The George, Christchurch, South Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
If you're going to stay in South Island's biggest city, this is the place to do it. The George's staff has a way of making even rumpled, tired travelers feel like VIPs: The one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio means all the details (a welcome cocktail in your room on arrival, gifts of teddy bears for children) are taken care of. The 53 airy, mod-luxe rooms and suites are plush in a quiet way, with lots of velvety, neutral-toned fabrics; glass; and blond wood furnishings. The hotel is near all of Christchurch's best sights: Hagley Park, with its Botanical Gardens and boat-speckled River Avon, is right outside the door; the wonderful Arts Center, with its galleries, shops, and cafés, is a short stroll away; and two of the city's best restaurants are right in the hotel. Pescatore, which serves formal dinner, is locally legendary for its Pacific Rim–influenced degustation menu and its impressive wine list. The more casual 50 on Park serves a wonderful breakfast; smoked grouper hash with buttered spinach and poached eggs, or a chive-infused waffle with bacon and a perfect "flat white"—like a café crème—will prime you for a day of sightseeing.
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