Taupo’s top six places to stay

By Lachlan Probyn,

You’ve finished work, you’re tired of the city’s mad congestion, and you just feel like getting away for the weekend. Familiar with this story? Don’t despair, we’re here to help. Just under four hours’ drive out of Auckland, you’ll find Taupo, a city which has a lot to be proud of. Think snow-capped mountains, lush forests, and of course the picturesque Lake Taupo.

If the region’s outstanding natural beauty isn’t enough to swoon you, surely its diverse mix of hotels will. From secluded forest retreats to lakefront chalets, we’ve bundled some of the region’s best. So what are you waiting for? Pack the car and we’ll meet you there!

Hilton Lake Taupo

Fancy brushing up on some of Taupo’s history? Pencil in a stay at the Hilton Lake Taupo. Housed in a stately building dating back to 1889, you can be treated to period features, including a wide verandah and balcony that wrap around the entire building. Our pick is to go for the deluxe room, which comes with a super luxe marble bathroom that even Audrey Hepburn couldn’t say no to.

Bathrooms are best used when getting ready for a night out, so it only seems natural that after glamming yourself up, you should head downstairs to the hotel’s coveted restaurant, Bistro Lago. Operating under the culinary eye of Head Chef, Gareth Stewart, the bistro attracts both guests and locals thanks to its focus on locally sourced ingredients and wines.

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU

Huka Lodge

Are you looking for an A-list kind of experience that rivals no other in Taupo? Huka Lodge simply beckons you. Established in 1924, Huka Lodge is one of the most revered accommodation hot spots in New Zealand, and arguably in the world. Positioned over seven hectares of lush gardens, and just 300 metres from the picturesque Huka Falls, you can simply breathe in the country serenity here.

The 20 elegant lodge suites face out onto the Waikato River, and boast an airy, spacious ambiance. A classic aesthetic of antique furnishings and neutral tones are paired with modern fittings and splashes of colour. As inviting as your suite may be, we recommend benefiting from the lodge’s stunning communal facilities too.

The main sitting room is decked out in a Provincial style, featuring French doors that open out onto a terrace overlooking the river. Grab yourself a book from the private library, and curl up on one of the leather lounges for the afternoon – glass of wine in hand a must.

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU

Phoenix Resort

If you thought you were leaving the city for some country R&R, you’d be right. But did you also think you’d be transported to a world that could easily be mistaken for rural England? Welcome to Phoenix Resort. Nestled within a stately rose garden, and encircled by a white picket fence, this resort is ‘oh-so-Austen’! Enter through a gate, traverse rolling green lawns, and be treated to a free welcome drink before settling into your apartment.

The apartments reflect an English cottage-style, featuring white lacing, wood panelling, and tiled roofs. Furnishings are elegant and kitchens are fully-equipped. But we have to say the standout of these apartments is the private thermal mineral pool. Revitalise your mind, body, and soul in the mineral rich waters, and forget the city mayhem ever existed.

If you fancy the idea of cooking up a storm with fellow guests, you’ll be pleased to know Phoenix Resort also offers communal barbecue facilities. Now all that’s left to organise is who’s bringing the bubbly and your evening is complete!

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU

Wellesley on the Lake

If your idea of serenity involves snuggling up on a dreamy bed, gazing out to the ambient Lake Taupo, we suggest booking a couple of nights at Wellesley on the Lake. Rooms are reminiscent of a ski cabin in the Austrian alps, offering wood-panelled walls and crisp linens. Opt for the Queen Lake View which promises a queen-size bed, complimentary bathroom amenities, and uninterrupted lake views.

Conclude your afternoon of sightseeing with a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, but if you’d rather avoid braving the elements, the adjoining hot tub is your ideal solution. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to in-house Lazy Trout Fish Shack and Café.

The menu aims to capture the freshness and flavours of local produce – think pan fried flounder with parsley and lemon kelp. Too much? Keep things basic and opt for the fish burger which is served with tartare mayo and house fries – yum!

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU

Huka Falls Resort

If you’re hoping to avoid any sort of mayhem for the weekend, why not spend the night amidst a former apple orchard and bask in some true serenity? If this sounds ideal, check yourself into Huka Falls Resort. Positioned on 20 acres of beautifully kept gardens, the resort offers serviced apartment accommodation which comes in the form of colonial-style chalets. Appreciate Rimu timber interior walls, private decks, and indulgent spa baths to heat things up in.

If you’re travelling in numbers, we suggest going for the two-bedroom villa, trust us the little ones will be jumping for joy when they see this.  The master bedroom boasts a king-size bed, while the second room can accommodation either a king or twin bedding.

While villas feature their own fully-equipped kitchens, a stay at Huka Falls should include a meal at the in-house Vineyard Restaurant. Overlooking the resort’s very own vineyard, you can quaff one or two glasses of Pinot Noir, all the while appreciating some tasty local fare.

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU

Le Chalet Suisse

If you’re the type to crave an out-of-town escape, all the while still appreciating some inner-city buzz, our pick is Le Chalet Suisse. Located in the centre of Taupo, this motel puts convenience at the heart of the guest experience. True to its name, the accommodation reflects an original swiss style – we’re talking white-washed chalets with pointed roofs and large wooden balconies. Nestled on the foreshore of Lake Taupo, we’d forgive you for thinking you were staying on the shores of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva instead!

While the location here might be the standout, rooms also pack a punch, offering all the necessities for the modern day traveller. Bedrooms are decked out in a black and white aesthetic, while bathrooms boast divine corner spas. As evening approaches, settle in on your private balcony and appreciate stunning vistas across the lake. While the motel is within easy reach of Taupo’s bar and restaurant scene, apartments are appointed with self-contained cooking facilities if you’d rather stay in for the night.

View on trivago NZ View on trivago AU