Welcome to Capsule Travels, where we bring you stories, reviews and experiences of all the best the world – and New Zealand has to offer! In our new series, we get down and gritty with reviews of different types of accommodations, so you can make the best decision possible for your well-deserved travel plans – and we all need to know where Auckland’s best hotels are, right!?
This week, we’re checking into the new Doubletree by Hilton Karaka
Why we were there:
One of Auckland’s newest hotels, Capsule were invited to stay a night and check out the fancy new property in South Auckland that’s right in horse country (that’s probably not what the locals call it but come on, the hotel bar is even called Horseshoe).
So I (Kelly) grabbed my partner and off we went for a night of horse luxe. Again, probably not the prefered term.
It’s a brand-new hotel, so the vibe is inherently a bit fancy. The décor is modern, neutral, classy – everything seems to have been thrown together with great ease, like one of those women you see in the street that looks impossibly put-together without a hair out of place and you’re like, HOW.
Zen is important for the DoubleTree – it’s right next to the motorway afterall, so great care has been taken to make people forget you’re adjacent to the country’s busiest road. There’s even a pool!
The vibe is very much helped long by the fact you get a warm chocolate cookie on arrival, which also adds to an incredible smell in the lobby. I’d literally go back just for that bloody cookie.
Being so new, the Karaka DoubleTree’s ‘thing’ hasn’t been set in stone yet – at the moment I’m going to say cookies. However they do have a fancy celeb chef at the helm of the restaurant (see more below) so I reckon it could definitely become a destination foodie spot – especially when paired with a jaunt out to the nearby Clevedon markets.
A stay close to the airport but not too close; if you’re planning on making the most of South Auckland’s criminally underrated beaches, walks and markets, or if you’ve had enough of the city and people and want a staycation that’s chill.
We stayed in a King Deluxe suite that was very spacious with a separate living area and even a guest toilet – perfect if you were having the girls over for a pre-event cocktail or bubbles. The décor was perfect for this minimalist – quality furnishings, a soothing palette and everything you could need, and nothing you don’t. Bonus points for the HUGE bathroom with roomy shower and a very inviting bathtub. There’s two TVs – one in the bedroom and one in the lounge – and the bed is one of those ones that you go hunting for the maker’s tag because it’s that good.
Food and Drink:
The DoubleTree are very proud of their food and drink offering – in fact, when we were asked if we wanted to stay the night, going to the restaurant was the premier reason why. Mark Southon is at the helm (formerly of O’Connell St Bistro, a fancy Auckland hotel) with a menu that reminds you of your mum’s food, but fancier. Think tuna ceviche, amazingly-cooked steak, and the best little fried goat’s cheese balls.
But the fun part is the dessert trolley that’s pushed around the tables, featuring eclairs and other little delights. It’s a novelty sure but it’s a lovely touch.
Karaka. Sure, your options are slightly more limited than if you were in the CBD, but chill out, man. Go to the Clevedon markets. Head out to one of the beaches. If you’re a sucker for overpriced punishment, go to Spookers or Rainbow’s End.
Why wouldn’t you stay here?
Probably if you want to make the most of a staycation with activities that aren’t South-Auckland centric – you’re not in Ponsonby anymore, Dr Ropata.
What makes this special?
It’s an opportunity to slow down. Chill out. Have an equestrian-themed cocktail. Eat some good food. Relax in a comfy bed. Order room service. Go back for another éclair.