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New Zealand has a wide range of accommodation, ranging from the fabulous, to the fairly ordinary. There are a few 'top of the line' hotels and lodges and many in the next tier down, holiday homes (vacation rentals), hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts. International luxury chains such as the Hyatt, Sheraton, etc are well represented in the major cities, as are lower budget chains such as Holiday Inn and others.
The main types of accommodation are:
BACK PACKERS (YOUTH HOSTELS) Usually cheaper accommodation, often dormatory style. Is often sold 'By the Bed' rather than 'By the Room', so you may be sharing your room with others. Usually with sharred facilities, such as bathrooms, kitchens, lounges etc. Some also have self contained units for sole use. Many of the larger back packers in cities are in many respects like a hotel, without the high price.
BED & BREAKFASTS (B&B's) The B+B host has guests on a regular basis and is in touch with the activities and attractions that the guest would be interested in. A good B+B can offer you laundry facilities, internet access , hot pools jacuzzi etc, maybe included in the one price. Check out the breakfast as many now only offer provisions in a basket, not a full cooked breakfast. One advantage often over looked with B+B's, is that there is usually a strong network within the district and even the province. So if you don't want to book in advance, the hosts should be able to get you accommodation in the next destination, that is in your price range and up to the comfort levels you desire.
BOUTIQUE HOTELS Upmarket form of Hotel. Usually of a quality in fitting with their higher price range, and normally with fewer guest rooms.
FARM STAYS Farm Stays are similar to home-stays (see below), but by definition are on a farm. Most meals should be included in the price but do ask. Usually there will be opportunities to view the farm, and animals, and possibly even assist with some of the farm work. These types of accommodation will give a good chance to interact with 'real' New Zealanders.
HOLIDAY HOMES (sometimes referred to locally as baches. Say "batches"). Renting family holiday homes or accommodation dedicated holiday homes is becoming increasingly popular. Holiday homes typically cater for couples, families or small groups of up to 8 ~ 10. Usually, an entire house rather than just a room is rented, so this can be an expensive option for singles or couples, but probably a more economic option for families or groups. Most holiday homes are owner operated and require self-catering/dining out. There is no standard level of service: linen, cleaning, phone, internet etc etc may or may not be provided and you may be expected to return the house to its original condition prior to leaving. Rates will usually vary with season, by location, quality of the home and fittings, and the level of service provided.
HOME STAYS Home stays usually come in the form of a room in a private home. Home stay rooms may have a private bathroom, but not always. You will share the lounge with the family, and there will often be meals provided.
HOTELS Hotels can vary, from a simple country pub, to an establishment with 300-400 rooms, with large public spaces, multiple dining rooms, bars etc. The defining requirement for a hotel is that it provides both accomodation and meals.
LODGES Part way between a luxury bed and breakfast and professional boutique hotel. Small, usually ranging from 3 to 10 rooms only, designed with comfort in mind, often in beautiful or slightly remote locations and with personal hosting. One of the defining features of lodges is that they generally offer excellent food and wine including dinner prepared by a professional chef. Some lodges have an emphasis on fishing, skiing or hunting, most are just for the general traveller.
MOTELS By far the most common form of accommodation in New Zealand. Can range from a couple of units, to perhaps 20 - 30 units. If a Motel exceeds about 30 units they normally also provide meals, and public spaces, and in this respect are more like a Hotel. Because motels by definition do not offer room service and meals they usually include some form of cooking facilities. Motels are generally owner operated. Approximately 65% of Motels are members of the Motel Association of New Zealand, members of the association are identified with a current membership decal in their reception area.
Try the following web sites for accommodation in New Zealand
Holiday Parks/ Camp Grounds
Top 10 Holiday Parks New Zealand's most popular holiday park chain.
Kiwi Holiday Parks A chain of holiday parks.
DOC Campsites These are unattended sites with no facilities. Great for self sufficent trampers and campers who know their way around the bush.
BBH Hostel Guide List of backpacker hostels with ratings and contact information
Family Friendly Accommodation
Kid Friendly NZ Family-friendly holiday and travel information for families visiting New Zealand - Nationwide information
http://www.kidsfriendlytravel.com Holiday accommodation for families on holiday in New Zealand.
New Zealand Tourism Guide Extensive New Zealand information web site with 12,000 tourism businesses listed
Green Journeys Luxury New Zealand Collection A New Zealand guide to small luxury lodges and guided activities. Suggested itineraries through New Zealand.
Greenwood Guides B&Bs, guest-houses, boutique lodges and boutique hotels, self-catering accommodation, self-catering cottages, farm stays, wilderness lodges.
Rentabach Nationwide holiday home listings. 100% Kiwi owned and operated.
Holiday Homes Nationwide holiday home listings
Holiday Houses Nationwide holiday home listings
Associations and Guides
Qualmark New Zealand's most trusted quality assurance organisation. 1 star is minimum. 5 stars is exceptional.
Motel Association of New Zealand Major motel association with 1,000+ properties listed nationwide.