9 Unique Places to Stay in Wellington NZ 2019

9 Unique Places to Stay in Wellington

Wellington is a fun and cosmopolitan city. A hotbed of culture, nature, art, foodie heaven, quirky cafés, theatres, local breweries, beautiful harbour and the occasional windy day! These 9 unique places to stay in Wellington are set in some of Wellington’s popular neighbourhoods and offer quirky and memorable stays…

Boutique – Lighthouse – Keep – Converted Container – Heritage – Beach – Off-Grid – Art

Coming up:

  1. U Boutique Hotel – inner city
  2. Aro Valley Historic Townhouse – Aro Valley
  3. The Wellington Container House, Happy Valley
  4. Abigail Bay Off Grid Beach Bach, South Coast
  5. The Lighthouse and The Keep, near the airport
  6. QT Wellington, waterfront near Te Papa
  7. Beachfront Wellington Bed & Breakfast, Worser Bay
  8. Ohtel Wellington, Oriental Bay
  9. BONUS: Recommended Cheap Eats in Cuba Street

See also: What are Free Things to do in Wellington


1. U Boutique Hotel: Affordable, Stylish

U Hotel Wellington - 9 Unique Places to stay in Wellington
U Hotel Wellington
  • Type: 3.5 Star Hotel $
  • Best for: Location, Affordable, Contemporary
  • Location: Frederick Street, Inner City
  • Compare prices at Hotels Combined here

Once a printing factory and a Masonic Lodge this 1925 inner city building is now a stylish and affordable boutique hotel. In the heart of Welly you’re walking distance to restaurants, theatres, the nightlife of Courtenay Place (even for just a stroll), Te Papa, the waterfront, and art galleries. You’re 3kms to the Ferry Terminal so U Boutique is a great stop off on your journey north or south.

  • Enjoy the free scones and coffee/tea on offer in the lounge.
  • Breakfast is included in the price.
  • Free WIFI
  • Spa pool on the roof

Top Tips: When you book check if your room includes en-suite or shared bathroom. Breakfast starts at 7.30 – this may be too late for you if you’re booked on the early morning ferry.

U Hotel keeps the customer in mind with a variety of suites to choose from in a number of configurations to suit solo travellers or groups up to 5. The prices are all within the very affordable range:

  • King Bed and en-suite, big deck and hot tub on the top floor
  • Queen Studio with private bathroom located next door (not en-suite)
  • Family Suite – 1 queen bed and 3 single beds. Private bathroom or en-suite. Up to 5 guests.
  • Queen Studio with queen-size bed, shared bathroom next door
  • Twin Studio with twin beds, shared bathroom next door
  • Triple Studio one single and two single bunk beds with shared bathroom next door. Up to 3 guests.
  • King Studio: 1 king size bed and 1 single bed with en-suite
  • King Studio: 1 king size bed and 1 single bed with en-suite and kitchenette (28m2). Up to 3 guests.
  • Self-contained King Studio: 1 king size bed and 1 single bed with en-suite, living area and kitchenette (50m2)
  • Self-contained Double Studio with double bed, en-suite, kitchenette, TV, deck for the budget-conscious traveller

Check where you can grab the best price:


2. Aro Valley Historic Townhouse: Homestay, Spacious

  • Type: Holiday Home $$
  • Best for: Large House, Inner City, Parking
  • Location: Aro Valley
  • You can read reviews and check prices at Homeaway here.

This olde-worlde townhouse is spacious and centrally located in inner-city Aro Valley. This area is popular with students and definitely feels cool/grungy, which may or may not be your cup of tea, but Aro Valley has a strong community feel.

For history buffs Aro Valley is an amazing ‘largely untouched remnant of old Wellington’ (Source). If you’re interested in 19th Century architecture then Aro Valley is a time warp with workers cottages and historic homes lining the valley. You’re a quick walk to funky Cuba Street with lots of quirky shops, great restaurants and cafes.

Wellington is compact so it’s not far to walk to the Beehive, Te Papa, and Oriental Bay. You can read more about Aro Valley on my post here: Free Things to do in Wellington.

Hot Tip: Get the free Welly Walks App on your phone which has instructions and maps to explore history, art, boutiques, nature, breweries and hidden gems around the city.

Aro Valley Historic Town House is a holiday home so you’re booking the whole place which can accommodate up to 9 guests. If you’re only 2 people (or less than 9) then they’ll close off the other bedrooms. The best and quietest room is the garden view room with queen bed.

The interior is modern and you’ve got all the mod cons and free wifi. Feel at home in the comfy lounge, kitchen, sunny courtyard and cook your sausies on the BBQ in summer with al fresco dining. There’s parking for one car and pets are negotiable. The cleaning fee is a whopping $100 so you might want to ask the owners about that one. You can read reviews and check prices at Homeaway here.

Search Welly Hotels by clicking on the map:


3. The Wellington Container House – Designer & Industrial

The Wellington Container House -  9 Unique Places to stay in Wellington
  • Type: Holiday Home $$
  • Best for: Designer Eco, Beach
  • Location: Happy Valley
  • Compare prices at Hotels Combined here.

Truly quirky and unique The Wellington Container House is well-known around the world and has appeared in international design mags. Situated between the beach and the city this holiday home is three containers stacked on top of each other! There’s even a waterfall. So what’s on offer?

On the top floor is a media/games room with a large projector screen, spa pool on the second floor on a covered veranda, and a billiard table in the basement. Sounds a bit like party central!

On the homey front the industrial style kitchen leads to a dining area, lounge and two decks mean you’ve got that essential indoor/outdoor flow!

The Wellington Container House Dining Area  -  9 Unique Places to stay in Wellington

How many beds? Three cool bedrooms with three extra large double beds and a sofa bed in the lounge so the Container House can accommodate up to 8 people. Includes secure covered parking and free WIFI.

Industrial meets designer meets quirky this place is something special. The rock face next to the containers becomes part of the whole structure, the circular staircase adds functionality and art. This is one cool holiday home!

On your way to the South Island? The Intrepid South Island Discovery Tour is an easy 10 day tour and affordable. Trek the Catlins, cruise to Doubtful Sound, wine tasting, Queenstown, Maori cultural visit, Stewart Island and lots more. Check here to see if they have any special deals at the moment.


4. Abigail Bay Bach – Off Grid Homestay, Remote

Abigail Bay Cottage -  9 Unique Places to stay in Wellington
Escape the city!
  • Type: Holiday Home $$
  • Best for: Wild Location, Remote, Comfortable
  • Location: Red Rocks
  • Read reviews and book at Homeaway here.

Close to the city and yet so remote! This cute bach for 2 guests is set on Wellington’s wild south coast with seals for company in the winter months (May to September). To get there ideally you need a 4X4 vehicle but just possible with a car. Nestled in a Karaka tree grove the bach looks out over the rocks and onto Cook Strait and the Antarctic as the crow flies!

Bach Info:

A wild location and totally off-grid with solar lights, gas for hot water and cooking. There’s no fridge at this coastal hideaway so bring some bags of ice (buy at petrol stations) for the chilly bin (called an esky in Australia). Linen is included. According to bach traditions you’re expected to do the dishes and clean the bach at the end of your stay.

Things to do:

Walk around the coast past gannets, seals, sand dunes, and rockpools or stay warm by the super-efficient fireplace, read a book or play one of the board games. Abigail Bay Bach is a fantastically serene place to relax. Read reviews and check prices at Homeaway here.

The owners also have a bigger off-grid bach near this one, Hunter Bay Bachsee that one here. Pics of that bach here:


5. The Lighthouse and The Keep Wellington – Quirky

Ever dreamed of staying in a lighthouse? This B&B is definitely one of the most unique places to stay in Wellington! On the south coast near the airport you can be a lighthouse keeper for the night or why not book the keep? What’s a keep you may ask – well, traditionally in the middle ages this was built by the nobility as a fortified tower within the confines of a castle. (Source). Now you can sleep in your own keep or lighthouse on the coast with lovely sea views.

The Lighthouse: purpose-built as a quirky place to stay the Lighthouse is comfortably furnished but nothing flash. Includes lounge, kitchen, and bathroom on the ground floor. The bedroom is on the first floor. The top floor has a seating area and access to the circular balcony with lovely sea views.

The Keep is 1 kms away from the Lighthouse. On the ground floor you have the entrance and toilet, first floor is lounge, kitchen and dining. The top floor has a queen bed, spa bath, toilet and shower.

Both quirky accommodation options include breakfast which you prepare for yourself. So this unique accommodation gives you a wonderful chance to be a lighthouse keeper for a night or king or queen of your very own castle keep! (Photo)


6. QT Wellington – Luxury, Contemporary Art

QT Wellington
  • Type: 4.5 Star Hotel $$$
  • Best for: Art, Art, Art! Central Location, Luxury
  • Location: Cable Street (across from Te Papa and the Waterfront)
  • Compare prices at Hotels Combined here.

With an enormous golden hippopotamus at the front of this hotel you’re definitely in for a treat of glorious art and design at QT Wellington. This beautiful design hotel features New Zealand contemporary art around every corner and each guest room is uniquely designed. Even the bathrooms look like an art gallery!

QT Wellington bedroom

On Wellington’s waterfront across the road from Te Papa QT Wellington is in a top spot. The hotel’s leisure facilities are excellent too with a well-equipped gym, spa pool, indoor pool, and spa and beauty treatment centre. Dine in luxury at the Hippopotamus French-inspired restaurant or stylish Hot Sauce, their new Asian Eating House and Bar. If you’re too relaxed just order room service.

You’ll be amazed by the creativity and luxury of each suite with: stylish furnishings, bose sound systems, Nespresso machines, 42 inch TVs, and some with decks.

Choose from QT Superior King, QT Deluxe King, QT Gallery King, QT Harbour View King, QT Gallery Harbour View King or apartments for longer stays. Guests rave about how well they sleep at QT (hint: beds are QT Gel beds designed for maximum comfort!) The gallery suites feature contemporary art from well-known New Zealand artists.

QT Wellington is a beautiful art-filled boutique hotel on Wellington’s waterfront that you’ll love.

Search for the best price:


7. Beachfront Wellington Bed & Breakfast – Quaint, Elegant

  • Type: Bed & Breakfast $
  • Best for: Heritage Stay, At the Beach, Affordable
  • Location: Worser Bay
  • Read reviews and book at Booking.com here.

This beautiful B&B is at the beach at Worser Bay and next door to the lovely village of Seatoun. Name dropping: this is The Hobbit Director, Peter Jackson’s neighbourhood!

The B&B is an elegant Victorian mansion that is cosy, comfortable and full of character. Hearty and delicious breakfasts every morning to start your day off fantastically. Fabulous views from every window too. Book here.


8. Ohtel Wellington – Designer Vibe, Oriental Bay $$

Ohtel Boutique Wellington
  • Type: 5 Star Boutique Hotel
  • Best for: Mid-Century Elegance, Marble Bathrooms
  • Location: Oriental Bay (city end)
  • Compare prices at Hotels Combined here.

With oodles of urban chic this designer boutique hotel is perfectly positioned in beautiful Oriental Bay. You can choose from studio, deluxe, superior rooms or a suite – all with king size beds. Looking out over Port Nicholson Marina and the harbour you’re also close to night life, Te Papa, and the waterfront walk.


9. BONUS: Recommended Cheap Eats in Cuba Street:

  • Aunty Mena’s for vegan and vegetarian
  • Midnight Espresso for vegan
  • Olives for delicious French and Italian-inspired food and the hidden back garden for brunch
  • Fidel’s for coffee, hip counter food (pictures of Fidel everywhere – remember you are in Cuba Street!)
  • Little Penang for cheap Malaysian dishes around the corner in Dixon Street
  • Rasa for South Indian and Malaysian (try the yum dosas!)
  • Inner city supermarkets are New World Willis Street, New World Wellington City on Wakefield Street, New World at the Railway Station, cheapest supermarket is PaknSave Kilbirnie.
  • Moore Wilson’s Food Hall is worth a visit for delicious specialty and deli food. Corner of Tory and College Streets.

Happy Travelling! I hope you’ve enjoyed this awesome list of 9 Unique Places to Stay in Wellington. If you need any more information or want to join the conversation please share in the comments section below. Alisa 🙂

Have you heard about SiloStay in Banks Peninsula? Read about that here.

6 Comments

  1. Rina

    I love Welly! Although I might be slightly biased because I lived there for a few years. You are right, it is a very upbeat artsy place to hang out especially around the inner city. The food, shopping, entertainment, galleries and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum (Te Papa for short) are just the best! Actually, I am very inspired by this article to visit the city once again and to try one or two of the hotel suggestions you have provided here. It makes me excited to think about visiting the city again, I get a warm fuzzy feeling about this very iconic city and all of its groovy gems.

    Reply
    1. Alisa Hogan

      Rina – great to hear you’re getting the warm fuzzies thinking about Wellington again! Nice you enjoyed your experience living in this ‘groovy’ city. When you return I hope you enjoy one of these unique hotels and B&Bs; to enhance your visit even more. Best, Alisa

      Reply
  2. Emmanuel

    Wellington is truly a great city. I just got to realize that it is one of the most populous Urban areas of New Zealand. Most people refer to it as the Culinary Capital of New Zealand.

    This is so true because it is well known for Outstanding Coffee, Quirky Cafes and tucked-away bars.

    Your stay in New Zealand will not be complete without visiting these amazing places listed here. I have personally been to all these places. Thank you so much Alisa for this great guide.

    Reply
    1. Alisa Hogan

      Hi Emmanuel – many thanks for your fantastic comments about Wellington. I hope you find the time to visit. Wellington isn’t as big as Auckland in terms of population but it’s tiny size and cool vibe make it a popular stop-off point for travellers wanting to enjoy the harbour, try the yummy eateries and stay in the unique hotels. Best, Alisa

      Reply
  3. Rob S.

    New Zealand is one place I’d love to visit. I’ve seen many pictures and videos about it and it would be an awesome experience to go there.
    These are some really good tips to consider when being there.
    I must admit that some places are very different than what I’m used to here in the states.
    I do like each one in different ways.
    But my number 1 pick would be the Beachfront Wellington Bed & Breakfast.
    This alone would be one of the top reasons to visit New Zealand!
    I’m wondering how long a flight it is from the east coast of the U.S.?

    Reply
    1. Alisa Hogan

      Hi Rob – I’m happy you enjoyed the tips and inspiration. The Beachfront B&B is a good choice for its relaxing locale and sea views. A flight from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Auckland (our biggest city) take around 13 hours. You can check flights with Jetradar. I also recommend you read my post: Free Things to Do in Wellington. Alisa 🙂

      Reply

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