Posted by: Vallere | May 25, 2011

(belated) Friday’s Flipside Five – Accommodations

Aww…I feel really bad now. I’m late with the FFF and I looked and saw that TONS of people actually DID check in on Friday to see it! And it wasn’t there! I’ve let you down again, my loyal readers. But I do have a good reason! This FFF is part one of a three-part post covering all the stuff we did last weekend!

On May 14, we left for an overnight trip to Wellington. That Saturday afternoon we went to the Wellington Zoo, and the next day we went to Te Papa, which is the National Museum of New Zealand – kinda like the Smithsonian.

For this FFF I’m going to discuss accommodations based off the motel we stayed in Saturday night. Then parts 2 and 3 of the post will cover the zoo and Te Papa.

Enjoy! And again, I’m sorry for the delay!


1) Motels vs Hotels

In the States, if we were going to stay somewhere overnight, we’d usually look for a hotel. Motels have a reputation for being a bit…sleezy…and hotels are really the gold standard. Hotels do have a wide range of niceness, but overall you’d expect a nice clean bed, bathroom, tv, maybe a workout room or pool. The nicer ones might have suites with a pull out couch and kitchenette.

Well, in NZ, it’s a bit backwards. Hotels here are just a bedroom and bath. Hotels here generally have a bar and restaurant in them. You would not find a kitchenette in one, from what I understand. Motels, however, are niiiice. Even the inexpensive ones have a kitchenette, or maybe even a full kitchen. They can have multiple bedrooms, too. They are like small apartments! A good number of the motels also have pools and/or playgrounds for children.

To the right was a twin bed, and up those stairs were 2 bedrooms - one with a queen and one with 3 twins.


2) Tea – they take it seriously!

I’ve mentioned before that Kiwis take tea very seriously. Well, it’s no different if you are staying in a motel. This is what we’ve found in every motel we’ve stayed in so far since being here:

Electric kettle, variety of coffees and teas, and yes, a French press.

They also give you a little pint of milk on check-in. Yes, real milk for your tea and coffee!

3) Humerous sweeteners

So far, every motel we’ve stayed in has had this same brand of sugar packets. And they have these awesome quotes on them. I know this isn’t really a difference – you can find things like this in the States, too – but I just really loved them so I’m including them. And you can’t stop me!

Top right says “The large print giveth, but the fine print taketh away”

4) Strangely specific

This is another thing we’ve seen in the bathroom of every motel we’ve stayed in:

I…I got nuthin’. Any Kiwis want to explain this one? It looks like shavers have a totally differently shaped plug than other things. And that perhaps they also run on a totally different current. Why??

5) Planning ahead vs Winging it

I’m not sure if we just have dumb luck on our side, of if this is a rule, but so far we’ve been able to get reduced rates on rooms almost every time we’ve stayed in a motel. In the States, I think that planning ahead (ie, booking a room via Priceline or Expedia) would save you the most money. But it seems that here, if you walk in at the last minute and ask if they have a vacancy, then wince a bit when they tell you the price, they’ll knock it down 15% or so just to fill the room. We’ve had this happen more than once. Our issue at this point is that no one will rent us just a single room because of the kids. So we pretty much have to rent a suite when we stay somewhere. But suites are expensive, and as such, I imagine they are harder to fill. We’ve been able to get suites for the price of a normal room. Yay!


This concludes part 1 of our 3 part weekend adventure. Up next? Wellington Zoo! Come back tomorrow for kiwi, tuatara, and morepork!



  1. I like the shavers outlet! Very amusing, and it looks like it actually carries 2 different currents, 110 and 240. Please share if any locals give you an update on them. That makes me curious too!
    And I just love the sugar packets. The George Bush one had me rolling!

  2. In Europe you have the different outlets for the shavers as well.

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