Booking Hotels in New Zealand.
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- Read the post
- 1Accommodation in New Zealand.
- 2Where to Stay in New Zealand?
- 3Can You Book Different Accommodation Types?
- 4Can You Book Accommodation Without Travel Agencies?
- 5What Budget Should I Plan for New Zealand?
- 6How to Save Money?
1Accommodation in New Zealand.
The number of travelers visiting New Zealand is constantly increasing for ten years. The country's accommodation capacities are still limited and you should book your hotel rooms as soon as possible to take no risk.
After the plane tickets, the budget for accommodation is the second most important of your New Zealand trip. Kiwipal is here to help you to book your stay all by yourself to save money.
Because booking a holiday without a travel agency saves you from paying additional fees for a service so easy that you can do it yourself on the Internet.
You can choose between any kind of accommodations while being still able to change your mind in New Zealand depending of the weather. This a great advantage and this can sometimes save your holidays!
And because you have the chance to book without intermediate, I recommend you to vary the pleasures and not always retain the same type of accommodation for your entire stay. Alternating hotel nights, bed and breakfast or motel is entirely possible, and I'll explain the pros and cons of each solution.
You can perfectly alternate between hotels, motels and Beds and Breakfast during your stay.
We will especially see how to book accommodation online! If you follow my instructions to the letter, you can expect to reduce the overall price of the stay, very significantly. But let's take each subject in order, and let's start with a presentation of each accommodation solution in New Zealand.
2Where to Stay in New Zealand?
I will present the main solutions to spend your nights in optimal conditions. Whether you choose to book a hotel, a motel, a bed and breakfast or youth hostel.
Please note that some areas of New Zealand does not offer sufficient hotel capacity to accommodate all the tourists at the hotel. Depending on your itinerary, you will sometimes have to rely on motels or bed and breakfast.
Some motels and even B&B can be more expensive than hotels, as the price depends first on the quality of the service and the location.
But don't worry, we'll talk about the budget a little further.
We are talking here about hotel bookings and if you are interested instead by camping or motorhome solutions, I advise you to check out our complete guide about camping in New Zealand to discover free or commercial solutions.
Hotels in New Zealand
The hotel is the most popular accommodation in New Zealand for tourists, and you will probably spend most of your nights in an establishment of this type.
The quality of New Zealand’s hotels is evaluated with the Qualmark index which is similar to the star-rating system used all over the world. I recommend you to book only hotels with at least a two-star rating. Please also note that a five-star rating is not a privilege restricted to palace hotels!
The high-quality hotels are available at reasonable rates in New Zealand.
The hotels budget rooms can be booked for $85, but the real comfort is rather around $135 per night for a couple, or even $300 for a premium hotel room. Of course, I leave aside the ostentatious luxury at $2000 per night, that is not going to interest the Kiwipal's readers ...
Motels in New Zealand
Recommended for family holidays, the motels are fully equipped apartments where one can cook or use a washing machine. Quality is variable, and if a few low-end motels match the poor image conveyed by the American TV series, there are also (and mostly) motels where one would imagine to live all the year!
The motel is the best solution for family holidays or if you plan to spend several days at the same place.
The motel is not necessarily cheaper than an hotel room, but it allows to save money by cooking family meals like at home instead of eating at the restaurant. If you plan to spend several days in the same place, a motel is probably the best accommodation solution with a good value for your money.
Beds and Breakfasts and Lodges
The Bed & Breakfast is primarily intended for childless couples seeking a double room in a guesthouse. As the name suggests, the service includes breakfast (continental or English) cooked by a host that also provides expert advice on the activities of the region.
The bed and breakfast is the ideal solution to discover the legendary New Zealand hospitality.
The beds & breakfasts are very popular in New Zealand because they offer the opportunity to meet local people. This hosting solution is ideal if you are looking for authenticity, but not recommended if you are not the kind of people who enjoy talking during the breakfast (sometimes you must share the table with other travelers from all over the world).
A Lodge is a more luxurious version of the B & B with a higher quality of service.
The Lodge can be seen as an enhanced version of the B & B, with the most elegant mansions and a refined hospitality. Unsurprisingly, the prices are revised upwards, but if you have the means, I recommend sleeping at least once in a Lodge for the quality of the welcome and the service.
Youth Hostels (backpackers)
Only a pole and a tent can be cheaper than a youth hostel (also known as “ backpackers ”).
This spartan solution can be useful for travelers with a tight budget, but nights in dormitories are not so nice if you really need a good night’s sleep. You are often awake early in the morning because of travelers who pack their affairs without discretion.
The Backpackers are not targeting exclusively young people, and you can spend a night in an establishment run by one of the two major chains of the country (YHA or BBH) even if you are over fifty years old.
Youth hostels provide dormitories, bungalows or private rooms.
However, you can book private rooms to avoid sleeping in a dormitory, but the price is equivalent to the one you would have paid for a cheap hotel, and you lose the main interest which is to facilitate the contact between travelers of all horizons.
For further details, you can refer to the Kiwipal guide dedicated to accommodations in New Zealand and our section about the Working Holiday Visa.
3Can You Book Different Accommodation Types?
One finds every fresh product for healthy eating in the supermarkets of New Zealand, but the junk-food often prevails when you are lodged in an hotel and want to save money.
Because even if the New Zealand restaurants are reasonably priced (especially outside the big cities), kiwis are early-birds and most restaurants close at 9 pm.
The sandwich composed with sweet sauces and eaten in your car on the road is certainly delicious, but it should not be the basis of your diet for several weeks. In these circumstances, I recommend varying accommodation solutions to include some nights in motels to cook and eat healthy meals.
It is easy to go shopping at the supermarket to buy ingredients to cook healthy family meals. There are even organic products and the weekend's markets deserve a visit y if you want to meet some locals.
The motel also allows to use a washing machine, which means fewer heavy cases to carry all along your journey because you can afford to take fewer clothes.
You initiate a virtuous cycle, because your luggage weighs less in the trunk of the car, and a lighter car means less fuel consumption.
However, it is the traditional hotel (especially when it is well located) that offers the best value for money. You can only book cheap hotels to save money, because it is not necessary to stay downtown at any cost. However, I recommend you to choose a more comfortable hotel when visiting a major city.
The Bed and breakfast facilitate the contact with the local population. New Zealanders who are nicknamed “Kiwis” are incredibly friendly and smiling people. I often say that if you visit New Zealand primarily for its landscapes, it is more likely the kindness of the Kiwis that you will remember the most at your return.
Unlike the hotels that often serve the same breakfast again ad again, the Beds and Breakfast serve delicious homemade food. Nothing in common with the breakfast tinkered at the back of a car, with supermarkets' croissants. One should always start a vacation day with a good breakfast, served by a charming host who gives advice on the region.
A bed and breakfast is not always the most economic solution, but it is one of the most enjoyable you may try in New Zealand.
Finally, there is also the possibility to sleep in youth hostels. A solution I recommend for students in search of new friends for an evening or for life. One should not consider booking backpackers only for comfort or to save money, but mostly for the atmosphere.
4Can You Book Accommodation Without Travel Agencies?
The main argument of the travel agencies to encourage you to use their services concerns hotel bookings. But the situation has evolved dramatically in recent years, and thanks to the Internet, everyone can now arrange a stay in New Zealand without any intermediary (even without travel agencies).
The rise of travel guides like Kiwipal, the multiplication of tourism portals such as Trip Advisor and the emergence of major travel sites like booking.com have revoked the monopoly of the outdated travel agencies.
Almost no-one uses the services of a travel agency to organize a weekend abroad. It should be the same in the near future for New Zealand. Only the fear of novelty still prevents some travelers to book directly online.
Yet there is no reason to hesitate because the booking of multiple hotel nights can be done easily on the Internet. As a traveler you have everything to gain if you adopt the modernity, because you'll save money and yet benefit from a tailor-made trip far superior to what you would get with an intermediary.
Why Booking without travel agencies?
Kiwipal recommends you to book your accommodations with his partner booking.com. This booking portal, available in French, offers a multitude of advantages and is far superior and more economic than any travel agency.
We offer a search engine that only suggests quality hotels in New Zealand. We filtered have the accommodation deals on booking.com by budget category and comfort.
You just need to avoid intermediates to save money on your holiday budget.
You book your accommodation without intermediary, and you avoid the travel agency fees. Logically, you will pay less and take full control of your customized trip.
Far from being a chore, booking hotel nights is rather amusing. You choose hotels, motels or B & B that really appeal to you.
A much more interesting solution than allowing a complete stranger (who knows nothing about your personal tastes) to choose for you. But the best is yet to come!
The free cancellation: a huge advantage!
With booking.com, you can book without paying, which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 24 hours in advance for the majority of bookings. This will give you the opportunity to change your mind, including during the stay: if the weather is bad, you can cancel a night and seek the sun elsewhere.
Free cancellation can save your holidays if the weather is bad!
During all of my trips, I usually replace one or two nights according to weather forecasts.
I remain so in control of my route and do not have to suffer the rain by remaining locked in a hotel room!
Such flexibility can sometimes save your holidays. Because you book online without paying immediately, you don't even need to ask for a refund when you cancel! Booking or cancellations can be performed with a few clicks by the Internet without having to justify yourself!
You book online with booking.com and pay at the hotel in cash or with a credit card. This eliminates the need to pay far in advance completely as it is yet requested with most travel agencies.
5What Budget Should I Plan for New Zealand?
Kiwipal's search engine has three categories of accommodations that can be combined to build a customized trip. We have selected only accommodations in New Zealand with good value for money.
Here is a realistic estimation of a budget required for your accommodation in New Zealand. We didn't select expensive hotels at $1500 or $3000 per night, because the vast majority of travelers cannot afford such a luxury for several weeks.
|Accommodation||Avg price per night for a couple|
|Budgets||$ 75 to 150|
|Comfortable||$ 150 to 230|
|Premium||$ 230 to 380|
The budget accommodations
Budget Hotel does not mean low quality, and we have not retained the hotels with bad service or bad reviews. Our selection consists mainly of hotels, motels and cheap backpackers, which are located on the periphery or near a city center or a tourist area.
You can rely on a budget per night between $75 and $150 for a couple. A price that rarely includes breakfast which will be charged separately.
Special offers are numerous. Whether booking at the last minute or far in advance, you have good chances to find superior quality rooms at an unbeatable price.
A selection of accommodations well located, with more charm, more comfort and a better service.
The average price is between $150 and $230 per night for a couple, which is reasonable. A selection which contains hotels, motels, beds & breakfast but no youth hostels.
In this category also, promotions are common. Sometimes you can find rooms usually proposed at a double price but sold off few weeks in advance!
If you can afford to spend between $225 and $380 per night for a couple, here's a selection of high-quality accommodation (mainly hotels and lodges) that should suit you, especially if you are planning your honeymoon. Even for this category, one can hope to find good deals, and it is sometimes possible to book luxury rooms without breaking the bank.
6How to Save Money?
To achieve real savings, you must not compare travel agencies, but voluntarily decide not to use their services! Under these conditions, you avoid the agency fees and you can expect to reduce your budget from 15 to 30% in the best case!
The savings can allow you to extend the length of your stay or plan more activities on site. Even a journey that seemed impossible suddenly becomes possible! At Kiwipal, we make the decision to recommend our partner booking.com, for several reasons:
- The rates are among the lowest on the market.
- Almost every best accommodation deals are available.
- Each accommodation is rated by thousands of travelers.
- You can book without paying, and pay at the hotel.
- You can cancel without charge up to 24 hours in advance in general.
- Reservation or cancellation are just a few clicks away.
- A mobile application centralizes all your bookings.
You do not need to juggle with multiple booking sites: it only takes a few evenings or a weekend to book the entire stay. Furthermore, you may very well change your mind before the start, and replace one hotel by another if your itinerary evolves in the meantime. A flexibility that finally frees you from the shackles imposed by the travel agencies since decades.
Booking every hotel night for your stay is easy to do in a single weekend.
This is mostly the free cancellation offered by booking.com that should motivate you to book your holiday by yourself! Having the possibility to replace a hotel by another is a tremendous advantage that can save your holidays if the weather is bad and if you still have time to change your plans.
Some Great Tips to Save Money
According to your itinerary, I advise you to vary the quality of your accommodation. It is useless to book a luxury hotel for just a stopover on the road between two major steps..
However, it is better to rent a better hotel when you visit a large city. Comfort is also to book according to your activities: a lodge equipped with a spa will be most appreciated after a long hike like the Tongariro Crossingrather than after a visit of Wellington's museums.
Keep in mind that you are going to visit a country with an Anglo-Saxon culture. The car is a major part of the Kiwi lifestyle. It is not essential to search for accommodations in every city center or close to the tourist areas. Being few kilometers away from downtown allows to get more reasonable rates or a better comfort for the same price, which is also interesting.
It is not essential to book a hotel downtown, in a country where it is so easy to drive.
To avoid incidental expenses, always check if the accommodation has a free parking or if it charged as an extra. Because if you collect parking fees during all your trip, your budget will increase. You should only book hotels offering parking, unless you get a very interesting discount.
Finally, please remember that Kiwipal provides free guides about car and motorhome rental, just in case you would hesitate between these two transport modes. Meanwhile, I leave you with our friend Ben who answers any questions about accommodation in New Zealand.
Questions & Answers.
What can I do for you? I am familiar with all the accommodation solutions in New Zealand and I will be happy to advise you.
- All topics ... 30 answers in total
- Stay at the Hotel 7 answers
- Staying in Youth Hostel 5 answers
- Book Without Travel Agency 5 answers
- How to Book Online? 4 answers
- Staying at a Bed and Breakfast 4 answers
- Choose Accommodation 3 answers
- Staying in a Motel 2 answers
Stay at the Hotel
- How to choose a hotel?
Kiwipal suggests three categories of hotels, and you just have to specify the location, the date and the number of travelers to consult a list of all the hotels available for these criteria.
- Are New Zealand hotel clean?
The quality is variable, but we have only selected hotels that meet the strictest standards. Because each hotel is rated by thousands of travelers, the chances of being disappointed by a room are very low.
- What is the average budget for a hotel room?
It all depends on the quality, but it will be difficult to get below $75 for a budget hotel, and $120 seems to be a reasonable price.
- What services are available at the hotel?
Services vary by hotels, and may include mini bar, hairdryer, spa or restaurants... The details of the services are indicated on the file of each hotel that you book online, and there should be no surprises on arrival.
- Are there any pools in the hotel?
It depends on the hotels, but this is not systematic and most often characteristic of medium quality or family motels.
- Can we have dinner at the hotel?
If the hotel has a restaurant, you can dine on site, provided you book a table during the high season.
- Is parking free of charge?
It depends on the hotels, but parking is mostly free. It is a point that you should not take lightly, because it is boring to have to drive in search of a car park, especially if you must pay!
Staying in Youth Hostel
- What is the age limit for booking a backpacker?
There is no age limit, although the Spartan character of this type of accommodation attracts mainly a clientele in its twenties.
- Is it dangerous to sleep in dormitories?
No, but stealing are always possible, and I recommend that you do not leave your belongings in your absence (especially smartphones or tablets).
- Are youth hostels well attended?
We mainly find a young clientele that includes mostly very good people, but also some imbeciles. The main disadvantage of backpackers is the noise, as some travelers are not particularly discreet.
- What are the best backpackers in the country?
BBH and YHA are the two major chains in the country. There are also many youth hostels in New Zealand, but I would advise you to carefully review reviews online before booking, especially if the price goes below $15 / night in a dormitory.
- What services are offered in backpackers?
The hostels usually have a large common room where you can cook and relax in sofas.
Book Without Travel Agency
- Can I book without a travel agency?
Yes, and it is an essential condition if you want to realize real savings on the overall price of the stay.
- Is it difficult to book by myself?
No, because the website of our partner booking.com allows you to compare hotels and books in a few clicks. It's within everyone's reach.
- Can you book for me?
No, as this would require us to charge you the time spent organizing your stay. Kiwipal is not a travel agency, and our role is to help you achieve significant savings, by explaining how to book without intermediaries.
- Do I need to speak English to book accommodation?
The website of our partner booking.com is available in multi-languages.
- Can we travel without booking in advance?
Yes, but only if your stay is planned between April and October. The rest of the year, you expose yourself to find complete establishments and you will have fewer choices.
How to Book Online?
- Do we pay for the reservation?
In general this is not the case, but the down payment that is sometimes required will be refunded in case of cancellation.
- Can I cancel a booking?
Yes, subject to the conditions set by the hotelier. If you book through our partner booking.com, the cancellation is usually free up to 24 hours. Penalties may apply after a specified period. Of course, you will not be refunded if you do not show up on the agreed date without first canceling.
- How long does it take to book a hotel?
A hotel reserves in a few clicks, and you have all your time to compare the accommodations between them. For a stay of several weeks in New Zealand, it only takes a weekend to book everything.
- What are the accepted means of payment?
Online booking is made by credit card, but you can pay in cash or by credit card.
Staying at a Bed and Breakfast
- Can we book a bed and breakfast if we do not speak English?
Nothing prohibits it, but you will enjoy the comfort without having the pleasure of exchanging with your hosts, which can be frustrating.
- Can we choose the breakfast menu?
You will have the choice between the continental breakfast, and the more rich English breakfast. If you have never tried it, the English breakfast deserves to be tasted at least once!
- Are the hosts nice in a B & B?
After discovering your room, you'll meet your hosts in front of a glass of wine. All B & B owners do not seek fortune, but like to meet travelers from all over the world. Do not forget to sign the guest book before leaving to thank them!
- What is the difference between a B & B and a hotel?
The Bed and Breakfast is usually run by a family that has one or more vacant rooms for rent when the children leave the family home. The hotel is, however, a stricter establishment where the exchange with the travelers is certainly polite, but can't compete.
- What is the best accommodation solution?
Start by calculating your average budget per night, and you will know whether you should book cheap, medium or high-end accommodations.
- Is it absolutely necessary to stay downtown?
No, because to the extent that traffic is fluid in New Zealand it is not a few kilometers that will make the difference. On the other hand, it may be more convenient to stay downtown in major cities such as Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch to facilitate visits.
- How to get good deals!
The most interesting promotions are available at the last minute or a long time in advance. You cannot wait until the day before departure to book your stay, but if you see a promotion just a few days before departure (or directly on the spot in New Zealand), you can book it immediately and then cancel your previous booking.
Staying in a Motel
- Should I buy laundry?
Yes, as it will not be provided in motels.
- What is the difference between a motel and a hotel?
Unlike the hotel which usually limited to a room with a mini bar, the motel is a real apartment with a washing machine, a real refrigerator and all kinds of household accessories.
Seek advice from experts in New Zealand:
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