Elegance by George!

By Kerri Jackson

Pulling up in front of the George Hotel in Christchurch feels a little bit like stepping back in time - there's something about the elegance and atmosphere here that seems to belong to another, less noisy era.

That's not to imply the George is in any way old-fashioned or out of date - this is as chic, sophisticated and modern a hotel as you're likely to find - it has more to do with the sense of peace and quiet that pervades the lobby, despite the comings and goings of guests.

It may also have something to do with size. As high-end hotels go, the George, with four floors and 53 rooms, is relatively small, or, to use a much more stylish term - boutique. But really, that just means the luxury and finery is simply intensified.

In fact, you barely need venture out, with two award-winning restaurants - 50 On The Park and Pescatore - inside.

If you do head out the hotel is within easy distance of Christchurch's famous Arts Centre, as well as the art gallery, museum and botanical gardens. The city centre is just a few minutes away, as is the Avon River if you fancy a punt.

Voted the best New Zealand Hotel in the 2007 US Conde Nast Traveller Gold List, and situated to make the most of picturesque views across Christchurch's Hagley Park, The George feels like a refuge from the world outside - particularly on a cold Christchurch day.

The George manages to combine the intimacy of a good B&B with all the conveniences and luxuries of a large hotel.

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NEED TO KNOW

Rates: $385-$770, depending on the room or suite.

The George also offers packages such as the honeymoon indulgence, ultimate indulgence, which includes a degustation dinner; and a luxury spa package.

For more information visit thegeorge.com

- Detours, HoS

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