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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Reborn as a bijou backpackers, this cleverly refitted old house has an enviable kitchen, comfortable lounge and a stylish landscaped yard (with pizza oven). It's a true home away from home.
Catellis Of Taupo Motel & Conference Centre
The exterior is all hobbitish ’80s curves, sloping roofs and nipple-pink trim, but these orderly motel units have a fresh feel inside. In summer it’s worth paying the extra $5 for a garden studio.
Sportsmans Lodge Turangi
Backing on to the river, this lodge is a hidden bargain for trout-fishing folk unbothered by punctuation. All the rooms share the lounge and well-equipped kitchen. The self-contained cottage sleeps four.
It's starting to look a little tired, but this Tudor-style motel has simple studios and larger family rooms, most with their own mineral pool. There’s a heated outdoor pool, a sauna, and a sandpit for the littlies.
Anglers Paradise Motel
Looking like something out of Twin Peaks, this very old-fashioned motel sits in a 1-hectare leafy pocket where privacy prevails. It’s geared up for anglers, with guides happily arranged and a smokehouse on-site.
Beechtree Suites Heritage Boutique Collection
The Beechtree, and its sister motel Miro next door, offer classy rooms at reasonable rates. The design is fresh and modern, with neutral-toned decor, large windows, ground-floor patios and upstairs balconies.
Judges Pool Motel Turangi
This older motel has tidy, spacious rooms with kitchenettes. All one-bedroom units have outdoor decks for relaxing beers, although the barbecue area is the best place to talk about the one that got away.
Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre
This rambling, lake-gazing complex encloses comfortable, well-furnished units with facilities including a spa pool and kids playground...
Silver Fern Lodge
Rooms range from 10-bed dorms to studio en suite units in this large, custom-built complex, trimmed in shiny corrugated aluminium yet still strangely lifeless, decor-wise. There’s a large communal kitchen and lounge.
Cottage Mews Motel
Few motels muster much charm, but this cute gable-roofed block, festooned with hanging flowers, manages to seem almost rustic. Some units have lake views, most have spa baths and all have a small private garden.
Hilton Lake Taupo
Occupying the historic Terraces Hotel (1889) and a recent extension, this large complex offers the expected Hilton standard of luxury in non-threatening shades of grey. It's a little out of town but is handy for the DeBretts thermal complex.
Sacred Waters Taupo
Apart from some awful mass-produced 'art', these large apartments are stylish and well-designed. Each has a contemporary kitchen and its own private thermal plunge pool, and most have wonderful lake views.
The Reef Resort Motel
Like the ducks that congregate here in winter, warming their butts in the hot springs, so too do Taupo's apartment complexes jostle for the free thermal waters on this stretch of the lake...
Oreti Village Resort
This enclave of luxury self-contained apartments might give you a hankering for ‘village’ life – which in Oreti’s case entails gazing at blissful lake views from the comfort of a rolled-arm leather couch...
Taupo Debretts Spa
More of a holiday park than a flashy resort, DeBretts offers everything from tent sites to motel-style units. It’s a five-minute drive from downtown, but it's well worth the hop for the indulgent thermal pools that share its home.
Asure Parklands Motorlodge
On SH1 but set back beyond an epic front lawn, Parklands offers a small but functional area for campervans and splay of well-presented units. There’s a swimming pool and play area for the kids.
Bella Vista Motel Taupo
The canine-adverse may find the owners' big docile dog a little offputting, but the units here are clean and comfortable, if a little bland. There's a communal barbecue at the rear of the complex.
Welcome to paradise. One of the best hotels in NZ, Huka Lodge basks in accolades and a procession of famous guests, including at least three queens...
Rainbow Lodge Backpackers
A solid, sociable hostel offering clean rooms, including some with en suite. Bonuses include bike ($20 per day) and fishing-tackle hire, free coffee and a sauna.
Fashioned from an ageing motel, our favourite Taupo hostel has private rooms with en suites and supercomfy beds. The staff rival the cartoon blackcurrants in the Ribena ads for chirpiness.
Taupo Urban Retreat
A younger crowd gravitates to this purpose-built hostel, attracted by its publike hub and carefree style. It’s refreshingly modern in design with a beach-house feel, despite being on a busy road.
This hostel has lake and mountain views from the balcony, a spacious kitchen, comfy lounges, lots of Maori artwork and a spa pool out back.