Juliette Wright enjoys a staycation with style at Ohtel, in central Auckland.
Location: Market Place in the Auckland CBD; a hop, skip and barely a jump from the Viaduct.
Style: Mid-century design hotel, boutique luxury.
Perfect for: Some time out to yourself or a couples' escape to enjoy Auckland's nightlife and dining scene.
First impressions: An ecelctic, artistic hotel with great personalised service. Think bold, mid-century colour schemes of orange, blue and gold matched with timber, smooth curves and contemporary artworks. The lobby is slick and compact, but roomy enough for a few tables and chairs next to the bar. Ohtel has been around in Wellington for many years but the Auckland hotel was new in 2021. After lengthy closures for Auckland's lockdowns, it reopened in late December, with guests now required to show a vaccine pass.
Room: I stayed in the O'Sullivan Suite, the penthouse suite on the top floor. They've done a great job of separating the bedroom area from the living but still keeping it spacious and open-plan, thanks to the clever design and positioning of a timber slatted wall divider.
One of the pleasures in this room is the mint green Crosley vinyl player, with a selection of records for your listening pleasure, including Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Bobby Ryddell and Chubby Checker, Spandau Ballet and Sting. Despite the retro vibes of the vinyl, the room has modern technology, built-in USB ports and a lighting system which can be controlled via a tablet in the room. But the real star of the show is the standalone bath...
Bathroom: The freestanding tub sits on hardwood flooring less than 2m from the couch, meaning you can take a soak while enjoying a glass of wine in hand and watching TV.
The bathroom is somewhat open plan - meaning a sliding frosted glass door to the toilet and shower is all that separates you from an alcove with a sink and vanity, which has no partition or door to the rest of the suite. It adds a modern and spacious feel, and it's fine if you are closely acquainted with the person you might be staying with, but could be a little too intimate for those who prefer more privacy in the bathroom.
Food and drink: Ohtel Pantry provides brunch and a handful of dinner and snack options, all of which can be delivered to your room or consumed in the lobby. Because of the hotel's proximity to the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter, there was little incentive to create an extensive hotel restaurant menu and compete against other established eateries in the area.
Facilities: There's a sizable gym and sauna as well as an outdoor swimming pool and spa which are shared with other residences from the neighbouring apartment building. Parking is available for $32 a night, but you'll need to wander into reception first to get a key to the basement car park, next to the entrance.
In the neighbourhood: Plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants on your doorstep. The ASB Waterfront Theatre is a 10-minute walk away.
Family friendly: Best to leave the kids behind - they won't appreciate the art anyway.
Accessibility: Access to reception is via ramp, with a lift to all accommodation levels. There are three accessible rooms which have a wet room bathroom, open plan and with slightly wider doors for wheelchair access. However, the outdoor space to the pool and gym has steps.
Sustainability: Ohtel has an environmental action plan which includes monthly monitoring of electricity and gas consumption, with targets to reduce use. The toiletries are made from 100 per cent recycled milk bottles and they only use products and suppliers which meet their environmentally-friendly standards.
Price: Deluxe rooms from $314, penthouse suite from $514.
Check traffic light settings, vaccine requirements and Ministry of Health advice before travel. covid19.govt.nz