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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Fitzroy Beach Motel
This quiet, old-time motel (just 160m from Fitzroy Beach) has been thoroughly redeemed with a major overhaul and extension...
Braemar House Yha
Riverside Braemar brings together an 1895 Victorian B&B guest house and a reliable YHA backpackers. Centrally heated guest-house rooms are floral and fancy; airy dorms conjure up a bit more fun out the back.
Upstairs in the old Royal Hotel (Queen Liz stayed here once!), Ariki offers downtown hostelling with funky carpets, a roomy lounge area with retro couches, and fantastic roof terrace looking across the park to Puke Ariki...
Down a steep driveway a few minutes’ drive south of town, Sunflower does its best to transcend its mid-’80s rest-home origins, and (with the exception of some relentless timber panelling) succeeds...
Aotea Motor Lodge
It gladdens the heart to see a job done well, and the owners of one of Whanganui’s newest motels have done just that...
Sixteen old but tidy units close to Pukekura Park and a 10-minute walk to town. It’s very family friendly and great value (especially in winter), but noisy when the hoons careen up Carrington St. Wildly eclectic furnishings and tsunami-like showers.
The Waterfront Hotel
Sleek and snazzy, the Waterfront is the place to stay, particularly if the boss is paying. The minimalist studios are pretty flash, while the penthouses steal the show with big TVs and little balconies...
The Grand Hotel
If you can’t face another soulless motel room, rooms at this stately old-school Whanganui survivor (built 1927) have a bit more personality. Singles and doubles are basic but good value; suites are spacious...
Rose City Motel
One for the postmodern aesthetes, Rose City’s townhouse-style units are spacey (especially the split-level ones) and shipshape but stylistically rather ’90s. Free DVDs, a squash court and a kids’ play area are bonuses.
Take your pick from one of 15 ’80s-style kitchenette units in the main block or the five spiffy spa suites out the back. Nothing too flash (and the river views are mostly glimpses), but a decent central option with a charming Irish host.
Hawera Central Motor Lodge
The pick of the town’s motels (better than any of those along South Rd), the shiny Hawera Central does things with style: grey-and-eucalypt colour scheme, frameless-glass showers, big flat-screen TVs, good security, DVD players, free movie library… Ni...
Rutland Arms Inn
Carving off a slice of the 'upmarket heritage' pie, this restored 1849 building has an old-fashioned pub downstairs with colonial-style accommodation above. Rooms have TV, phone, flowery wall friezes, double glazing and spine-straightening beds...
Bentleys Motor Inn
The highest peak on Palmerston North’s motel range, Bentleys’ five-star apartments are worth the investment. Inside are new appliances, DVD player, spa, stereo, contemporary furnishings and Sky TV; outside are a full-blown gym, squash court and sauna.
Cornwall Motor Lodge
Cornwall has 27 enormous self-contained apartments on a bleak corner block. But don’t let that bother you – rooms have spas, Sky TV, superking-size beds and balconies. Double-glazing culls the Fitzherbert Ave fracas.
High-class from top to tail, ‘nice’ is the understatement of the decade. Seven rooms feature luxury furnishings, designer bathrooms, imported wallpapers and select objets d’art ...
Braemar Motor Lodge
It’s a bit of a hike into town, but Braemar’s studio units have king-size bed, TV, spa, kitchenette, DVD player and stereo, and with 50-plus titles in the DVD library, there should be something up your alley. Units on the street are double-glazed.
The Empire Hotel
With slicker-than-average, colonial-style pub rooms upstairs, the Empire is a solid central option. Beyond a tandem bike poised bizarrely in the stairwell, rooms have TV, bathroom and fridge...
Oakura Beach Motel
A very quiet, seven-unit motel set back from the main road, just three minutes’ walk to the beach. It’s a ’70s number, but the Scottish owners keep things shipshape, and there are 300 DVDs to choose from!
Fitzherbert Castle Motel
It looks unapologetically like a Tudor castle from outside, but inside it’s more like an intimate hotel. Fourteen immaculate rooms with cork-tiled bathroom floors and quality carpets, plenty of trees, friendly staff and small kitchens in some units...
Siena Motor Lodge
Aiming for Tuscany but hitting Taranaki, the compact rooms here are five star and spotless. Business travellers enjoy double glazing, a DVD library, heated towel rails, coffee plungers and real coffee.
Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park
This tidy Top 10 park sits on the Whanganui’s west bank 6km north of Dublin Bridge. Facilities (including pool and jumping pillow) are prodigious. Kayak hire also available: the owners shuttle you up river then you paddle back to camp...
Kingsgate Palmerston North
Offering a restaurant, a bar and a fitness centre, Kingsgate Palmerston North is just 500 metres from Palmerston North Convention Centre. All rooms offer a TV with satellite channels. Guests enjoy free on-site parking...