Susan Strongman checks in to Novotel Hamilton Tainui.
Getting there:

This majestic glass structure, which sits on a leafy riverbank overlooking the Waikato River, is just a few metres from Hamilton's main drag, Victoria St - home to drunk beggars, and a bronze statue of Richard O'Brien, the guy who created

The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Check-in experience: Check in at 2pm was a breeze: my car was whipped away and parked somewhere and I headed straight to my room.

Room: My Superior room on the fourth floor was spacious, and the bed featured a plethora of cushions.

Price: Rooms start from $170 per night.

Advertisement

What's so good about this place? The hotel was silent overnight. Everything was easy, and the staff were great. The corridors were wide enough to race my 3-year-old niece down (I won).

And the bad?

The shower pressure was a bit weak, and the bathroom fogged up like nobody's business.

What's in the neighbourhood? Nice river walks, and the Botanic Gardens are not too far off. There's a good craft beer bar on Hood St called Little George, and Scott's Epicurean is an excellent cafe.

Toiletries: Novotel-branded toiletries.

Food and drink: At the restaurant I encountered the world's most attentive waitress, and struggled to eat a slightly overcooked steak the size of a small cow, with an enormous helping of fries, and a side of (very overcooked) asparagus. My vegan companion struggled with the menu, but the chef was very accommodating and whipped some kind of salad thing up. Breakfast was a magnificent array of everything. The vegan was pleased.

Novotel Hamilton Tainui.
Novotel Hamilton Tainui.
The bed:

The bed was delightful. Good cotton sheets.

A room with a view? Much to my niece's delight, the room overlooked a giant Christmas tree in Hamilton's central square, Garden Place.

Bathroom: White. Clean. Needed a better extraction fan.

Free wi-fi? Comes with the Superior room.

Noise: We had to turn the aircon off, but it was cool enough anyway.

Exercise facilities: We were told there was a gym and a sauna, but after eating about 50kg of food, I was not interested in either of those things, so did not investigate further.

Contact: novotel.com

Perfect for: If you do happen to find yourself in Hamilton, and unwilling to stay in one of the array of mock Tudor motels the city has to offer, this is a good place. It's nice, it's easy and it's clean and comfortable, and there are plenty of pillows to go round.