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!?
Up first, the QT Auckland.
Why were we there: A girls’ trip with five tired women – three mums, one pregnant mum-to-be and one childfree aunty (me) who was determined to show her exhausted friends a good time with lunch and a staycation at one of Auckland’s best hotels.
Vibe: There’s no better word to use when summing up the QT than quirky. It’s a non-traditional hotel in all the best ways – think bright, bold interiors, a cocktail station set up ready-to-go in your room and luxury amenities such as Dyson hairdryers. As soon as you walk through the lobby doors you know this isn’t a normal hotel – it’s a little darker, a little more mysterious, a little more intriguing. All of the hotel’s staff are wearing uniforms designed by Kiwi designer Maggie Marilyn and I’ve never wanted to nick a hotel uniform before, but there you are.
The staff greet you like you’re a long-lost mate who’s finally found their way to the party, and it’s an absolute vibe, and you know instantly nothing will be too much trouble.
Known for: Auckland’s most popular rooftop bar – come for the drinks, stay for the glorious sunset
Perfect for: Girls’ trip, staycation, romantic escape, foodie adventure, solo escape
Rooms: What I loved about the QT is that they have rooms that are able to be sectioned off by granting guests access to a little hallway and all the rooms off it. For our group of five, we had three rooms, all of which were grouped together at the end of a private hall which meant we only needed to use our key to the outer door, and we could leave the room doors open and go between them as much as we liked – this set up is PERFECT for a girls getaway, or else for a family.
Ok so the actual rooms – jaws DROPPED when we all walked in. You have the normal stuff: the king sized beds, the nice bathroom shampoos and stuff, Netflix on the telly. But at the QT Auckland, no two rooms are the same, so you get a slightly different experience every time you visit.
Nespresso coffee is on offer which is a Godsend, and the room service menu (located on the telly for everyone like me who always goes on a bloody scavenger hunt for a paper folder despite being a millennial that should know better) is, trust me, *chef’s kiss*.
There’s 150 rooms in nine different styles to choose from, so you’ll be able to find ones that suits you easy.
The bougiest of all the rooms even has a bar in it. I’m not kidding. It’s officially on my bucket list. Who doesn’t want a bar in their room!?
Food and drink: Trust and believe that we planned our entire staycation around food, and the QT is the perfect place to do that. Of course there’s Esther, Sean Connolly’s wildly popular Mediterranean restaurant that is so much more than a ‘hotel restaurant’. This place stands among the best in Auckland – think gorgeous pasta, fresh as hell seafood, little Mediterranean snacky plates full of hummus and ham and pickles, and meat just done right. Sean fuses the Med with the best of NZ, and the menu is familiar enough to be comforting, but different enough to feel like a treat – and to really rank as one of Auckland’s best hotels, food simply has to feature and feature BIG.
Of course there’s the aforementioned rooftop which is the jewel in the crown of Auckland’s ‘bars with a view’ – although it will finally have some competition with a few new rooftop bars opening around the city. It’s a good thing though – the bar is so popular, sometimes it’s hard to get in (and my God, the cocktails. The cocktails). Suffice to say that the two of us who could drink took our research very seriously for you, dear reader.
But I think perhaps one of the most underrated parts of the QT is the little lobby bar – it’s small and cosy and perfect for meeting up for a quick drink, and has a full wine list and snack menu. I actually met my now partner in that bar, so I could be biased, but it has a very special place in my heart and if you can’t get up to the rooftop, grab a table and a glass of red and get cosy (and use the opportunity to people watch everyone checking into the hotel).
Location: In Auckland’s viaduct – close but not right in the CBD, which could be a positive or a negative depending on your vibe, but just right for us. Commercial Bay was a 10-minute walk away, and popping down to the viaduct for a drink or a bite to eat is even easier.
Why wouldn’t you stay here? If you like your hotels traditional, simple and to the point with no surprise and delight, then I’d say the QT isn’t for you. Also it doesn’t have a spa, so if that’s important to you for a girls’ trip, then look elsewhere (or just book at an external spa, there’s plenty around Auckland). It definitely deserves its spot as one of Auckland’s best hotels.
What makes this special? The vibe. Nothing is as you expect with the QT and it allows you to fully pull away from real life, even if it’s just for a night – perfect if you’re a parent who needs a little bit of a break away and a refresh.
Capsule was hosted by the QT Auckland, but was under no obligation for a positive review. All opinions above are the author’s own.