Where to stay and play in Christchurch this winter

While I’m not at all superstitious, I’m a big believer in fate. Which is exactly why a romantic weekend for two in Christchurch was the perfect way to celebrate our recent engagement the weekend before.

As if pre-planned by my hugely romantic (and secretive!) fiancé, our two-day sojourn to the Garden City was the perfect blend of R&R and adventure – which suited me down to the ground.

Our luxurious getaway began the second we set foot into Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, a DoubleTree by Hilton on Friday evening, where we were greeted by a super helpful (and warm DoubleTree Cookie toting) concierge who informed us of the ins and outs of our two-night stay.

Iconic in its own right, Chateau on the Park was refurbished in 2016, and it showed. Designed by Peter Beaven, the baronial architecture is totally complimented by contemporary interior décor throughout the 192 guest rooms and suites. Earthly tones feature throughout the lobby, coupled with an inviting fireplace to warm your cockles.

Elevated but not unapproachable, this is one boutique stay that will have you wanting to move right on in.

While my better half sank his teeth into his Chocolate Chip Cookie, I was only too eager to hunt out our room. I’m the first to admit I’m hugely sentimental, so walking into our Deluxe Balcony King Room was made all the sweeter when I literally stumbled over monogrammed slippers to find similarly personalised pillow cases atop our King size bed. How grateful was I that my initials aren’t going to be changing!

The stresses of my busy week melted away as I began exploring our home-away-from-home for the weekend. A luxe armchair was begging to be sat in while I sipped my Storm & India Hibiscus Blossom tea, which had been delicately placed on the table in front. Not forgetting an effervescent LUSH bath bomb that would be put to good use later that evening.

And, let’s be real, the highlight of any hotel stay is checking out the bathroom, right?! Spacious, well-lit, and boasting a generously sized bath, I was planning on spending a LOT of time here. Bath and body products by Crabtree & Evelyn were well received by the builder, who nine-times-out-of-ten forgets some kind of bathing necessity when we head away.

By this stage it was almost 11pm, and we were hankering for food. Chateau on the Park’s Garden Court Brasserie menu offers Room Service until the wee hours, and we were only too happy to select one of the many dishes to whet our appetites. A beef burger served in a perfectly toasted brioche bun, cos lettuce, bacon, onion, pickles, cheddar cheese and garlic mayo was just the ticket for the hungry builder.

The vegetarians, gluten or lactose intolerant among us will be delighted to note the wide variety of menu options that can be tailored to suit any dietary preferences or allergies. As I’m gluten intolerant myself, this was a massive tick worthy of a return visit.

Following the best sleep I’d had in a while, luxuriating in the comfort of the DoubleTree Sweet Dreams bed, sunrise revealed the sprawling views of Chateau on the Park’s five-acre gardens (complete with the most exquisite roses I’ve seen!).

Tailor made just for us, breakfast in bed was delivered right to our door. An omelette filled my tank for a day of adventuring, while scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage were on the menu for him. Brekkie in bed is a rarity in our household, so this was a real treat for both of us!

We boarded the Christchurch Tram mid-morning to check out what was new in the city – and it was clear to me that the café culture in the Garden City is burgeoning. Local sights and landmarks like the Avon River, Re: START Mall, Arts Centre and Canterbury Museum were sure highlights.

The Tannery boutique shopping precinct was the ideal stop for a bite to eat. After thoroughly exploring the boutique stores’ offerings, we were ready for lunch. The Brewery made for a cosy spot to warm our cockles while we dined.

A clear highlight on our weekend away was Punting on the Avon on Saturday afternoon. The authentic Edwardian punting tour was a first for both of us, and we were offered a hot water bottle (which I promptly pinched) and a blanket as we were gently guided down the Avon river by our knowledgeable punter.

Each flat-bottomed boat is poled along by a punter who stands on a platformed tilled at the rear of the boat. We drifted past the Botanic Gardens in the crisp dusk air, which was every bit as romantic as I’d hoped it would be!

Upon returning to Chateau on the Park, a friendly staff member hand delivered more DoubleTree Cookies, bottled water and Guylian chocolates to our door during their turn down service. Yes please!

Our lazy Sunday morning was made even better by heading downstairs to the Garden Court Brasserie for a champagne breakfast. Both hot and cold options proffered the freshest local fare, from an array of fresh fruit, yoghurt, smoothies and cereals (including gluten free!) to scrambled eggs, sautéed mushrooms, hash bites, bacon, sausage and specialty Asian fare. We toasted over a plate of the hot selection while looking out to the sumptuous rose garden, which looked even more mystical in the misting rain that had set in.

Not ones to let a spot of rain ruin plans, we toured around the beautiful grounds and uncovered an outdoor pavilion and swimming pool, perfect for a summer visit.

Spiral staircases, latticed pergolas, and winding pathways led us all around Chateau on the Park, every turn boasting a gram-worthy snap.

As our romantic getaway drew to a close, packing our stuff back into bags almost seemed criminal. Our home-away-from-home had such a welcoming and relaxing vibe we never wanted to leave.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. DoubleTree by Hilton offers nearly 500 upscale hotels in gateway cities, metropolitan areas and vacation hotspots across the globe! We’re already planning our next getaway…

Chateau on the Park – Christchurch, a Double Tree by Hilton
189 Deans Avenue
Riccarton, Christchurch

Head here for more.