Introduction: New Years In The Maldives, Summer In New Zealand
Review: Etihad Airways Lounge New York JFK
Review: Etihad First Class A380 New York To Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Airways Arrivals Lounge Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad Business Class A340 Abu Dhabi To Male
Review: Returning To The Park Hyatt Maldives
This Is What A $570 Per Person New Year’s Eve Hotel Gala Is Like
Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To Sydney
Review: Park Hyatt Sydney
Review: Qantas Business Class 737 Sydney To Auckland
Review: Hilton Auckland
Review: Air New Zealand Lounge Auckland
Review: Hilton Queenstown
Review: American First Class 777-300ER Sydney To Los Angeles
To start off our time in New Zealand, we decided to spend two nights in Auckland. While Auckland is a fairly big city, it’s not the best hotel market out there. There simply aren’t many luxury hotels, though that should change eventually, when the Park Hyatt Auckland opens.
One of the better hotels in Auckland is the Hilton, so that seemed like a good option given that I had recently matched to Hilton HHonors Diamond status.
This is a Category 7 HHonors property, and since it was peak season, a free night at this hotel would have cost 60,000 points per night. I value Hilton points at ~0.4 cents each, so to me the “cost” of a redemption would have been ~240USD.
The paid rate at the hotel was 350NZD, which is ~250USD. While that’s marginally more than ~240USD (theoretically my breakeven point), I’d be earning a lot of points for the stay, so would come out ahead that way. So we made a paid booking for the two night stay.
The Hilton Auckland is located right on the harbor, immediately across from the ferry building. The hotel is intended to look like a ship, so it looks both industrial and nautical from the outside.
Driving to the hotel is a bit odd, as there are basically two identical buildings next to one another (I believe one of the buildings has apartments), so you get to the entrance to the hotel by driving through the parking lot.
Towards the end of the long parking area and on the right is the entrance to the hotel.
While I’m used to Hiltons having rather drab lobbies, this one was beautiful. It had a nautical theme, which I really liked, especially given the location.
The front desk was located straight ahead upon entering the lobby, and was shaped like a ship.
There was a lot of seating in the lobby area.
Across from the reception desk were stairs which go to the second level, where the restaurant is located.
Also on the lobby level was a bar, which I’ll talk more about below.
Since we were arriving late at night, check-in was processed by the friendly night auditor, who informed us we had been upgraded to a deluxe harbour view room.
We were also handed a piece of paper with the Hilton Diamond benefits we’d receive, including full breakfast at FISH Restaurant, as well as two free drinks at Bellini Bar nightly. This hotel doesn’t have a club lounge, so the complimentary drinks in the evening were them going above and beyond.
We took the elevator to the 6th floor, where our room was located. Upon exiting the elevator we turned left and walked to the end of the hall, where our room was on the left.
While I thought the public spaces at the hotel were exceptionally beautiful, the room itself seemed to be “brand standard” for Hilton.
The room featured an entryway, with a closet on the right and the bathroom on the left.
The room had a king size bed, though as I find to be the norm at Hiltons, the mattress wasn’t especially comfortable. While other hotels have more “stable” mattresses, I could totally rip the Hilton mattress off the bed without even trying.
In the corner of the room was a comfy orange relaxation chair with a pillow.
Then opposite the bed and relaxation chair were the desk and TV.
While I appreciated that the chair had wheels, it provided very little back support, and also didn’t have armrests. I realize most people won’t care, but as someone who works in hotel rooms for hours a day, it’s something I notice. Then again, I guess that’s still better than the trend of hotel rooms without desks at all.
There was a luggage rack located next to the TV — while perhaps not the nicest looking piece of furniture on earth, it was practical.
Since we were arriving late at night, turndown service had already been completed, which included two bottles of water and some chocolates.
Back near the entrance to the room was the bathroom, which was more or less brand standard for Hilton. There was a single sink, tub, walk-in shower, and toilet.
The temperature control and water pressure were very good.
Toiletries were Peter Thomas Roth, which always makes me think of Peter Thomas from Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Perhaps the nicest feature of the room was that it featured a massive balcony. There was a table with two chairs, but aside from that it was unfurnished.
When you were standing on the side of the balcony you could see the Auckland skyline, which was cool, even if it’s not the most dramatic skyline.
Then you could also see the ferry terminal.
And then just looking out in the distance you could see the surrounding harbour and nearby ports. You really do feel like you’re on a ship if you’re on the balcony of your room at the Hilton.
Wifi in the room was fairly fast, though it disconnected often.
Breakfast was served daily in FISH Restaurant, located on the second floor. The restaurant is nice for a breakfast venue, with plenty of natural light and white tablecloths.
Through my Diamond status we received access to the buffet, which was fairly good. No, it wasn’t as extensive as what you’ll find in the Middle East or Thailand, but was still solid.
There were cold cuts, pastries, bread, smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereal, etc.
There were also several hot dishes, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, etc.
Then there was also an omelet station.
Overall it was a solid breakfast buffet.
The Hilton had a gym and pool, located on the 4th floor.
I think “pool” might be a generous term for what they have, as it had room for one person to do laps, or otherwise a few people to just splash around in. Not that I’d go to Auckland to use a pool anyway, being from Florida…
The gym was perfectly decent as well.
We had a total of four complimentary drinks (two drinks per night for two nights), which we were able to redeem on our second night. That’s because we arrived so late on the first night, after the bar had already closed. It was nice that they let us use all the vouchers on one night, since technically they each had a date on them (two for the first night and two for the second night).
For the Hilton HHonors drinks, we could choose from the following:
We selected the sauvignon blanc, given that we were in New Zealand.
As far as the hotel’s location goes, I both like it and dislike it. I like it because the views are great, given that it’s right on the water. However, given how far down the pier it is, it’s also a bit of a haul if you want to get out of the waterfront area. That worked fine for us, given that we only had one full day in Auckland, and spent most of it walking around.
Big picture, Auckland is a city I sort of feel indifferently about. I love New Zealand, but not Auckland as such. Auckland feels to me like a smaller and more boring version of Sydney. I’ve been twice now, and am not sure I’d return. If you haven’t been to New Zealand and are passing through Auckland then you might as well check it out for a couple of days, but personally it’s not up there on my list of favorite cities.
Hilton Auckland bottom line
Overall I enjoyed our stay at the Hilton Auckland. The public areas and views from the hotel are beautiful, while the rooms are brand standard for Hilton. I feel like if they luxed up the rooms a bit, this hotel could very well be a Conrad or even Waldorf Astoria.
Auckland isn’t that great of a hotel market, though the Hilton is one of the better options. If I returned to Auckland I’d consider staying here again, though hopefully the Park Hyatt is open by then.
Do you have a favorite hotel in Auckland? And how do you feel about the city as such?