Everything in Wellington is geared for the corporate market. Hotel and motel rates are significantly higher Monday through Thursday, but you can pick up exceptionally good deals on the weekends, especially during the off-season. There has been a big increase in inner city apartment developments, and some exceptional values rise right off the heart of Lambton Quay and The Terrace, placing you perfectly in the heart of everything. Although there is a wide range of homestay options farther out, I’m always disappointed to discover that there are not as many upmarket B&Bs in the inner suburbs as there are in, say, Christchurch or Auckland.
All rates include 15% GST and free off-street parking unless otherwise stated.
In the Inner City
Expensive -- You’ll find City Life Wellington, 300 Lambton Quay (www.heritagehotels.co.nz; tel. 0800/368-888 in NZ, or 04/922-2800), right above the city’s best shopping district. They have 70 modern, self-contained apartments with all the mod-cons from NZ$265 to NZ$305 for a one-bedroom suite, and NZ$360 to NZ$485 for two-and three-bedroom suites. Valet parking is NZ$35 per night.
Moderate -- Close to bus, train, and ferry terminals, Quest on Johnston, 35 Johnston St. (www.questonjohnston.co.nz; tel. 0800/508-021), is a perfectly located 18-level apartment complex where there’s always a great deal to be had. Its 67 studios and 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments are definitely worth a look. They go for NZ$105 to NZ$225. Wellesley Boutique Hotel, 2-8 Maginnity St. (www.wellesleyboutiquehotel.co.nz; tel. 04/474-1308), is a former gentlemen’s club that’s been converted into a stylish stay in a heritage building. The 13 rooms are individually decorated—the 4 luxury rooms are the most spacious—and rates range from NZ$200 to NZ$450.
All-Girl Guesthouse -- If you want to stay in an all-girls environment, consider the Mermaid Guesthouse for Women, 1 Epuni St., Aro Valley, Wellington (tel./fax 04/384-4511; www.mermaid.co.nz). Rates in the restyled Victorian villa are NZ$145 to NZ$160. It’s walking distance to the central city, and buses stop right outside the gate.
Inexpensive -- Those traveling in campervans will be delighted to hear there is now a new, centrally located, campervan park within 3 minutes of the Interislander Ferry terminal and right next to many of Wellington’s top attractions. Wellington Waterfront Motorhome Park (www.wwmp.co.nz) is well signposted on Waterloo Quay and has room for 39 vans. There is onsite power, an ablutions block, and a daily onsite manager (available 7am to 7pm). It costs NZ$50 per vehicle per day.
Lovers of heritage homes and a good view will enjoy the comforts of three lovely rooms at Lambton Heights, 20 Talavera Terrace, Kelburn (www.lambtonheights.co.nz; tel. 04/472-4710; fax 04/472-4715), priced from NZ$195 to NZ$300. It’s just 5 minutes from the inner city. If you prefer your privacy, head for Ascot Cottage, Ascot St., Thorndon (tel. 04/479-3721; fax 04/479-3701), where you’ll find a delightful 1-bedroom self-contained stay that sleeps four for NZ$200 to NZ$275. Breakfast provisions are supplied and it’s just a short walk from Tinakori Village.
The Copthorne Oriental Bay, 100 Oriental Parade and 73 Roxburgh St., Mt. Victoria (www.millenniumhotels.co.nz; tel. 0800/808-228 in NZ, or 04/385-0279), is fresh from a major makeover and has 118 beautifully appointed rooms, each with a private balcony affording some of the best views in Wellington. Rates range from NZ$175 to NZ$225.
Near the Airport
Brentwood Hotel, 16-20 Kemp St., Kilbirnie, Wellington (www.brentwoodhotel.co.nz; tel. 0508/273-689 in NZ, or 04/920-0400; fax 04/920-0401), is a modest yet practical airport choice if all you want is a bed before an early departure. Rooms range from NZ$210 to NZ$230. Villa Melina B&B, 89 Ludlam St., Seatoun (www.villamelina.co.nz; tel. 0800/635-462 in NZ or 04/972-1205), offers three very nice en-suite rooms with breathtaking views of the harbor for NZ$185 to NZ$375.