From tent to penthouse

From tent to penthouse

From tent to penthouse


The Carlin

A woman sitting in a hot tub on a penthouse balcony overlooking a lake and mountains.

The Carlin, founded by Kevin Carlin, is New Zealand’s first six-star boutique hotel, located in the heart of picturesque Queenstown

Kevin Carlin lives in his hotel. It’s a far cry from the park bench and camping tent he lived in after fleeing his abusive family home at the age of 17, determined to make a better life for himself. That determination and dedication paid off – his first job was as a cook, and, by the time he was 23, Kevin had saved enough capital to build and open his own fine-dining restaurant in California.

Word of his culinary talent spread, and Kevin received a call from a friend telling him that the band Van Halen urgently needed a new chef backstage. Seizing the opportunity, Kevin produced meals for over 200 people within a few hours that same day. The concert promoter was impressed and referred Kevin to other celebrities, including Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Petty, The Police, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, just a few of the 82 celebrities Kevin has cared for.

Driven to take on new enterprises other than hospitality, property development became Carlin’s next passion. He has designed and developed mansions and apartments and now boutique hotels.

The Carlin Hotel opened in 2022, achieving Kevin’s vision to provide a beyond five-star hotel experience to guests who expect nothing less than the best in refined and sophisticated accommodation with one of the most breathtaking views in the world.

“The Carlin, founded by Kevin Carlin, is New Zealand’s first six-star boutique hotel, located in the heart of picturesque Queenstown”

Kevin’s attention to detail and discerning standards are the foundation for ensuring his celebrity and international clients receive world-class service beyond most five-star hotels. Every guest is sent a “Guardian Angel” survey by email in advance of their stay. This allows the hotel’s guest-relations ambassadors to know each guest’s individual preferences.

The Carlin experience pampers guests from arrival to departure. Airport transfers in the hotel’s Bentley, Maserati or Porsche are included in the rate. No expense has been spared in this opulent hotel, and its attentive staff deliver the special extra services that have received outstanding reviews. Each suite offers a fireplace and an outdoor living terrace with exceptional views of the lake and village. Every lake-view suite includes a private outdoor spa pool with a fireplace and dining table.

The hotel achieved numerous awards in its first year, including World’s Best New Boutique Hotel in 2022, Best New Hotel with a View in Australasia, Best Restaurant in Queenstown and it is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. The Carlin has received nine further awards nominations in its second year since opening.

When he designed The Carlin, Kevin’s objective was to deliver a residence in Queenstown for his distinguished guests that provides butlers, chefs with Michelin-star experience, chauffeurs, housekeepers, and the comforts his guests are accustomed to in their own homes.

Aside from business, Kevin is a composer of film soundtrack orchestral music and is a concert pianist. His compositions have been recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for an album. The Private Secretary to King Charles met with Kevin at St James’s Palace and accepted the album for public release. Kevin performs at the piano in the hotel’s Oro restaurant at weekends. As he says, “I believe that if one is creative and organised you can convert your dreams into reality and success.”