Friday, June 9, 2023

Sweet Tooth: Why I Stayed At A Mövenpick Hotel (Complete With 24-Hour Ice-Cream Sundaes)

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Sarah Lang indulges her sweet side at Wellington’s Mövenpick Hotel

To me, the idea of staying in a hotel that can deliver ice-cream sundaes to your room any time of the day or night sounded as good as sex and shopping – though, heck, why not incorporate those in a weekend too?

I’d never heard of a Mövenpick hotel, but the Swiss brand of premium ice-cream opened its first hotel in 1973, predicated on traditional Swiss hospitality. With Accor acquiring the brand in 2018, there are now more than 80 Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts around the world – with Auckland and Wellington being two of its latest locations.

At the far end of The Terrace, away from the bustle of the business district, the former Grand Mercure hotel building has been transformed into the five-star Mövenpick Hotel Wellington. Positioned on a hill, it’s just a short stroll from the Cuba Quarter with all its cafes and restaurants, boutiques, clothing stores, wine and cocktail bars, live-music venues, vintage stores and art galleries.

The 114 suites – Superior King, Deluxe King, King Room, Superior Twin, and Deluxe Twin Single – have city or harbour views. One option is booking two rooms with interconnecting doors – great if you’re holidaying with another couple. There are seven Family Suites, each with a separate lounge that can provide a pull-out sofa-bed.

The hotel has an indoor heated lap pool, a sauna, a gym, a kids’ playroom, and valet parking. The spacious lobby is decorated in blue and yellow hues that evoke a summer’s day. Help yourself to some cacao-husk tea and biscuits on arrival. The lobby is also where you attend ‘chocolate hour’. Between 3 and 4pm, you can sample complementary chocolate treats displayed prettily on a table. The selection changes but may include macarons, mini icecream cones, cupcakes, and a chocolate fondue fountain with accompanying fruit for dipping. (You can dip pretzels in the chocolate fountain too, but that was a hard no from me.)

As for those ice-cream sundaes, available via room service 24/7, these are nothing like McDonalds chocolate sundaes. Imagine a bowl full of layered whirls of flavoured icecreams, topped by upside-down cones and macarons. How many could my husband and I manage in less than 24 hours? I had two, and my husband managed a mighty three. (Kids can get free icecreams whenever, but maybe don’t tell them that because, well, carnage.)

You can’t, debatably, live on chocolate and icecream, so Movenpick has its own restaurant, Forage, with its delicious New Zealand-inspired cuisine, and its city and harbour views. The star of the dessert menu is the ‘gourmet Mövenpick Icecream and Sorbet: three scoops, gel, tuile, dehydrated fruit’. Nearly (but not quite) ‘ice-creamed out,’ I chose a delicious berry brioche with vanilla mascarpone. And after all my hard working eating, could they make me a good Negroni? Check.

Also complementary at the hotel are ‘Health Shots’, which blend juice, yoghurt, fruit and vegetables. But there’s plenty of time for five-plus a day after you leave.  While you’re there, it’s all about indulgence.

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