Eleanor Barker falls in love with Christchurch's newest 5 star boutique hotel.
When Sudima Hotels invited me to experience their newest 5-star boutique hotel in Christchurch City with my partner, I happily accepted. No need to mention that I didn't have a partner the week before. It was awesome timing.
On the day we lovebirds left, worse timing. We were a touch late to check our bags for a 5pm flight and were politely informed that we had been bumped. Thankfully, all was well (Air NZ flexi fares, thank you for existing). We left at 6pm and I called the Sudima to push back our collection from the airport. No worries.
We were collected at Christchurch airport by Mike Halliday of Chauffeur NZ, a man of charm and top-notch banter. From the back seat of his Lexus, "Lexie", Mike mentioned some of the A-list celebrities who had sat in this convivial space before us. I was pleased to learn that Nigella Lawson's lovely bottom had been where mine now rested.
We were welcomed by the lovely Junior and a smattering of the rest of the friendly Sudima front-of-house staff. No, dinner wasn't a problem this late and yes, going out for a walk is going to be bloody freezing. We ate an excellent meal and then marvelled at the scantily clad locals before scarpering back to our warm hotel.
We discovered with some delight that our room was more like a small apartment, complete with "pillow menu", deliciously soft Mulberi blankets resting on lovely furniture, a welcome hamper of Kiwi drinks and nibbles and best of all, a large set of Tamara shower bombs that we are still getting through a month later. On the more practical side, the "Luxe Apartment" also comes with a Nespresso machine, dishwasher, microwave oven, washer/dryer, stove, cookware - and virtual assistant Alexa.
Amazon Alexa didn't know the song "Baby" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (accent issues?) but she did know "Baby" by Justin Bieber, which I proceeded to shout-sing at my new beau. Yes, we're still dating.
This is Christchurch CBD's first new-build hotel since the earthquake, a $40 million ecologically-minded investment in the city's future on Victoria St. It's a short walk to beautiful Hagley Park and a slightly longer one to Christchurch's CBD. A wander through Hagley Park on a sunny Saturday is truly something special. We saw hordes of netballers as we mingled with the many young families and tourists strolling the riverbanks.
What to do:
We spent much of the weekend ensconced in the inviting Sudima, venturing out for exploration and op-shopping between our meals and our massages (I had the very gifted Ashleigh Whale). We fortuitously stumbled upon one of the best and most eclectic cafes in Christchurch, Portershed cafe. On Sunday our new mate Mike Holliday offered to take us to the Port Hills gondola but we were already en route to the stunning Botanic Gardens. We ate all our meals at the Sudima Christchurch City's excellent Vices & Virtues restaurant, where restaurant manager Davide Palma shared his knowledge and enthusiasm. On his recommendation we ordered the line-caught tuna entree which was the most stunning ruby colour any of us (including Davide) had ever seen. The next night we had it again. Stand-outs were the aforementioned tuna, the freshly baked breads with churned Lewis Road butter (of course), the buffalo burrata entree, the handmade pappardelle and the breakfast buttie (which we ordered three times).
What's good about this place?
In seriousness, everything. The rooms are awesome, the service is excellent, the massages world-class and the food outrageous. Locals and others, take note.