We didn't stay in Christchurch very long. We'd spent most of our New Zealand sojourn in the Marlborough and Kaikoura regions, and merely used Christchurch as the gateway into the South Island.
In Christchurch, we stayed the night at the George Hotel, the preeminent luxury accommodation in the earthquake-ravaged-but-resilient old capital of New Zealand. The boutique heritage hotel overlooks Hagley Park, the lush green heart of Christchurch and the hub for major outdoor festivals.
All through New Year's Eve, a steady lineup of music acts kicked it up in the park, while locals picnicked in the warm Summer sunshine. Once the clock struck midnight, the park lit up with the most magnificent display of fireworks.
We opted for the Junior Suite (rates start at upwards of NZ$765 per night), a comfortable room decked out in calming shades of taupe, perched on the top floor. Its locale adjacent to the Park Suite rooms allowed for fettered views of Hagley Park.
The bedroom, which looks out into a balcony. It's not the most fancy of hotel rooms, but New Zealand isn't exactly teeming with luxury travel options, and this is as posh as it gets in Christchurch. After all, room service is available round the clock, a service so rare none of the luxury lodges we stayed in all of Kaikoura and the Marlborough regions provided it.
Another view of the bedroom, showing the 46" LED TV, and entryway into the closet and bathroom.
The walk-in closet spanning the mini bar and leading to the bathroom. The compact white-tiled bathroom may look sterile, but it's functional. I particularly appreciated the heated floors.
One of 2 dining options at the George, the casual diner 50 Bistro, where a limited continental breakfast buffet selection and made-to-order eggs provide a substantive booster to kickstart your day.
The lobby, stairs which lead up to their award-winning fine-dining restaurant, Pescatore. Be sure to make reservations when booking your accommodation, you really don't want to miss out on their mind-blowing wine-matched degustation meal.
Another view of the main lobby, with the check-in counter and concierge. Notwithstanding the amazing hospitality of just about every New Zealander we met, service at the George Hotel was wonderfully effervescent and congenially warm.
The exterior of the George may look depressingly drab, but service, food, and the rooms were top-notch.
So there's a story behind this hideously cock-eyed bear (that's Polar snuggling up next to his new travel buddy) who turned up post-turndown service. I swear it's the most brilliant marketing ploy, and whoever drafted his tag deserves a raise right now, which reads:
"hello there, i'm george bear and now i'm in your special care.
i've had the best of hotel life with warm snuggly rooms and fine food that's nice.
life has been good here but i'm ready to roam so please pack me up and take me home." (cue heart melt)
Now, you'd have to be a cold-hearted bitch not to bring it home with you, so yes, Georgie Porgie is now a permanent fixture in my luggage. He's only seen Dubai so far, but will continue to roam the world with us in tow.
Hagley Park opposite the George Hotel.
The George Hotel
50 Park Terrace