Stephanie Holmes stays at the Park Hyatt Auckland, the newest luxury address in town, set to become the place to be this summer on a luxury city break
Location: On Halsey St at Wynard Quarter. A waterfront address with views across the harbour to the CBD.
Style: A modern international luxury hotel with Māori design elements to give it an Aotearoa flavour.
Price: Rooms start from $450 per night.
Perfect for: A place to see and be seen during the America's Cup and beyond.
First impressions: On the way into this big-name international hotel, you'll notice some unique touches that ground it in its location and respect the land it sits on – the hotel worked with iwi to bring in elements of local culture and values. Original works by Peata Larkin were commissioned, as well as woven tukutuku panels created by artist Beronia Scott and her whānau from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
The towering lobby atrium is light, bright and peaceful, with views up to the landings of each floor. The sense of space is helped by a moat water feature that reflects the levels above.
The hotel was designed by architects AR+D in Singapore and Conran + Partners in Hong Kong, and it's slick and modern, but with some beautiful Kiwi touches.
Room: We were in a King Bed Harbour View Deluxe room with balcony on the fourth floor, and we couldn't have been happier with it. The clever layout creates designated areas, while still feeling open. On entrance there's a "cove" with mini-bar and tea and coffee making facilities (Nespresso machine, jug and T2 teas). The separate toilet is off this area, and there's a spacious walk-in wardrobe with sliding door.
The bed is huge – I'm 5'7" and could lie fully stretched out, arms above my head, across its width and still not touch both ends. The only disappointment was the distinct ridge down the middle of the two twin beds pushed together to make a super king – not ideal for those who like to snuggle.
There's a sitting and dining area, with L-shaped sofa in a beautiful marle fabric and soft leather strap details, reminiscent of a vintage suitcase.
Wooden floors and wall panels are complemented by tactile fabrics and red, black and white woven panels.
The large balcony has table and chairs, and a stunning view down to the harbour, and across to Rangitoto, as well as the downtown CBD skyscrapers and Sky Tower. There's the choice to have the building's exterior panels open or closed, like shutters. It's a great spot to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of the Viaduct, while still maintaining some peace and space.
Bathroom: The marble tiled bathroom has twin vanities, walk-in shower, a free-standing bath-tub, and the choice of full black-out blinds or window out to the harbour. Do be aware that the glass is two-way, and the building's shutters are sheer, so there's a chance passersby might see what you're up to.
Toiletries are New York's Le Labo brand, and the towels and robes were the softest, fluffiest white cotton.
Food & drink: Onemata restaurant will be the hottest dining ticket in town this summer, with its waterfront location, high-quality menu and reasonable prices. Chef Brent Martin's menu is inspired by New Zealand's "rich fertile soil" and features an abundance of local produce from NZ farmers and growers.
The Living Room is a more casual dining option, and the Captain's Bar serves delicious cocktails, a huge selection of rums, and tasty tapas dishes.
The Pantry offers coffee, pastries and other treats.
Even if an overnight stay at the Park Hyatt is out of reach, I'd highly recommend popping down for a drink, lunch or dinner, especially as the weather gets warmer and you can sit outside on the waterfront.
Facilities: A heated outdoor 25m infinity pool was warm enough that we could enjoy a swim on a blustery September day. It will be bliss over summer. There's a full gym and day spa, too. Wi-fi is free and unlimited.
Sustainability: There was no information in room about any measures to reduce the hotel's impact on the environment, and nothing about Auckland's water restrictions. And while I adored the Le Labo toiletries, they were all single-use plastic bottles, which seems short-sighted in a brand new hotel.
In the neighbourhood: The hotel is in the heart of Wynyard Quarter, just across the road from the ASB Waterfront Theatre and the bars and restaurants of North Wharf. Walk across the pedestrian bridge to the Viaduct, downtown Auckland, the ferry terminal and Britomart.
Accessibility: The hotel has eight rooms with wider corridors, roll-in showers, shower bench and support, visual fire alarms and walk-in wardrobes, All eateries are fully accessible from the interior and exterior of the hotel.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com