Greg Fleming finds a great base from which to explore the East Cape.
Location: The hotel (part of the Heritage chain) occupies a beautiful spot alongside the Turanganui River on Reads Quay. North-facing rooms get a wonderful view out over the river and beyond.
Room: Room 306 on the third floor — a two-bed deluxe apartment — with a balcony off the lounge and the main bedroom. This was on the south side of the hotel, so no view across the river, but it was very sunny and warm. All suites have full kitchens and modern bathrooms, air conditioning, a balcony or patio, Sky TV channels and complimentary wi-fi. Three heat-pumps kept things toasty at night. The fully equipped kitchen was a bonus — perfect for cooking some of that fresh fish from the nearby markets.
Check in: Heat pumps had been turned on in anticipation of our arrival. Hotel manager Stefan was also helpful — recommending local eating spots, sorting out our TV reception and arranging bikes for us to hire.
Facilities: On site is a cardio room and outdoor summer salt water swimming pool. There's a continental breakfast service, business centre (the hotel is very popular with corporate guests) and a relaxing lounge space with sea views.
Bathroom: Modern and clean. The shower was a little cramped; no bath. The toiletries were Heritage's own — good stuff. Also on offer — a washing machine and dryer (washing powder provided).
Noise: No problem at all, even the heatpumps were quiet.
What's in the neighbourhood? You're right in the heart of Gisborne. Bordering the hotel is the scenic coastal walkway to Waikanae beach. Take an early morning walk and be the first to see the sun-rise. Gisborne airport is 10 minutes' drive. The Ussco cafe and its Cuisine-magazine-rated restaurant is a two-minute walk away. It's also a great base to set off and explore the East Cape or surrounding wineries.
Would I stay again? Absolutely, whether you're in Gisborne for pleasure or business, Portside ticks all the boxes.
Gisborne's Portside Hotel is at 2 Reads Quay, Gisborne. Phone: (06) 869 1000.