Location: At Auckland's Viaduct Harbour, but the quieter side, halfway between the main strip of restaurants and Wynyard Quarter.
Style: Modern, unique, offbeat.
Perfect for: A food-and-drink focused city break, or a great place to catch up with friends.
First impressions: The lobby feels fresh and exciting, belying the building's exterior which looks like a cookie-cutter version of the surrounding office blocks. Inside, the first thing you'll see is a sculptural artwork of hanging glass orbs, plus a colourful digital art installation, all leading to a bright reception desk.
The staff uniforms are stunning — especially the bright pink suits from local designer Maggie Marilyn, and the full length swishy capes. Everyone we talked to was high energy and seemed to be overjoyed that the hotel is open and welcoming guests.
Rooms: There are 150 guest rooms in the hotel. We were in a junior suite on the fourth floor with harbour views. There are clues to its former office-block past — unfinished concrete ceilings and exposed pipes — but the renovation has given it a sleek, modern look.
Misshapen wall-mounted mirrors give a 60s vibe, which is combined with a rich mix of textiles in the rugs, blankets and cushions. Special touches include the blown-glass lamps and glassware made by Taupō company Lava Glass.
The king bed felt a little short in length, but was super comfortable and a great place to spend a lazy Sunday morning (we had a late check out of 1pm).
Bathroom: The toilet and shower are in separate cubicles but the rest of the bathroom is open plan, with twin sinks, flatteringly lit mirrors, an abundance of fluffy white towels, and bottle-green and charcoal tiles. The real star is the free-standing giant bathtub — it's honestly the biggest bath I've ever seen.
Food and drink: The offerings here make the QT a destination, whether you're staying at the hotel or not. Sean Connolly (of Sky City's The Grill fame) is behind Esther, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant named after his grandmother. The space is light and bright, with pops of rich colour — deep reds and bold greens — and the open country-style kitchen looks like it could be lifted straight from a beautifully designed home. The centre-piece is the shiny wood-fired oven, which looks like a golden disco-ball and cooks breads and pizzas to perfection.
The menu, designed to be shared, has a focus on locally caught seafood and fresh Mediterranean flavours — the taramasalata with puff bread, the baked saganaki (Greek cheese) with honey and thyme, and the lamb souvlaki were highlights. I'm keen to return with a group to try more of the menu.
On the top floor, the rooftop bar is a real hot ticket for summer, with beautiful views across the harbour and a mouth-watering cocktail menu.
Facilities: Basement gym, lobby bar, valet parking.
In the neighbourhood: Walking distance to the Viaduct's nightlife. It'll be a great spot to be based for the upcoming America's Cup.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com