Eli Orzessek stays at a Taranaki hotel with free mountain bikes.

Getting there:

The Devon is right on the main road of New Plymouth — Devon St. You really cannot miss it.

Check-in experience: Nice and easy with very friendly staff. Walked in, got my key and was told all about the free mountain bike hire — definitely worth checking out. It was a bit of a trek to my room — through the bar and past the restaurant — but everything was tidy and pleasant along the way.

My room: I had twin queen studio room. As this is the hotel of choice for the All Blacks when they're in New Plymouth, I entertained myself by wondering which players might have bunked in this room before. I imagine Richie McCaw doesn't have to share. Keeping in the spirit, I watched a bit of rugby in my room, which comes with Sky TV. There's a little lounge suite, fruit on the table, coffee and tea facilities and a wardrobe and safe.


Price: From $159 a night.

What's so good about this place? Its proximity to the shops, Len Lye Centre and coastal walkway. As I said before, the free mountain bikes are great — I took one out for the day and had an awesome time cruising up and down the coast.

And the bad? The worst thing was getting caught in the rain and wishing the hotel could have been two blocks closer to the main shops.

What's in the neighbourhood? The aforementioned shops, Len Lye Centre and coastal walkway. It's also close to the lawn bowls club, which you can take a shortcut through to the walkway. When I was there, a party was going on here on the Saturday night and someone rapped Tupac's California Love, changing the lyrics to "in the city, of New Plymouth" — it was really something.

Toiletries: Devon Hotel brand shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. Did the trick.

Food and drink: They have a cosy bar called the Rocks, as well as buffet restaurant Marbles — it's apparently New Plymouth's favourite restaurant and on a Saturday night, it sure seemed it.

The bed: The queen bed I chose to sleep in was comfortable and well stocked with pillows.

Bathroom: The bathroom came with a decent-sized spa bath that either didn't work, or I couldn't figure out how to turn it on — you decide.

Free wi-fi? Yes, very helpful for live-tweeting the rugby.

Exercise facilities: Mountain bikes! You can also pick up a pass for a nearby gym/aquatic centre, if you're into torturing yourself on holiday. I chose to float around in the very pleasant pool area, while kids played basketball nearby.

The Devon is at 390 Devon Street East, New Plymouth. Phone: (06) 759 9099.