Sadie Beckman checks into the QT Hotel, Wellington.
We arrived at a popular check-in time, so there was quite a queue, but when we got our turn, the welcome was friendly and efficient. Valet service and an attentive concierge was the icing on the cake.
The room: One of the main drawcards for our stay had been hearing about the new suite of art rooms the QT (formerly The Museum Hotel) had recently opened. Gallery 4 is the latest artistic collaboration for this hotel, renowned for its involvement with the creative community. The fourth floor features nine new rooms, each decorated with the work of an individual artist, after the hotel put out a call for submissions, receiving about 270 entries from throughout the country. The calibre was so good, that after deciding on nine artists for the new rooms, all 25 of the rooms on the fourth floor were treated to original art works as part of their decor. Our room was by Wellington street artist Chimp with the title Escape Mechanism. The entire bed-head wall was deftly spray-painted with a motif of ladders and clouds and other abstract forms. As well as the art, the room was sumptuous and brand new. Other artistic touches added character, and there was a spacious balcony with funky seating and an impressive view of the waterfront across the road, a workstation, massive television, Nespresso machine and Bose bluetooth speaker. The bathroom had a double sink, rain shower and bathtub.
The bed: Not too hard, not too soft king "QT Gel" bed with top-quality linen and plenty of pillows and cushions for those who like that sort of thing, as I do.
Food and drink: For dining, the QT Hotel is mainly geared around a restaurant that has become a Wellington institution: Hippopotamus. With a harbour view, glittering chandeliers, beautiful cocktails and French-style decor it is easy to feel as though you have stepped into the pages of The Great Gatsby. Dinner was a delight, and head chef Jiwon Do's fusion of New Zealand and French cuisine was incredibly well thought-out and artfully delivered. Seared Ora King salmon with pickled pikopiko, sea-chicory, a burnt-orange butter, parmesan oil and fennel was the standout dish for me. Wine matches were also spot-on thanks to a dedicated sommelier who delivered a few anecdotes relating to the history of the wine he was serving, making for an interesting and educational experience.
Hippopotamus is famous for its high teas too, and is often booked out. It includes a tiered platter of exquisite French patisserie items served with optional champagne or a cocktail, and a bottomless teapot.
The hotel also has a newer addition to its dining options in the form of Hot Sauce — an Asian-inspired eatery and cocktail bar serving dishes such as pulled pork baos and beef tataki, with traditional Thai, Singaporean, Korean and Japanese flavours. There is also a cafe in the hotel lobby.
Facilities: A spa, sauna, gym and lap-pool are all onsite. Room service is comprehensive and the in-room minibar is more than food and drinks, creatively stocked with games, books, cards and other Wellington-centric items. The hotel has several meeting and conference rooms that turn the normal right on its head — feeling more like film sets full of art, quirks and amazing furniture.
Would I return? Absolutely. This hotel knows how to do special, and for that reason it would definitely be on my list for a birthday treat, celebration or decadent Wellington mini-break.