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HOTEL REVIEW: The George Hotel, Christchurch (Ōtautahi). Luxurious local comfort.

HOTEL REVIEW: The George Hotel, Christchurch (Ōtautahi). Luxurious local comfort.Score 85%Score 85%
Series: Christchurch to Sydney in Emirates First Class


The question of where to stay becomes a little piquant in a city that an earthquake nearly destroyed in 2011 and nonetheless killed 185 people. Do you stay in something that survived the calamity or one that has been built to withstand one in the future? I’d spent considerable time umming and ahhr-ing over this question in the weeks leading up to my trip.

I opted for The George Hotel, partly because it survived and became a refuge for displaced guests from other hotels during the earthquake. This was also the hotel I couldn’t afford the last time I stayed in Christchurch over 10 years earlier.

a building with trees and a sign
The George Hotel Christchurch from the street [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Booking & Price

I booked The George Hotel through about three weeks before my travel.

The George Hotel
Stay: 4 to 6 September 2023
Stars: 5
Room: Junior Suite
Size: 44 sqm (300 sqf)
Bed: California King
Per Night Average: ~AU$384
Address: 50 Park Terrace, Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone: +64 03 379 4560

a building with glass doors
The George Hotel guest entrance. Note the Small Luxury Hotels plaque [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Location & Arrival

I arrived by taxi at this hotel close to 1 am, so early in the morning after my flight from Sydney. I notified the hotel of my late or very early arrival, whichever way you want to see it. Being a boutique hotel, you can’t always rely on 24-hour check-in, even if promised. So I just wanted them to know that I would be a late arrival. It’s my general practice to advise all hotels of my arrival time if it is outside standard hours.

The hotel is within walking distance of the heart of Christchurch, overlooking Hagley Park and the Avon River. It’s a relatively quiet, low-rise area of the city, which is suffused with parkland.

a stone steps outside a building
Down the block from The George, you can still see the damage the earthquake caused in 2011 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The damage to Christchurch should not be underplayed. The centre of the city features the Anglican Cathedral, which is in the process of being rebuilt. With this complex building process in the middle of what used to be the city centre, the CBD feels a little unbalanced. Like reading London, where every post-1945 building is almost certainly on a bomb site, you can tell where most buildings collapsed, as the land is now vacant, under construction, or has a very obviously 21st-century building on it.

a crane on a building
The Cathedral shrowded in scafolding and support beams, being rebuilt. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


In many respects, The George Hotel looks like it should be a small office building or something. It opened as the Arlington Motor Lodge in 1974—ahhh, for the golden days of motels in the 1970s—and then went through a range of incarnations, adopting the ‘Park Hotel’ in 1982 and then its current name, The George, in 1987.

The hotel’s name comes from Sir George Seymour, who captained one of the first four ships chartered to bring immigrants to the new colony in Canterbury, New Zealand, in 1850 with a load of immigrants from England. The ship came to an ignoble end in 1867 when its load of coal between Liverpool and Bombay, India, spontaneously combusted!

The hotel is managed by Brook Serene & Co. Ltd and owned by Toranomon Jitsugyo Kaikan Co. Limited (TJK), which is headed by Mr. Yoshi Kawamura. 

The George is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

a room with a staircase and stairs
The George Hotel, ground floor foyer area [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


When I arrived after midnight, all was well. The reception was staffed, and I was expected. I was met at the concierge desk just inside the entrance. Then, I was taken to the large sit-down reception desk, where formalities were concluded with minimal fuss, and I was directed to my room.

The hotel consists of 53 rooms over four floors and one restaurant. There are two categories of standard rooms: Executive and Premium Executive, two categories of suites, Junior and Park, some twin and accessible rooms, and The Residence, which accommodates up to six people.

a sign with a diagram of a building
Emergency escape plan showing the floor layout and my room. The two suites on the right would have park views. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The Room

I’d opted for a Junior Suite, which was a little larger than the standard rooms and had a lounge seating area, a small anti-room with a fridge and wardrobe leading to the bathroom.

The design is smart, using dark but muted tones. The decor is a little millennial and sort of a cross between contemporary and Country House style with a touch of Scottish highlands, if you didn’t know that was a thing.

a room with a bed and a television
View from the entrance, The George, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Don’t get me wrong; this was a very pleasant room, but it felt like there was something lacking in the design and a bit of discord between the geometric and floral elements. Maybe you can see what I mean from the corridor shots below, which feature that very nice contemporary carpet, but the leafy textured wallpaper and classic doors and frames look a little incongruous to me.

a hallway with colorful carpet
The corridor to my room at The George, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Mismatch design?

There were obviously some updates done in the 1980s, so there is a bit of glass and chrome to be dealt with. Also, note the heaters/air conditioning units in the corridors. Although the rooms have their own built-in air conditioning, the corridors do not; hence, the units spaced along the length at ground level.

a white door with a number on it
Entrance to Room 511 at The George, Christchurch, New Zealand [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The entrance to my room. Note the extra seal around the door, which did prove to be a great heat and noise barrier.

a close up of a wall
Detail of that hall wallpaper at The George, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The room is divided into a number of areas. Adjacent to the entrance is a desk and work area facing the wall. Following that around is an entertainment console with a TV above, opposite the bed. The Television swivels so it can be viewed from the lounge at the far end of the room, under the window. To the right of the lounge is a small dressing area with a minibar, coffee machine, etc and wardrobe space. The bathroom with basin and shower is to the right of the wardrobe (behind the bed head).

a bed in a room
Wide shot of the room from the desk area taken at night on arrival [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


This is a generously sized room with a large ‘Californian’ King-size bed. It was big, seeming wider than it was long. pillows were feather as requested, and the mattress and everything about the bed were comfortable and luxurious. I even had a friend greet me:

a teddy bear on a bed
The ‘George’ signature bear. Christchurch New Zealand [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The bed had side tables and an entertainment console with a TV directly viewable from the bed. At arrival, the TV remote, a Valet Service menu, a Room Service Breakfast menu, and, of course, my friend to take away George Bear were on the bed.

a lamp on a table next to a bed
Bed at the George Christchurch New Zealand Sept 2023 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a bed in a hotel room
Towards the entrance and desk area. The George, Christchurch, New Zealandm[Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The room lacked ducted air conditioning, but this remote unit above the entrance kept the room warm, which was the main thing.

a desk with a chair and a lamp
The desk area, with a good lamp. An office chair would have made it better [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a couch and chair in a room
Lounge and coffee table. Very comfortable. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a small refrigerator and utensils on a shelf
The Mini Bar area at The George Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand [Schuetz.2PAXfly]


The mini-bar was well stocked with the usual treats, a coffee machine, glassware, crockery, and cutlery. Unusually, there was a toaster—not a usual appliance in a hotel room of this calibre. I’m presuming this is a local guest requirement.

a counter with a variety of objects on it
Essentials like Pringles, plus water and alcohol, coffee machine and kettle [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a blue tray with bottles and snacks
All the usual and some unusual snacks. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a tea kettle and tea bags on a counter
The addition of Milo is a triumph! [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The fridge was well stocked with a range of wine, water, beer and soft drinks. Unfortunately, no internal light that was working.

a refrigerator with bottles of alcohol
Sorry about the murkiness of this image [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a iron and a safe on a shelf
Safe and iron in the wardrobe [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


The wardrobe is located behind the bedroom, adjacent to the minibar, and before the bathroom. In fact, it is perfectly placed and allows some separation from the bedroom and the bathroom/dressing area. This is perfect if there is more than one guest in the room.

a white robe on swingers in a closet
Wardrobe with robes and plenty of hangers, but no cloth-covered ones [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

There are two spaces to hang clothes. One is accessed by double doors and has 12 plus wooden hangers and two bathrobes. It also has a laundry/tote bag. The other wardrobe stores the ironing board and an additional luggage rack.

Opposite the wardrobe is a conveniently placed wall of mirrors. Have a look down further under the bathroom heading for a view of these from the bathroom.

a ironing board and swingers in a closet
Single cupboard with Ironing board and additional luggage rack [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Oddly, there is also an additional luggage rack and a set of drawers within the bedroom part of the room. This sturdy stainless steel rack is what I mainly used for my two-night stay.

a black drawer with metal shelves
Suitcase rack in the main part of the room [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a bathroom with a glass shower door
Bathroom, view from the door, bath at the end. The George Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The Bathroom

The bathroom, as I explained, is located behind the bedroom following on from the dressing room. I love this separation. What I don’t love so much is the long and narrow nature of the room. I suspect that previously the bathroom had a shower over bath – a pet hate of mine.

A separate shower has been squeezed into the bathroom. It sits at the entrance on a thick plinth which I presume houses the plumbing.

a white rectangular object with lights on it
Labelled lighting switches. Good! Still confusing [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

There is a lighting and heating control near the sliding door entrance. It is a little confusing. Should the lights be green when on and red when not? Or is that just me?

a bathroom with a sink and towels
Basin and amenities. The George Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

There is room for everything in the bathroom, but it does feel a little cramped.

The hand shower fitting is attached to the glass divider, not to the wall. This just makes it odd to use with the door swinging inward. It all works, but it just isn’t very elegant in operation.

I wish they had an overhead rain shower plus the hand-operated one, but oh well.

a bathroom with a glass shower and sink
Shower and basin, The George Hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Everything is here, from a grip mat for the bath or shower to a hair dryer, bin, and that weird hotel phone in the bathroom. But it does all feel a little squeezed in.

a toilet and sink in a bathroom
Bathroom and toilet detail [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a group of black boxes with cotton swabs and a bottle of liquid
Bathroom amenities [Schuetz/2PAXfly]


The hotel-branded amenities are plentiful and well-scented. The blackcurrant extract and lemongrass are appealing without being overwhelming. Those bath salts were good, but they are just never enough, and they had bits of what I hope was blackcurrant skin in them – which I’m not sure I or the cleaners appreciated.

a bar of soap on a shelf
Bathroom amenities [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

As is the way of the world, shampoos, conditioners, and body wash are supplied in refillable bulk containers in an attempt to limit plastic pollution.

a group of bottles of shampoo and conditioner
Bathroom amenities [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a room with couches and a desk
The lounge area adjacent to the foyer. Teh George Hotel, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Public Areas – Bars, Restaurants & Gyms

These are mainly reserved for the ground floor. Off the foyer, there are seating areas, computer stations, and high-top table areas. Although they are in the same space, they are well defined, providing a sense of privacy.

a room with chairs and art on the wall
Another seating area on the ground floor between the reception area and the lifts. [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a room with a table and chairs
Another space to sit and contemplate [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a tray with a silver bowl and a glass of wine
What could this room service meal be? [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Food and Breakfast

I had two breakfasts and one dinner at the hotel during my two-night stay. As is my standard practice in a hotel, I ordered the Burger! The burger was good, and the chips, crisp.

a plate of food and a glass of wine
Beef burger, chips, sauce and a glass of Syrah. Dinner of hotel champions! [Schuetz.2PAXfly]

The Syrah from Hawke’s Bay (I think) was excellent, although I will always be faithful to the shiraz of the Barossa Valley in South Australia, my home state.

a buffet table with different drinks
Fruit and juice collection at The George Hotel [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Breakfast had an excellent selection of offerings. We are not talking asian five-star hotel selection, but pretty good and of high quality.

a buffet table with different types of food
Breakfast selection The George Hotel, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
jars of jam and sauce on a table
Breakfast selection The George Hotel, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a food in a buffet
Hot breakfast selection The George Hotel, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
a painting on a wall
There is a selection of great contemporary art throughout The George Hotel, Christchurch [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

I really enjoyed my stay at The George Hotel. Before the earthquake, I couldn’t afford to stay there and only came for the restaurant, which was a standout at the time.

As always, it’s not the physical comforts of a hotel that stay in your memory. It’s the human interactions. As I was checking out, there was a woman sitting at reception. I waited with my bag for her to complete her transaction, but as soon as I approached, she apologised for holding me up. It turned out she was the hotel’s supplier of uniforms, was on a business visit, and didn’t want to delay me from checking out. The reception staff asked how my stay was, and of course, we got chatting. In answer to a question about where I was off to, my new friend offered to drive me to as soon as I said the airport.

The kindness of strangers

It is not my usual practice to accept lifts from strangers, but the reception staff assured me I would be in safe hands, which was confirmed as I stepped into her Mercedes coupe. We chatted about the earthquake and its effect on the city and landscape. It made for an excellent departure from the hotel and from New Zealand. It’s this sense of community and cooperation that helped get the population through the earthquake. It reminds me that in some places like New Zealand, the niceties of a country village are retained

The earthquake may have destroyed some of this city’s physical fabric, but it has not destroyed the people.

I enjoyed my stay at The George. It was a luxuriously comfortable place to retreat from the reality of the damaged Christchurch, which I found quite confronting. The only thing that could have improved my stay was the weather. It tended to be cold and drizzly for my short stay.

It’s time to start my next adventure. I’ll spend three-plus hours in the comfort of an Emirates A380 in First Class.

Other Posts in the Series
<< TRIP REPORT: Flight Review – Sydney to Christchurch on Qantas in Business – same, same but differentTRIP REPORT: Christchurch Airport – small, spacious and efficient >>

The George Hotel, Christchurch (Ōtautahi), New Zealand


Luxurious local comfort in Christchurch This former motel survived the 2011 earthquake, and is still a luxurious haven in Christchurch. The comfort matches the hospitality of the staff and citizens of Christchurch

Luxurious local comfort in Christchurch


  1. GREG Z

    We stayed here in October of ’23 and find your review to be spot on. We really enjoyed our two nights here. The staff was very nice and we had a few meals in the restaurant which was very good. I highly recommend this place!

    • 2paxfly

      Hi Greg Z,
      Glad you agree. I liked the hotel, but was devastated by the damage to Christchurch from the earthquake and aftershock more than 10 years earlier. Staff interactions were always positive. I’m back in Christchurch later this year, staying elsewhere, so I will have something to comapre to The George.


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