There's a time and place for a slick hotel with clean lines, but sometimes it's nice to stay somewhere with a little more personality.
We all have different definitions of luxury, but funky lighting, giant artworks and bold wallpapers can bring a hotel to life. It's a fine line, of course, so as not to completely replicate the garish patterns of my 70s-style living room of the childhood family home, but rather to inject some colour and charisma to brighten up your stay. Think striking statement pieces paired cohesively with modern amenities.
We've done the hard work for you and rounded up some of the coolest hotels the Herald Travel team has stayed at this year. From art deco vibes to vibrant prints and wall hangings, these are five of our favourite art hotels in New Zealand.
The Dairy, Queenstown
A boutique hotel where rustic charm meets bold design. Perfect for a romantic alpine getaway.
As the name suggests, The Dairy began life as the original Queenstown corner store, but the original facade belies the size and magnificence of the accommodation offered inside. We're warmly greeted at the front door by our host Maria, who ushers us immediately into the plush lounge and offers us complimentary refreshments, explaining a little about the hotel's features before taking us to our room. There are 13 rooms here, each individually decorated with botanical wallpapers from the renowned House of Hackney.
Hotel deBrett, Auckland
Boutique luxury, perfect for a central city break, or cosy date-night staycation.
The Hotel DeBrett building was originally built in 1841, and despite two fires and two rebuilds, its iconic facade remains much the same. The foyer is cosy and intimate, with a grand wooden staircase leading up to the first and second floors. The custom-made striped carpet will be etched into your mind forever; it's a unique part of the decor throughout the hotel and the hotel branding, with its stripes of burgundy, black, blue and yellow.
The interior of the lift is like a kaleidoscope of tiny mirror tiles and brass fittings, making for a heady but fun experience. As you walk down the narrow hallway to the suites, the striped carpet and tubular lighting outside each room door feels a bit like you're wandering through a sensory maze.
Convent Hotel , Auckland
A hotel conversion with plenty of history, humour and eclectic art. A convenient convent "pension" for those suffering from European travel withdrawal. Perfect for a stylish, city break with a difference and easy access to Kingsland and Eden Park.
Even before you enter the building, there are plenty of hangovers from the Convent's cloistered past. A large stone cruciform and the Sainte Famille still sit over the entrance. However, once inside, the old Grey Lynn mission is far more relaxed. Opposite the reception is the House Bar and a wall full of camp iconographic art.
Modern, unique, offbeat. Perfect for a food-and-drink focused city break, or a great place to catch up with friends.
The lobby feels fresh and exciting, belying the building's exterior which looks like a cookie-cutter version of the surrounding office blocks. Inside, the first thing you'll see is a sculptural artwork of hanging glass orbs, plus a colourful digital art installation, all leading to a bright reception desk.
The staff uniforms are stunning — especially the bright pink suits from local designer Maggie Marilyn, and the full length swishy capes.
Misshapen wall-mounted mirrors give a 60s vibe, which is combined with a rich mix of textiles in the rugs, blankets and cushions. Special touches include the blown-glass lamps and glassware made by Taupō company Lava Glass.
Art Deco Masonic, Napier
This incarnation of the Masonic Hotel was built in 1932 in the style of the day, along with much of the Napier CBD, after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake destroyed the previous wooden hotel. The exterior is a relatively unadorned example of Art Deco architecture: squarish, two-storey, but with a dozen octagonal pillars holding up the balcony and its name in red lead-lighting above the entrance on Tennyson St.
Inside, the current owners have lavished a beautiful refurbishment upon the building, highlighting and enhancing the solid concrete and wooden structures and fittings. Colours and textures are bold and rich: the carpets march up the staircases and hallways in wide stripes of crimson, gold, black and turquoise; these colours are repeated in the rich brocades and crushed velvets in the intimate Emporium Lounge.
For more hotel inspiration and room reviews, head to nzherald.co.nz/topic/room-check