Queenstown with a Capital QT

QT Queenstown Lobby

The newest star in the QT firmament is the essence of New Zealand cool

Queenstown is renowned worldwide as an adventure capital and combining activity-filled days with chilled-out nights is high on the agenda of many visitors. Having arrived in town late last year, QT Queenstown has the remit covered.

This sexy hotel with an après ski atmosphere flawlessly combines the South Island’s raw natural beauty with the playful design QT is famous for.

It wouldn’t be a bona fide QT without this intrinsic sense of play. The quirky approach has been a hallmark of the Australian hotel group since it launched its first property in 2011. It now has properties in seven Australian destinations while Queenstown marks the second international addition behind Wellington.

Perched above Lake Wakatipu, an easy 20-minute cab ride from Queenstown Airport and a five-minute walk to the centre of town, this stylish and thoroughly contemporary hotel is the essence of New Zealand cool.

Entering the lobby for the first time is like stepping into a modern mountain lodge. Rugged, organic textures abound with timber floors, decorative stone, a wood log feature wall, and a black iron fireplace suspended from the ceiling.

A platter of macarons is a welcome and tempting sight and I eagerly grab one after checking in. But as I head to my room, I realise a tray of sweet treats has nothing on the sights this city has to offer – jaw-dropping lake and mountain views meet me at every turn.

With 69 guest rooms and suites, each positioned to showcase the magnificent scenery, the hotel’s style is a blend of vintage and modern with great attention to detail. Nic Graham leads QT’s Australian-based design team and balances bespoke accents with contemporary style.

I loved the leather pouch on the bedhead, perfect for storing reading glasses, mobile phone or a novel. There are driftwood coloured timber floors, copper lampshades, chunky bed throws and, of course, the signature QT Gel Dream Bed, so popular they’re available for purchase on the QT website.

Even the minibar will make you smile with its merino wool socks and pineapple lumps, the New Zealand lollies with a cult following. The mix-it-yourself gin martini kit is also a nice touch.

The black-and-white marble bathroom with oversized egg-shape tub along with the Malin+Goetz toiletries are the best way to soothe sore muscles after a day of skydiving, bungee-jumping, skiing, jet-boating, or whichever adrenalin-fuelled activity you fancy.

If you’re not sure what to opt for, make use of the QT iPhone app. It’s like having a personal concierge in the palm of your hand with insider information on Queenstown’s best dining and shopping and loads of activities so you can explore like a local.

Though the hotel opened in December, Bazaar restaurant and Reds Bar began operations many months earlier and have been embraced by both locals and tourists. Forget what you think you know about hotel restaurants. I spoke to a table of locals who said Bazaar is one of Queenstown’s best.

Food and Beverage Director Josh Smith-Thirkell works hard to support regional farmers and producers, and has an ever-changing menu depending on what is available fresh on the day.

Set up as a traditional marketplace, the restaurant has several stations, each with a chef or two. It’s tough to decide between the ocean-fresh seafood, Asian dumplings, slow roasted lamb shoulder, cheese and charcuterie plate, and authentic wood-fired pizza.

And then there is the wall of house-made desserts and soft serve ice cream. My tip would be to take it slow and enjoy a bit of everything as you take in the views – arguably the best you’ll find in Queenstown.

Reds Bar has a nostalgic alpine ambiance with Eames-era chairs, bold wall graphics that pop and equally amazing views. Combine that with killer cocktails made by top Queenstown mixologists and a DJ and you’re up for a good night.

It would be tough, but if I had to choose one cocktail, it would be the Spiced Cloud: marshmallow-infused spiced rum, honey water shrub, lemon, sugar, egg whites and pineapple. Did I mention Reds Bar has the largest selection of spirits in town?

Delicious as it may be, just one Spiced Cloud will do. There’s adventure to be had in the morning…

The Details

Rates at QT Queenstown start from NZ$349 (about A$325) in low season and from NZ$499 (about A$465) in high season per night. For bookings and further information, visit

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