Room review: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown – a surprising place to find one of the best happy hours in town

The place

Open for a few years now, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at the corner of Sydney and Stanley Streets is a towering slab of modern, jagged architecture. It feels like a grand lodge, and the aptly named Great Room houses the reception, bar, and general socializing.

There are 227 rooms offering a variety of sizes from standard rooms, to those with views, to two-bedroom suites that can sleep up to five adults.

Close enough to all the fun downtown has to offer, but also far enough away that you’re not right in the middle, the hotel is a five-minute walk (downhill). Depending on how happy you are, the recoil may take longer.

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Space

The mountain view king room was tidy and intimate, with large windows overlooking the gondola and the Remarkables. The bed was exceptionally comfortable and with blackout blinds and soundproof windows, falling asleep was a breeze.

The power shower and toilet were compact with the door serving as both a shower door and a toilet door.

There are the usual pitfalls of irons, ironing boards, tea and coffee and a fridge, and the more unusual of a torch for any major emergencies that may arise.

The 49-inch TV can connect to Chromecast, so you can all take all your streaming favorites from home. There is also a table and a few chairs, which could probably be removed as they took up valuable space.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown opened in 2020.

PROVIDED

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown opened in 2020.

The installations

This is a hotel that knows its audience: adrenaline junkies.

There are places to store skis and golf equipment, a place to clean your mountain bike, and a few self-service laundromats to recycle your outdoor gear. There’s even a sauna to soothe tired muscles from a long day of adventure. A well-equipped compact gym is also on hand for those who need an extra pump.

There are two business rooms that can accommodate meetings between four and 60 people.

Accessibility

The hotel has 12 accessible rooms with large doors and wheelchair accessible bathrooms. There is also an accessible reception.

The food

A free breakfast in the Great Room is a great way to start the day with all the usual hot and cold options. You can also order pizzas at the bar.

Worth going out

Well, it’s Queenstown, so you’ll never be bored. All town facilities are within walking distance, as well as lively bars and restaurants.

The town center is still being dug out with various improvements going on so it doesn’t look the prettiest but take a short walk beyond and there are plenty of walks and hikes for breathe fresh air.

The climax

It’s surprisingly good happy hour. Between 6 and 8 p.m. it’s $6 house drinks, a perfect place to watch the sun set behind the mountains while chatting with friends and strangers about the activities you’ve been doing during the day. An outdoor fireplace adds to the charm of the lodge.

low light

It’s not the hotel’s fault, but the workers nearby broke a pipe, which meant we were without water for a few hours, just when I was about to take a shower (well necessary).

One more thing

The hotel is Travel Proud certified on Booking.com. This means staff have undergone Proud Hospitality training and a dedicated representative ensures their entire team is committed to providing an inclusive stay for LGBTQ+ travellers.

The verdict

A fantastic base for all Queenstown has to offer, mixed with a laid back vibe. The location can’t be beat.

More information

A king room with a mountain view costs just over $500 a night, but rooms start at around $280.

The author’s trip was supported by booking.com.

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