The Carlin Hotel in Queenstown


When I started researching hotels for my New Zealand trip, little did I think I would stay at a 5-star hotel in Queenstown with points.  I was looking at using my Hyatt points, and the Carlin Hotel in Queenstown had availability for two nights. It is part of the Small Luxury Hotels brand that collaborates with Hyatt. I stayed at one in Lake Como, Italy, and loved it, so I was intrigued.

This hotel is located on a hill with fantastic views of Lake Wakatipu. It has eight one, two, and three-bedroom suites and a 7-bedroom suite. I booked a one-bedroom suite with 40K Hyatt points/night, costing about $1500/night in USD. Amazing what points and miles allow one to do! You can really see how Hyatt gives you outsized value when you compare my prior two nights’ stays in New Zealand and what 40K got me at the Mr. and Mr. Smith hotels with points. And mind you, I loved those stays – Hyatt is just so much more!


First Impressions

The hotel’s exterior, located near a residential area, was not overly impressive (except for the Bentley sitting outside). In contrast, the exterior of another SLH brand I could have booked in Queenstown,  Eichardt’s Private Hotel, is VERY impressive. Of course, the Bentley parked outside the hotel did grab my husband’s attention! As did the McLaren and the Porsche in the garage.

You walk directly into a small reception area located in the hotel’s restaurant, Oro, which has a great reputation. In fact, a manager of one of my previous hotel stays in the area went on and on about the restaurant and was VERY impressed I had booked a stay there. She was even more surprised when I explained that I didn’t pay in cash for the stay.

We were offered beverages, oriented to the hotel, and then taken to our room.


Exterior or Carlin Hotel and Pro Restaurant

If you come from the airport and don’t want to rent a car, they will pick you up in that Bentley.


Hallway in hotel with glass ceiling, black doors

The hallway to our room was probably one of the most ornate I’ve seen.

Our Room

Our room was definitely high-end. From the massive living room with gorgeous lake views to the beautiful furniture and accents throughout, it spelled class. Everything was nice wood and marble, and every touch of luxury was addressed, down to the fine pen with the notepad. And the smells – I have to find out what they use – were magnificent!


Living room area of hotel room

The living room area of the Carlin Hotel opened up to a beautiful view of Lake Wakatupi.



There were two screens in the bedroom. One had a view of the lake that you could always see (unless you turned it off), and one was a wide-screen tv. The king-size bed had luxurious sheets and was most comfortable.


Hotel bedroom with white sheets and aqua comforter.

The bedroom colors were so spa-like.


The marble bathroom was spacious and beautiful, with Molten Brown toiletries from London. The star of the bathroom was the toilet which opened its lid when you got close, had heated seats, and a bidet. Those heated toilet seats get me every time!


Marble bathroom

The colors and finishes in the bathroom definitely were luxurious.


The living room opened up to a large balcony with a private hot tub, couch and fireplace, and a table and chairs. The view was breathtaking! The Carlin Hotel in Queenstown is home to magnificent lake views!


Outdoor space with hot top, couch and fireplace

The outdoor space was large and a great way to enjoy the view in Queenstown.


The first night we ordered room service from the Pro, the on-site restaurant. It is open to the public but was not on either of our nights since it was a Sunday followed by a holiday. My husband raved about the oysters and seafood chowder. My filet and mashed potatoes were also good.

We ordered our free breakfast (Small Luxury Hotels offer this) in the restaurant where we dined alone. My husband had some yummy granola, and I had an omelet (it was okay).



The Oro Restaurant

The Extras

This is where this hotel shines. So. Many. Extras. The room had a bottle of wine, and they brought us some canapés within the first hour. There was a small fridge that was filled with nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages (the nonalcoholic are free – lucky for us!) They also had a cupboard filled with about 10 full-size snacks, including chips, nuts, candy bars, etc., which were replenished daily, free of charge.


Several snacks in cupboard.

Look at all these free snacks! Yum!


In the evening, there was a knock, and they brought us miniature cheesecake bites and chocolate macarons. Seriously, the extras were amazing! The next night it was cream puffs and brownies. We had so many delicious treats that we skipped dinner that night and ate canapés and dessert! (We’d also had a late lunch).


Box with brown cookies and cheesecake bites

What a nice surprise this box of treats was in the evening!

Bottom Line

This was a gorgeous, luxurious stay with unbelievable service and plenty of extras. The Carlin Hotel shines in giving you more extras – canapés each night, dessert each night, snacks drinks replenished daily are the type of “over the top” features that make you want to come back. We were literally the only people we saw at breakfast or throughout our stay. This did not stop the team from treating us like royalty.



Woman in bathrobe on terrace in front of mountains and water

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