An office-block exterior, sleek neutral-hued rooms and uniformed staff may lead you to think the Mayfair in Christchurch is all business… In fact, this one-of-a-kind boutique stay is fine-tuned for pleasure. Partnering with neighbourhood restaurants, a gym and spa, the hotel offers bells-and-whistles luxury to guests while supporting the businesses that keep its locale lively. Its own café is a buzzing, art-nouveau-inspired lounge open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, ahead of cocktail o’clock, tipples and tapas. Nowhere is far away in Christchurch, but at the Mayfair, the city centre is in walking distance and Hagley Park even closer.
Get this when you book through us:
A cocktail voucher each and late check-out at 12 noon.
11am. Earliest check-in, 2pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Late check-out available on request (charges apply).
Double rooms from £158.92 (NZ$325), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates are room only but an à la carte breakfast is available (from NZ$30).
The Mayfair’s owner has spent time in eastern Asia and subscribes to the traditional Asian notion that four’s an unlucky number – so much so that there are no rooms on the hotel’s fourth floor.
At the hotel
E-bikes to borrow. In rooms: free WiFi, smart TV, Chromecast, minibar, free tea and coffee, free filtered water, Byredo bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Comfortable and modern, all rooms are spacious (at least 32 square metres) and light-filled with either windows that open or a Juliet balcony. Top of House Kings have double-height ceilings and balconies. Mayfair Suites are positioned on corners with dual-aspect windows and nothing is bigger (or loftier) than the Top of House Suite.
There’s no spa at the Mayfair, but the hotel partners with a nearby gym and spa. Gym equipment can be ordered to your room at extra cost.
Vintage glamour will fit right in at the art nouveau-style café – your comfiest trainers for exploring this walkably compact city.
Wheelchair accessible rooms are available and the lobby, café and bathrooms are wheelchair friendly.
Welcome. Twin Kings are a good family option, or an extra bed can be added in suites. The hotel can help arrange babysitting and there’s a kids menu at the café. The vibe, however, is more grown-ups only.
Rooms have been designed with maximum natural light and windows that open – although there’s still AC, which along with the lighting, plumbing and heating, all of which have been installed with energy-saving measures. Your ensuite, too, is no slouch: Byredo bath products are full size and refillable, and toilet roll suitably eco. Cleaners do their bit with environmentally friendly products, but if you opt out of daily housekeeping, the hotel will make a donation to a tree-planting scheme. Partnership schemes with restaurants, a gym and nearby spa, are the hotel’s way of supporting local businesses, plus the Mayfair donates to a local native planting charity, Trees For Change.
Tables at the edge of the room set against navy velvet banquettes combine cosiness and the best views of the café’s comings and goings – although a high stool beside the bar may be more convivial if you’re there for cocktails only.
Anything that channels Twenties glamour – although the relaxed vibe means smart attire is entirely optional.
Majestic at Mayfair is an all-day café, open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Its navy-velvet and eau de nil interior channels Twenties glamour. An à la carte breakfast menu includes eggs benny and signature French toast. High tea is a high point with miniature charcuterie toasts, canapé burgers, finessed financiers and cremeux-filled choux swans courtesy of the resident French pastry chef. From mid-afternoon, service turns to small plates and mains such as slow-cooked smoked lamb on puy lentils, rare beef chimichurri or feta and lemon stuffed chicken breast.
As popular as Majestic at Mayfair is for its high tea, it’s also a magnet for those in search of mixology: tea-laced tipples provide signature cocktails, but whatever you’re in the mood for, staff are happy to improvise. Pre-dinner is when the café is at its most lively – the 9pm closing time means it’s not a place for a nightcap.
The café is open from 6.30am until 9pm daily, with afternoon tea served from 3pm.
You can order from the café menu via the guest services tablet in your room: when the café is closed, limited snacks are available to order.
The Mayfair is on Victoria Street, an area of shops and restaurants not far from the casino and only a short walk from the centre of Christchurch.
Christchurch airport is a 20-minute drive away; the hotel can arrange private transfers at extra cost.
The hotel offers valet parking in a covered car park from NZ$39 a night; there’s self-parking nearby for NZ$25 and free parking if you can find a spot near Hagley Park, a short walk away.
Worth getting out of bed for
A tram tour of Christchurch is an excellent starting point for a potted history of the city and its sites of interest commentated by your driver. Head to Christchurch Museum exhibit Quake City for a heart-rending insight into the city’s story of survival and the science behind earthquakes. We wouldn’t usually recommend the local library, but Christchurch’s is an architectural wonder. Explore the shops and cafés around the Riverside Market and ‘the terraces’ (Oxford and Cambridge). There’s so much more to Christchurch Art Gallery than its curvaceous, mirror-tiled exterior. Or you could start the day in style with a sunrise soak at New Brighton hot pools, where thermal dips come with sea views.
Mayfair partner the Goldfinch is a Victoria Street restaurant of warmly lit suede benches and wooden tables where the Asian-fusion menu features wild boar skewers, cauliflower pakora, dumplings, seared tuna and more. After negotiating its slightly less than welcoming name, grab a table at You Hanoi Me, which serves modern Vietnamese plates with a side of irreverence: highlights include monkfish green curry, slow cooked beef cheek and clay pot sticky pork. Giovanni’sis the Mayfair’s third partner restaurant, serving Italian classics at chequer-clothed tables just across the street. Greek food done well and a shipshape dining room are the hallmarks of starred restaurant Athens Yacht Club, which brings Aegean flavours to Victoria Street in dishes such as halloumi filled courgettes, calamari with dill mayo and kleftiko lamb.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this urban hotel in New Zealand and unpacked their Little Biddy gin and Quake City aftersocks, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Mayfair in Christchurch…
Christchurch is a city synonymous with regeneration: its city centre was devastated by the aftershocks of the 2010 Canterbury earthquake – and most of the modern buildings in its centre have sprung up only recently, while many surviving brick buildings are still buttressed or mid-repair. The Mayfair typifies this renewal – an independent boutique stay on Victoria Street, the hotel is doing its bit for the area’s appeal and its café, Majestic at Mayfair, attracts locals as well as guests. Its 67 rooms and suites are pleasingly spacious (starting at 32 square metres), dressed smartly in neutral hues, clean lines and modern furnishings, with marble-clad ensuites and Hagley Park or Victoria Street views. So far, so sleek. But it’s the thoughtful extras that elevate this innovative hotel: dine at a partner restaurant and put the bill on your hotel tab; forgo housekeeping one day and the hotel will donate to a tree charity as a thank you; make a date for high tea with pastries fit for a Parisian salon, or order a mojito muddled just the way you like it. Although Christchurch is typically a gateway to touring the South Island, the Mayfair is poised to persuade you to stay longer.