering breathtaking views.
Things to do in Queenstown are as varied as its scenery. From marveling at the breathtaking mountains to jumping off them, or relaxing on the shores of Lake Wakatipu you’ll never run out of things to do here. One of the most amazing national parks on earth, Fiordland National Park, is about a two-hour drive from here. It’s also where you’ll find one of the largest waterfalls in the world, the fantastic Sutherland Waterfalls in Milford Sound.
Where To Stay In Queenstown
Queenstown is not very large and is relatively easy to get around. However, most of its attractions are quite remotely located so the best option would be to stay within the town or on the outskirts. If you’re interested in the legendary Queenstown nightlife, then finding accommodation in downtown would be the best option. There is a wide range of hotels in this area, from luxurious boutique hotels to serviced apartments and backpackers hostels.
Those interested in the view would be better off staying on the outskirts of the town or in a hotel near the lake. For the ultimate in solitude and breathtaking scenery, you’ll find a few luxury lodges, holiday rentals, and B&Bs in the Glenorchy Road area. An hour’s drive from Queenstown is Wanaka where accommodation is cheaper than the main town. It’s also a good base in winter for those planning to ski.
If you’re in town in winter for skiing you won’t find on-mountain accommodation but there is plenty of accommodation in Queenstown, NZ. So resorts and hotels in and around town are your best option if you plan to ski the Remarkables.
Swiss Belsuites Pounamu
A 15-minute walk from downtown Queenstown will bring you to the Swiss-Belsuites Pounamu. If you’re interested in staying close to the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, this is one of the best hotels in Queenstown, NZ with a fantastic view of the lake and mountains. Although the hotel is located on a busy road that connects the city to the airport, the view compensates for the disturbance. Having a car of your own would help with this location as most places are a good 15-minute walk or a long drive away.
Other than the modern glass exteriors there are no outstanding interior designs, However, the apartments and studio rooms are comfortable and welcoming. Full kitchens come with good quality appliances and utensils while the beds are cozy and comfortable. The heated floors are a nice touch, especially in the winter. Don’t expect any kind of view from the studios though.
You can look forward to a few onsite perks, like underground parking, a hot tub which you need to reserve, free passes to a gym downtown, and storage for skis and golf clubs. You won’t find any food or drink facilities onsite but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, given the fully equipped kitchens.
Accommodation in Queenstown, NZ doesn’t come better than the Azur Lodge with its sweeping views over The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. It’s one of the best hotels in Queenstown, NZ that offers the best of both worlds. Not too far from downtown, yet with a feeling of remoteness and privacy. The hotel has a complimentary service to drop you wherever you need to go so getting around is no problem. There is also a complimentary return transfer from the airport.
Azur features nine private villas that rise up on a hill from Lake Wakatipu providing unrivaled views. The villas are beautiful with a small furnished balcony and floor to ceiling windows to soak in the gorgeous scenery. If this isn’t enough, the bathtub also provides unobstructed views. Each one-bedroom villa has an open plan living area with a lounge and small kitchen.
There are a large number of amenities that guests enjoy at the hotel. Beginning with a bottle of New Zealand wine on arrival, guests can also enjoy a good breakfast at the main lodge or in the privacy of their villa. Besides breakfast, homemade afternoon tea, pre-dinner drinks, and canapes are also included in the room rate. You won’t find an onsite restaurant here but downtown is a short drive away. While you’re in town, you can also use the complimentary pass to the Queenstown Gym if you’d like to work out.
One of the more conveniently located hotels in Queenstown, NZ, the Millenium Hotel is about a 10-minute walk from the restaurants and shops of downtown. That being said, the walk back is a little steep but guests can use the free shuttle bus till 9 pm. For those wanting to explore the outdoors, you’ll find the start of a number of hiking trails nearby.
Though the hotel has an inviting interior, the standout is the courtyard garden with ponds and shrubs. Guest rooms are spacious with interesting artwork and attractive bedside lamps. The rooms on the upper floor have views of the lake and mountains. All rooms come with standard amenities that include coffee and tea making facilities and mini-fridges.
Meat lovers will enjoy the fare a the Observatory Restaurant although there are other choices available too. It’s an inviting space with a central fireplace and charming decor. The Club Bar is also another warm space to unwind after a day out. There’s a happy hour between 5 pm to 6 pm. You can also enjoy a good dinner here or some excellent coffee. Other amenities at the hotel include a well-equipped gym and sauna and onsite parking at a reasonable fee.
Eichardt’s Private Hotel
Eichardt’s Private Hotel is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and rightly so. This elegant hotel on Marine Parade is a welcome break in touristy Queenstown. Looking out across the lake, it feels like your own private space though central Queenstown is just behind.
Guests can choose from seven premium suites, four comfortably appointed apartments, The Residence, and The Penhouse all with a lake view. Beautifully decorated suites feature a cozy fireplace and super king beds. You can also look forward to a spacious bathroom with a bathtub, walk-in dressing room, Molton Brown products, and a heated mirror. The lakefront apartments on the other hand are a short walk from the hotel and are great for big families and larger groups.
Apart from the great accommodation, there aren’t many facilities to look forward to. Eichardt’s Bar is a city icon with its history. In operation since 1867, the bar is a favorite in Queenstown. You can enjoy signature cocktails, regional wines, and some delicious food in this elegant space. Other than this, guests can also enjoy High Tea or whiskey and wine tastings. For the traditional afternoon tea, you’ll need to make a reservation. There’s also a spa, the Old Gold Vault where you can indulge in restorative therapies for a rejuvenating experience.
Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa
For those looking for luxury hotels in Queenstown, NZ the Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa is one of the best. Smack dab in the heart of New Zealand’s premier alpine resort, the hotel puts you within walking distance of most of the attractions. Within a minutes walk from the hotel you’ll find lively bars and restaurants as well as plenty of ski hire shops and tour companies.
The vibe is distinctly contemporary French with an extravagant lobby furnished with ornate armchairs and an open fire. Guest rooms are spacious and luxurious with some stunning views from the rooms in the front. Wall and floor lighting in the rooms makes them feel cozy and comfortable. You’ll find a wide range of modern amenities. Most of the superior rooms and suites feature a private Juliette balcony.
There are a few exquisite dining spaces in the hotel. The 1789 Lounge is where you can enjoy a drink and also feast on a flavorsome bistro-style menu. Another popular spot in the hotel is the Left Bank Bistro with its charming ambiance. Acclaimed Jervois Steakhouse is also located within the hotel’s complex. Besides the dining facilities, the Sofitel also has an excellent spa, a gym, and various spaces for conferences and events.
Hotel St Moritz
With a central Queenstown location and unparalleled views of The Remarkables mountain range, combined with some great amenities, the Hotel St Moritz climbs up in the ratings of best hotels in Queenstown, NZ. This is another hotel in Queenstown that also has great views over Lake Wakatipu. It’s a 10-minute walk to the base station of the Sky Gondola but restaurants and bars are all in the vicinity.
You’ll find intriguing works of art and bespoke furniture in the interiors giving the hotel a retro vibe. The tasteful decor is echoed in the spacious guest rooms and suites too. While many rooms offer stunning views, the rooms at the back of the property are wall facing. En suite bathrooms feature walk-in showers and Molten Brown toiletries.
Lombardi, the hotel’s award-winning restaurant is popular with guests and locals for its great food. The Dining Room, Bar, and the Library Lounge are part of this establishment. Guests can also enjoy a good breakfast here but it can be a little pricey.
The Rees Hotel
Right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, you’ll find the sophisticated, five-star Rees Hotel. It’s one of the best hotels in Queenstown, NZ that offers an authentic New Zealand experience. Although the hotel is a little removed from central Queenstown, the location is spot on! The hotel provides a free shuttle in and out of town so for those interested in the legendary Queenstown vibe it’s easily accessible.
Guest rooms are spread across seven levels and are connected with covered walkways. You can choose from a variety of luxurious accommodations that include regular hotel rooms, apartments, and private residences. Almost all rooms have views of the lake or the mountain. Chic decor, modern comforts, and high-end bathrooms are some of the features you can look forward to in the rooms. To experience the ultimate in luxury, book the Rees Lakeside Residences. This two-story, three-bedroom residence stands out for the amenities and gorgeous setting.
The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, True South Dining Room attracts a well-heeled clientele. It’s renowned for its mouth-watering monthly menus which change with the seasons. The Bordeau Lounge Bar is also popular with guests and celebrities. Other amenities that guests can look forward to are an in-room massage, a fully equipped gym, and a library of rare books and art.
Sherwood puts sustainability at the top of its list and is one of the only hotels in Queenstown that is powered by solar energy. Its zero-waste policy is also quite impressive with over 60% of its wine bottled in house. The kitchen garden also benefits from the compost made from its kitchen waste. Sustainability aside, the hotel enjoys a fantastic location overlooking the areas two most impressive attractions, the mountain range, and the lake. It’s a six-minute drive to town from here
The once outdated family motor lodge received a much-needed facelift to transform itself into a stylish destination. While many of its earlier features have been maintained, these have been transformed into more stylish community spaces. The rooms echo this utilitarian chic with stylish, homely interiors. You can choose from spacious studios and rooms to one and two-bedroom apartments. The apartments come with kitchenettes while the other accommodation comes with standard amenities.
Sherwood prides itself on its restaurant that serves homegrown veggies. If it’s not found on the property, the restaurant sources its produce from all over Central Otago. The food here is quite outstanding as is the wine.
Hotels in Queenstown, NZ that offer breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu are not in short supply but each comes with its own unique character like QT Queenstown. This luxe hotel on the shores of the lake is all about modern, arty aesthetics, right from the foyer to the guest rooms. It invites you to ‘step through the frame’ to experience this vibe. The hotel is a few minutes outside the center so if you’re looking to head to the bars or restaurants it’s about a 10-minute walk.
You’ll find colorful, pleasing interiors that blend in with the warm lighting. You can choose from King rooms and suites, each beautifully decorated with modern art and other stylish additions. The designer bathrooms reflect this style too. You’ll find a standalone bath, separate shower, and ALICE amenities in the bathrooms. Rooms at the front of the hotel offer stunning views of the surroundings from large floor to ceiling windows and Juliette balconies.
The buzzing Bazaar restaurant offers a chic Alpine dining setting with a unique theme. Rather than an a la carte menu, you can pick your ingredients from baskets of fresh seafood, charcuterie boards, and rounds of cheese to get the chefs to create your dish. Some of the freshest produce of Central Otago is used to create delicious international flavors. The Red Bar, on the other hand, has a modern apres-ski vibe. Other amenities at the hotel include an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, ski room, and venues for conferences and events.
If you’re looking to ditch a regular hotel and would rather stay in alternate accommodation in Queenstown, NZ then the Hulbert House is for you. Take a step back in time at the beautifully restored Victorian villa that dates back to 1888. The hotel is regarded as one of the most beautiful luxury boutique hotels in Queenstown, NZ. It’s just a short walk to the vibrant center from here yet it feels like a world away with its stunning views and beautifully landscaped exterior.
You can choose between two categories of suites, The Grand Rooms on the ground floor, that look out over the lake, and Premium Rooms which offer mountain and garden views. Comfortable bedding, luxurious linen, and antique furniture give each room a unique character. If you do get a chance, a tour of the guest rooms will leave you quite amazed. A gourmet breakfast is included in the room rate but if you choose to upgrade your stay in the Grand Suite, pre-dinner drinks and canapes are also provided. The house can also be booked exclusively for events. You’ll find a salon and bar on-site and a 50 inch TV but no other outstanding amenities apart from the excellent service.
With its secluded setting offering unobstructed views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains, Hidden Lodge is one of the best small hotels for a romantic getaway. You can be sure of a relaxed time away from the crowds as the property has only four luxurious double suites. However, if you are interested in mingling with the crowd at central Queenstown, it’s only a five-minute drive from the property.
All four suites are spacious and tastefully decorated with comfort in mind. En suite bathrooms come with separate bath and shower. While all suites provide great views, the Tahi suite with its private balcony and Wha on the ground floor have better views. Guests can enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast from local seasonal produce and eggs from the chickens on the property.
In the evening’s guests can enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage with a freshly prepared antipasto platter. It’s a good opportunity to mingle with other guests and meet the team. There’s a wood-fired, outdoor hot pool for guests but this will need to be booked in advance for an additional charge. You’ll also find an exercise room and a private sauna. Although there’s no restaurant on-site a gourmet dinner can be arranged for an extra charge. For families intending to stay here, a point to note is that children of all ages are welcome only if the property is booked exclusively.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Queenstown:
- The Bunker Restaurant & Bar – For a unique experience head to this rustic-fine dining venue hidden in a discreet alleyway in the town center. You won’t need to look further for a nightlife venue as this place has everything.
- Bar Crawl – Experience the infamous nightlife of Queenstown on this bar crawl. On your visit to five of the city’s hottest spots, you’ll get a free welcome shot plus enjoy free pizza.
Recommended Activities In Queenstown:
- Milford Sound Coach Tour & Lunch Cruise – Travel on the breathtaking Milford Road by glass-roof coach while listening to informative commentary about the area. Once at your destination, climb aboard a purpose-built catamaran for a nature cruise along the deep blue waters of the fiord. You’ll also get to enjoy a chef-prepared buffet lunch.
- Bungy Jumping – Adrenaline junkies can head to the birthplace of bungee jumping on the Kawarau Bridge to take the plunge. Or better still, go to Nevis Point for the ultimate rush from New Zealand’s highest bungee.