Enough room to spread out

Dunedin’s Vic­to­ria Ho­tel is comfy, and the lo­ca­tion is prime, writes

Sunday Star-Times - - ES­CAPE - SEPTEM­BER 24, 2017

Britt Mann.

The ex­ec­u­tive suite at The Vic­to­ria Ho­tel in cen­tral Dunedin of­fers spa­cious ac­com­mo­da­tion with min­i­mal­ist, mod­ern styling for vis­i­tors look­ing for util­ity rather than lux­ury.

The place

The ho­tel un­der­went a ma­jor ex­pan­sion which was com­pleted late last year, in­creas­ing its ca­pac­ity from 42 to 72 rooms, in­clud­ing the high-end ex­ec­u­tive suite, and up­grad­ing to a four-star stan­dard. Stu­dios, twobed­room apart­ments and a gym were among the new ad­di­tions.

There’s a bar and two restau­rants on the ground floor, a self-ser­vice laun­dry, and car park­ing avail­able for $10 a night, with two Tesla charg­ers for elec­tric car own­ers. The ho­tel has free wi-fi, and guests can use a desk­top com­puter in the lobby.

The lo­ca­tion

The Vic­to­ria Ho­tel is lo­cated on a main vein of Dunedin’s cen­tral street net­work, a short hop from the Cad­bury fac­tory, two su­per­mar­kets (in­clud­ing Cen­tre City New World, a cher­ished in­sti­tu­tion in my stu­dent days), and the Oc­tagon, where some of Dunedin’s best eater­ies and nightlife can be found.

The space

The ex­ec­u­tive suite, built to ac­com­mo­date two peo­ple and per­haps a child, has a gen­er­ous foot­print, with a kitch­enette and lounge area. The kitch­enette has a toaster, mi­crowave, fridge and el­e­ment; the lounge is fur­nished with an L-shaped couch and 60-inch wall-mounted TV.

Cof­fee and din­ing ta­bles mean you can en­joy room ser­vice from the ho­tel’s Well Manor restau­rant (at no ex­tra charge) or per­haps take­aways from Nando’s down­stairs. Bal­conies off the lounge and bed­room over­look a carpark.

A heat pump in the lounge and an­other in the bed­room en­sures you’ll be trop­i­cally toasty even on the cold­est win­ter night. Dou­ble-glaz­ing and black­out cur­tains en­sure the heat stays in and the noise and street lights stay out. With eyes closed, you won’t even know you’re in the cen­tral city.

The bath­room has a full bath and au­to­mated lights, which are a tad dis­con­cert­ing. In the bed­room, an enor­mous king size bed will give you a good night’s sleep and a per­fect van­tage point for an­other wall­mounted tele­vi­sion – this one is a slightly smaller 49’’. Both have Sky TV.

Worth stepping out for

The space is per­fectly com­fort­able but it’s the lo­ca­tion that makes this ho­tel worth stay­ing at. Cen­tral Dunedin’s in­her­ent walk­a­bil­ity means you won’t need much con­vinc­ing to skip break­fast in the ho­tel restau­rant in favour of ven­tur­ing slightly fur­ther afield to sam­ple Dunedin’s fab cafes.

Head north to Stu­art St and the Oc­tagon, where new es­tab­lish­ments sit com­fort­ably be­side the old in glo­ri­ous gothic her­itage build­ings. Try Dog With Two Tails, which won Cafe of the Year in 2016, or set­tle in at Morn­ing Mag­pie – try your hand at the vin­tage ar­cade games. Nearby, Best Cafe serves lo­cally caught fish and chips. The busi­ness was re­cently taken over by Jess Marks, whose great-grand­fa­ther opened it in the 1930s.

Or, you can head south to the Ware­house Precinct, a new favourite des­ti­na­tion of those who ap­pre­ci­ate gen­tri­fied cool. Among places to eat are Precinct Food which has an in­no­va­tive menu that changes daily, and Vo­gel St Kitchen, a barn-like space where you can sit up­stairs or down. Af­ter­wards, check out street art by in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal artists in the area, or head to Toitu¯ Otago Set­tlers Mu­seum in Queens Gar­dens.

There, you’ll be af­forded an in­ter­ac­tive glimpse into the hard­ships and tri­umphs of Dunedin’s ear­li­est Pakeha. If you’d rather stretch your legs a lit­tle fur­ther, wan­der through town to the univer­sity cam­pus, stop­ping in at Dunedin’s home­grown fash­ion bou­tiques along Ge­orge St, or in the other di­rec­tion to New New New Cor­po­ra­tion, a lo­cal craft beer pro­ducer that’s had the town talk­ing since it opened in late July.

Ver­dict

A re­lax­ing space with room to spread out, the ex­ec­u­tive suite would suit those stay­ing in Dunedin for a few nights at least, whether on busi­ness, visit­ing fam­ily for a birth­day or grad­u­a­tion, or sim­ply there to dis­cover a city whose charms, once you scratch the sur­face, are un­de­ni­able.

Es­sen­tials

Stay­ing in the ex­ec­u­tive suite per night costs $800 for one to two guests; an ex­tra per­son can be added for $30 a night; a child un­der 12 can stay at no ex­tra cost; and an­other child stays at the ex­tra per­son rate.

Cen­tral Dunedin's walk­a­bil­ity means you won't need much con­vinc­ing to go ex­plor­ing.

Get­ting there

The ho­tel is about a 15-minute walk from Otago Univer­sity/north Dunedin, a seven-minute walk from the Oc­tagon, and a 25- to 30-minute drive from Dunedin In­ter­na­tional Air­port. I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing a Su­per Shut­tle – it’s a flat fee of $25 ver­sus an $80-ish taxi fare.

The writer was a guest of The Vic­to­ria Ho­tel.

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The bed­room is decked out in a mod­ern pal­ette.

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Precinct Food is a cafe, cater­ing kitchen, and event space in Dunedin’s Ware­house Precinct, 125 Vo­gel St.

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The kitch­enette and lounge area of­fers room to spread out and make your­self at home.

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Dog With Two Tails is an award-win­ning cafe and bar in Dunedin’s Oc­tagon, 25 Mo­ray Pl.

ALEX LOVE-SMITHH

New New New Cor­po­ra­tion, in Crawford St.

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