Founded by Presbyterian Scottish immigrants, Dunedin is a gorgeous city at the origin of Otago Harbor on the southern coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
With monumental Victorian and Edwardian architecture lining its buzzing streets, the hilly city blends historical charm with urban energy. The coastal city is known for its Maori and Scottish heritage, rugged beaches, clifftop landscapes, and eclectic gourmet offerings.
Dunedin’s accommodation scene comprises award-winning Victorian hotels, romantic retreats, and secluded vacation rentals. Here are the top cool and unusual hotels in Dunedin, New Zealand (in no particular order)…
1. Fable Dunedin – a hip, Instagrammable and trendy upscale boutique hotel located perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
Victorian opulence melds with contemporary elegance to offer you an unforgettable stay at this casual hotel amid downtown shops and restaurants. Standing true to its name, Fable Dunedin tells you many fables of the city’s glorious past with Colonial-style details incorporated into its award-winning decor.
Ceiling lamps, wall artwork, tartan fabrics on beds and sofas, and flower vases complement the streamlined layouts of the rooms. Most rooms are decorated in ivory and silvery tones, while some also include sapphire, turquoise, or dark gray accents.
Regardless of what kind of room you opt for, you’ll enjoy top-grade amenities like a 49-inch Smart TV, high-speed wireless Internet, and an ergonomic workstation. Suites come with higher-end amenities, such as 65-inch smart TVs, sweeping street views, lounge and dining areas, whirlpool tubs, and plusher surroundings.
While you’ll be minutes from some of the city’s best restaurants, I suggest you try classic-Southern dishes at the onsite restaurant.
Address: 310 Princes Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Fable Dunedin
2. Distinction Dunedin Hotel – one of the city’s award-winning hotels where guests can enjoy an elegant, hip and bright stay
Set in a former post office in a bustling business district, Distinction Dunedin Hotel is less than a mile from Dunedin Railways with the famous Speight’s brewery reachable within walking distance.
Polished rooms offer all basic amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, flat-panel TVs, and coffee makers. Suites, on the other hand, feature additional TVs and separate living areas.
An onsite restaurant offers a breakfast buffet in a relaxed setting. You can also try innovative cocktails at the hotel’s ritzy bar or work up a sweat at the in-house gym.
Address: 6 Liverpool Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Distinction Dunedin Hotel
3. Scenic Hotel Southern Cross – a unique, stylish and antique-style hotel located in the heart of Dunedin
Scenic Hotel Southern Cross typifies urban sophistication while reflecting Scottish and Maori heritage. It is set in a circa-1880 building located among shops, theaters, and restaurants in the city center.
Consistent personalized service, first-class amenities, and a warm ambiance make up for a comprehensive hotel experience. The moment you step into this down-to-earth hotel, you’ll know why it was honored with the Enviro-Silver award. Each of the 178 rooms at the 4-star hotel includes a coffee maker, a satellite TV, and a minibar.
The hotel also has a 4-star plus Qualmark rating because of its extensive facilities, including a refined cafe, a relaxed restaurant, a buzzing casino, and a fitness center.
Address: 118 High Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
4. Scenic Hotel Dunedin City – a stylish, contemporary and award-winning hotel surrounded by an array of bars, restaurants and cafes
Conveniently located on Princes Street, Scenic Hotel Dunedin City is where you get the best of modern comforts and first-rate amenities. The 4-star hotel is a 2-minute and 6-minute walk from The Octagon and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum respectively.
Guests reside in tastefully styled rooms with coffee makers, flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and minibars. Select rooms offer living areas and/or balconies with street views.
Onsite facilities include a cozy bar with a fireplace, a well-equipped gym, and a low-key restaurant.
Address: 123 Princes Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Scenic Hotel Dunedin City
5. The Chamberson – a newly renovated, contemporary and industrial-chic accommodation within walking distance of local popular attractions
If you’re looking for a cozy retreat amid downtown action, The Chamberson may be an ideal base for you. This gorgeously refurbished, heritage-listed former warehouse offers an interesting mix of tranquility and vibrancy.
Light-filled, apartment-style rooms boast a modern decor with most of the original features, such as brickwork, plaster, and beams. I personally love the thoughtful attention to detail featured throughout the property.
Each room has a unique layout and tells a different story. The Nest, for example, is north-facing with an abundance of light streaming in the broad windows. The Lookout, on the other hand, is nestled in a corner with a full kitchen and a separate living room.
Address: 77 Stuart Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for The Chamberson
6. Ebb-Dunedin – a modern, trendy and new boutique accommodation moments away from both the city and the ocean
This chic hotel in a streamlined modular building has my heart. From its sleek exterior to its ultra-modern interior to its artistic decor, I am in love with literally everything about this place. Elegance is so deeply embedded in every part of this boutique hotel that it won’t just capture your eyes but touch your heart.
Warmly decorated rooms at Ebb-Dunedin come with top-tier amenities like smart TVs, minibars, heated floors, rainfall showers, and free-standing tubs. The luxe penthouse features two designer bathrooms, a fireplace, and a roomy living area.
Address: 82 Filleul Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Ebb-Dunedin
7. Hereweka Garden Retreat – a rustic-chic, unique and eco-friendly B&B perfect for a couple’s romantic getaway
Exquisitely perched on the Otago Peninsula, Hereweka Garden Retreat is your gateway to a super romantic holiday away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The architecturally eco-designed boutique hotel exposes guests to spectacular panoramas of Mountain Charles, rugged cliffs, and luxuriant forests.
Self-contained accommodations include premium bedding with Egyptian cotton sheets, full kitchens, self-service laundry facilities, furnished patios, and sitting areas.
Address: 10 Hoopers Inlet Road, Portobello, Dunedin 9077, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Hereweka Garden Retreat
8. Majestic Mansions – Apartments at St Clair – a historic, relaxing and cozy accommodation steps away from the beach
Housed in a 3-story building located on Bedford Street, Majestic Mansions is only steps away from the beach.
Modest apartments are equipped with cable TVs and DVD players, living rooms with sofas, kitchens, and dining areas. If you lodge in an upgraded unit, you’ll be able to enjoy stunning ocean views from inside your bedroom.
Parking is complimentary, while continental breakfast is offered for a fee.
Address: 15 Bedford Street, St Clair, Dunedin 9012, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Majestic Mansions – Apartments at St Clair
9. Hotel St Clair – a petite, elegant and upscale accommodation providing guests with a beachfront location and Insta-worthy views
If you are as much a thalassophile as I am, you can’t resist staying at this luxury hotel across the street from St. Clair Beach. The all-suite hotel offers a fresh take on kiwi hospitality with its quintessentially comfortable rooms, intuitive service, and plenty of unexpected extras.
Individually designed rooms at Hotel St Clair feature beach and ocean-inspired themes. Some rooms are decorated in greige and sandy tones, while some have a color scheme of white and sapphire.
In addition to all upscale amenities, the 4-star hotel offers breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean. There’s also a heated saltwater pool if you want to take a dive.
Address: 24 Esplanade, St Clair, Dunedin 9012, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel St Clair
10. Artica Art & Accommodation – a creative, vibrant and hip accommodation housed in one of the oldest Victorian villas in Port Chalmers
Bringing together history, art, and entertainment, Artica Art & Accommodation sits just a few miles from Dunedin. You’ll be within a short drive of Otago Harbor, downtown Dunedin, and Port Chalmers’ busiest shopping street.
Powerful Victorian energy pervades artistically rich spaces at this 18th-century villa near Dunedin. The studio accommodation on the ground floor includes a private entrance, one bedroom, an ensuite bathroom, and a kitchenette.
Address: 20 Currie Street, Port Chalmers 9023, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Artica Art & Accommodation
11. Tiny House in the Sky – a cool, cozy and petite accommodation featuring a garden, terrace and BBQ facilities
One of the most downhome accommodations in Dunedin, Tiny House in the Sky sits about a mile from Otago Museum. The homey character of this property will keep homesickness at bay while offering all contemporary conveniences.
The property has one bedroom with two double beds, a kitchenette, a bathroom, an indoor dining area, and a furnished deck with BBQ facilities. You can revel in gorgeous views of the city from the deck.
Address: 1 Tweed Street, Roslyn, 9010 Dunedin, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Tiny House in the Sky
12. Highland House Boutique Hotel – an eco-friendly, charming and traditional accommodation offering guests with a delicious breakfast each morning
Celebrating Dunedin’s Scottish heritage, Highland House Boutique Hotel spans a 19th-century three-terrace building that has been refurbished to cater to the needs of modern travelers.
The self-contained boutique hotel sits on a traditional University street within a mile of Dunedin Botanic Garden and some of the area’s best restaurants and shops.
Traditionally decorated rooms are outfitted with flat-panel TVs, coffee makers, and microwaves. Upgraded units also offer dining tables, kitchenettes, and hot tubs.
Address: 1003 George Street, Dunedin North, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
- To book, check prices or availability for Highland House Boutique Hotel
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Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam