Courtney Whitaker checks in at the Residences by Pullman, in Auckland.
An easy trip down the motorway for us, or for out-of-towners, a flat-rate taxi from the airport of around $50.
Check-in experience: Warm and welcoming. We received help with our bags and our car was whisked away into the underground carpark.
Room: One-bedroom apartment on level 12 of the Pullman Residences. These apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate living area, bedroom, bathroom and sliding doors, which open on to a large, curved balcony. No coffee machine, although a plunger and ground coffee is provided.
Price: From $350 for a one-bedroom residence.
The good? The customer service here is absolutely top-notch. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff.
And the bad? Some of the furniture was a little tired, but otherwise clean and tidy.
What's in the neighbourhood? The Pullman Hotel is a stone's throw from everything that's good to do and eat in the city centre. Let the valet service take care of the car, and walk or taxi to get around. A number of guests had checked in to attend the John Mayer concert at Spark Arena and they made good use of Omni Bar, in the hotel's reception area, afterwards. We enjoyed a post-dinner glass of Prosecco as we watched them reliving the show from our perch in the booths. Not quite as good as the real thing, I would guess.
Toiletries: Lavender and peppermint products by C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries.
Food and drink: We devoured a delicious cheese platter from the room service menu, which was a mouthwatering array of French cheeses, freshly baked bread, walnuts, grapes, and crackers. This paired perfectly with the view from the balcony and a glass of Cloudy Bay pinot noir.
Breakfast: Do not stay at the Pullman without partaking of their fantastic buffet breakfast. Available until 11am on weekends, you can positively stuff yourself with freshly baked pastries, eggs made to order, triple-shot espresso (for the hangover), fruit, yoghurt and fresh juices. A soothing antidote to an impending checkout.
The bed: A comfortable king with good-quality linen.
A room with a view? A pleasant view across to the ferry terminal and ports of Auckland.
Bathroom: Almost bigger than the rest of the apartment: double sinks, a deep bath and walk-in shower. The water pressure was a little weak; the fluffy robes and towels were excellent.
Free Wi-Fi? Yes, free and fast, although I only remembered to connect as we checked out. Fail.
Noise: It pays to bear in mind these are residences, so some guests might be permanent. This may have been the case with the enthusiastic flute player a few doors down from us. But, aside from the odd musical interlude, we found it quiet and peaceful.
Room service: Super-efficient. Our selections from the pillow menu were delivered swiftly.
Facilities: Extremely well-equipped gym — which I poked my nose into on the way to the spa — a 25m heated indoor pool, sauna and spa pool.
Spa: Our masseuses, Aisha and Miho, treated my husband and I to full-body massages using fragrant orange essential oils. Aisha and her hands of steel worked wonders on the knots in my back and we both felt relaxed and miles away from the stresses of life afterwards. The spa offers a variety of treatments, including more unusual offerings such as the Indigenous Greenstone Massage, which uses the healing properties of pounamu as part of a soothing treatment.
Perfect for: Business or pleasure. A home away from home for travellers wanting a longer stay, or for families, with the advantage of cooking facilities and a washing machine.
The bottomline: I wouldn't hesitate to stay here again. A much-needed, rejuvenating staycation.