Not far from the Octagon, sitting in stark, beautiful contrast to Dunedin's gothic architecture and vintage shops is Ebb: A stunning modernist hotel that signals the city's growing appeal as a travel destination.
It's clear the building is something special from the moment you arrive - the facade on Filleul street is wrapped in a large scale artwork by local artist Simon Kaan, which covers all three stories in a depiction of the first wakas arriving through the heads of the Otago Harbour.
If, like my partner and I, you're arriving by car - somewhat tired and cranky from the drive from Wanaka - you'll breathe a sigh of relief driving through the building. Yes, through it, with the reception area and the hotel's cafe flanking you on either side. It's just a bit cool; a novelty that indicates there are more unexpected delights ahead.
Despite its steel and glass exterior, Ebb exudes warmth on a chilly night in Ōtepoti, as does the relaxed welcome we receive. There's no loud, busy reception desk as such - just a friendly face with a couple of key cards, sitting quietly at a laptop in a lounge area.
The centre of the hotel is an open courtyard, with rows of local artwork displayed on the walls of each level, just like an art gallery. The rooms themselves are a visual feast, too: Luxurious without being pretentious, an attractive mix of textures, colour and thoughtful lighting.
There are communal lounge areas on each level overlooking the indoor gardens - encouraging guests to sit and take in the artworks - but while they're very stylish, we didn't see anyone using them. Perhaps they could maybe be remedied with the addition of a bartender, but even that may be a lost cause with the number of wonderful watering holes available in the city.
The shower in our room was separated from the rest of the room with sliding glass doors that give the space a special shape-shifting ability. The rainfall shower, touch-activated ring light mirror and Ashley & Co products provided much needed restoration and refreshment before heading out to dinner, which was an easy walk away - even with the intermittent blasts of freezing South Island wind.
The little touches had a big impact: There was the unorthodox mini bar stocked with locally crafted delights (including ready-to-pour cocktails); the television fittingly transforms from artwork to screen; there's a 'fresh air' switch and a 'night time' lighting option, which illuminates your path to the separate toilet to leave your partner undisturbed in the plush super king bed during your middle-of-the-night loo dash.
After a restful night, Ebb's cafe provides a lovely start to the day with good coffee, a fireplace in the atrium garden and quite possibly the best cheese scone I've ever had. You can also chow down on a bacon butty or a cauliflower kimchi pancake, no judgement either way.
The entire thing makes me really want to use the word 'funky', but I won't, to protect my reputation. Instead I'll say 'contemporary', and that I'm already looking forward to going back.
Monika and her partner received a complimentary night at Ebb-Dunedin for this review.