Shandelle Battersby checks in to the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson.
It's hard to miss the Rutherford - situated in Nelson's cute CBD, it's one of the town's tallest buildings. Built in the 1970s, the hotel's functional exterior gives no clue to its elegant lobby, complete with sweeping staircase, classic Jaguar, fountain and chandeliers. This is the only fully-serviced hotel accommodation in Nelson, and is also home to one of the South Island's largest conference centres.
Check-in experience: We could drive right in to the porte cochere and the concierge took care of our bags and offered to park the car securely away in the underground carpark for us ($10 a day).
What's in the neighbourhood? Right next door is the iconic Christ Church Cathedral, and the main shops, cinemas and the Suter Gallery are within a few minutes' walk. Every Saturday from 8am to 1pm you'll find a market at nearby Montgomery Square.
Room: The hotel has several different room configurations, including a two-bedroom family room. I had a spacious Deluxe Suite, with a separate lounge area, dining table, desk and kitchen, complete with dishwasher. The bedroom also had plenty of room, and there were two tellies, with Sky channels. I could see the harbour from my window.
Exercise: There is a small gym and sauna. In summer guests can access an outdoor pool.
The bed: A luxurious king, with a pillow menu on offer.
Bathroom: Standard, with a shower/bath.
Toiletries: The Manuka Spa range, including makeup remover wipes.
Free wifi? No.
Noise: A little street noise but on a Sunday night it was fairly quiet.
Price: Rooms start at $170.
Food: And here's the best part - there are two excellent restaurants to choose from, plus the Port o' Call bar and the Atom Cafe off the lobby. Award-winning Miyazu (named after Nelson's sister town in Japan and open Tuesday to Saturday) serves teppanyaki alonside sushi and other Japanese-style dishes, while Oceano specialises in local fresh seafood and seasonal fare. You can opt for an excellent three-course set menu for $65 and I recommend that you do - it comes with amuse-bouche and intermezzo between courses and you can pair with local wines chosen by the sommelier. Or you could go a la carte and spend a bit more on just one dish - wagyu beef sirloin with bone marrow, hand-cut chips, smoked mushrooms and red wine jus ($68).
What's so good about this place? The food is great and the location is fantastic.
Would I return? Yes - rooms are well-priced for the level of service and dining options.
The writer was a guest of Heritage Hotels Group.