Kim Knight has a staycation at Sudima Auckland City, a smart, modern hotel with an emphasis on self-care
Location: Perfectly pitched between the city, Viaduct and Ponsonby
Style: Classy corporate
Perfect for: Travellers looking for stylish rooms and a vegan dinner at mid-range prices.
First impressions: The muted colour palette and clean lines won't scare any horses but never underestimate the soothing power of distressed concrete, buttery taupe and teal accents and a very welcoming reception desk. Some hotels are quirky, others are quietly and professionally calm. This newly opened Sudima is, blissfully, the latter.
Rooms: Yes, that is a bath in the bedroom. The toilet and shower are safely behind a separate door, but there's something ridiculously luxurious about a short swoon from a double-sized hot bath to queen-sized comfy bed. The latter's more centrally located than normal but you forget that once you sink into the pillows and point the remote at the enormous, Chromecast-capable telly. A usefully long desk includes a few fun extras like an Amazon Echo (Alexa: Play popular 1980s music. Alexa: Please tell my boyfriend why George Michael matters) and a gratitude journal. The room was surprisingly quiet given the insanely traffic-busy street below, and the floor-to-ceiling view came alive at night - all Sky Tower and British artist Martin Creed's giant neon "Whatever" sculpture.
Our corner suite (priced from $269; more standard rooms start at $179) had a couch, coffee table (and coffee machine) and a selection of "u-room" extras. I did not unfurl the yoga mat, I did open the chickpea crisps, which might be healthy but are not a patch on the proper ones. Call me unhealthily vain, but I was surprised there was no full-length mirror. Also, there's a little light leakage down the sides of the curtains - pack a sleep mask if you're sensitive.
Bathroom: The fizzy bath bomb turned the water a murderous red but it smelled so pretty. And then I had a shower anyway because I'd live under a rain-head nozzle if I could and there was a "breathe"-scented Tamara-brand shower bomb. Amenities ran to a Glow Lab hydrating face mask, Aromatherapy Co tabac and cedarwood soaps and, because there's a pandemic, travel-size hand sanitiser. I loved the cotton-knit bathrobe that will stretch to accommodate any amount of dinner.
Food and drink: Onsite restaurant East is Asian-fusion, fully vegetarian and about 70 per cent vegan - even the buffet breakfast sausage is sans meat and the Peking duck is actually Peking jackfruit. Book for a dinner experience because the chilli-spiked cocktails are chef's kiss good and the bang bang shitake mushrooms were an instant entry into my Top 10 Auckland Dishes. It's a serious point of difference and worth visiting even if you aren't staying in the hotel.
Facilities: Wi-fi was fast, easy and unlimited, there's an affiliated gym nearby, loan bikes on request and valet parking for $35 a day.
In the neighbourhood: The Sky Tower is so close you could bungee jump back to your room, but you're also in a direct line to the Auckland Art Gallery and on a loop bus route to Ponsonby and beyond. When the International Convention Centre opens these will be the closest hotel rooms in the city to Sara Hughes' glorious 550 multi-coloured glass panel artwork that spans the new build.
Accessibility: The nine accessible rooms can all be opened up to an adjoining room if required. Lower check-in desks, tactile numbering in the lift, clear and wide accessways at ground level and a menu and hotel services compendium in Braille are among the other accessibility features.
Sustainability: You can't steal the moisturiser because they've done away with those dinky, single-serve plastic bottles; the waste bins are labelled and divided for recycling. The parent company is the country's only carboNZero-credited hotel group and the newest addition to the chain is on track for the same.