The 1920's Converted Dairy: Bringing Vintage Vibes to Queenstown's Boutique Hotel Scene

Cars, phones, movies, radio, and home electricity. The 1920s marked the beginning of many things, including what is now a standout boutique stay on NZ's South Island.

Interior Design
Larissa Fuller
Sydney, Australia

The 1920's Converted Dairy: Bringing Vintage Vibes to Queenstown's Boutique Hotel Scene

Cars, phones, movies, radio, and home electricity. The 1920s marked the beginning of many things, including what is now a standout boutique stay on NZ's South Island.

Vintage may seem like a thing of the past, but it never truly goes out of style. There's something about going back in time that's exciting and fun. It's like hitting the refresh button for our senses and our souls.

Yet, discovering a concept that emerges from its rich heritage but evades obsolescence can be quite a feat. Nevertheless, New Zealanders possess an uncanny knack for it. Choosing quality and design over ostentatiousness and prominent labels.

A great example of this is The Dairy, a boutique hotel in Queenstown that's oozing with authenticity and local charm. It's a beautiful showcase of how a well-executed heritage concept can bring a building back to life.

Naumi Hotels have taken The Dairy's 1920s origins and transformed it into one of Queenstown's most neighbourly and authentic stays.

Locay chats with Colin Ho, Group Marketing Director, to get a deeper understanding of this one-of-a-kind lodging experience located on New Zealand's epic South Island. Colin explains how the team approached the design and what they set out to achieve for all of their guests in this unique space.

The Dairy isn't just any ordinary hotel; it's an entire experience that will take you back in time. Located in the heart of Queenstown, this private hotel is a brilliant base for the many journeys that await in New Zealand's Adventure Capital!

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We love a bit of history. What was The Dairy Private Hotel before it was a private hotel?

It was, as the name suggests, a 'Dairy,' also known as a corner store. The store played a significant role in the history of the town and the local community, providing a range of local products, from fresh milk and eggs to produce from local farms, as well as treats from across the British Empire.

Following this, The Dairy site became home to a guesthouse as tourism to the region expanded with the onset of international travel in the 1950s. In these early years, the journey to Queenstown was lengthy until Queenstown International Airport opened in 1995.

Today, the hotel’s dining room, situated on the corner of Isle and Brecon Streets, still occupies the original Queenstown corner store site.

How long has it been operating as a boutique hotel?

The Naumi Group transformed the three buildings the hotel occupies in 2020; before that, it served as a guest house.

Can you tell us more about the service and experience ethos behind The Dairy Private Hotel?

Personal service with attention to detail.

Generous hospitality is tailored to each guest.

The team has expert knowledge of Queenstown and the surrounding areas to give our guests the very best experience in the region. We also partner with local wineries, producers, distilleries, coffee roasters, and businesses to offer a uniquely local Queenstown experience for visitors.

Who designed the space?

Material Creative, a local design firm, worked on four elements of our brief during renovation and conversion: luxury, rustic glamour, uniqueness, and bespoke design, while paying homage to the style of traditional European ski chalets and the rich history of the area.

We wanted them to exercise decorative freedom through craftsmanship, colour, and unexpected details.
The design vision for The Dairy was not only through grand statements, such as the bold red and blue tartan carpet, but also through small gestures like vintage decorative collections and eclectic artwork.

This mix of local and international influences has resulted in what customers experience today: an eccentric mix of opulence that feels unique to the location and a boldly curated hotel interior that offers guests a luxurious and restful stay with a balance of old-world charm and contemporary comforts.

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"Privacy is one of our customer pillars at the hotel, so we can’t disclose any guest details. But, as you can imagine, Queenstown has been a popular filming destination over the years, so we’ve had many famous guests that've stayed."

How many suites does the hotel offer?

12 rooms

What is your most popular suite or suites, and why?

The Junior Suite offers views of The Remarkables mountain range from the balcony, and within the suite, there are spaces to relax and enjoy the adorned kaleidoscopic patterns galore. It truly is a beautiful space and is popular with guests wanting a romantic space to soak in the surrounding vistas in style.

What is the signature service element?

Our happy hour and complimentary mini-bar selections allow our guests to graze on locally sourced snacks and cheeses at their leisure, along with complimentary espresso coffee, boutique teas, soft drinks, and a range of beverages available throughout the day. During happy hour, we offer premium New Zealand wines and locally sourced bites—a chance for guests to come together in the lounge, soaking in the open fire or enjoying the private courtyard, and sharing stories with fellow guests before heading out for dinner.

If you had to pick three words to describe the experience at The Dairy Private Hotel, what would they be?

Luxury, privacy, and attentiveness.

For guests who would be visiting The Dairy Private Hotel, are there any signature highlights they could expect during their time in the hotel?

Our signature bedding, Antipodes amenities, soaking in the hot tub, and spectacular vistas of the natural beauty of Queenstown.

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What would you consider the best times of the year to visit Queenstown?

Queenstown provides an array of activities year-round, and it all depends on the traveller and what they are seeking for their holiday. Winter for snow-related activities and summer for hiking and mountain biking are the region’s busiest seasons. Autumn provides an opportunity to witness the landscape dramatically change, with leaves turning to burnt red, orange, and yellow tones. While spring offers pleasant temperatures for walking on some of our great trails without many other people around. 

What do you think is the activity or local experience that cannot be missed for anyone visiting Queenstown for the first time?

A walk through Queenstown Gardens is a must. A gentle 20-minute walk will take you around a small peninsula, with the view changing every few minutes. Any time of the year, this is the best spot to soak in the spectacular views and truly take in the sights.

What are the dining opportunities within or near the hotel?

We are located in Central Queenstown; everything is on your doorstep, with the best restaurants just moments away.

Best days or times to indulge at the bar?

Our happy hour that’s on every day from 5pm to 6pm takes place at The Dairy Private’s Guest Lounge.

Your best local tip to anyone visiting The Dairy Private Hotel or Queenstown for their next local adventure?

Plan and book in advance. Queenstown is a leading global destination, so don’t leave anything to chance. The best restaurants fill up quickly, so book your table in advance. 

Book and compare your next local adventure at The Dairy Private Hotel in Queenstown with Locay. Partnering with the biggest players in the travel industry, Locay's carefully curated Boutique Hotel Collection enables you to explore local destinations while also giving you the ability to compare the top offers on our hotels, flights, car rentals, travel insurance, and tours!

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