If you are looking for a nice weekend getaway in the south of New Zealand with all the best comforts, then you should look no further than Dunedin. It may be the country’s oldest city, but don’ let that fool you: this is the best place on the South Island to spoil yourself with a stay in one of the city’s many deluxe four- and five-star hotels.
And that’s not to mention all that the city itself has to offer those willing to discover it, with its wealth of galleries, museums, bars, cafes, gardens, historical buildings, and so on. But any getaway is made or ruined by a guest’s lodging accommodations, and you’ll want to know about only the finest and most worthwhile.
And the best Dunedin hotels certainly don’t disappoint – creativity, design, and understated elegance abound (somewhat surprisingly) here of late as the local accommodation scene undergoes something of a renaissance.
Of course, this is excellent news for you as you explore Dunedin – as a fabulous hotel can really make or break a trip! So, without further ado, here are the best the Edinburgh of the South has to offer.
The talk of the town since its recent opening, Ebb-Hotel Dunedin is certainly one of the best Dunedin hotels for a luxe weekend away where you can “come as you are, go as you please.” A contemporary boutique hotel with a laid-back vibe tucked in behind the central city, Ebb is a place inspired by design – specifically the land, sea, and sky that surround Dunedin. The property truly is a visionary piece of art where every curvature, fissure, and internal detail is meant to be admired – and will keep you busy with options for the gram. Not to mention the many work of art by New Zealand artists exhibited on walls across all levels. When it comes to the rooms, the same meticulous eye for detail is maintained, with nods to modern design and art, blending contemporary luxury with homely touches.
The Ebb Café, which is run by chef and writer Alison Lambert, is located on the ground level and is a must-visit in Dunedin regardless of where you stay. The menu (which is available Tuesday through Sunday) is a tribute to farm to plate gastronomy using locally produced products and always intrigues and delights. There will be something for you to eat, whether it’s a fantastic breakfast, a long lunch, or a sweet treat, as well as good coffee.
Bespoke service, refined details, and a real sense of place – it is easy to see why this top Dunedin hotel is winning accolades and loyal customers alike.
Bluestone on George
The Bluestone on George is, you’ll be totally unsurprised to know, located on George Street (Dunedin’s main drag). This five-star modern boutique hotel enjoys an excellent location right in the heart of the city and is really geared more toward single and business travelers as well as couples, more so than for groups or families.
Accommodations at the Bluestone are a range of studio apartments, all of which have a kitchenette, laundry room, and private ensuite bathroom (most with spa baths), not to mention elegant decor that gives off a sophisticated atmosphere. Free high-speed internet is available throughout the property, and rooms come with LED televisions and Sky TV. There is a guest lounge on the property as well as a gym, and the courtyard has a lounge area. All in all, the Bluestone is a great spot close to the downtown to enjoy Dunedin in style and comfort.
The four and a half star, 100% New Zealand-owned and operated Distinction Dunedin Hotel is without a doubt one of the premier accommodation options in one of the premier travel destinations in all of New Zealand.
Formerly the Chief Post Office in Dunedin, the historic 1937 building now houses 121 suites and studio rooms as well as a restaurant, bar, gym, and conference rooms. Listed as a heritage building by Heritage New Zealand, it can only be described as a paragon of architectural elegance. It is one of the downtown area’s chief landmarks, enjoying a central location in the city’s Exchange District, in the Warehouse Precinct. The Distinction Dunedin Hotel is a 2021 Traveler’s Choice winner and has been named one of the top 25 hotels in the Australia-New Zealand-Oceania region.
It is, as anyone who has been fortunate enough to enjoy a stay here would surely attest, one of the best places to stay in the city of Dunedin, not to mention one of the finest hotels in all of New Zealand. You can read our full review of The Distinction Dunedin here.
Hotel Saint Clair
This four-star hotel sits above St. Clair Beach and the Pacific Ocean, granting excellent views of both, so it goes without saying that the hotel occupies some prime real estate. It comprises 26 rooms of contemporary design with balconies, flat-screen TV, and Sky TV with over 50 channels, free Wi-Fi, kitchenette, refrigerator, microwave, minibar, and coffee maker. The private bathrooms have heated floors.
“At the edge of the sea, an unfolding narrative invites each and every attentive visitor,” reads the Hotel Saint Clair’s slogan. It proudly claims to be one of New Zealand’s finest luxury hotels, and with a beautiful building, excellent beachfront locale, and great service and amenities, it has every right to make that boast.
The Victoria Hotel Dunedin
The Victoria Dunedin Hotel puts guests right in the heart of downtown Dunedin within walking distance of most of the biggest downtown attractions. The hotel takes pride in its acclaimed service, with a 24-hour reception desk and free room service from either of its two restaurants. It also has a lounge bar with free Wi-Fi available in the bar area, where you can enjoy such delights as a white lady cocktail or a Pimm’s spritz on a rare sunny day.
The newly renovated rooms can accommodate up to five people depending on your choice of standard, superior or deluxe room. Fun fact: the Victoria Hotel Dunedin is the city’s first to offer Tesla chargers for its guests. The hotel’s Well Manor Restaurant also hosts functions for up to 200 people and makes for a classy venue for a birthday celebration, private party, or wedding.
The Fable Dunedin is a five-star hotel located on Princes Street in the city center and part of the new kiwi-owned luxury hotel brand Fable with uber-desirable locations also in Auckland and Christchurch. It features 50 guest rooms with accommodation styles including classic, superior, and luxury rooms as well as junior suites, the latter of which affords enough space to entertain a few friends if guests so desire, with a separate lounge area. All rooms offer supreme comfort and sumptuous amenities — it isn’t a five-star establishment for nothing, after all.
The hotel’s bar and restaurant, The Press Club, offers a world-class dining experience with a refined atmosphere, not to mention an extensive beverage list with red, white, and dessert wines, champagnes, whiskey, cocktails, beer, and cider, and even some non-alcoholic drinks. It is the perfect place for a classic Aviation cocktail. Savory dishes are on offer at The Press Club, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there is also a kid’s menu. The restaurant serves high tea as well, with a delectable menu highlighted by sandwiches, scones, sweets, and a range of teas from Sri Lankan black teas to lemongrass and ginger tisane. If you are looking to indulge in a luxurious getaway in Dunedin, a stay at the Fable Dunedin is like being in a fable indeed.
Also, if Fable Dunedin looks familiar, you may have seen it on the recent New Zealand film, The Royal Treatment, which was filmed here and across Dunedin and Otago.
Not many hotels give guests the chance to stay at a real-life, genuine castle estate, but that is exactly what the Larnach Lodge does. While Larnach Castle & Gardens bills itself as the only castle in New Zealand, this is not quite the case. It is, however, the most magnificent of the country’s ten or so ‘castles’; that much it can claim without dispute. For romantic and adventurous getaway destinations in Dunedin, it really doesn’t get much better than this.
Larnach Lodge is only a 20-minute drive from central Dunedin. Here it should be noted that the accommodations are not within the castle itself, but rather in the estate’s new Manor House, a beautiful stone building that is the perfect accompaniment to the castle, as well as in the historic stable building (if you’re thinking of horse stables…it’s nothing like that). Rooms include the chance to have dinner in the castle proper. Castle and garden tours are complimentary — another terrific perk of booking a room here and something that shouldn’t be missed if you do.
Scenic Hotel Dunedin City
Situated on the downtown Princes Street, the four-and-a-half-star Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is mere blocks from the Octagon and within walking distance of most of the city’s best bars, restaurants, and shopping. The hotel knows how to spoil its guests with a fitness center, lounge bar with fireplace and TV, free Wi-Fi, valet laundry and dry cleaning, and its Princes on Dowling Restaurant, which basically doubles as a bar and breakfast cafe. The hotel is adorned with local artworks, something that gives it a nice, unique touch.
Room types are standard, superior, and executive, with one- and two-bedroom executive suites also available. All room types are well-appointed, with the executive suites adding a bit more space and a few extra perks like air conditioning. This hotel presents a choice luxury lodging option for exploring downtown Dunedin in comfort.
“The hideaway, right in the middle of the city.” That is The Chamberson’s slogan, and it suits the establishment perfectly as it provides a comfortable getaway tucked away in Dunedin’s center. The heritage-listed building was once a warehouse in a former life and has been beautifully renovated.
The result is a collection of spacious rooms with large windows affording excellent views of the city. The hotel has five apartment-style rooms: the two-bedroom Pad, with two king beds; the Lookout with a king bed in its one-bedroom; and the Nest, the Abode, and the Attic, each with one bedroom and a king bed. Each room is unique and offers a different amazing view. The spacious Loft (with rooftop terrace) is available for hire as an event venue and makes for an excellent place to hold a function or private event. And what’s best is that the best of Downtown Dunedin is only a short stroll away, with many a cafe and restaurant at your doorstep.
Dunedin Leisure Lodge
Part of the same network that brings you the fabulous Distinction Dunedin Hotel, the Dunedin Leisure Lodge can claim to be the city’s only garden hotel. The Dunedin Botanic Garden, the Otago Museum, Forsyth Barr Stadium, and the University of Otago are all very close by, so guests can enjoy a prime location central to many Dunedin attractions in addition to the 2-acre property (on the site of the old McGavin Brewery) stunning gardens and lush lawn.
The four-star hotel features 76 rooms, and there is something suitable for business travelers, couples, and families alike. Room amenities include but are not limited to free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, soundproofing, refrigerator, heater, and coffee maker. Superior rooms offer either a patio or a balcony. The hotel’s McGavin Restaurant and Bar offers buffet breakfast, beverages, and al fresco as well as indoor dining.
Law Courts Hotel
The Law Courts Hotel promises “A pleasant and memorable experience.” It offers single, double, triple, and twin rooms in addition to a newly refurbished three-bedroom apartment that is perfect for families or small to medium size groups. The apartment is equipped with a washer and dryer for supreme convenience and has a separate living room and full kitchen. Like many of the fine hotels featured here, it has a good location in the middle of Dunedin with easy access to the city’s attractions.
Housed in an impressive building that is a proud example of Dunedin’s fabulous architectural heritage, Laws Court Hotel offers an on-site restaurant with home-cooked meals. There is also a bar and lounge. Rooms include a flat-screen TV, coffee maker, refrigerator, telephone, and complimentary toiletries.
Further Things To Consider Before Any Adventure
Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!
Or maybe just forget it all and go for a last-minute cruise or effortless tour instead?
Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!