When you holiday with children it’s easy to keep things in check during the day—fun parks, museums, sport, water fun… anything involving sugar. But what about back at the hotel? Mums and dads need hotels that offer value for money, nearby or onsite entertainment and access to meals for fussy little eaters. Not to mention an understanding that kids will be kids (aka no snooty concierge). So here are 5 family-friendly New Zealand hotels that guarantee everyone arrives home happy and sane.
1. Novotel Hamilton Tainui, Hamilton
The Novotel Hamilton Tainui is one hotel that really gets into the family holiday spirit. Kids under 16 can stay and eat breakfast for free when you book a family room. Their children’s safe play area is a great to let littlies roam free, plus they offer a balanced children’s menu to help keep moods in check and avoid sugar induced excitement (and tears!) You also get your own special welcome and personalised gift.
The region around Hamilton has plenty to keep everyone mesmerised – from exploring the mysterious Waitomo Caves with their enchanting glowworms, to winter skiing on nearby slopes, and the sweet-as-it-sounds Candyland factory and museum.
2. Edgewater, Wanaka
For a family ski holiday, you’d be hard pressed to find a better igloo than Edgewater Resort and it’s stunning views of Lake Wanaka, near Queenstown. After a day on the slopes you can snuggle up in front of the fireplace where Facebook addicts can brag to their friends via wifi. Cook up a snowstorm using the kitchen in your 1 or 2 bedroom apartment. Of course, Queenstown is beautiful in any season and the hotel offers tennis courts and mountain bikes to explore the town.
While you’re in town, take a scenic flight over some of the stunning locations featured in the Lord of The Rings trilogy. Have an eccentric experience at the amazing Puzzling World. Show the kids what toys were like before plastic at the National Transport and Toy Museum. And finally, if parents get any time to themselves, take a tour of the boutique brewery, Wanaka Beerworks.
3. Spencer on Byron Hotel, Auckland
Just 10 minutes from Auckland CBD, you can soak up the views and sea breeze of Takaupuna Beach at the Spencer on Byron Hotel. There’s so much to do in and around New Zealand’s biggest city that you can work up a serious appetite – so it’s kind of handy there are free dinner and lunches for kids under 12! In warmer months, the kids can have a go at tennis and swim at the beach just 200m across the road. While it’s cool, you can splash around the heated outdoor pool, bubble away in the family sized spa, rug up for a round of petanque and pick out some books from the library.
Auckland is the place to combine city fun with natural wonders. The little leprechauns will love the Rainbow’s End theme park rides. Take a tour of the world renowned Auckland Zoo. And (metaphorically) dive into the ocean at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium complete with glass tunnels to get face to face with sharks, sting rays and fish.
4. Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
A Kids’n’All Family Package at the Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay means you can set the older kids up with a DVD and some nosh from the children’s menu, or use the babysitting service while you enjoy an adult conversation over an award-winning dinner from the hotel’s One80° Restaurant. During school holidays they often have special ‘Kids Dine Free’ and ‘2-4-1’ meal deals.
Outside your comfy abode, you can explore the beauty of Wellington on high without piggybacking up steps and ‘I’m tired’ whining by taking the nifty Wellington Cable Car through the city waterfront to the peak. Walk back down to the eco-attraction ZEALANDIA to track down the cute Kiwi bird. Pint-sized Peter Jacksons will get a kick out of The Weta Cave, where you and the kids can learn about computer generation in films (including the Hobbit movies) and get up close to props and displays from Weta’s past films.
5. Econo Lodge Alcala Motel Dunedin
At the Econo Lodge Alcala Motel Dunedin you don’t have to cart around the Ikea kids section—just use their baby baths, cots, high chairs and more. Older children can watch dedicated kids TV or play with the inhouse games and toys, while you whip up a meal using ingredients from the nearby grocery store. But if your holiday is about getting away from cooking, the lodge offers delicious breakfasts. They’re also just a stroll away from the town and restaurants.
At Otago Museum there are always fantastic exhibitions going on. Plus the Discovery World science section has a butterfly garden you can wander through and fun activities such as inflating a hot air balloon and playing a tune on a giant foot piano. Of course you”ll never be forgiven if you don’t take Freddo fans to the Cadbury World. Burn off the sugar hit at the regal Larnach Castle with its 12 themed rooms sure to inspire some awestruck silences.