The accommodation was unpleasant, I would not recommend it. It claimed to have 'water front views' yet our room was overlooking a car park.
The ceilings were paper thin which meant that we were kept awake by the people staying above us. When we complained about this we were told by the owner "what do you expect when you are crammed in like sardines".
The combination of absolute waterfront location (the only accommodation in Akaroa to offer this) and stylishly refurbished rooms just a minute's walk from the town centre has to make the Akaroa Waterfront Motels complex the perfect place to stay when visiting here. En route from Wanaka to Christchurch, we only stopped for a night on our most recent visit to New Zealand but, by the time we drove away the next morning, we were already discussing our next visit and including a longer stay at the motel in our plans. Room 1 in the Driftwood building will be our choice - on the first floor and with a wide window looking straight out onto Daly's Wharf and Akaroa Harbour - how pretty is that?
This time we were in Room 4, also upstairs but with an oblique view of the harbour, a two bedroomed unit with (as most New Zealand motels do) more than adequate cooking facitilies for anyone wishing to self-cater. We didn't - our favourite restaurants in Akaroa were just about on the doorstep, no need to take the car so that extra glass of excellent Otago pinot noir was ot a problem. What we wanted from the motel was a quiet night in a comfortable bed with a hot shower in the morning and that's exactly what was delivered - all wrapped up in crisp white cotton sheets, big fluffy towels, the spacious rooms spotlessly clean and all delivered with unassuming New Zealand hospitality.
Right in the heart of town but v quiet. Delightful character house, luxuriously furnished, v tasty breakfasts served on patio if weather OK. Very friendly and helpful owners.
Historic building dating back to the early days of the township.
Duvauchelle Hotel may well be the oldest hotel on Akaroa Harbour but the new accommodation units built around behind the pub, facing the tranquil waters of Duvauchelle Bay lack nothing in the way of modern comforts. They may not be 4 star but, built of warm red brick with timber balconies and surrounded by pretty gardens, they come complete with basic self-catering facilities, comfortable beds , utter tranquility and a splendid view - what more do you need?
One thing you do need to stay at Duvauchelle is your own transport. It's 10km in to Akaroa, a bit far to walk. We stayed 2 nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. We knew the pub served hearty evening meals so a lateish evening arrival wasn't a problem on our first night and waking up to an uninterrupted view across the bay and breakfast on our balcony as we watched the waders picking their way over the outgoing-tide-exposed flats right under our noses was lovely.
Being back on the balcony for a sundowner bottle of wine and some good cheese from the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory just down the road wasn't bad either
If you want to pamper yourself, this perhaps is it.
Although I think no accommodation is worth NZ$350 per night - well, there is one option at $250... ;-) - this B&B has several features that make it absolutely unique.
You are surrounded by mosaic art work and original paintings, and the artist - Josie Martin - is your host.
See more info about the fantastic mosaic art work garden around the house in my Off the Beaten Path Tips about the Giant's House.
The rooms offer views of this magic garden and Akaroa Harbour, as the house sits on an elevated position high above the harbour promenade, half a kilometre away from any possible noise. The bellbirds sound really loud up there as it is such a quiet and peaceful location.
Have a look at the website to check out the unique rooms: the Rose Room which has a sunny conservatory in the morning and a mosaic garden in the ensuite, and a Double Boat room - yes, really with a bed made of an original boat, bathed by the afternoon sun.
B & B accommodation prices (as October 2007):
Rose Room $350 - $550 for 2 nights
Double Boat Room (wash basin in room/separate bathroom next door) $270 - $440 for 2 nights
Twin Room (wash basin and separate bathroom) $250 - $400 for 2 nights
Duvauchelle Cottage B&B, the original focus of this tip, is no longer available for holiday stays - a pity - but things change, people move on .... so, in case anyone out there is looking to stay in the little hamlet of Duvauchelle - 5 minutes drive from Akaroa - here's a link to some of the %L[http://www.holidayhouses.co.nz/Duvauchelle.asp
holiday houses that are available in the area, and another to the [http://www.jasons.co.nz/duvauchelle/duvauchelle-holiday-park]camping and caravan park there.
First settled by the French back in 1840, Duvauchelle sits at the head of Akaroa Harbour, divided from Barrys Bay by the Onawe Peninsula. Golfers will enjoy putting in some practice at Duvauchelle's 18-hole golf course, with magnificent views over Akaroa Harbour, it is one of NZ's most scenic courses.
Had we stayed in Akaroa we probably wouldn't have stopped as we passed through Duvauchelle Bay. As it was, we found nice bayside walks, an historic local pub to stroll along to for a drink and a meal in the evening, delightful hosts and their friendly dog, learned a little more local history and the history of the sailing ketch, Fox II - all in all a very good choice.
Another hotel in the main street proudly flying the French flag. I really like the round turret room on the end.
This photo was taken outside the Victorian cottage side of the Backpackers, where on the front verandas there are also easy chairs for guests to relax in and admire the garden, or watch the people go by in the main street.
Another nice touch.
The dining room is bright too, as you can see, with dark blue covers on the chairs and couch. No tv like at some, but since our room was almost right next door to this room, that was a good point.
There’s a good CD/stereo portable system though, and even a guitar in one corner.
It looks homely (and that’s also the comment from 2 people we met who'd been staying there a few days already).
Another good point: one guy who'd been there a while, said that every afternoon, the owner (quite young) would bake a cake and bring it over for a free treat for the guests, and every day a different cake.
I can vouch that the banana cake she brought over the afternoon we were there was very nice!
Another special, personal touch we enjoyed.
The lounge was a nice, friendly place to meet people.
I guess part of the good ambience in the house (and it felt like a home away from home) is that nobody was extremely messy, noisy, or neglected to do their dishes, so all went well.
There are nice pictures on the bright walls of the little dining room, with yellow placemats for the table, adding a homely touch.
The 2nd time we went back, December 2005, we discovered the dining room had been reduced in size, and it's now just one large table to sit at in there (not quite as good as before, I thought but now they've got a bigger dorm room on the other side. )
The kitchen is very clean and nice and bright - (maybe it gets away with the loud colours because we're so close to water)
Good cond plates and cutlery (probably better than in some people's real homes!) and plenty of pots. Kitchen stove full size and good cond. Good microwave, full size fridge. Sink with all necessary cleaners - basically all the comforts of home.
I'm not positive it was meant to be this way, but I like to think that our room was themed - the pinkish red colour and blue walls, and the white ceiling, representing the Tricolour flag of France.
Here is a pic of our little bedroom, very tastefully decorated compared to almost all of the backpackers we stayed in, comfortable or not.
(Many had very loud colour schemes, and it wasn't unusual to have 3 or 4 different wall colours in the one room. )
This one was positively peaceful in comparison.
My husband said the bed could have been a bit more comfortable, but in a fairly expensive town, I think we got a good deal here, and anyway, when you travel several hours a day and walk and wander for the rest of it, sleep tends to come pretty quickly.
I liked the decor of our room - it was the only one on the trip to have extra special little touches like a bottle of water on the dresser and 2 cups (plastic but seaside themed with moulded shells pattern) plus the usual tea and coffee.
Nice towels also included in the room rate.
Here is a photo taken outside the lounge room window, from the garden, where our room was attached on the end of the house, just a few steps away, with the little garden courtyard right outside. Nice and quiet and private.
Our stay at Bon Accord was very enjoyable and relaxing, even though we were there less than a day (would have loved to stay our intended 2 days there, but whole town booked out for Harley Davidson conference).
The place just had a nice ambience to it, but I'll describe it a bit more fully to give you an idea.
It was my favourite accommodation of the holiday, (but I'm a bit biased because I loved the French atmosphere of the town and it lived up to my wildest dreams.) It was certainly value for money, for a start, at $55 per double.
There were 2 sections to the Backpackers: Part 1 was in what looked to be a fairly large Victorian house with a front garden, and part 2, next door, which I was really pleased to be in, was more European in style and more cottage cosy (not exactly French, but it had ambience).
There was a little outhouse style laundry, then into a main big room which was the kitchen, with a toilet room at the back of it and 1 shower and handbasin next door to it which could be closed off with a sliding door.
Back into the kitchen, a little passage led to a curtain, so I went to check it out. Amazing, but this was the dorm area, maybe beds for about 8 or 9 people, but all the time, the atmosphere of the house was as though we had the place to ourselves.
Though there were often 5 of us either in the lounge or kitchen at once, it never felt crowded.
If I hadn't gone exploring, I would have thought our room was the only one there!
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