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Marlborough is probably most familiar to drinkers of crisp Sauvignon Blanc or smooth Pinot Noirs, but it’s not only world class vineyards you’ll find here, this is also where you’ll find the spectacular fjord-like region of the Marlborough Sounds, and Kaikoura, known for whale and dolphin watching cruises. The best places to stay in Marlborough range from tranquil lodges among the vines to resorts perched right on the edge of the Sounds. Wherever you stay this is a wonderful region to explore.
The Marlborough Sounds were once deep valleys flooded after the last ice age, which is why their shorelines are so dramatically jagged and interspersed with beaches, inlets, headlands and peaks.
Picton is thought of by many as the gateway to the South Island and is the best place to land if you want to explore the Marlborough Sounds or walk the Queen Charlotte Track. In summer the ferries are very busy and this is a lively little centre with plenty to do if you have a few more days to spare on either side of your walk or cruise, including a maritime museum and an aquarium.
If you’re travelling to Marlborough to explore the wine region you’ll probably stay near, or at least pass through, Blenheim. Not far from Picton, around 29kms south, it sits between several hills and ranges. As well as being in the heart of wine country, and home of the Cloudy Bay, Saint Clair and Clos Henri estates and cellar doors, Blenheim has several museums and an art gallery.
What Not To Miss
- Culture vultures should head to the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum, home to a fascinating 161-year old ship with a rich history; from transporting convicts to Australia, to shipping troops off to the Crimean War.
- Or, there's the Omaka Aviation centre which houses Peter Jackson's own personal collection of WWI aircraft as well as a number of other historical aviation artefacts.
- Head off hiking for an afternoon through the beautifully scenic Queen Charlotte Track - make sure you remember your camera!
- Pass by the Saint Clair Family Estate Vineyard Kitchen to enjoy a tasting session of their various wines accompanied with gorgeous cuisine.
The whole region is an extremely popular destination year round. So if you're looking to book one of the best places to stay in Marlborough don't leave it till the last minute - you might be disappointed!
For something special
- The Bay of Many Coves Resort is a private, tranquil ecolodge with eleven rooms and apartments. Some rooms have huge decks or floor to ceiling windows, to take advantage of the fantastic views over the bay. There’s also a private jetty, fine dining restaurant and an outdoor pool and hot tub.
Getting away from it all
- The wonderfully named No Road Inn actually has no road in, you can only reach the four room lodge by water taxi or by foot - this lodge makes a wonderful first night’s stay for walkers on the Queen Charlotte Track. Rooms are light and airy with private outdoor decks and an outdoor hot tub, a native forest garden and good little restaurant.
- The Antares Homestay has two self contained ‘cottages’, both with a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. You’re right in the heart of Marlborough wine country, close to the Wairau River, which is a great spot for fishing or birdwatching.
- Pine Hill Lodge has two beautiful, boutique style rooms and an outdoor hot tub with views out onto the lodge’s orchards, olive groves and walnut trees. You are close to the Tasman Great Taste Trail, so is a great spot for foodies.
- Old Saint Mary's Convent offers five tastefully decorated suites with modern amenities and stained glass windows. The property is set in 60 aces of gardens where there is an outdoor pool - a peaceful retreat.
- The 3-room Sennen House, set in an historic 19th century homestead, offers traditional accommodation with four posters and elegant furnishings. Wander around the lovely gardens, stroll through the National Trust protected forest or spend your days whale watching!
For great value
- The Portage Resort offers a range of accommodation to suit a range of budgets, including several options less than £100 per night. Rooms are modern and light, some with private balconies and the whole resort has spectacular views to Kenepuru Sound. There’s also an outdoor pool and gardens and a seafood restaurant.
- Chateau Marlborough boasts chic contemporary accommodation in the heart of Blenheim, with rooms starting from just £89 per night! Self-catering suites are also available, plus there's an outdoor pool and a lovely restaurant.
- Located in Blenheim Town, Botanica B&B boasts two simple but comfortable suites and an award-winning garden. Enjoy an organic breakfast to set you up for the day.
- Raetihi Lodge is an upmarket stay on Kenepuru Sound. Offering smart contemporary rooms with gorgeous views, there's also a waterfront restaurant and free fishing rods available to use.
For boutique chic
- The two room Marlborough B&B is a charming little B&B right in amongst wine country, which also has a self catering cottage. The house and cottage are set on seven acres, which support a walnut grove, a few cattle and some free range chicken. Peaceful and perfect for birdwatchers.
- Just outside Picton, convenient for the Queen Charlotte Track and the Marlborough Sounds, McCormick House is a charming, six room B&B set amongst lush grounds. Individually designed rooms feature luxurious linens and handcrafted furniture.
- Escape to Picton is a lively three room boutique hotel right on Picton’s waterfront. Rooms are neutrally decorated, but romantic, with nice features like wooden floors and freestanding baths. There’s also an excellent seafood restaurant.
- Antria Boutique Lodge offers two colourful, quirky suites with plenty of contemporary art on the walls. A relaxing and unfussy break.
- Located in central Blenheim, Hotel D'Urville is a unique Art Deco spot featuring 1920s style interiors. With a variety of individually decorated rooms, some colourful and some classical, as well as a splendid restaurant and bar, it's a wonderful choice.
- Vintners Retreat offers luxurious cottage accommodation in amongst the Marlborough vines. Each cottage has its own kitchen, laundry, living room, patio and BBQ. There’s also a swimming pool and tennis courts on sight.
- Lake Timara Lodge is a luxurious lodge with an English country house feel. There are just four rooms, decorated with antiques and bright wallpaper, plus a pool, tennis court, excellent wine cellar and five acres of beautiful, fragrant gardens.
For An Apartment or Villa
If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.
- Marborough's nicest weather-wise in the summer, from December to March, with the average daily temperature rising to 17°C in February.
- This however is peak season, so for potentially quieter alternatives consider coming in November or April.
- Visitors can fly into Marlborough Airport or Picton Airport, both of which are served by flights to Wellington, with the former also taking travellers to and from Christchurch as well as Auckland.
- From the airport, you can take the bus towards your final destination.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
- Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Marlborough.
- Extend your search and look at all our South Island recommendations.
- Or feel free to contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Marlborough
Chateau Marlborough 45 rooms from £88Blenheim, Marlborough
Luxury hotel in central Blenheim with bright, contemporary and chic rooms all featuring separate kitchenettes. Larger suites have full kitchen and laundry facilities. Glorious outdoor swimming pool with fun bar, restaurant and views over Seymour Square gardens.Sights nearby - 2 minutes walk from the centre of BlenheimSwimming Pool - Heated outdoor pool with poolside barGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrailLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Fodors
Botanica B&B 2 rooms from £92Blenheim, Marlborough
Boutique B&B in Blenheim town, the heart of Marlborough wine region. Two suites set around award-winning garden with comfy beds, fun décor and laundry facilities. Free transfers to airport, bus and train stations. Delicious local and organic breakfast included.Great walks - Queen Charlottle TrackSights nearby - Omaka Aviation MuseumSailing - Can be booked nearby.Hideaway - Tranquil and intimate.
The Portage Resort 41 rooms from £95Marlborough
Range of accommodation options to suit varying budgets. Rooms modern, bright and some have private balconies. Great views to Kenepuru Sound. With an outdoor swimming pool, spa, gardens and restaurant specialising in seafood. Family friendly.Views - Views of Kenepuru SoundGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackSailing - On Kenepuru SoundSpa
Hotel D'Urville 11 rooms from £100Marlborough
1920s art deco style boutique hotel in Blenheim with 11 stylish and unique rooms, each with individual themes from classic to retro. Four poster beds, original art works and free wifi. Great restaurant and cocktail bar. An ideal base for exploring the Marlborough wineries.Four poster beds - For romantics.Great walks - Good for walkers.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Fodors
Sennen House 3 rooms from £110Marlborough
Historic homestead built in 1886 now boutique accommodation in Picton. Large four poster beds, original NZ artworks and elegant furnishings. Formal gardens and Queen Elizabeth II National Trust protected native forest to the rear. Walking distance to restaurants and Queen Charlotte Track.Views - Views across the grounds to Picton, Victoria Domain and the hillsSights nearby - Great base for exploring the Marlborough regionGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackBack to Nature
Raetihi Lodge 14 rooms from £111Marlborough
Luxury lodge on Kenepuru Sound in the Marlborough region. Rooms are chic, modern and comfortable with sea, garden and hill views. Waterfront restaurant, free fishing rods and kayaks for exploring the sounds. Close to golf course, Queen Charlotte Track and wineries. For a relaxing country escape.Kayaking - Two double and three single kayaks are available for guests to borrowGreat walks - On either the Queen Charlotte or Nydia TracksFishing - Complimentary fishing rods to borrow.Views - Sea, garden and hill views
Marlborough B&B 2 rooms from £120Blenheim, Marlborough
Friendly, comfortable, clean, spacious and charming boutique B&B in Marlborough wine country. Contained cottage also available with kitchen facilities. On seven acres with walnut grove, free range chickens and cattle. Fresh daily breakfast.Birdwatching - Local birdlife - pukeko, tui, ducks, herons, pheasants, fantails, bellbirds, magpies and moreporkLocal markets - Good for local colour.Great walks - Good for walkers.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Antares Homestay from £122Marlborough
Two self-contained accommodation options, each with a kitchen, living area and two bedrooms. In the famous Marlborough wine region and close to Wairau River for great fishing and birdwatching. Friendly hosts, private, peaceful and good value.Sights nearby - Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Marlborough MuseumViews - Over vineyards to Wither Hills and Richmond RangesBirdwatching - Rare black-fronted tern and black-billed gullOutstanding location - Close to braided Wairau River
McCormick House 6 rooms from £141Picton, Marlborough
Charming boutique B&B just outside Picton. Individually designed rooms feature luxury linens & handcrafted furniture. Lush half acre gardens. Ideal for a peaceful break, but equally a great base for enjoying all the activities on offer in the Marlborough Sounds.Quirky - Individual features in each roomGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackSailing - Can be booked nearby.Back to Nature
No Road Inn 4 rooms from £187Malborough Sounds, Marlborough
Accessible only by water taxi, helicopter or on foot, this lodge is the first night's stay along the Queen Charlotte Track. Light and airy rooms with private outdoor decks, showers and free standing baths. With an outdoor hot tub, native forest garden, restaurant and wifi. Luxury in the wilderness.Great walks - On the Queen Charlotte Hiking TrackOutstanding location - Situated on the Queen Charlotte TrackBirdwatching - Motuara Island bird sanctuaryViews - Bush and waterfront views
Antria Boutique Lodge 2 rooms from £192Blenheim, Marlborough
Charming boutique lodge consisting of two suites with high timber ceilings and quirky, contemporary local art. Friendly hosts offer tailored tours of the area. Within walking distance to restaurants and wineries. Garden with chickens, pigs and sheep. Great for a weekend break.Local markets - Marlborough Farmers Market (seasonal)Sailing - Boat trips in the Marlborough soundsGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackFishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Escape to Picton 3 rooms from £192Picton, Marlborough
Fun & lively boutique hotel on Picton's waterfront. Romantic rooms decorated in a neutral palette with opulent accessories including chandeliers, wooden floors and free standing baths. Highly acclaimed on site restaurant for local seafood & more. Great base for exploring Marlborough region.Sights nearby - Two minutes to the town centreViews - Overlooking Picton MarinaGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackRestrictions on children
Vintners Retreat from £212Marlborough
Luxury accommodation in Marlborough vines. Self catering cottages with kitchen, laundry, living area and outdoor patio with BBQ. Swimming pool and tennis court on site. Ideal for wine tours and trips to local beaches.Swimming Pool - OutdoorGreat walks - Good for walkers.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Old Saint Mary's Convent 5 rooms from £292Blenheim, Marlborough
Heritage hotel with fascinating religious history set in 60 acres of vines, park-like gardens and olive groves. Five suites with modern amenities, antique furnishings, rimu panelling and stained glass windows. Plus an outdoor pool and private chapel. Full of character and charm.Views - Of surrounding vineyards, gardens and Richmond RangesQuirky - Small family of cats lives on propertySights nearby - Omake Aviation Heritage CentreGreat walks - Queen Charlotte Track
Bay of Many Coves Resort 11 rooms from £331Picton, Marlborough
Tranquil and private luxury eco resort with spacious, elegant rooms & apartments. Outdoor decks & huge picture windows make the most of fantastic views over the bay. With a fine dining restaurant, private jetty, hot tub and outdoor swimming pool. Dolphin spotting and great walks nearby.Kayaking - Borrow a Sea Kayak or Dinghy for exploring Marlborough SoundsGreat walks - Queen Charlotte Track and 50 acres of private bush to exploreBirdwatching - Species include Kereru, Tui and WekaRemote - Only accessible by water or airRecommended by - Small Luxury Hotels
Lake Timara Lodge 4 rooms from £341Marlborough
Luxury lodge with English country house feel in the heart of NZ's Marlborough wine region. Rooms with antique furnishings, bright wall paper, comfy double beds and seating areas. With a swimming pool, 5 acre garden with deliciously scented roses, tennis court and private wine cellar. Just charming.Birdwatching - Native wood pigeons, black swans, teal, geese, ducksGreat walks - Queen Charlotte TrackFishing - Excellent fishing nearby.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor