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Although a number of central city hotels are no longer operational, or their re-opening may be delayed because they’re in a cordoned area, there are still over 7,000 beds available within greater Christchurch, may of them in the central suburbs of Riccarton, Merivale, and Papanui. You’re still within walking distance of the main attractions if you stay here. All rates quoted include the 15% GST and free off-street parking unless otherwise stated.

Inner City

Many of the inner city backpacker hotels are no longer operating, but there are still some properties worth checking out. Here are my picks for the best within walking distance of the inner city. Chester Street Backpackers, 148 Chester St. East (www.chesterst.co.nz; tel. 03/377-1897), has dorms from NZ$24 to NZ$28, twin rooms from NZ$26 to NZ$30, and double rooms from NZ$28 to NZ$32. The property also owns the delightful 1870s Entwhistle Cottage, which is ideal for families, or for those after a peaceful stay. It costs NZ$130 (NZ$25 each extra person) and requires a 2-night minimum stay. Kiwi Basecamp, 69 Bealey Ave. (www.kiwibasecamp.co.nz; tel. 03/366-6770), is a good spot close to temporary bus stops. Rates include breakfast and it has free airport transfers and free use of hotel bikes. Dorm rooms run NZ$22 to NZ$30 and double rooms are NZ$32 to NZ$36. Jailhouse Accommodation, 338 Lincoln Rd., Addington (www.jail.co.nz; tel. 0800/524-546 in NZ, or 03/982-7777), is a unique stay in the old Addington prison, designed by one of Christchurch’s foremost early architects, Benjamin Mountfort, and built in 1874. It’s been fully refurbished, of course, and is highly rated by those who stay. Dorms here are priced from NZ$30, single rooms from NZ$75, doubles from NZ$80, and family rooms from NZ$160. All have shared facilities.

A Rare Privilege

Otahuna Lodge, Rhodes Road, Tai Tapu, Christchurch (www.otahuna.co.nz; tel. 03/329-6333), is my favorite place on earth! This magnificent 1895 mansion, 20 minutes out of the city, gives you an insight into the life of the Victorian landed gentry -- a life of privilege and luxury that has been accentuated by the clever hands and good taste of its owners, Hall Cannon and Miles Refo. The seven magnificent suites are gigantic and get my pick for the best accommodations in Canterbury. It is one of the grandest homes in the region and the level of craftsmanship and architectural detail is awe inspiring. The meals are divine, and the rural setting and 12 hectares (30 acres) of gardens have much to offer. Stay at least 2 nights to make the most of it. The wholly inclusive rate for suites is NZ$1,265 to NZ$1,695, and for master suites NZ$1,850 to NZ$2,275. Every comfort is assured.

Near Hagley Park

There are numerous reasonably priced and very good motels along Riccarton Road, Bealey Avenue, and Papanui Road. It’s a competitive market so don’t forget to ask about special deals. Annabelle Court Motel, 42 Riccarton Rd., Riccarton (tel. 0800/775-577in NZ, or 03/341-1189; www.annabellecourtmotel.co.nz), has 18 quality studios and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments priced from NZ$115 to NZ$150. It’s close to Riccarton shopping and restaurants and is just a 15--minute walk through Hagley Park to city attractions.

Historic Retreat

You’ll have to be in quick if you want to stay in the divine little gem that is Jack’s Cottage, Taunton Gardens, Governor’s Bay Road, Governor’s Bay (www.tauntongardens.co.nz; tel. 03/329-9746; fax 03/329-9546). Located in the middle of Barry Sligh’s beautiful, 1-hectare (2-acre) woodland garden, this little 1860s cottage has been fully restored into the quaintest sleep you’ll find anywhere. It has its own kitchen and a beautiful bathroom, and you can roam the gardens at will. It’s about a 25-minute drive over the Port Hills from Christchurch and about a 15-minute drive around the bays from Lyttelton. It costs NZ$330 to NZ$345 per night, which includes breakfast supplies and laundry service. As an added incentive you get 1 night’s free lodging if you stay at least 3 nights.

In Sumner

Sumner Bay Motel, 26 Marriner St. (www.sumnermotel.co.nz; tel. 03/326-5969), has 12 modern apartments and studios right in the main street beside the movie theater and cafes. Prices range from NZ$160 to NZ$215. Sumner Beach Villa, 24 Nayland St. (www.sumnerbeachbilla.co.nz; tel. 027/326-7766), is a lovely, restored 1920s villa just 500m (150 ft.) from the beach. It has four very pleasant en-suite bedrooms for NZ$350 to NZ$375. Abbott House B&B, 104 Nayland St. (www.abbotthouse.co.nz; tel. 03/326-6111), is also close to the beach; it offers a studio with a kitchen for NZ$120 to NZ$150 per night and a suite for NZ$140 to NZ$150.

Near the Airport

If you’ve just landed in Christchurch and urgently need sleep, try Copthorne Hotel Commodore, 449 Memorial Ave. (www.commodore.net.nz; tel. 0508/266-663 in NZ, or 03/358-8129), which has 135 rooms from NZ$250 for a premium room to NZ$315 for very good business rooms. Clearview Lodge, 8 Clearwater Ave. (www.clearviewlodge.com; tel. 03/359-5797), is a large family home next to the Clearwater Golfing Resort (below). It has three big rooms and the whole place is set on 4 hectares (10 acres) of vineyards, olive groves, and gardens, with its own heated pool and spa. You’ll pay NZ$355 to NZ$395 for a stay here, with breakfast included. Just 2 minutes from the airport, Sudhima Hotel Christchurch, at the corner of Memorial Avenue and Orchard Road (www.sudhimachristchurch.co.nz; tel. 03/358-3139), is a large hotel with a variety of rooms, a pool, barbecue area, and lots of special deals. Rooms average around NZ$145 to NZ$195.

Rural Retreats

Imagine total silence, snowcapped mountain peaks, and an endless spread of perfect rolling green. This is what you get when you stay at Terrace Downs High Country Resort, Coleridge Road, Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury (www.terracedowns.co.nz; tel. 0800/465-373 in NZ, or 03/318-6943; fax 03/317-9372), which is located 45 minutes northwest of Christchurch. Complete with a new day spa and one of New Zealand’s top 18-hole golf courses, it provides accommodations in stylish villas and chalets, beautifully crafted from local stone and timber. It’s close to Mount Hutt ski fields and some of the best fishing around. Rates range from NZ$395 to NZ$895. I found the terrace villas just perfect.

For something more modest and closer to Christchurch, visit Merrilies Rebbeck, who will welcome you at Ballymoney Farmstay, Wardstay Road, RD, Christchurch (www.ballymoney.co.nz; tel. 03/329-6706; fax 03/329-6709), located in the very pretty Tai Tapu area, just 15 minutes from central Christchurch. She has two guest suites (NZ$250-NZ$300, breakfast included), a gorgeous garden, and a small farm filled with an amazing array of special animals. Look out for the stunning white peacock.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.