There are numerous options to choose from when it comes to staying the night in Christchurch. If you’re looking for a hub that is central and within walking distance to the city’s main attractions, I think I’ve got a selection that just about fits any traveler. Whether you’re visiting Christchurch for business or traveling with a tight budget or looking for a quirky, unforgettable stay, the following selection should meet your requirements. At least it did for me and I enjoyed my snooze in each of them.
Sleek and luxurious, The George, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a definite go to for a flawless, cozy stay. The subtle, smart and modern interiors of the hotel are dabbed with mesmerizing green, mustard and grey tones. The hotel has everything that a small luxury hotel should have; deep bathtubs, lavish beds, plush sofas and a highly applauded restaurant.
Yet, in offering these luxuries, The George holds great respect for the environment and does its share in keeping it alive. They call it the “Caring Luxury Statement”, a list seen in every room about measures the hotel takes to preserve Christchurch’s pristine environment. For example, the oil & fats from the kitchen and leftover soap from guests’ rooms are collected and converted into biofuel, laundry bags are made from biodegradable material and separate recycling bins are found in all guests’ rooms.
Still the most distinct feature of the hotel is found in her people. The hotel arranged a bicycle for us free of charge so that my husband could cycle to the airport to collect our rented car, they were ever ready to supply us with umbrellas when the sky suddenly turned gloomy grey, we were welcomed with coffee and macaroons sent to the room and they gave Seth (my then, 8 month old baby) a take-home gift which he now snuggles in bed with, George the Bear.
Ever wondered what it is like to enter a prison cell, or better still, sleep in one? Now’s your chance! The Jailhouse is not creepy, gloomy or scary in anyway. I had the same apprehension, but the owners did a wonderful job in refurbishing the building. Built in 1874, the heritage prison was a women’s prison and military camp. In 2006 when the building was abandoned, a local couple, Kirsty and Grant bought it over and renovated it.
Painted mostly in white and lit with bright fluorescent and warm lighting, the building adopts an open concept with an exposed hallway right through the building. The open space really helped to eliminate or minimize claustrophobia. The rooms are a tad tiny, but you also pay a smaller sum for a stay here. A popular choice for backpackers and even flashpackers, the Jailhouse is suitable for budget travelers.
My “cell” had two single beds pushed against the wall, a tiny table and just enough room for two people to walk in and out. The original heavy steel doors have only a tiny square viewing hole that’s covered with paper for a bit of privacy. Thankfully all rooms have windows.
The Jailhouse also has common sharing facilities such as a kitchen, dining area, movie room, library and lots of space to just hang out. Located in Addington, the suburb is teeming with local eateries and a big supermarket nearby.
The iconic pink mansion on Worchester Boulevard is a beautifully refurbished and renovated Italian style historic home, called The Classic Villa. Location wise, it can’t get any better as it is mere minutes away from the Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum and surrounding attractions.
Peter Morrison, the owner of the villa is a really friendly host. He takes time to chat with you and makes sure that all your travel needs are met – yes, including offering vitamins at the breakfast buffet table. The villa has 12 rooms with the front part of the building holding much of its heritage form seen in the heavy wooden flooring, stained glass doors, beautiful chandeliers and photos of the building’s history.
The lavender lined walkway leading up to the entrance makes for a gorgeous scented welcome and the tv and lounge area is a comfy recluse after a long day of exploring. Peter takes great pride in showcasing the best of Christchurch and this is displayed in his meticulous selection of what goes on the breakfast table. I had a wonderful breakfast array of grilled salmon, pastries and fresh bread, local cheese and preserves, a small but lovely selection of greens, yoghurt, fresh fruits and juices.
When I tucked into bed at The Classic Villa, I couldn’t help but think – this feels exactly like home, with a touch of luxury. The rooms are tastefully decorated with lavish double beds clad in thick linen, exquisite furnishings, soft lighting and big skylight windows for natural light.
Painted with a colourful mural of the late Nelson Mandela, the YMCA is known for its extensive range of low cost accommodation suited for independent travelers, couples, families and big groups. The rooms are basic and the facilities are shared. There are no frills and you get what you pay for. I like it that the YMCA doesn’t attract a rowdy crowd and security is tight in the building. So even though you pay a minimal amount, you are guaranteed a good peaceful night sleep. Plus, YMCA is located at the corner of Hereford Street and Rolleston Avenue directly opposite the Botanical Gardens and the Arts Centre. I also love that the Robert Harris café is adjoining to the hostel and makes a perfect go to for breakfast or a good cuppa.