While many mistake Auckland as the capital of New Zealand, Wellington is the country’s true capital city. Not only is it the legit capital, it is also New Zealand’s ‘Capital of Cool’.
Like most places in New Zealand, Wellington is small, cozy, and down-to-earth, home to a laid-back population of just over 200,000 locals.
Things run at a slower pace, even in the center of the city! There is a zen feeling about it. The city itself is tiny, with popular areas like Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, and Porirua in the surrounding province.
Surrounded by sea, Wellington is known for its gorgeous harbor and esplanade. It boasts the largest artsy, hipster youth and student population in New Zealand, bringing something extra special to the area.
It also lives up to its nickname of ‘Windy Welly’. Exposed to the elements with its vast sea-front coast, it can be one of the windiest places in the world.
Motels are one of the most popular places to stay with budget travelers and road-trippers. These are some of the best motels in Wellington for those looking for an affordable stay.
Studio King Apartment at Museum Apartment Hotel, Independent Collection by EVT
- > $$$
- > 2 Guests
- > Indoor swimming pool and fitness center
- > On-site restaurant and breakfast prepared daily
Queen Studio at Southgate Motor Inn
- > $
- > 2 Guests
- > Disability access room with roll-in shower
- > Room service and complimentary parking
Deluxe Two Bedroom Apartment at Quest on Thorndon
- > $$$$
- > 4 Guests
- > Full kitchen, living room, and dining room
- > City views near Thorndon Quay
Staying in a Motel in Wellington
Staying in a hotel when visiting Wellington can be expensive. Hotels, bed and breakfasts, and guesthouses usually add an increased service charge, especially during high season. For an alternative to the typical hotel, motels have the convenience of a self-catering vacation rental with some of the hotel facilities.
That said, motels are typically more limited than hotels, with fewer services and amenities.
They may not be designed with style in mind, but they do have self-catering facilities for keeping your costs down while you explore. The best Wellington motels have a full kitchen with a stove, oven, microwave, kettle, and toaster, while a few have a basic kitchenette. Kitchens make it easy to prepare your own food to save money on eating out. They are also highly desirable for travelers with kids, and long-term visitors.
Motels have other amenities common like hotels, including complimentary toiletries, fresh linens and towels, tea and coffee facilities, and 24-hour reception. The more expensive options even provide daily housekeeping and serve breakfast each morning!
Motels have long been known as a refuge for road trippers traveling across countries. While they are typically located on the side of popular highways, this isn’t always the case in Wellington. Since the city is so small, most of the best motels in Wellington are located in the city center or just outside of it.
What to Look For in a Motel in Wellington
I like to think of a motel as a combination between a hotel and a Wellington hostel. With private rooms and personal kitchens, set in convenient locations, they are a great option for budget travelers who appreciate privacy and value for money.
Location is important when choosing where to stay. Luckily enough, since Wellington is small, many motels are located right in the heart of the city center! Others are set in the neighboring towns of Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt, which are just a fifteen-minute drive or ferry ride from Wellington city center.
If you are visiting with family or as a couple, and seeking a quiet stay, I recommend choosing a spot in Lower Hutt. It offers a more low-key atmosphere than central Wellington. On the other hand, if you are visiting alone or are interested in the culture and history, staying in the heart of Wellington might suit you better.
Plenty of motels have family-sized rooms, and even some with full apartments and multiple rooms!
Booking.com is a great place to book a motel in Wellington. The platform makes it easy to choose a motel with all the amenities you need.
The Top 10 Motels in Wellington
Now it’s time to check out the best motels in Wellington!
Overall Best Value Motel in Wellington – Bella Vista Motel
- 2 Guests
- Queen bed
- A short walk from the beach
Just a short distance from the Wellington CBD, Bella Vista Motel is suitable for everyone from business travelers to families. Not only can you make use of a basic kitchenette in the suite, but there is also an outdoor grill and shared dining area.
The spacious room has a desk space, closet, ensuite bathroom, and private terrace. It includes free parking on the premises, luggage drop-off and coin-operated laundry facilities. For those looking for a quick stop-off or a couple of night’s stay, Bella Vista Motel is an excellent choice.
Best Budget Motel in Wellington – Southgate Motor Inn
- 2 Guests
- Disabled access
- Room service and complimentary parking
Saving money is easily done when staying in a Wellington motel. Southgate Motor Inn is a great option for budget travelers, featuring comfortable accommodation with private parking, free Wi-Fi, and facilities for disabled guests – all just a short walk from Freyberg Beach!
The motel has family-sized and disability access rooms. Each is fitted with a personal work desk, kitchenette, and ensuite bathroom. Some rooms even include a balcony.
Best Motel for Couples in Wellington – Museum Apartment Hotel
- 2 Guests
- Indoor swimming pool and fitness center
- On-site restaurant and breakfast
Not only is this an excellent option for couples, it’s one of the best motels in Wellington for luxe seekers. Set in the most desirable area of Wellington, the Museum Apartment Hotel features beautifully designed suites and studios for a reasonable price.
The rooms have full kitchens, living spaces with large windows overlooking the city, and a bathroom. You can use the indoor swimming pool and fitness center, for keeping on top of your fitness during your city stay.
Best Motel for a Group of Friends in Wellington – Ava Lodge
- 4 Guests
- Private kitchen and terrace
- Just north of Wellington in Lower Hutt
If you’re visiting Wellington with a group of your friends, Ava Lodge is an excellent option for everyone to stay together without crazy prices. Located just north of the city center, the motel is surrounded by exciting bars, restaurants, cafes, gorgeous gardens, and beaches.
Although not technically in Wellington city, it’s just a fifteen-minute drive or a short ferry ride away. The rooms are basic yet stylish, featuring modern interiors, well-equipped kitchens, and high-quality bedding and linens.
Over-the-Top Luxury Motel in Wellington – Quest on Thorndon
- 4 Guests
- Full kitchen, living room, and dining room
- City views near Thorndon Quay
Quest on Thorndon is one of those spots you don’t expect a motel in Wellington. With an art-deco interior touches and high-end amenities, it’s one of the best motels for its luxurious style.
You can enjoy access to the affiliated gym right next to the property, and choose between family-friendly and disability-access rooms and more! Set in the city center, it’s also the closest accommodation to the Inter-Island Ferry Terminal. If you are traveling by car, you will be able to take advantage of free private parking available on-site.
Best Motel for Families Visiting Wellington – Apollo Lodge Motel
- 5 Guests
- Private entrance and kitchen
- Continental breakfast served each day
This lovely Wellington lodge looks more like a family home than a motel, making it great for families. The lodge has complimentary Wi-Fi, private parking, and a freshly prepared continental breakfast served each morning!
It has a fully fitted kitchen, dining area, living area, patio, and two separate bedrooms. Ideal for keeping everyone entertained, it is just a ten-minute walk to the Te Papa Museum and other must-see attractions in Wellington.
Best Motel in Wellington for Backpackers – The Marion
- 1 Guest
- Handy storage facilities, reading light, plug points
- Female-only dorm options
Located right in the bustling center of Wellington, The Marion is a trendy hostel designed for budget travelers looking for a social experience. It is within walking distance of Cuba Street and Courtenay Place, which is the city’s buzzing cultural heart.
With a stylish and bright living environment, the common spaces are the perfect spot to relax after a day out exploring the city. Enjoy the city views from the rooftop terrace, and grab a beer from the on-site bar with your dorm mates.
Best Motel in Wellington for Long-Term Travelers – Green Gables Motel
- 4 Guests
- Self-catering kitchen and outdoor barbeque
- Inner courtyard view in Lower Hutt
The suites at Green Gables Motel are ideal for long-term travelers as they are self-contained with kitchen facilities, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
There are laundry facilities, and a children’s playground for the families. You can arrange a delicious continental, cooked breakfast prepared by local restaurants and eateries for an additional fee. There is also on-site parking!
Most Beautiful Motel in Wellington – BKs Premier Motel Esplanade
- 2 Guests
- Spa bath and private kitchenette
- 15 mins drive from Wellington
With gorgeous views panning across the sea, BKs Premier Motel Esplanade is a comfortable and convenient accommodation with a luxurious twist. It’s just a five-minute drive from Lower Hutt and a fifteen-minute drive into Wellington.
The spacious rooms have homey interiors and colorful linens, ideal for feeling at home in the space. Each room has a private bathroom and kitchenette with a microwave, fridge, stove, and controlled heating and cooling. With its fitness center and boardroom facilities, this motel offers something for every type of traveler.
Most Accessible Motel in Wellington – Wyndham Wellington Taranaki Street
- 2 Guests
- Private kitchenette and dining space
- Bathroom with handles and a roll-in shower
If you’re needing a motel in Wellington with wheelchair access, Ramada by Wyndham on Taranaki Street is the way to go. Set in a modern building just off the highway in central Wellington, the motel is close to great restaurants, bars, and shops.
It is just a few blocks from the beach and Wellington’s Central Park. The entire building has modern interiors, and floor-to-ceiling windows, inviting tons of natural light into the space. Other than the basics, other amenities include an on-site fitness center, tea and coffee facilities, and private parking.
Don’t Forget Your Wellington Travel Insurance
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Final Thoughts on Motels in Wellington
With facilities convenient for business travelers, road trippers, and budget travelers, motels are one of the most common types of accommodation on the market.
These options are not just an average roadside room to rest your head. Some of the best motels in Wellington have luxe amenities, are located in prime neighborhoods, and are managed by large chains.
Whether you’re passing through for a weekend visit, visiting with your family, or treating a significant other to a trip, staying in a motel is a great way to enjoy the city without breaking the bank.
International travelers should be sure to purchase travel insurance well in advance. While the upfront cost might be hard to swallow, the benefits will be highly appreciated if and when you need to claim from insurance.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!