Auckland is, to us, simply a port in which to enter the North Island of New Zealand. We hardly ever spend any time in the city, as we're frequently driving off to its more scenic surrounds. But, because the only SQ flight out of Auckland back to SG is at 12noon, we usually opt to stay overnight in Auckland the day before our flight just so we wouldn't have to drive 4 hours, blurry-eyed, in the wee hours of the morning just to check in at the airport at 10am.
So, when we're in Auckland, we usually stay in the Viaduct Harbour, which is only a 7-minute walk to the ferry terminal where we hop onto the ferry over to Waiheke Island. Also, the area offers the most impressive views in Auckland, with most hotel rooms boasting a breathtaking panorama to the surrounding Waiheke or Rototua islands.
We stayed at the Hilton Auckland, even though, to be honest, we're not big fans of the Hilton brand. We think they're overpriced and underwhelming. Like Paris Hilton. And while I wouldn't classify the Hilton Auckland a 5-star hotel per se, but it's as high-end as it gets in Auckland.
The Hilton Auckland is located at Princes Wharf, just next to the ferry terminal. The area, also called Viaduct Village, is lively with the buzz of chic restaurants and cool bars, so you don't have to go very far to find good food.
There's ample parking within the hotel's compounds, but note that these are only vide valet parking at NZ$45 per day.
From the hotel, you can see the city skyline, and the Sky Tower in the distance. The ferry terminal is that big white wave-like structure on the left.
The iconic swimming pool, with its glass enclosure that looks into the bay. The small but reasonably-equipped fitness centre is next to that, and accessible 24/7 to hotel guests.
The Bellini Lounge on the ground floor of the hotel, next to the check-in desk, was pretty chill to enjoy a cocktail, or two.
Because our room wasn't ready when we arrived in the morning, we were gifted complimentary welcome drinks at Bellini. That was a nice touch.
We stayed in the top tier option, the King Relaxation Suite, and rates start at NZ$1400 per night. It features a wraparound balcony from the bedroom to the separate living room.
The suite offers a 160-degree panorama of the harbour, and the separate living area has a 40-inch TV and dvd player for entertainment, as well as a separate work space and mini bar.
The balcony is furnished with sun loungers should you feel a need to get some sun.
The bathroom wasn't the most luxurious, but utilitarian and decent.
Peter Thomas Roth toiletries
Welcome chocolates - these were delicious!
The sparsely-stocked pantry, with coffee and tea making facilities.
147 Quay Street
Tel: +64 9 978 2000