Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, although it’s known for much more than that! Locals and tourists agree that the cozy city of Wellington is seriously something special. Shielded from the world on one side by the Rimutaka and the Tararua Mountain Ranges and the endless expanse of the Tasman Sea on the other, Wellington offers the best of city life just steps away from thriving, lush landscape. With a unique blend of Maori history and culture combined with contemporary city life and exciting adventures so close to city limits, there are unlimited things to do in Wellington and no New Zealand trip is complete without staying at least 1 night and 1 day in Wellington.
Best Areas to Stay in Wellington
Wellington is a small but mighty capital city, only covering 45 square miles and while each part is uniquely distinct, they each have something special just waiting to be discovered by you.
- Wellington CBD: Where to stay in Wellington for first-time visitors
- Te Aro: Where to stay in Wellington for foodies & entertainment
- Lambton Quay: Where to stay in Wellington for shopping & sightseeing
- Courtenay Place: Where to stay in Wellington for nightlife
- Oriental Bay: Where to stay in Wellington for the beach & outdoor lovers
Best Places to Stay in Wellington
Wellington is one of the most visited cities on the North Island of New Zealand and pretty much every area can be considered the best area to stay, depending on what you like. Follow this guide to find your perfect fit.
Best area to stay in for first-time visitors
The CBD, or central business district, is one of the best places to stay in Wellington if it’s your first time visiting the city. The CBD is where all the action happens, so if you’re looking to experience a lot in a short amount of time this is your best bet. The streets are lined with shops, museums, art galleries, bars, restaurants, cafes, and much more.
Top Picks for Wellington CBD
Luxury: QT Wellington
The QT is easily the best place to stay in Wellington as it consistently receives top reviews on Booking.com. This posh hotel features lush amenities including a fitness center, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a day spa as well as a hair studio. In addition to the 24-hour room service, you can find 2 restaurants on-site, the Hippopotamus Restaurant & Bar and the Asian Eating House and Bar.
The hotel features rooms and apartments decorated with local New Zealand artwork. There is satellite TV, plush bedding, private bathrooms, and rooms feature views of the gorgeous harbour, rolling hills or the city. The QT Wellington is closely located to all the best attractions in Wellington.
Mid-Range: West Plaza Hotel
The West Plaza Hotel is perfectly located in the heart of the city within walking distance of all the cafes, breweries, and restaurants that Wellington is famous for. It is also a great location for Wellington sightseeing and is just a short walk to the Wellington Harbour.
The hotel offers 24-hour room service and has an award-winning restaurant right on-site. The City Dining and Bar produces seasonal menus of food and wine that will tantalize everyone’s tastebuds for a treat close to your room.
The rooms are bright, spacious, and airy with flat-screen TVs, coffee makers, and a work desk for anyone travelling on business or working remotely.
Budget: The Cambridge Hotel
The alluring 19th-century building has been repurposed into The Cambridge Hotel, offering several room styles. There are dormitory-style rooms with a choice of 4,6 or 8-bed dorms with private room options too. The private rooms all come with a tea/coffee maker, SKY TV, and a mini-fridge.
There are shared kitchen facilities on-site as well as a guest lounge, 24-hour guest help, and coin-operated laundry facilities. They even offer luggage storage, a major bonus for many travellers! On-site there is also an incredible bistro with a mouth-watering menu of gourmet burgers and beer but is also known for incredible breakfast foods too.
Best area to stay in for foodies & entertainment
Te Aro is a super hip and trendy part of Wellington’s CBD. This funky part of town is a hodgepodge of boutique shops, cinemas, coffee shops, cafes, bars, and nightclubs. This is a great place to stay for those looking for a day of shopping, a fun night out, or both!
Top Picks for Te Aro
Luxury: Grand Mercure Wellington
This luxury hotel is tucked away in the rolling hills of Wellington overlooking the hustle and bustle of the Cuban Quarter. You’ll be close enough to the action where you can quietly watch people strolling down Cuban Street spilling out of the theatres, clubs, bars, and restaurants as their laughs and giggles carry into the night.
The hotel offers an on-site restaurant called Forage Kitchen and Bar that offers an a la carte menu open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Grand Mercure Wellington also offers a heated indoor lap pool, a sauna, and a fitness center.
The rooms here are well known for their extra-comfy beds and luxurious textures used in the rooms. Each room also comes with a large flat screen TV, local manuka honey, and a plush, cozy bathrobe.
Mid-Range: U Boutique Hotel
This European style boutique hotel has a total of 13 rooms set up in several different styles. There are private rooms, shared rooms, and a family-style apartment. There are laundry facilities, a coffee and tea station, and the option to include a daily breakfast basket. Each room comes with a 32inch flat screen TV and a work desk for working remotely or catching up with friends and family on Facetime.
The U Boutique Hotel is ideally located near plenty of shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants as well as public transportation. The hotel is only a 5-minute walk to the harbour, 3km from the Ferry Terminal, and less than 2.5km to the railway station.
Budget: Lodge in the City
The Lodge in the City offers budget accommodation without losing out on cleanliness or friendliness. The lodge offers a cyber cafe, game room, and laundry facilities as well as a shared lounge, dining area, and kitchen. There’s even an outdoor area with a BBQ to cook up meals with new friends.
There is a variety of shared room styles to choose from that include triple and double occupancy private rooms, all the way up to a 16-bed dorm. The Lodge is perfectly located for city and nightlife and and closeby you’ll find some of the best coffee shops and cafes in all of Wellington.
Best area to stay in for shopping & sightseeing
Lambton Quay is ideal for anyone needing a little retail therapy or to be close to some of Wellington’s top attractions. Here you can shop till you drop, eat drink and visit the Botanical Gardens by taking the Wellington cable car to the top which is located in this top area.
Top Picks for Lambton Quay
Luxury: Boulcott Suites
The Boulcott Suites are a unique take on accommodation with choices ranging from studio apartments to four-bedroom townhouses. Designed with elegance and style in mind, each studio and apartment is rated 5 stars and is self-contained with a full kitchen, washer, and dryer, with most rooms equipped with a balcony. All rooms come with luxury bed and bathroom linens and daily cleaning services, with the option to even get groceries delivered to your suite.
These Wellington accommodation suites are flawlessly placed between the restaurant district and the entertainment and shopping districts and are one of the most modern and updated.
Mid-Range: InterContinental Wellington
The Intercontinental is one of the best hotels in Wellington. Featuring spacious rooms and bathrooms, the Intercontinental comes with cable TV, a plush bed, and bath linens including a bathrobe and cozy slippers.
The hotel boasts 2 restaurants, a bar, a large fitness center, an indoor heated pool, sauna, spa, and even massage treatments. The hotels location has you close to some of the most famous Wellington attractions such as the Parliament Buildings, the Petone Settlers Museum as well as Owhiro Bay, and of course, all the best shopping.
Budget: Hotel Waterloo and Backpackers
Not far from the Wellington airport and super close to the railway station is a city favourite, the Hotel Waterloo and Backpackers. You can book a shared or private room, with each private room including a TV and work desk. All guests can request a secure locker to put their valuables in.
A guest kitchen and self-service laundry is available, plus a game room with pool tables for entertainment. There is a bar and restaurant on-site too where game and activity nights are hosted so guests can mingle and meet each other.
Conveniently located just steps away from the best shopping and entertainment districts, you’ll be thrilled with your stay here!
Best area to stay in for a nightlife
If you are looking to party until the sun comes up, this is your part of the city. Here the restaurants and bars stay open late, with many staying open until dawn. F0r those late mornings and early afternoons after a night of dancing, you can find excellent brunch places, mellow museums, and pretty parks to relax and recover in in Courtenay Place.
Top Picks for Courtenay Place
Luxury: CityLife Wellington
CityLife Wellington is a classy, modern hotel right in the heart of Lambton Quay. One of the great Wellington hotels, Citylife has several room styles to suit your specific needs, each coming with a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, and microwave. You can choose from studio-style apartments with an open floor plan or bigger 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. There is a bar and fitness center on-site as well as a 24-hour front desk service.
CityLife Wellington is ideally located next to some of the best bars and clubs in Wellington and as mentioned before, this area loves to stay up late!
Mid-Range: Rydges Wellington
Rydges Wellington is a superb Wellington City hotel. With rooms featuring either a harbour view or a city view, you really can’t go wrong. All rooms come with a kitchenette, room service, and complimentary toiletries. You can choose from several room styles including apartment-style rooms that come with a washer and dryer.
On-site there is an award-winning restaurant, Portlander Bar and Grill, as well as a steam room, pool, hot tub, sauna and spa, and a fitness centre.
Budget: Trek Global Backpackers
Trek Global Backpackers is the best hostel in Wellington, hands down. The hostel features 4 guest kitchens plus a BBQ area as well as a shared lounge and TV area. They even have vending machines for those midnight snack cravings. Global backpackers has parking for those on a New Zealand road trip, baggage storage, lockers, and laundry services.
There are various room styles you can choose from, including private rooms, mixed room dorms as well as female-only dorms.
Best area to stay in for the beach & outdoor lovers
Known as the “Riviera of the South”, Oriental Bay is a beautiful beach destination not far from Wellington’s CBD. The bay is surrounded by rolling green hills dotted with colorful Victorian homes. The area is popular for spending long summer days in the sun swimming, sailing, or sunbathing. There is also a promenade that you can walk or jog along and then watch the sunset at Mount Victoria. If you love to spend the day outdoors, Oriental Bay is your go-to spot.
Top Picks for Oriental Bay
Luxury: Ohtel Wellington
Right in the middle of the Oriental Parade sits one of the most gorgeous hotels in Wellington with the very best views. Ohtel Wellington is close to the beach and to the must-visit Te Papa Museum as well as the exciting nightlife of Courtenay Place.
The rooms are all uniquely and modernly designed, with both comfort and class in mind. Depending on your length and reason for staying, there are several rooms to choose from. On-site there is the wonderful Duppa Bar and Cafe offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Mid-Range: Copthorne Hotel Wellington
Each room at the Copthorne offers a balcony with harbour or city views, room service, fresh fluffy bed linens, a tea and coffee station as well as laundry and dry cleaning services. Copthorne is also affiliated with a fitness center down the block for fitness feigns.
On the 7th floor of the Copthorne Hotel is the One80° Restaurant that offers stunning views of Wellington City and the endless expanse of the Harbour.
Budget: B and B on Hay Street
This quaint B and B has a few room styles available at reasonable prices in the posh Oriental Bay district. There are courtyards and balconies as well as a garden for you to enjoy the sun in that offer beachfront views on a budget.