STYLISH SOJOURN: Auckland’s luxe designer hotels, five of the best
Over the last couple of decades, Auckland has become a truly cosmopolitan city. A groundswell of warehouse style cafes, hole in the wall bars, home-grown designer boutiques and contempo galleries have cropped up across the city; and it’s a transformation that is very much reflected in the city’s hotel offerings. Ros Brennan explored the top five boutique hotels that set the tone for a stylish sojourn in Auckland and the surrounding area.
Located in Auckland’s historic centre, Hotel Debrett is not only surrounded by creativity – galleries, theatres and boutiques line the streets - but it’s filled with it as well, kitted out with a unique array of photography, sculpture, and even lush bathroom products by New Zealand’s finest makers.
With an atrium for sociable lounging and a drawing room with an enviable selection of books, DVDs and retro board games, the Debrett feels less like a traditional hotel and more like the home of an extremely hip antipodean relative. With twenty-five rooms it’s intimate, and the mid-century furnishings mesh with the Art Deco architecture to create a visual atmosphere that’s as fully realized as any urban boutique hotel.
2 High St, Auckland
This über-trendy, design-led space perched right on Auckland’s sparkling harbour defies the Hilton stereotype. Situated in a gleaming wharf shed redeveloped to resemble a cruise-liner, each of its 166 rooms has floor-to-ceiling windows and a balcony, some looking out over Auckland Harbour and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
Décor is sleek and contemporary, in calming neutral tones. The hotel's very own restaurant, White offers, spectacular views and first-class dining, its dynamic menu focussing on creativity and locally sourced fare inspired by Chef Fraser Shenton and celebrity chef Gareth Stewart.
Princes Wharf, 147 Quay Street, Auckland
Just a half an hour ferry ride of five-minute helicopter flight from downtown Auckland, Waiheke is a lush, serene island with ample natural beauty; a favourite destination for lovers of both eco-tourism and luxury travel.
Moulded into the hillside with uninterrupted views overlooking Owhanake Bay, Delamore Lodge is an elegant and exclusive luxury hotel designed in the shape of a traditional Maori fish hook (Matau). With breath-taking sea and island views and its five rooms decked out with international and indigenous New Zealand craft and artworks, Delamore Lodge is the perfect base for those seeking a private escape set amongst the natural beauty of Waiheke island.
83 Delamore Drive, Waiheke Island Auckland
Situated about an hour’s drive from Auckland in the stunning Matakana wine region, Takatu Lodge is a striking design-led space surrounded by its own vineyards and as well as many sustainable and eco-friendly features.
This charming property, which offers spacious boutique-style accommodation in just four suites, is ideally placed for tranquil stays in the Matakana region close to several beaches and wineries. The Takatu Vineyard has a range of ecologically sustainable wines, created with Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec grapes, which are of course available with meals and at tastings at the vineyard.
518 Whitmore Road, Matakana, Auckland
Overlooking little Oneroa on Waiheke Island, owned by a well-known Auckland designer, The Boatshed offers luxury accommodation in a relaxed island setting. Inspired by the early 1900 boatsheds that scatter the shores across New Zealand, and some of the most desirable homes and retreats internationally, the lodge offers just that, in the most unpretentious setting.
Situated just five minutes from the ferry terminal, a few minutes from the beach and a gentle stroll to the island village. With intimate attention to detail, the building hosts accommodation in elegantly appointed traditional boatsheds, and the Lighthouse. The Boatshed also offers excellent cuisine, fine New Zealand wines in a relaxed al fresco style.
Cnr Tawa and Huia Street, Little Oneroa, Waiheke Island, Auckland