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Best of Wellington: A ROOM FOR THE NIGHT (OR MORE)

Two new hotels offer unique entry points into the capital city.

Best of Wellington: A ROOM FOR THE NIGHT (OR MORE)

May 9, 2022 Travel

Ever since our first visit a little over two years ago, we here at Metro have been huge fans of Puffin, a hidden wine
bar down an unassuming corridor off Ghuznee St in Te Aro. We loved its selection of glass pours, its snack plates and, if we visited at the right time, the occasional pop-up dinner.

We’d been told from the get-go that Puffin was merely the first stage of what would soon be the development of a new boutique hotel from Sean Golding, who is also an owner of award-winning restaurant Shepherd and craft-beer bar Golding’s Free Dive and Concord (opening soon). But (understandably with everything that’s been going on lately) that hotel took a while to eventuate. Until now.

The Intrepid is an 18-room hotel for travellers looking for a unique experience, a “low-lux neighbourhood hotel right in the heart of Te Aro,” says Lissita Santana, The Intrepid’s guest services manager. Every room is unique, from the Persian rug to the artwork, so every time someone stays they’ll get a slightly different experience. “Our hotel rewards curiosity,” she says. “People should be prepared to be surprised … in a good way!”

And it’s a personal experience. There’s communal coffee and tea at all times and croissants from Leeds Street Bakery. There’s a shop where local retailers sell an artfully selected range of goods from vintage watches to records by local bands. Guests are given a handwritten card every night with tomorrow’s weather and a Pinky Bar for a late-night treat — a sly nod to the building’s origins as an office and warehouse space for Cadbury.

The goal, says Lissita Santana, is for guests to feel comfortable and at home, just in a really cool home; and to experience Te Aro — a place where Wellingtonians work and eat and drink — as the locals experience it. “All the best restaurants and cafes are a stone’s throw from the door,” says Santana. “A base for people to feel like a local and have access to the city.”

The Intrepid (photographed by Charlie Wickbom)

A mere four-minute walk away on Cuba St is the one of capital’s other exciting new hotels, Naumi Studio Wellington, the newest from Naumi, the boutique hospitality group which also has hotels in Queenstown, Singapore, Sydney and at Auckland Airport.

Following the aesthetic developed in the group’s previous hotels, each space throughout the hotel is engaging with a unique fit-out, all inspired by Wellington’s surroundings and vibe, all with the aim of providing Instagram-worthy moments at every turn. “The diverse nature of the capital means there is never a dull moment and Naumi fits perfectly into the landscape,” says Chris McIntosh, COO of Naumi Hotels New Zealand/ Australia. “Clashing colours, eccentric patterns and sculptures crafted by New Zealand artists in every corner; the perfect home base for the cultural connoisseur.”

Naumi Studio Wellington is anchored by the art, fashion, music and culinary offerings surrounding the hotel. “We aim to showcase the excitement of eccentricity and diversity; best experienced at our signature restaurant, Lola Rouge, or enjoying the parlour or grand bar,” says McIntosh. “Our team is passionate about Wellington — if it’s worth seeing or doing, our team will ensure the word gets out there!

“We are a social hub for the city, providing a diverse range of spaces to enjoy with friends, family and colleagues; a chance to escape from the day to day and be immersed in fun and creativity with the touch of luxury that comes with generosity. We offer fun, escapism, a space to relax and spend quality time — I love seeing the smiles on our guests and patrons when they are with us — it’s heart- warming.”

The Intrepid Hotel
60 Ghuznee St, Te Aro
theintrepidhotel.com
Naumi Studio Wellington
213-223 Cuba St, Te Aro
naumihotels.com/studiowellington

This column was published in Metro 434.
Available here in print and pdf.

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