Juliette Sivertsen enjoys a luxury waterfront stay over Waitangi Bay, near the main township of Rēkohu/Chatham Island.
Location: About a 40-minute drive from Chatham Islands/Tuuta Airport. The main part of the hotel, which includes the reception, restaurant and pub, is situated right on the waterfront of Waitangi Bay, with another row of newly constructed suites behind the hotel, across the road.
Style: Modern seaside charm while remaining honest and unpretentious.
Perfect for: Couples and groups who are happy to mingle with other guests.
Price:$375 a night.
First impressions: Location, location, location. This pitched-roof seaside hotel is about as close to the water as you can get while staying dry - even then, on a particularly stormy night, waves can splash up onto the facade. Timber accents on the balconies have a coastal, weather-beaten charm. At the entrance, there's a sign asking guests to remove muddy footwear, and a shoerack lined with gumboots and work boots - standard footwear in the Chathams.
Staff will quickly greet you, strike up a conversation and likely invite you to the pub for a yarn. Guests happily mingle with one another and you'll instantly feel part of the Hotel Chatham family. Keep an eye out for Pipi, the precious pup of owner Toni Croon.
Rooms: I stayed in the Forget-Me-Not suites, which are newly constructed luxury king rooms situated above the main hotel premises, a quick walk away. These suites are modern but don't have sea views. Instead of room numbers, they have the names of local icons - such as Paua, Basalt and Ake Ake.
There's storage for luggage in the entranceway of my room. The kitchenette is modern with light timber and black cabinetry, black sink and mixer, a cooktop and multiple drawers containing essential cooking and eating utensils. A large bag of scroggin is among the complimentary snacks next to the tea and coffee.
The suite is spacious with dark teal plush chairs, matching ottoman and blanket to cosy up while watching TV, which can be pulled out from the wall. It's a generally quiet location, except when the wind gets a little wild. Just think of it as white noise.
Bathroom: Black tiling, a black toilet and black walls add elegance to the bathroom, especially with underfloor heating and a large oval LED mirror above the vanity. The walk-in shower has both hand-held and rain shower heads. An Aesop exfoliating hand wash is the only toiletry provided.
Food & drink: A continental breakfast is available every morning. The hotel can provide a lunch pack if you're out exploring during the day, and it usually consists of sandwiches, fruit and a homemade slice. For dinner, seafood features highly - their battered blue cod and chips were the best I'd ever eaten, and if you happen to be staying at the same time as a bunch of commercial divers, expect fresh paua on the menu. Crayfish is also a regular option, although I sadly missed out. Not bitter at all…
The hotel pub is the local watering hole for the community, so pop down on a Friday night to get a good vibe of the local scene.
Facilities: Internet is limited on the Chathams, and there's no mobile coverage anywhere. Wi-fi is available in the rooms at an additional cost. The suites have parking outside and there's limited parking in front of the main hotel. At reception, there's a little gift shop for souvenirs such as books, art or jewellery.
In the neighbourhood: The local police station, the museum, petrol station and the Waitangi Store - the general store of the Chatham Islands.
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