A new boutique Ponsonby property is already attracting celebrity guests
Location: Just a hop away from Auckland's Ponsonby Rd.
Style: Heritage splendour meets modern elegance
Price: From $450 per night
Perfect for: A city break away from the city sprawl
First impressions: This stunning two-storey 1910 villa sits on the corner of Richmond and Fitzroy roads. From the outside, you could be forgiven for thinking was a private house - if it wasn't for the new signage outside, which glows a vivid neon pink at night. Its full name is Hotel Fitzroy curated by Fable, and it's the second of 13 boutique hotels under the new Fable brand, part of the larger NZ-owned CPG Group.
It's also the place Taika Waititi has been posting about on social media this week - he booked out the whole hotel for a week before it opened and according to Instagram, looks like he really enjoyed his stay.
You announce your arrival via an intercom at the grand front doors, then a staff member will welcome you inside, and offer you a refreshing herbal tea while you sink into one of two oversize armchairs from Dutch interiors company Mooi. The heritage villa's interior has been stylishly modernised with contemporary touches and beautiful artworks, thanks to Devi Lecchi of Mandala Design.
Rooms: There are only 10 suites here - six are in the main villa building, while four are in a separate, more modern building through the courtyard.
I was in the Richmond Suite, named for Richmond Rd. This Luxury Room was beautifully styled, with polished concrete walls, wooden floors, huge bay windows and gorgeous drapes. The chaise lounge was exceptionally comfortable and a lovely spot to lie back with a book. There was an abundance of pillows on the bed, and built-in wardrobes to maximise space.
Bathroom: Compact, but with enough space to not feel cramped. The grey marble tile walls and floor create a modern elegant feel and the large walk-in shower has excellent pressure from its two shower-head attachments. A shuttered window gives the option for natural light, but be aware the room looks out to Richmond Rd, which is busy at all times of day and night.
Toiletries are by Marihi Aotearoa, a Kiwi brand for hospitality businesses. Their website states that for every carton of Marihi toiletries purchased, $4 will be donated to the Kiwi Creche at Lake Opouahi. There's a Dyson hairdryer stashed in your wardrobe.
Food & drink: There is no restaurant at the hotel, but a permanent food truck stationed outside acts as kitchen. Each morning you'll be served a beautiful breakfast in room - order when you check-in and choose from four options. You won't be disappointed - portions are huge, presentation is excellent, and food is delicious.
Snacks and soft drinks in your room's mini-bar are complimentary, and you can also go to the first-floor library between 4pm and 10pm to help yourself to alcoholic beverages. These are also included in your room rate (excluding some top-shelf options). And don't miss cocktail hour from 5pm - guests are encouraged to gather in the library, or in the courtyard, to enjoy drinks, canapes and conversation. It's a lovely touch.
Street parking only, although this has a two-hour limit between 10am and 4pm. If you can, leave the car at home. Wi-Fi is free and unlimited, and the in-room TVs have Sky channels, Chromecasts, and a selection of free new-release and blockbuster movies.
In the neighbourhood: The many culinary delights of Ponsonby Rd are just five minutes' walk away. You're in easy walking distance to K Rd, and it's a short Uber ride into the city.
Accessibility: Two disabled accessible rooms on the ground floor of the Annex.
Sustainability: Standard credit card-sized room keys are wooden, not plastic, and the in-room guest compendium is accessed via a tablet - there is no paper version.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com