GO NZ: New Zealand’s most historic hotels from jailhouses to convents

A former nunnery, a prison and a castle make up this collection of New Zealand’s golden oldies writes Bridget Jones

When it comes to taking a break from life, there is travelling – and then there is time travelling. On your next short break, escape your day-to-day with a look back into New Zealand’s rich past and a stay in a historical hotel, because there are plenty of accommodation options all around the country where you can get a sense of history, as well as enjoy a getaway from home.

Chateau Tongariro, Mt Ruapehu

She’s the grande dame of New Zealand hotels, nestled between the peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, in the fourth oldest national park in the world. Chateau Tongariro has maintained a colourful history since opening its doors in 1929, including time as an asylum, a haven for air force personnel returning from World War II, hosting royalty and US presidents, and of course, maintaining the crown as perhaps New Zealand’s most recognisable hotel. Full of 1920s and 30s glamour (and maybe a friendly wee ghost or two), it is a glorious reminder of the past, while being just a stone’s throw from ski fields, hiking routes, fishing and there’s even a nine-hole golf course on site.

Convent Hotel, Auckland

One of Auckland’s most unusual historical hotels is so new it hasn’t opened yet. Once a community for nuns, the Convent Hotel in Grey Lynn is set to reopen its doors on August 31 as a crafted boutique hotel, with 22 character-filled rooms. The building, which has Spanish mission-style architecture, lets the ornate ceilings, stucco arches, vast windows and history do most of the talking – while offering all the modern, stylish conveniences you could hope for.

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