Hamish Fletcher stays at Dunedin's newest inner-city hotel, Ebb
Location: A hop, skip and a jump from the Octagon in Dunedin's centre, Ebb is nestled in behind Meridian Mall on Filleul St. Named for its spot on the edge of Otago Harbour's reclaimed tidal flats, this boutique hotel's elegant exterior of steel and glass puts the drab buildings next door to shame.
Getting there: A 30-minute drive or shuttle from Dunedin Airport. Parking is available but Ebb's inner-city spot means you might as well ditch the car and perambulate downtown.
Check-in experience: Zero fuss, zero fanfare.
The hotel: Less than six months old, Ebb makes a statement from the moment you approach. Its street-facing facade is wrapped in a gargantuan artwork showing Polynesian waka arriving in Ōtepoti. Built around an atrium that spans its entire four floors, Ebb's industrial design is punctuated with paintings throughout its balcony-like halls. Its cafe on the ground floor has a superb (albeit small) outdoor area - a breezy lunchtime spot in the warmer months and a cosy one by the fire in winter.
Room: 35sq m of style and poise. Its large windows filled the room with light even on a gloomy winter's day. Details matter at Ebb - they called in Sydney's Indyk Architects (QT Hotels) to fashion the interiors, which feature furniture and fittings from NZ designer Simon James and Japan's Bentu. Opulent, luxurious and extravagant - our two nights were a delight.
The bed: A comfortable super king - not too soft, not too firm - with premium cotton sheets.
Bathroom: A large rainfall shower is always impressive but the standout is the stunning black and white veined titles. The bathroom is separated from the room with a sliding ribbed glass screen (this works in the room's favour - the bathroom looks so good you may as well ogle it when it's not in use).
Toiletries: New Zealand's own Ashley & Co.
The view: A car park and suburban houses but window screens, together with the sharp styling of the room, commands attention and keeps guests looking inwards, not out.
Food and drink: Ebb cafe, run by writer and chef Alison Lambert, was bustling on the weekend we stayed. Open from 7am until afternoon (closed for dinner and on Mondays), the coffee was strong and hot and the menu caters to adventurous palates (think cauliflower kimchi pancakes) and the more traditional diner (think a bacon butty).
Our room's mini-bar had a fine array of booze - including local New New New beers, pre-mixed JMR chocolate martini and negroni cocktails, and Maude wines.
Wi-Fi: Fast and free. The TVs have streaming apps like Netflix available - but you need to log in using your own account.
Noise: Not a peep. Ebb is adults-only, which may have something to do with that.
Facilities: This isn't the sort of hotel where you hit the gym, or lounge by the pool.
Price: From $190 per night.
The bottom line: Such a treat we had to tear ourselves away from our room to explore the city. I'd move in if I could.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com