The following can’t be universally said of all city stays, but, when it comes to travel generally, the best possible outcome is when you leave a destination feeling like you’ve had a glimpse of what it would be like to live there.
When it was time to leave New Zealand, my instant impulse was to get off the plane and instead immediately move my life there, and I already had a city in mind when it came to this relocation. One of the biggest factors that made me fall head over heels in love with the capital, Wellington, was that we had a good idea of what it would be like to be a local here.
Yes, there are Wellington’s many sights and activities that kept us occupied during the daylight hours, but I know that our accommodation had a role to play in us feeling welcome – and at home – in this city.
Having just spent our first two weeks in a campervan, of what would eventually become eight weeks, we decided to break up our days of sleeping in the most confined of quarters. After some extensive searching, we stumbled upon the website of Dancing Green Studio Apartment, and we knew that we had found our ideal Wellington accommodation.
Where is the Dancing Green Studio Apartment?
There are some obvious benefits of having a hotel in the city centre, but Dancing Green Studio Apartment’s location is part of the reason why this accommodation is so special.
Situated in the hilly suburb of Northland, it takes only 40 minutes to walk down into central Wellington or even a quicker 20-minute journey via local bus services (with the bus stop just around the corner); attractions, such as Zealandia, are located close by. But, whenever we got back to the apartment after a busy day of sightseeing, it felt like we were hundreds of miles away from busy city life. Every morning, the air around the apartment would be thick with the sound of birdsong, there were plenty of parklands in the vicinity to explore and we were spoiled with incredible views over the rest of Wellington.
The apartment itself also had everything we needed. When I imagine my own dream apartment, it would be filled with plenty of light, colour and books. So, when you see the space below, you can see why I instantly felt at home.
What can guests expect?
Unlike a hotel, the Dancing Green Studio Apartment features extra comforts like a kitchen, living/dining area and separate entrance. The apartment has a queen-sized bed and I can’t tell you how luxurious it was to sleep on this after experiencing van life for a few weeks. There’s a small table for eating, plus a sofa – complete with hand-embroidered cushions – and TV if you’re looking for some down time away from the city.
There’s a bathroom, wifi and everything else you’d expect from a modern apartment, as well as a laundry service for those staying for longer than a weekend. Clare and Simon, who live upstairs and who have to be the friendliest hosts I’ve ever met, very kindly did our laundry for us even though we were only there for a short stay.
Even though the apartment itself feels like a home away from home, it’s the presence of Simon and Clare that makes Dancing Green Studio Apartment so memorable. Not only will you be living in the suburbs among Wellington residents, but Clare and Simon have endless suggestions on what to experience in the city that will leave you feeling like a local.
The noticeboard in the kitchen is pinned with maps, menus and handwritten notes listing favourite cafes, walks and attractions. If there’s something more specific you’re looking for, you can always ask the charming hosts, who recommended a lovely walk that led us to Kelburn and the Wellington Cable Car.
Clare and Simon moved to New Zealand from the UK and, in 2011, opened up the studio apartment to guests just in time for the Rugby World Cup, and a stay here is a streamlined process. If, like me, you’re not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, you’ll be delighted to know that breakfast is part of the package here, so you won’t need to be coaxed out of doors at any unreasonable hours. Before we arrived in Wellington, we were given an option of croissants or bagels, with the level of detail even reaching down to the type of milk we preferred using. If neither of the former options take your fancy, there’s cereal and a full stock of coffee and different types of tea too.
By the way, if you’re curious about the name of the apartment, Dancing Green refers to a tiny hamlet in Wales, where Clare’s parents lived. Recently – out of all of the places in the entire world – Clare and Simon played host to residents of the real Welsh Dancing Green!
Why you should stay at Dancing Green Studio Apartment
I’ve already listed a number of reasons why a stay at Dancing Green Studio Apartment would appeal to anyone: it’s ideally located a short distance from the city, the apartment itself is modern and cosy, and there’s a wide array of amenities, from laundry to breakfast. But the very best thing about Dancing Green Studio Apartment is the fact that we felt like we had experienced a different side to Wellington than that usually seen by most visitors to the city.
We stayed with locals, explored the suburbs on foot and, at the end of every day, felt like we were returning to our own little corner of Wellington, with all of the creature comforts we could ever need.
When I next return to Wellington (and, hopefully, one day as a real local myself), I have no doubt about where I’ll be staying. Our days in Wellington were the highlight of our time in New Zealand, and I know that a big part of that can be attributed to Clare and Simon – and their wonderful Dancing Green Studio Apartment.
Have you been to Wellington? Do you prefer staying in the city or rather experiencing a destination more like a local? Let me know in the comments below!
Note: Our stay at Dancing Green Studio Apartment was complimentary in return for a review but, as always, all opinions as well as desires to move to Wellington immediately are entirely my own.
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