our story

our story

early history

The hotel has a long and colourful history. Built as The Commercial Hotel in 1841, it was one of Auckland’s first hotels. It survived two fires, and two rebuilds, before the current building was erected in 1925.

Dominion Breweries acquired the hotel in 1959. After a major renovation it was renamed Hotel DeBrett, and soon established itself as the hotel of choice for sophisticated travellers.

In 1984 new operators Don Fletcher and Maurice Crosby gave it yet another make-over, with an emphasis on the bars and restaurants. Through the mid eighties it was the hippest meeting place for Aucklander’s, with particular appeal to the fashion and media set.

Throughout its history, the House Bar has been the soul of the hotel. If only the walls could talk!

an icon re-imagined

When Michelle Deery & John Courtney bought the building in 2007, the by then defunct backpackers was home to a flock of pigeons. It took almost two years to transform the near ruin into the highly awarded hotel you see today. Michelle worked with a team of architects, designers and artists to create 25 rooms and suites, and at the heart of the hotel, a soaring glass roofed atrium, which now houses Debretts Kitchen.

the next chapter

In 2015 Michelle & John brought their chapter at the hotel to a close. New owners Wayne Tomlinson and Ingrid Jaques sought to build on the hotels success and continue to offer a warm, welcoming environment with exceptional service. Wayne and Ingrid bring many years of hotel and hospitality experience and also operate Solitaire Lodge, a luxury lodge overlooking lake Tarawera in Rotorua.

recent accolades & awards

Trip Advisor Travellers Choice Awards 2017
Hotel DeBrett was selected as one of New Zealand’s best luxury hotels

Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2016
Hotel DeBrett has awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for 2016

Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards 2016
Hotel DeBrett was voted best hotel in New Zealand and amongst the best 10 hotels in Australia & New Zealand

Hotels.com Loved by Guests Awards
Hotel DeBrett was one of only 15 hotels to win the Gold Award, which is given to hotels with an average guest rating of at least 4.7 or higher out of 5

Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards 2016 Awarded to DeBretts Kitchen at Hotel DeBrett for achieving the highest culinary standard in beef and lamb