Michael Neilson checks into the Pullman Rotorua
A nine-storey office block has been tastefully revamped into the city's first five-star hotel, offering world-class accommodation and service alongside stunning views of the city and Lake Rotorua.
Location: In the heart of the city, with walking access to bars, restaurants, shops and lakefront attractions. About a 10-minute drive from Rotorua Airport.
Style: A contemporary, chic hotel offering luxurious accommodation, alongside gourmet dining experiences with a focus on local produce.
Perfect for: The hotel, which opened in January, was originally designed to cater for high-end, predominantly international travellers, including those on business and/or attending conferences. It closed briefly during the lockdown and reopened at the start of July. Given the current limited travel situation, there were plenty of Kiwi travellers out exploring their backyard during our stay. It offers a perfect little haven for those on weekend getaways - particularly those, like us, spending the days on outdoor adventures.
First impressions: The hotel is all class from the moment you arrive. A valet is there to whisk your car away and, as you step into the sleek and modern welcome area, friendly staff led by operations manager Israel Guido are there to welcome you by name. Tasteful artwork and Māori designs are woven into the layout, giving strong sense of Aotearoa.
Rooms: The unique shape of the building allows for many different layouts for the 130 rooms. In the top floor Executive Suites, where we were staying, wide windows provide 180-degree views of the lake and city vistas. The spacious room has areas to get some work done or enjoy a coffee from the pod machine. Meanwhile, in the sleeping area, you are treated to a plush super king bed, with a 49-inch smart TV built into a free-standing wall panel, with the ability to swivel 180 degrees. Further amenities include an iron, mini-bar, telephone and a safe. Fast Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Bathroom: The bathroom is tastefully incorporated into the open-living design, with toilet and shower separated in their own frosted glass cubicles with a huge mirror in between. The highlight is the luxurious free-standing tub - perfect for a soak after a long day out on the mountain bikes, or just because. Toiletries include soap, shower gel, moisturiser, shampoo and conditioner from New York-based Bigelow Apothecaries, with bath salts available upon request. Towels and bathrobes are provided.
Food & drink:
To the right of the ground-floor entrance is Barrel & Co. Bar and Grill offering all-day dining. Here head chef Amey Rane has masterfully designed a full farm-to-table menu with a strong focus on locally-sourced produce, centred around the grill. The day starts with a spectacular buffet breakfast with all the traditional cooked favourites, along with healthy continental and fruit selections. For lunch and dinner, a modern menu emerges filled with local delicacies, such as horopito-rubbed beef cheek and home-smoke mānuka Ōra King Salmon for starters, through to grass-fed Angus beef fillets for the main. Options are available for all tastes and diets. A full bar includes a variety of top-quality local wines, with expert staff on hand to recommend the perfect companion to any meal.
In the neighbourhood: The hotel is in the heart the city, with the vibrant strip of bars and eateries of Eat Streat just around the corner. In the other direction are Government Gardens and hot pools to soak the day away.
Family friendly: Hotel staff are more than happy to accommodate family and/or parental needs. The hotel offers babysitting/childcare services and cribs/roll away beds are available.
Accessibility: Wheelchair access to all common and public areas.
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