Shandelle Battersby checks into a family-friendly spot with great pool and spa facilities.
(50 minutes) rather than making the drive from Auckland (three hours and 20 minutes). The Anchorage is five minutes from the airport (a shuttle will cost you about $20) and 10 minutes' drive from central Taupo. If you're heading back to the airport, the courtesy vehicle may be able to drop you for free.
Check-in experience: Piece of cake, with lots of information given about things to do, some fresh milk and the offer of help with my bags.
Room: A two-bedroom Poolside room, with a full kitchen, sofa bed, dining table for four, small fridge and freezer, microwave, heat pump and a couple of tellies with the best Sky TV channels. The property was refurbished in 2015 so everything is very slick — though I loved that they have kept the retro signage out the front.
Price: From $230 a night.
What's in the neighbourhood? The lake and boat ramp are across the road, as is the very cool 2 Mile Bay Sailing Centre Cafe and Bar which serves coffee, food — including wood-fired pizza — and drinks in a rustic setting attached to a jetty. As the name suggests, you can rent a range of watersports equipment here too, from kayaks to sailboats.
Toiletries: Heritage Hotel's own brand.
Food and drink: The idea is to self-cater, and there are three barbecues for guests to use (a handy barbecue box with oil, implements, paper towels and a cleaning cloth). There are two restaurants in town where you can charge meals back to your room.
The bed: One queen, two singles and a double sofa bed.
A room with a view? The pool and pretty garden.
Bathroom: Big, with a shower box, no bath, though some of the rooms have spa baths.
Noise: There can be a bit from the kids playing in the pool but it's the sort of noise that makes you smile rather than annoyed. The road noise is pretty good thanks to the town's bypass.
Room service: Breakfast only — continental delivered the night before, or a cooked breakfast that comes to your door at an agreed time in the morning.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, unlimited.
Exercise facilities: None, but there is a swipe card for a gym in town you can use for free and there are some fun cruiser bikes which I took for a spin along the lakefront to the supermarket in town (20 minutes).
Other facilities: The pools are awesome — two heated ones (one children's pool) and a fantastic spa pool that is really deep and super hot. Hours are 8am-9pm, and there are gas burners and a fire for warmth, and plenty of outdoor tables. It's really set up for the Central Plateau weather here, with an indoor spa and sauna option too. There's also a coin-operated guest laundry on site, and plenty of free parking.
Perfect for: Families. And cat lovers. Keep an eye out for the cat from next door, Fat Cat, a friendly ginger moggy — a fuller figure feline — who loves to hang out on the property.
The Heritage Collection Anchorage Resort is at 346 Lake Terrace, Taupo. Phone: (07) 378 5542.