The largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is a popular stopover for pretty much anyone travelling through the country. The city was badly damaged by major earthquakes between 2010 and 2012, which killed hundreds and injured thousands, but it has since been revived and reborn.

This small city of just under 400,000 is full of cool markets, funky bars and plenty of new and trendy restaurants. Admittedly, there’s not much to see and do here, but that doesn’t mean the city is boring and should be avoided. There’s exciting nightlife, cool museums and plenty of green spaces to wind down or wander in at the end of the day. It’s a laid-back destination, perfect for a few days exploring the city and enjoying the pace of local life.

1. Carnmore Hotel

This modern, stylish 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Central/City-Centre and is within walking distance of most of the city’s main attractions. Although breakfast isn’t included, the on-site bar and bistro open early and serve delicious locally sourced food. Rooms here are bright and spacious, with colorful wallpaper and a simple, minimalist design. Everything feels new and there’s plenty of natural light in all rooms. Beds are comfortable and rooms include a TV, desk, air conditioning and coffee/tea maker. Showers also have excellent water pressure. If you want to stay in the center of the action, stay here.


2. The Observatory Hotel

If you’re looking to stay downtown and splurge, this luxurious 5-star hotel is the place to be, set in a huge, palatial building that once housed a real observatory. It’s a spacious boutique hotel with just 33 rooms, all of which feature antique furniture and unique, colourful decor. The hotel has a cosy and historic feel; the lounge is particularly impressive, with its exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, giving it a very warm and rustic feel.

The rooms (and bathrooms) are large and airy, with incredibly comfortable beds, coffee/tea makers, Bluetooth speakers, fluffy robes and luxury bath products. There’s free parking, a free continental breakfast is served in the lobby every morning and there’s an on-site fitness centre. The popular (and must-visit) Canterbury Museum is also just a five-minute walk away.

3. Pavilions Hotel

This no-frills, affordable hotel in Merivale, a trendy suburb north of the city centre, is clean and comfortable. It has a contemporary design and large, modern rooms with smart TVs, mini fridges and large desks. As a four-star hotel, there are two restaurants on-site, as well as a breakfast buffet in the morning (though not included). There’s also a heated outdoor pool, sauna, and small fitness center.

The rooms are all large and well-lit, the beds are comfortable, the bathrooms are spacious, and the shower has pretty good water pressure. There’s also free parking (a major plus if you’re on a road trip), as well as larger family rooms if you’re traveling as a group.


4. The Mayfair

Located just south of Merivale and on the edge of the sprawling Hagley Park, this sleek and stylish five-star hotel makes a plush impression. Everything here is modern and clean. It’s a very good minimalist design. The rooms are bright and include a flat-screen TV, minibar, desk, coffee/tea maker, bathroom with walk-in shower, and excellent soundproofing. There’s a bar and cafe on-site, and while breakfast isn’t included, it’s delicious and includes plenty of fresh, local food. Some rooms even have stunning views of the nearby mountains (try to get one of those).

5. Chateau on the Park

Located west of Hagley Park on the eastern edge of Riccarton (an area with lots of students and affordable nightlife), this four-star hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens. An incredibly picturesque property with beautiful architecture (it looks like a mix between a rustic lodge and a charming mansion), just a five-minute drive from downtown. The hotel has a modern interior design and features simple but contemporary decor. Rooms are bright and spacious and feature flat-screen TVs, desks, coffee/tea makers and large bathrooms. The beds are super comfortable too.

If you have a car, there is free parking. There is also a bar andd an on-site restaurant (the latter offers a generous breakfast buffet), as well as a fitness center and an outdoor pool.

6. Dyers House

This charming B&B is set in a century-old Edwardian-style house. The house is huge and stunning, with large rooms that let in lots of natural light. Some offer beautiful views of the nearby hills, while others have a terrace or a view of the relaxing garden. The owners are particularly friendly and helpful, and will do their utmost to ensure you have an exceptional stay. The included breakfast is delicious, with plenty of fresh fruit and pastries, and the dining room itself offers beautiful views of the surrounding area.

The rooms have underfloor heating, comfortable beds with mattress toppers, luxurious bathrooms with wallK-in showers and quality bath products, and there are even free snacks in the room. It’s my favorite B&B in the area.

Christchurch is a key stop on pretty much any trip around New Zealand’s South Island. And although it’s a smaller city, there’s enough to do here to keep you busy for a few days (especially if you enjoy the outdoors). If you choose one of the hotels above for your stay, you can look forward to a relaxing and enjoyable time in one of New Zealand’s most popular cities.