New Zealand

Drifter Christchurch welcomes first guests to new hybrid hotel

Drifter Christchurch debuts innovative hybrid hotel model

Drifter Christchurch welcomed its first guests over the weekend, marking the first Drifter location opened by new Australian lifestyle accommodation venture Leisure Accommodation Collective (LA Co).    

Drifter Christchurch is the first of five Drifters LA Co has in development, with other locations including Wellington, Auckland, and Byron Bay.  

The concept was born out of a genuine desire to bring guests together and foster social connections through a fusion of thoughtfully designed communal spaces, varied accommodation options, and a dynamic calendar of free events across music, culture, art and wellbeing.  

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LA Co CEO Luke Moran has worked on many hotel openings in his 25 years of experience, but never one that’s redefined a category like Drifter.   

“We may not be the first brand to combine a hotel and hostel experience globally, but we are set to be the most remarkable. Drifter Christchurch has been uniquely designed to redefine the hybrid hotel sector and deliver a one-of-a-kind experience for travellers who seek more than just a place to stay.” 

LA Co CIO and Drifter Founder Hugh Stephenson adds: “The entire Drifter concept is built on the idea that travellers want something more when they travel, no matter what their travel intention is.

I spent years staying in hotels for both leisure and work and always wanted so much more than just a room. I wanted to meet people, share experiences with them and just have a great time wherever I stayed, but it turns out this isn’t something that’s easy to find.   

“Drifter Christchurch is the blueprint for a venue that does make this possible, and we’re so proud of what we’ve created. Seeing guests engaging with the venue, the program of events and each other over the weekend has shown us that what we set out to do is very much something that travellers, including myself, are seeking.” 

Drifter Christchurch
Drifter Christchurch Entrance. Image: Supplied

Drifter Christchurch is located at 96 Litchfield St in a growth precinct on the southern side of the city’s CBD. It’s right on the door of Christchurch’s central shopping area, the Riverside Market, Christchurch bus exchange, and the new 30,000 capacity Te Kaha Stadium which is on-track for completion in 2026.  

It offers 95-rooms and a capacity for 372 guests in a mix of private and shared suites, as well as various communal areas including The Revel Room social lounge and communal kitchen, The Drifter Leisure Club which is a wellness studio and mindfulness lounge, a cinema and library, as well as multiple co-working spaces, meeting rooms, and outdoor courtyards with fire pits.

In August, The Rambler bar and restaurant will open on the ground floor.  

The building is heritage and was built in 1919 as a manufacturing facility for the Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company. The designers of Drifter Christchurch, Trans-Tasman interior design studio CTRL Space, leaned into this history and referenced it through factory nuanced finishes, industrial light fixtures and vintage furniture.  

The design itself is highly considered, with each floor having its own distinct tone and energy which creates different moments for guests as they move through the building. Custom art and photography features throughout, including paintings by Mexico City based Australian artist Beni Single. 

Drifter Christchurch floor by floor  

The Revel Room on level one is where guests can lounge, cook in the communal kitchen, grab snacks from the two vending machines full of New Zealand products and work at one of the co-work desk spaces. The Revel Room has been designed as a day to night social space for guests to engage, work and rave, with a regular roster of DJs and live music events adding the rave dimension.  

Level two is Drifter Leisure Club, where you’ll find a wellbeing studio for yoga, pilates, mindfulness lounge which will host sound healing and guided meditations and is also just a quite space for guests to chill out, and a huge open-air courtyard with an impressive fire pit for guests to congregate. 

Drifter Christchurch
Drifter Christchurch Leisure Club Yoga Studio. Image: Suppled

There’s also The Cinema on level three, where guests can kick back on Togo lounges and enjoy screenings of classic films, indie films and everything in between throughout the day, plus there’s The Library on level four with its shelves full of art, culture and travel books and indie magazines.  

The accommodation at Drifter Christchurch is spread across levels 1-4. There are 63 shared bunk suites configured with either in 4- and 8-beds, the majority with ensuite, with select 8-beds offering a double ensuite, and some female-only.

The bunks were created bespoke for Drifter, with each bed having its own privacy curtain, inbuilt power, lighting and lockable storage.  

Private suites total 32 rooms, there are 15 Queen Suites, 8 Queen Suites with Balcony, 3 King Suites, 1 Family Suite, 3 Loft Suites with queen bed and bunk, and 2 Loft Suites with two queen beds.  

Bathroom amenities are by RAAD, a New Zealand brand with plant-based formulations and a gender-neutral fragrance developed in Grasse. RAAD also and a strong commitment to sustainability and uses glass bottles instead of plastic, biodegradable and refillable packaging, and future-friendly ingredients.  

In August, The Rambler bar and restaurant will open on the ground floor. The space has capacity for 150 and will be open to external guests also.  

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