Distinction Hotels

NZ Wide Hotels & Conference Centres


Distinction Hotels Group - Our Story

100% New Zealand Owned & Operated

Since its humble beginnings of one hotel in Te Anau, the 100% NZ owned & operated Distinction Hotels Group has grown and evolved over the past 31 years into one of New Zealand’s fastest growing hotel chains.

Our group currently operate three superior 4.5-star properties under the Distinction Hotels premier Gold Collection brand in Dunedin, Christchurch and a smaller boutique property in Fox Glacier. Eleven other 4-star properties in both the North and South Island's of New Zealand are presented under the Silver Collection brand. These include WhangareiHamiltonRotoruaNew Plymouth, Twizel, Omarama, 2 hotel properties in both Te Anau and Palmerston North and a garden lodge in Dunedin.


In 2011 Distinction Hotels NZ launched the Discovery Hotels brand. Discovery Hotels offer a range of great value 3-star accommodation options to suit all travellers combined with true outstanding 'Kiwi' hospitality. Discovery Hotels are located in the North Island's Whangarei and in April 2024 a second Discovery property in the South Island's Omarama joined the family.

Invercargill born owner Geoff Thomson, assisted by CEO Duncan Fletcher, who has 25+ years experience in the hotel industry, continue to identify gaps in the market and invest significantly in raising the standard of hotels to meet the rising demands of the travelling public.

With a background in construction, Geoff doesn’t shy away from challenges, as evidenced by the many years of labour and love that went into transforming the historic Dunedin Chief Post Office into the luxury Distinction Dunedin Hotel, which has contributed to the rejuvenation of Dunedin’s vibrant Warehouse Precinct. In 2019 the original vaults, tucked away behind Distinction Dunedin Hotel’s lobby were converted into private dining rooms. The historic vaults are accessed through their original steel doors, whisking diners back to the 1930's era with an aura of sophisticated speakeasy. This successful innovation led Better Homes & Gardens Australia to single out these unique private dining rooms as the top foodie destination in Dunedin. 

The redevelopment of an earthquake damaged Christchurch hotel in the heart of Cathedral Square, which opened as the luxury Distinction Christchurch Hotel in early 2018, brought a much needed 179 rooms & suites to central Christchurch.

Exciting new developments include the refurbishment of rooms and suites at Distinction Whangarei Hotel, located opposite the new Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori Art Gallery. This four-star facelift is due for completion in 2024.

The purchase of the Menzies Building in Invercargill will see Distinction Hotels transform the former government building into an elegant 4.5 star, 150-room hotel, slated to open 1 June 2025. The new Distinction Invercargill Hotel will be presented under the group's premier Gold Collection brand.

In November 2022, the hotel group opened the doors to its first backpacker accommodation, centrally located in Te Anau.

Hotel managers are given the autonomy and support to make operational decisions in the best interest of their hotel and the brand. Geoff is based in Invercargill alongside the accounts team. Duncan works out of his home town Rotorua, whilst the rest of Distinction’s small support team work remotely and are spread throughout NZ, from the top of the north to the bottom of the south.


Distinction Hotels are also doing their best to help make a difference in their local communities throughout New Zealand. A few examples of Distinction Hotel’s sponsorship and community projects are environmental causes such as Kid Restore the Kepler, which aims to reduce the number of pests in the Kepler area in order to bring back birds, insects, lizards & bats close to extinction. Fundraising efforts such as supporting the Fox Glacier Community Centre build as well as sponsorship of local sporting events like the XTERRA Rotorua Festival, Tour of Southland, Crankworx Rotorua Festival, Kepler Challenge, the annual Te Anau Tennis Invitational, Manawatu & Otago rugby. Hotels aim to employ locals first and to utilise local services and production. 

Whilst the worldwide pandemic has undoubtedly brought about challenges, Distinction Hotels believe that everything we’ve accomplished so far comes from a passion for providing true kiwi hospitality to our guests and this passion will continue to be a driving force as we navigate our way forward.

For a truly memorable stay, choose the Distinction Hotels Group.