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
Queenstown is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s truly magical, so I was excited to be able to return, and take Ford there for his first visit.
Queenstown, New Zealand
We planned this portion of the trip pretty last minute and were going during peak season. One of the only hotels that still had availability was the Hilton Queenstown, which worked out for me, as a Hilton Diamond member. The rate was ~250USD per night.
It’s worth noting that they didn’t have any standard rooms left for sale, but rather I had to book a lakeview room, which was the lowest category they had available. As a result, it also wasn’t practical to redeem points, given that no “standard” rooms were available.
While I usually talk about a hotel’s location towards the end of a review, I think it’s worth starting with in this instance. Below is a map with Queenstown Airport, the Hilton Queenstown, and the Crowne Plaza Queenstown (which is right in the middle of the actual city of Queenstown).
As you can see, the Hilton is actually further from the city than the airport.
The good news is that there’s a convenient shuttle and water taxi between the hotel and town, as I’ll talk more about below.
We took a taxi from the airport to the Hilton, which took about 10 minutes. Interestingly there’s both a Hilton and a Doubletree in Queenstown, and they’re connected. While I didn’t have a chance to check out the Doubletree, from the outside it looked very nice.
The driveway to the Hilton is covered, and upon arriving we were welcomed by the bellmen and directed to reception.
Reception was located immediately inside the lobby, where we were quickly helped. The associate was friendly, and shared all kinds of information about the hotel’s features, the water taxi, the shuttle to town, etc. She also informed us we had been upgraded to a suite thanks to my Hilton Diamond status — sweet!
The lobby featured large windows overlooking gorgeous Queenstown. Personally I didn’t really love the lobby decor. It was furnished more like a cigar bar than a lakeside lodge, in my opinion, and didn’t do enough to capitalize on the natural beauty of the area.
The hotel is a bit of a maze, in the sense that there are several buildings, all quasi-connected. Our room was a pretty short walk from the lobby, though was still rather tough to find.
Our suite was gorgeous. Upon entering the suite we found ourselves in the living room, with a small couch, chair, and then a desk as well.
The desk featured a comfortable leather chair, as well as a coffee machine (a rather odd place to put it, in my opinion).
Waiting on the table were two bottles of water.
Across from the desk was a minibar, as well as a kettle.
I loved the fact that the room had a fireplace. While we were in Queenstown during the summer, it still got cool in the evenings, so it was great to turn it on.
The living room was separated from the bedroom by a door. The bedroom featured a king size bed (not the most comfortable, but not uncomfortable either), facing a flat screen TV and a long bench.
The bathroom was just off the bedroom, and had double sinks, a tub, a walk-in shower, and toilet.
Toiletries were Peter Thomas Roth branded.
While the suite was beautiful, the highlight was the huge patio overlooking the lake.
There was a table with four chairs.
The views were just breathtaking. We bought a couple of bottles of sauvignon blanc in town and in the evenings just sat watching the beautiful views.
All-in-all I thought the suite was great. Add in the fact that it was a Hilton (where I almost never get suite upgrades), and it was a huge win, in my book.
One of the benefits of the hotel consisting of several small buildings is that you can easily get outside from your room. There was a lovely path along the waterfront, where a lot of people seemed to be jogging.
Just to the side of our room was an area with a pub, convenience store, restaurant, etc.
Breakfast was served at the Wakatipu Grill, which was complimentary thanks to my Diamond status. The restaurant itself was quite nice, with a variety of seating options.
My favorite part was in the back corner, where there was seating with direct views of the waterfront.
In addition to the buffet, we could order something off the menu if we wanted:
I should note that the restaurant was chaotically full. It might not look like it based on the above pictures, but that’s because we went to the restaurant right as it opened on the third day, so I was able to snap those pictures. The other days it was crazy, as we went at more reasonable times. There were some tour groups staying at the hotel, and they added a bit to the chaos.
The breakfast spread itself was quite good, though. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I also ordered a veggie omelet one morning.
The only other time we ate at the hotel was the last night, where we had room service. We had been sightseeing all day, and just wanted to head back to the hotel early in anticipation of our early start the next morning. The room service food was excellent, and quite reasonably priced.
The hotel also has an indoor hot tub and pool, though I didn’t have a chance to use it.
There was also a decent gym, which I didn’t have a chance to use either.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, the location of this hotel is a bit off, as it isn’t in the town of Queenstown. As you can see based on the below map and timetable, there are frequent services offered by both bus and water taxi.
The bus is operated by Hilton, and is complimentary. The hotel shuttle runs about every two hours, and wasn’t my preferred way to get to town. While it’s free, sitting in a crowded shuttle for an almost 30 minute drive isn’t especially fun.
What was far more fun was using the water taxi. It’s not operated by the hotel, so it costs 10NZD per person each way. That’s not cheap, but it was a beautiful ride, and also quicker, at about 15 minutes each way.
I really enjoyed the water taxi, so while we took the hotel shuttle once, otherwise we took the water taxi.
It drops off right on the Queenstown waterfront, which is beautiful.
In a previous post I shared my thoughts on Queenstown as such. I had visited many years prior and remembered loving it, and I enjoyed it just as much this time around. It’s a gorgeous area, though was certainly more overrun with tourists than when I last visited, which isn’t a surprise given that it was the peak of summer.
Hilton Queenstown bottom line
Given our situation, the Hilton was a great option. It was one of the only hotels that still had availability, and I thought the hotel was beautiful. However, it’s not ideal to not have direct access to the city, but rather have to take a shuttle or water taxi. In terms of location, I’d suggest considering the Crowne Plaza Queenstown or Sofitel Queenstown, as they’re right in town.
The last thing I’d note about the Hilton is that they have a policy of scamming guests on currency conversions, and it’s a practice condoned by the general manager. Sadly things like this seem to be pretty common…
Do you have a favorite hotel in Queenstown?