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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Bowentown Beach Holiday Park
Having nabbed a stunning stretch of sand this impressively maintained holiday park makes the most of it with first-rate motel units and campers' facilities. The barbecue area even has a water feature.
Harbour City Motor Inn
With a winning location right in the middle of town (and with plenty of parking), this newish, lemon-yellow motor inn has all the mod cons. There are spa baths in each room, and friendly staff who can offer sound advice on your itinerary.
A link in the Base chain, this huge hostel is ever-popular with partying backpackers who love the Lava Bar (cheap meals, toga parties, disco nights etc)...
Cactus Jacks Backpackers
If you’re looking for character, pardner, then this Western-themed spot is just your gunfight. Shabby-chic rooms range from Jail (dorms) to Madam Fifi’s bordello (two twins)...
This newcomer occupies a big, mustard-coloured 1930s hotel near Government Gardens. The atmosphere strikes a balance between party and pristine, without too much of either. The nicest rooms have floorboards, and there's lots of art on the walls...
Harbourside City Backpackers
Enjoy sea views from this sociable hostel (a renovated former hotel), which is all too handy to the Strand’s bars. Rooms are smallish but clean, and you’ll spend more time on the awesome roof terrace anyway...
A tight but tidy hostel, bolstered by location – close to the beach and a mere stagger from the Mount's best restaurants and bars – plus extras like a travel desk, cheap weekly rates and deals on activities including surf lessons.
Rotorua Central Backpackers
This heritage hostel was built in 1936 and retains historic features including dark-wood skirting boards and door frames, deep bathtubs and geothermally powered radiators...
Loft 109 Backpackers Hostel
This central spot feels like somebody’s flat, with an intimate kitchen and lounge, rooftop balconies in upper rooms, and (oddly) two halves of a boat built into the ceiling. It’s bright, with plenty of skylights and a gas fire for colder days...
Hotel On Devonport
City-centre Devonport is top of the town, with bay-view rooms, noise-reducing glass, slick interiors and sassy staff, all of which appeal to business travellers and upmarket weekenders. No in-room wi-fi is a surprising downer.
White Island Rendezvous
An immaculate 26-room complex run by the on-the-ball White Island Tour people. Lots of balcony and deck space for inhaling the sea air, while interiors are decked out with timber floors for a nautical vibe...
Ambassador Motor Inn
This tidy motel has noise-reducing glass for peaceful sleeps, a swimming pool, and a long list of 'new' things: TVs, kitchens, bedspreads, towels, sheets... Some rooms have spa baths; all have kitchen facilities...
Ambassador Thermal Motel
Handily located in a quiet corner just a few minutes’ walk to town and the lakefront, this mildly kooky motel boasts no fewer than four pools: two indoor mineral pools, an outdoor spa and a large figure-eight swimming pool...
Princes Gate Hotel
The Princes Gate is a well-loved and warmly welcoming 19th-century dame with 54 different rooms, such as the opulent Marvelly suite − perhaps too pink for all but Barbara Cartland. Sink into the bottomless bath, however, and all is forgiven...
A 2011 refurb of this hotel has sent the mood upmarket, the large rooms (all with either terrace or balcony) taking on a decidedly regal feel, with Louis XIV bedspreads, king-sized beds and full kitchens...
The friendly Vic has seen a lot of competitors come and go, maintaining its foothold in the market with individual-feeling rooms: the studios are particularly attractive with their thermally heated plunge pools...
Jack & Di’S Troutbeck Lodge
A lakeside position in quiet, secluded Ngongotaha makes this large lodge a good retreat from central Rotorua (no sulphur smell!). The lodge (with full kitchen) caters for families or groups of up to 11, or there are motel-style doubles...
Tarted up with splashes of orange paint and new linen, this sweet, old-style motel is in a quiet but central location. Expect roomy units (all with kitchens), friendly first-name-basis hosts and new TVs. Nice one.
Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park
This super-friendly holiday park on the edge of town is deep in the leisure groove, with barbecues, a playground, rows of cabins and tourist flats, campsites galore and a shop and seasonal cafe...
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park
A small but perfectly formed holiday park with a continual improvement policy that has seen a new playground, shower/toilet blocks and mineral hot pools installed. Cabins are in good nick and have small fridges and microwaves...
Cosy Corner Holiday Park
This spartan camping ground has a sociable feel, with barbecues, trampolines and a games room. And it's possibly the only accommodation in NZ where prices have actually come down since the last edition of this book. Handy to the beach, too.
Arista Of Rotorua
Each featuring a private hot tub and a private patio, Arista of Rotorua studios are 20 minutes’ walk from the famous Polynesian Spa. The property features a BBQ area and a children’s playground set in lovely gardens...